As you probably know, I’m an author and I work for an ebook publisher. I think it’s fascinating to see how the publishing world has been changing in the last decade or two with the rise of the Internet, ereaders and ebooks, and websites like Youtube and Facebook.
I’m in my twenties, and I feel as if I have a foot in two worlds. One world thrives on the printed word. It values things that may take a long time to write or read. Stories are 300-400 pages instead of condensed into 300 words or 21 minutes. The other world is immediate. Video and visual media tend to be more popular than media that involves reading or writing. Brevity is the most important thing because there are about a thousand other things competing for your audience’s attention.
Many people believe that because of this second world, books are “going out of style.” People prefer instead Youtube videos and reality TV, right?
Actually, reading is on the rise. According to a 2008 study done by the National Endowment for the Arts, there was a 7% increase in the overall rate of adults who read literature (novels, short stories, poems, and plays). This is the first increase since the survey has been done since 1982.
2012 book sales according to the Association of American Publishers increased and decreased in various categories: YA/Children’s books saw a huge increase (nearly 223%) while mass market paperbacks decreased in sales (20.8%). Audiobooks have increased their sales, which is perhaps an effect of this new digital world. Overall, there was nearly a 2% raise in book sales from 2011 to 2012.
And of course, ebook sales across the board have seen a sharp increase with the Kindle, the Nook, and other ereaders and tablets. Even if you like the look and feel of a print book, ebooks aren’t going anywhere.
I think everyone can recognize that our world is constantly changing. I think authors and publishers will need to adapt their approach to reach an audience who has little time for reading, but I also think that reading is still a valuable thing to many Americans today.
I love looking at things that are changing the way we interact with books and authors. Things like book trailers and vlogs. Or the way we can interact with authors and publishers on social media.
Here’s one way the publishing world uses the digital world: pitch parties on Twitter. PitMad (which stansd for Pitch Madness) happens once a month on Twitter, and authors pitch their novels in 140 characters. The publisher I work for, Entranced, is doing this, too. I know most of us are DIY-ers, but if you are interested in working with a new ebook publisher and you write romance, YA/NA, or erotica, check out the #FridayFrenzy tag.
With social media, can follow each other’s updates and interact with other fans, too. We have blogs like this where authors get together and discuss stuff, and at the bottom of every post, we can share it on like a dozen different places. It’s pretty awesome, I think. It’s exciting to think about where our world is going with this and how things will develop and change with new technology.