Digital vs Print in the Industry

[Begin: "Ebook Week"]

In honor of labor day, I am dubbing this "ebook week." Ok, I'll work on a better name. But Labor Day is meant to be in honor of the workers of the United States, right? Sure, the holiday was created to honor a different kind of worker than the authors, publishers, editors, etc that the issue of ebooks touches upon, but we are workers nonetheless. And as our little world of literature is rocked by the impending doom of the ebook and digital rights management (DRM), no one quite knows what end is up and what is down. So, in honor of the laborers of the publishing world, here goes my introduction to "ebook week (name to be finalized at a later date)."

Our certainty that certain books will sell in hardcover because, well, they just will (think: the 7th Harry Potter installment, or "James Patterson's" latest release, or the much-anticipated Dan Brown books) is no longer so certain. Our certainty that we can price a book within a given range without provoking public outrage is, well, not quite so certain either. Suddenly we face the same questions that the music industry struggled with (somewhat successfully, some might say) regarding the role of the computer, and, more importantly, the internet, in media.

As the doom of the ebook apocalypse draws ever nearer, publishers are faced with new questions of survival: how will we adapt? With Amazon drastically cutting ebook prices, often below cost, how will the publishing industry continue to actually turn a profit? Let's face it: the world of printed matter is struggling enough as it is; if Amazon slashes prices any lower, it will become truly unprofitable to continue to print them, rather than just risky.

1 comment

  1. This is one of the major questions of our time (our time being publishing folks' time). I don't think printed books will go away as quickly as some say, but it is the part of the industry which will eventually take hold as things continue to change.


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