We are at a time of change and the reality is that both digital and physical books will live side by side for many years.
Remember, books have to be alive electronically, or they’re dead.
How much will a digital book cost?
Some publishers predict the same price as a paperback. If like me you have an iPhone and use Ereader software like Stanza, you expect to pay a very small sum if anything for an E book.
Ray Hammond makes a living out of predicting future technologies and he say that he expects his books in digital form will be made available for free. In this case. how then are we all make money if it’s free? What Ray is describing is the conflict between extreme views but lets get real, change will not be overnight. I believe the glass is half full, not half empty, and that there are many opportunities for authors in today’s digital world and perhaps being less reliant on publishers is one of those realities.
Self publishing will be huge – and I don’t mean vanity publishing. You will need an understanding of copyright and marketing.
Will the digital revolution impact bookselling? - yes .
I spoke at an International booksellers conference in South Africa three years ago on this topic and re reading that speech I had said: “I want to sell e-books and audio downloads in the future and therefore have to look for reliable suppliers and select titles at the right price. As soon as I can, I will offer them for sale them alongside physical books.” As I said, that was three years ago and in the meantime, publishers have been slow to announce and commit to a digital publishing programme, particularly in this recession.
We have to recognise digitisation is only just evolving. America’s largest booksellers Barnes & Noble is only just setting up digital store; Waterstones set up their ebook website 12 months ago and Borders UK and Blackwells have only just gone live on ebooks. Wholesaler Gardners can now supply any bookseller with some 100000 new ebooks, so any bookshop can join this scheme.
So we are the start of a journey and there are many conflicts to resolve. The one thing we can be certain of is that the future of bookselling will be quite different from today and I want to be part of it.
Like myself, many other booksellers don’t want to lie down and give away our traditional hand selling market to the likes of Amazon, Google, Apple or even Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and Asda. We want to sell physical and digital – we want to sell books.