The Future of Publishing As I See It

As most of  you probably know, I am a marketing consultant by day. One of the people I love to follow is Seth Godin. He’s a marketing genius (and I don’t say that lightly) and so much of what he says applies to the writing world too.

Today, he made a compelling statement:

The myth of ebooks is that now that anyone can publish, enormous numbers of people will use this new platform to create countless numbers of new classics. In fact, most self-published ebooks just aren't very good.

Now, before you curse Mr. Godin, please be aware that this statement is completely out of context, and you really should read the post. If you read or write ebooks, his thoughts are worth considering.

That aside, there is some truth to the statement. If you’re a self-published ebook author, I’m not talking about YOUR books, of course. There are others though…

Frankly, there are some ebooks published through traditional publishers that probably fit into the “not so good” category as well. 

Does that mean all ebooks are bad? Of course not!

But what does the future for publishing hold? If you read or write ebooks and haven’t at least considered the question, you must lack the curiosity gene.

Here’s my take.

I can’t imagine ebooks going away. There’s a generation being born today who will consider ebooks the norm – the same way younger people look at me blankly when I suggest they use a “landline” for security reasons. (“Why would you want to use a phone connected to a wall?”)

Will bad writers keep people from reading ebooks? I seriously doubt it.

Will more people try their hand at writing and decide to take the shortcut that electronic publishing offers? Seems highly likely to me. I see the number of self-published books proliferating.

Will there be some gems among the rocks? Yes, and not all of them will be particularly well-written or edited, but they will sell well because they offer what readers are looking for.

I think it will be harder for authors to be full-time professionals. It’s hard enough as it is, but with more and more choices available standing out from the crowd will be tough. Readers will have to slog through a lot of less-than-great options in order to fine the writers they like and those with a backlist will be rewarded.

So, I’ve put my neck on the line and given you my take. What’s yours?


P.S. I still like "tree books" because you can read them in the bathtub. 

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