Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Writing Business - Where is it Going?

This has been an interesting week in book publishing news.

First, I was approached by a local bookstore chain about selling my self-published book in the store. I told them that my book, The Checklist, is a bit unusual and sells mostly by word of mouth. Furthermore, by time I give the bookstore 50% and pay shipping (60% for Amazon), and then pay my printing costs, I make very little on the book. With this book, I can't count on more sales unless someone in the store knows how to use the book and can explain it to the customers. Then if the store discounts the book, I am competing with myself. So, no thanks. 

The store then told me it is going into POD production as of December. POD, if you don't know, means Print on Demand. The customer approaches a kiosk, orders the book and then waits while the book is printed and bound. There would be information about the book so that readers could learn more before they purchases. I told them to call me in December! This might work for me, if they don't discount my book.

I had no idea we were that close to using the POD model in America's bookstore. The idea is that no only bookstores, but coffee shops, grocery stores and other retailers would have this equipment. No more books on the shelf and remainders. 

What do you think of that? 

The second thing I read this morning is about a service in China called, Freemium Fiction Publishing. In this model, authors in China are writing fiction in installments and offering it free. As it gets popular, the readers have to pay for the final installments. Amazingly, this is working in China. Earnings from this model have been from $0 to $152,500 (American dollars), depending on the author's fan base. 

Do you think this would work in the West? How will that affect the traditionally published author? 

Finally, I just heard that Thomas Nelson is being bought out by Harper Collins. Harper Collins bought Zondervan in 1988. How will this affect the Christian publishing market? 

Lots of changes in the book publishing world. Where will we go from here?

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