Today’s post on A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing is captivating. The end of publishing? As far as we know it–yes. Joe hits it right-on at the end: the big 6 will fizzle out, but new publishers, like Amazon, might be able to ride the storms and survive the changes. Might.
I’m still not convinced that print will die, at least not in our lifetimes, just like newspapers haven’t yet disappeared, though they’re replaced by TV, internet, apps, and everything else. And there is that feeling of holding a book in your hand–the new book smell, the weight of a finely-crafted book, the feel of the pages, the way the light is absorbed and reflects off a printed page…
But that’s an argument that cannot last long: just looking at the evolution of the book makes the e-book inevitable and the arguments for the tactile experience obsolete. A few months ago, I got to read a copy of Heidi by Johanna Spyri. It was published in 1940. The binding was gorgeous and still strong, something you can’t say even for hardbacks today. The pages had yellowed a bit, but that made the experience richer. The printing was the best part–something akin to letterpress. You could see the indentation of each letter on the page. Ahh, beauty.
But that’s a beauty we don’t sell anymore. Nothing in Barnes & Noble today can compare to the quality of that book. The physical is no longer the essence of a book. Thus, the e-book.
And E-books already outsell print, even though not everyone on your street has an e-reader. It’s a matter of time before they do, just like they all have cell phones, and the e-book sales will be unbelievable.