eBooks killed the publishing star?

5 Jan

There has been a good deal of discussion as to the effect that eBooks will have on traditional publishing houses. These have certainly taken a hit, especially in the US, where eReaders are selling much more than they do over here in the UK.  As I heard one woman say recently, she could have her entire book collection of 100 works stolen from her handbag. To some extent I see this as a specious argument. Just because television came along it doesn’t mean that radio died. There is sufficient difference between the media to ensure that both survive. I am typing this in my office, with more than three Kindle-worths of paper and ink on the shelves. The books are stacked two and three deep and there are many other books around the house. I recently purchased two printed books rather than their Kindle equivalents. This was because one was significantly cheaper than the eBook equivalent and the other contained facimilies of documents and photographs which do not translate well to the Kindle format.
If the introduction of eBooks shakes up the publishing industry that will probably be no bad thing. New authors are finding it increasingly difficult to find publishers or agents, and publishers seem only to accept manuscripts from “celebrities”, or to stick to tried and trusted authors who can provide so many words every six months. The development of new markets and authors seems to have largely gone out of the window. With facilities such as Kindle Direct Publishing allowing self-publishing, it is now open to ideas and talent to be developed in a new market.

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