With the onslaught of electronic formats giving readers numerous ways to enjoy their favorite pastime, I’ve heard it whispered more that once that the printed page will one day be a thing of the past.
It’s obvious that the electronic era is having an impact. Take personal ads for example. No longer do they fill up the back pages of seller’s publications and shopper’s guides, but now congregate in the millions upon countless websites, giving lovesick consumers the ability to scan the goods from the privacy of their homes. I might have perused a few sites myself and had my own ad back in the day. Luckily I’m married now and no longer have to PhotoShop Tom Cruise’s body on my picture or lie about being sensitive and all that other crap.
Newspapers, I do believe, will not survive the future. Now that I can get the news three seconds after it happens, why would I want to wait 24 hours to read about it in the morning paper? More importantly, now that I can get unlimited comics and Sodukos on the Internet, the printed paper has little to offer me.
It’s affecting the book industry, too, as is evident by how many brick-and-mortar bookstores, and even chains, have went kaput. The inability, or unwillingness, of large publishing houses to adapt will no doubt be their demise one day as well.
With e-books making up 6.4% of the trade book market in 2010, those numbers are increasing, and will continue to increase, every year, at least until technology advances beyond e-books. Maybe the next evolutionary step will allow a book to be presented in a pill that you swallow and the entire story suddenly appears in your memory. (Warning: Beware the suppositories—those are erotica books.)
But there is one area of the publishing industry that is growing by leaps and bounds, even faster than the numbers for electronic books, and that is with Indie titles. In 2008, the number of Indie titles rose a whopping 125% from the previous year and outnumbered traditionally published titles for the first time ever. And although I haven’t seen the numbers since, it’s safe to assume that divide has grown exponentially.
That’s right. The printed book will survive because of you. Maybe your book is not located in the high-value real estate in the front of big box bookstores. Maybe you are not on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Maybe your book will not be made into a movie. But take heart, my fellow courageous, adventurous, gallant, undaunted Indie authors, because you, my dear friends, are the future.
Neal Wooten, Publisher/Indie Author/Illustrator/Cartoonist