book signing


The latest information from the New York Times  says that in 2010 publishers generated net revenue of $27.9 billion, a 5.6 percent increase over 2008. Publishers sold 2.57 billion books in all formats in 2010, a 4.1 percent increase since 2008.

This includes a large increase in e-book sells. In 2008 e-books were 0.6 percent of the total trade market; in 2010, they were 6.4 percent.

The good news from these numbers is that people are still reading, or at least buying, books. The confusion still lies in how much the e-book surge changes the writing and publishing business.

The closure of Borders Books proves that book stores that have not bought into the e-book market are indeed suffering, but I believe there will always be people who want to actually hold the paper of a book in their hands.

Photo by ugaldew on stock.xchg

I, for one, read both kinds. I love my Kindle of novels and fun reads. I also enjoy researching there for books on marketing and PR. E-book readers are like being at the library because you can sample any book available for free before deciding whether you want to invest your time and money into it. But when it comes to books that I want to read and re-read and save as reference… I have a printed book in one hand and a highlighter in the other.

As I continue to write my first chick-lit novel, Whine and Wine, I do wonder how this shift in reading paradigm will affect me as a writer. I will take a stab at traditional publishing because I still have the desire to see my novel on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. Hey, I still have a book signing on my bucket list, and I don’t think anyone is going to want me to Sharpie their e-reader. The more I read and research, however, the more the reality sets in–e-publishing is great in that it gives writers more control over the actual money earned off a book. Unfortunately, however, this also means that a writer is no longer “just writing,” they are promoting their own book so that it can sell.

Every second that a writer is self-promoting, she is not writing. It seems that we may have written ourselves into a corner, so to speak. We want to read more, but we are not allowing our writers to actually write the books we want to read. This would be like have our movie stars making home movies in hopes of being discovered on YouTube, our sports stars showing off their skills in the neighborhood parks in hopes that a major league coach would happen to see them in action, or if we eliminated realtors and just had a bunch of For Sale By Owner signs everywhere in hopes that someone somewhere would find us.

This market shift is going to be very interesting in the coming years. Perhaps the publishing world is brewing up its own concoction to help us struggling writers get our voices heard. I would hate for the next great writer to be so overwhelmed by the self-publishing/marketing hoops that his or her words never gets heard.

Speaking of the next big thing… back to writing for me. My characters are begging for my attention.