Your Future Is Digital

Soon you won’t really have to choose between digital or paper. The book world has gone “onscreen,” for better or worse. Your work will see the light, most likely, in an e-book format.

E-book sales continue to rise, and traditional formats continue to fall. According to the industry group the American Association of Publishing year, sales of e-books grew by 117%.

Total industry sales have declined by about 4% which, according to a vague statement on the site eBook Newser, “worries some industry analysts,” whatever that’s supposed to mean

Publishers should worry, though, since all sectors – hardcover, paperback, mass-market, etc. – have steadily declined. Except for e-books (which, although they’ve been priced less than traditional books, are likely to cost more as publishers seek to offset the loss of sales in other areas by raising the price to readers of e-books).

More authors are likely to continue to explore self-publishing rather than try their luck with traditional publishing houses. Publishing houses may even opt to print books in e-book format first rather than using paper. And e-book sales are likely to continue to grow as more and more consumers and readers use e-readers and tablets.

At this point, e-book sales account for $970 million out of the total $5.6 billion in book sales that the AAP tracks (this includes children’s, young adult, religious as well as general fiction and nonfiction, audio books and miscellaneous, such as photo books). Sales of e-books are up from $446 million in 2010.

For anyone who’s building a platform to spread his or her message and build an audience , all of this simply means that you should continue to do what you’re doing. You should be reaching out to your community through social networking, through your blog, through commenting on other blogs and through interacting with as many people as possible to spread the word about what you do and what your message entails.

But on no account should you think that because you can publish digitally, or that you can self-publish without seeming like an also ran, that success is yours. You need not only to establish and build a brand (and as an author, you’re also a brand – so get used to the “retail” flavor of that term) but to continue to cultivate that audience.

Publishing might become easier, thanks to electronic tools now widely available. But success is rarely overnight.

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One Response to “Your Future Is Digital”

  1. Anonymous March 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    For a while I was resistant to e-readers. Something about the feel of a book in your hands and the crisp sound of turning pages. But after downloading Kindle on my phone and enjoying instant access to a plethora of books, awesome search functions and decreased need for shelf space — well, I might as well have popped a can of Pringles potato chips. Once you pop, you can’t stop!

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