E-commerce and the internet have done a lot for consumers – driving prices down and increasing access to quality goods and services. Prior to the internet, people were only able to conduct business locally, and consumers’ choices for products or services were limited to how far they were willing to drive. But as e-commerce developed, more and more people started shopping online – but are still able to obtain comparable products or services.
However, for every great thing the internet has provided, it has taken away just as much from other industries. Industries like legal services, movie production, and content creation have changed almost over-night, requiring industry leaders to re-evaluate business models and scramble for answers to a smarter buying population. One of these industries includes traditional publishing. Paper books are actually considered an endangered species and will most likely become extinct in the next 5 to 10 years due to the growing e-book publishing arena.
Below are just a few of the many ways eBooks are changing the way we consume content
Top Four Changes Contributed to EBooks
Instantaneous Content – Prior to the eBook revolution, the transfer of information was more costly and time-consuming, making the process of obtaining knowledge or entertainment more of an adventure. Unfortunately, with access to information comes the de-valuation of information as well, causing publishers to go under. By providing immediate content to consumers, they develop leverage in the buying process and can dictate price more. This has created an influx of information, either through eBook distribution on portals such as Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com or the creation of blogs and online magazines. Rather than waiting for a ride to the bookstore for the next post-apocalyptic fantasy tale, you just need an internet connection and payment method.
Worldwide Distribution – New York Times Bestsellers have become Amazon bestsellers, and the measure of success within the publishing community has expanded from number of copies sold to your book’s position on google searches and online e-publishing websites such as the kindle store. Attraction to content has become less about the content and more about the marketing behind the content. Worldwide distribution allows information and cultural norms to spread across the world, creating a better understanding of each other. No longer do you need the backing of a major publishing house to receive feedback about your work, or praise for a great idea. People are becoming millionaires overnight writing eBook content for consumers with particular niche problems.
Creativity May Be Lost? – When I said eBooks are changing traditional publishing I did not necessarily mean for the better. Unfortunately, as with any industry, an increase in access due to minimum capital investments allows for scammers and unqualified people to organize money-making machines. Prior to the eBook revolution, traditional publishing houses monitored the creative process and usually picked authors and books based on creative ability, as well as actual English skills. Usually the best authors were also some of the best writers who each had a unique style that attracted readers everywhere. Unfortunately, eBooks have developed an environment of fancy marketing and scheming to drive sales, not actual content. Sure, good content will get you noticed on e-publishing sites, but without an online marketing team pushing your eBook product, the exposure becomes challenging. Therefore, the atmosphere is less about how good you are and more about how good you sell.
The Rise of Niche Markets – When an industry grows, specialization also develops – this is economics 101. When traditional publishing moved online and Amazon took the reins of e-publishing, the industry grew, and eBook consumption surpassed paperback consumption within just a couple of short years. With this kind of growth in market size, more and more niche eBook products have flourished. Need to know how to tie a shoe? There’s an eBook about the art of tying a shoe. Need to find a new lawnmower? There surely is an eBook on the “101 Best Lawnmowers of the 21st Century”. Niche markets foster niche knowledge, ultimately making our lives easier and making us more knowledgeable about subject matters we never thought we would learn.
Matthew Hall is actually a professional writer himself, currently working on getting his first novel published and already encountering challenges in drumming up recognition. To help better facilitate distribution, he plans to work with FastSpring.