During the annual conference of Novelists, Inc., Smashwords founder and CEO, Mark Coker, was interviewed by Chris Kenneally of Copyright Clearance Center. THIS interview was done between Mark’s appearance on a panel and his keynote address at the conference.
Mark discussed many aspects, and while none of his observations should come as a surprise, they should definitely be an eye-opener for all writers, authors, and publishers. He noted the change ebooks have brought to authors:
“They can publish to a worldwide audience immediately, they can publish faster, they can publish today, not a year and a half from today. And then they can publish their books – they can price their books at a much lower cost than publishers. To create some perspective here, a self-published author can earn more selling a 99-cent e-book than they can an $8 mass-market paperback.”
He said he has nothing but respect for the big publishers and the publishing industry, but there is tension:
“…big publishing, as an industry, has become so consolidated, so calcified, so hampered and hamstrung by legacy business practices, print business practices, and these high expense structures, that they’re having great difficulty making this transition to this new world.
“In this new world of publishing, over the next few years, cost and cost containment will be the code words of the day. And they need to get their costs down. Customers demand lower-priced books. Customers don’t want to pay $12, $13, $14 for an e-book.”
Mark also talked about his concerns over a growing power - Amazon - and authors who depend wholly on Amazon:
“I think there’s a concern that among the authors who recognize this, that they could become tenant farmers to Amazon. And so completely dependent upon them that they lose choice and lose freedom. I think it’s in everyone’s best interests – authors, publishers, readers – that we have a vibrant, competitive ecosystem for publishing.”
The whole transcript is available HERE as a downloadable pdf file. I encourage everyone to go read it.
Nine months ago, it was thought that 80% of the print business would be dead in ten years. Now they are saying it will happen in three to five. Are you ready? Have you put yourself in a position to be ready?