Sunday, March 13, 2011

What's Up with Publishing?

Today we have a guest blog from the wonderful Nancy Famolari

What's Up with Publishing?

First, I want to state that I have no answers about what's happening with the publishing industry. However, over the last several weeks I have observed some interesting trends:
  • Borders is bankrupt and is planning to close a number of stores. I'm not sure how many will eventually be selected, but this is a major blow to book publishers as well as Borders. The company is in debt to several publishers and there's no suggestion that all the owed funds will be repaid.
  • Sales on ebooks continue to climb. I don't think this is an artifact. People are increasingly getting ereaders, Kindle, Nook, and others. Versions of ereader software are available for PCs. I suspect that the ease of obtaining and the price are turning more and more people to buying books for ereaders.
  • Random House has announced that they're joining the agency model. Random House announced that "Going forward, Random House will set consumer prices for the e-books we publish, and we will provide retailers with a commission for each sale."
  • Thomas Nelson is offering coupons in it's books in bookstores for prizes. I'm sure the company hopes that the desire for something free will encourage people to look for TN books.
So what does all this activity mean? A few things are clear, at least to me. Ebooks are here to stay and may well be the wave of the future. This becomes even more likely with the advent of iPad 2. The iBookstore is apparently a lucrative place to sell books. In all this maneuvering, it seems to me, that independent bookstores, including those on the web are on the losing side. From personal experience, I can say that I sell twice as many books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble than I do on sites like Smashwords and other independent sites, certainly more than I sell hard copies.

I'm interested in what you think. For me, I think it's a good new era in publishing. The playing field for authors is leveled. Amazon and Barnes and Noble, among others, will sell your self-published books the same way they do the books from the major publishers. Is it a bad time for independent bookstores? Without question. I find that I spend my time locating books on the web rather than visiting my local bookstore. Prices are better and I don't have to travel a long distance and then be disappointed.

So what do you think about the state of the industry? I'd like to know.

BIO: Nancy Famolari splits her time between her farm in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania and a smaller farm near Ocala, Florida. Her five horses are becoming seasoned travelers. Before moving to Pennsylvania, she and her husband owned a small Standardbred breeding farm in Central New Jersey. Her soon to be released novel, Winner's Circle, is based on her experiences in harness racing. Her other novels include: Unwelcome Guest at Fair Hill Farm, Murder in Montbleu, and The Lake House.

Nancy's Website

Nancy Famolari's Place
Nancy Famolari's Author Spotlight
Montbleu Murders

For more writerly insights, please visit Virginia Grenier's blog tommorow for a feature with Donna McDine.


  1. Thanks for having me today, Maggie. I'd love to hear what people think. I'll check back to see what readers say!

  2. On one hand I'm sad. I love the feel and smell of a good book. To cuddle with a classic leather bound book turns me on! The wall of books in my office are beautiful! And as a new author, I'm STILL WAITING to see my first full book in print. I'm sure I'll be delirious with joy when it happens in the next month or two.

    On the other hand I agree that ebooks are OUR FUTURE. The idea of a level playing field is exciting as well. There are so many fabulous writers that never get the readers they deserve because they lack publicity and marketing skills. Now we just need to figure out how to take advantage of thid new publishing trend. Any ideas?

  3. Hey Nancy - I think you're right. This is a continuing trend. I don't think hard copies will go completely out of style - but with the way the economy is - e-books are a sure way to be able to read and read with your children without going broke.

  4. Firstly, thank you Nancy for a very thoughtful blog post. My feelings Kathy are that it's the words and stories that matter and not the delivery medium. So whether ebook or tree book (and I believe strongly that there will always be a place for a beautifully crafted book as artifact) whatever medium works best for a reader is the one I want them to have it in. If, just to take one example, the blind can now read through talking ereaders, and the visually impared can now read through being able to easily magnify the words of any book to whatever size works best - then I'm very excited about the proliferation of ebook readers. I think the key thing is to make sure that our books are always available in a range of both hardcopy and electronic forms - DRM free so they are easy to access. That way the reader can always get what he or she needs in the form that suits best.

  5. Hi Nancy:

    I believe many authors are experiencing the same results as you online and with e-books. I too enjoy the good old fashion book in hand and I do enjoy the e-readers. It certainly saves the trees.

    Best wishes for your continued success,

  6. Thanks for the great comments. Kathy, I know how you feel. I, too, love the feel of a book, but books are expensive. I also love a good story. I have to agree with Maggie that ereaders are making books more available to everyone. It can't be bad for authors if the cheaper books mean that more people read our writing.

    I agree, Donna, it means more trees. That can't be bad either!!

    Thanks for reading!

  7. Nancy, great post. I'm a recent convert to ebooks .. recently I conceived a yen to read the first book in a series I'd started (read book five before any of the others), and was so eager I downloaded the kindle app to my PC and bought the ebook. Now I want a kindle for my birthdayl

    Maggie, I have a really hard time reading your blog .. the gray stuff is almost invisible to me.

  8. Nancy, great post and information, and I agree that e-books are the wave of the future.

    While I love actual books, e-books just have too many advantages not to take them seriously: convenience - you can have tons of books ready to read where ever you are in a compact e-reader, and like Donna mentioned, it helps save the trees.

    E-books will take it's toll on bookstores and even publishers, in my opinion anyway, as authors are finding it easier and easier to self-publish through digital avenues.

  9. Thanks for this informative and insightful piece, Nancy! The Borders in my town closed and it broke my heart. I think it's more important than ever for authors to be creative and proactive when marketing themselves and their work!

  10. I hope tree books will never go away! But I agree, the e-book, which has actually been around for 40 years, is just now reaching its tipping point with the Kindle, iPad, etc. I've not tried either one, but for someone who travels a lot, I think it would be very handy. The problem with selling books on Amazon is that the author literally only makes a few cents on each sale, unfortunately. (unless you're self-published through them, I understand...?)

  11. Maggie, I love Kindle for PC. (I also have Nook for PC.) I'd love to have the machine, but reading on my computer is great, too.

    Karen, I agree: print books are great, but they are becoming increasingly expensive to produce and market. I hate to see bookstores closing, but living in a rural area, I don't have any bookstores close, so Amazon is a great substitute.

    Dallas, it is sad when a bookstore closes. I loved them when I worked in DC, but now that I live in the country, I truly appreciate being able to buy books on line. I can also get what I want without having to order it and wait for months. I guess everything has an upside.

  12. Nancy, thank you for sharing your insights. I agree with you, buying online and buying e-books are definitely here to stay. Writers are really going to have to change things up in terms of marketing to keep up with industry changes.

  13. Nancy, thanks for sharing your insights. The industry truly is changing. Buying online and purchasing ebooks are definitely going to change things for writers. I'm hopig we all adapt well and keep up in terms of our marketing efforts.

  14. I agree, Mari, we writers have to keep up with the industry. We can't expect publishers and agents to do it all for us -- as they have in the past.