|The advent of eBooks has publishers making
unwise decisions to retain their ever-loosening
grasp on the market. They are walking to
the guillotine willingly.
There’s a revolution happening in the book world not unlike the French Revolution. Only instead of the people shoving aristocrats toward the guillotine with pitchforks and muskets, now the aristocratic book publishers are ascending the steps to the chopping block by their own choice. Makes me want to bust out the Andrew Lloyd Webber Les Miserables CD. But since I don’t hold the rights, how about a 20-second snippet of Paul Wranitzky: Symphony Op. 31 “The Revolution” Or “La Paix.”
Consider this article from the UK Guardian that discusses the collusion between three major UK publishers and their decision to raise eBook prices: “Many digital editions now cost the same as printed books, with some costing more.”
What is evident in this move by these three reputable publishers is their overriding fear of losing their hold on the publishing industry. So devoted are they to the old ways–paper and ink–that they are ignoring the very people who have supported their business for many years and attempting to force them into a model that no longer fits their lives. How’s that for thanksgiving?
Simple economics tells us how this will turn out. (Not well for the publishers.) Whether or not they like it, people aren’t going to bend over and take it up the tailpipe and spend as much (or more!) for digital books, when it is clear that there is not as much money invested in their creation. Will that force them back to hardcovers? Unlikely. People aren’t stupid.
What’s more, publishers are afraid of the new leveled playing field in which indies, like me, are actually competing with the monarchs of publishing. The nerve. Those of us who are not validated by the establishment have no right to market share. We are idiots who produce sub par books and who are driving the prices down.
Indie publishers are stepping out on their own and attempting to make a product equal to or greater than what is available from the elite publishers and at a lower price because we don’t have as much overhead. We are taking all the risk and taking all the flack. We are just trying to make our dreams come true.
But what is saddest is that if publishers would adapt to the changing market and allow the market to determine their prices, then we could all happily create, sell, and read the thing we love most: books.