Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ebook Publishing: Are Traditional Publishers Sitting on a Pot of Gold?

The prospects for an explosion in the ebook market are growing every day. Once traditional publishers realize the ebook-only market is a huge opportunity, they will embrace it and they will realize that they had a pot of gold right in front of them all the time.

Current Publishing – Are things panning out with ebooks?

Traditional book publishing is built on speculation and profit predictions. They control the system and the popular authors. They have been sitting at the end of the rainbow for a very long time.

Then along comes this ebook thing with a slick delivery system and their way of life is being threatened. The old guard is holding everything back, trying to protect their investment. They know one way and that way has been successful. Even though no one is admitting it, they have to see the additional income reaching their bottom line.

They realize ebooks do solve some of the traditional book problems. Ebooks have an unlimited shelf life. They are convenient to purchase and to read. There is no physical warehousing or distribution unless you want to count an unmanned server disbursing the ebook and collecting the money. There are no page number or book size limits, etc.

And there is the fading bookstore distribution channel problem which is a major part of their system. They must resolve this to be able to reach out to their customers.

They do have a stable of authors but the authors still have to pass the test of being published in hardcover first. And they are leaving the marketing up to the author unless they are a superstar to cut back on costs.

So how do they Strike gold?

Why do traditional publishers have a golden opportunity? They have most of the good players – you know the well know authors, the cover designers, editors, illustrators, layout staff, story/genre experts, marketing, etc. and there is a huge potential in their backlists inventories.

What do they need to do to dig into this opportunity?

1.      Rejections become products. They have a built-in process of prospecting and evaluating already in place. For example, if they just take the top ten percent of their rejections and move them directly to ebooks, like the movies do with their direct to video releases, the potential is huge.

2.      A big question for them is “Where will the next wave of super authors come from?” They     need to setup a farm system of potential super authors? For a relatively low cost, they can tryout authors and their titles through ebook offerings and then move them up-stream if they are successful.

3.      Establish a new author category in a genre specific area. If the ebook/author becomes successful, move them to paper. Work the traditional system in reverse.

4.      Work with bookstores to become more than just a shelf of books. If the traditionals don’t try to protect this channel, everyone will go on-line to purchase their books. That in turn directs the reader right into the lap of their competition.

5.      Once they get over just producing a digital copy of the original and start looking at rendered and enhanced ebooks, the more profit potential they’ll realize. The reader’s prospective is changing rapidly with color, the tablet market and the software advances like pub3.

6.      They must look at the royalty structure to be competitive with the on-line publishers/retailers.

Looking down stream

So the question is “Do traditional publishers keep damming the river or do they look down stream for the gold?”

The current stream of events should put most of the gold in their pile. They have the experts, the superstars and the inventory of unpublished material. There is indeed a high profit potential for the ebook-only market but they will have to change their ways and adapt.

There are some lessons for the self-publisher in this rainbow. If you create good content and are successful marketing, you have the keys to being recognized by traditional publishers. These publishers must make a move to protect their interests and the ebook author must be ready.

Do you think that traditional publishers will change their system and adopt real ebooks? Will they ever give the self-publishers/ebook authors a chance to break into the system?

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  1. I can see the market for enhanced ebooks picking up and leaving a certain percentage of selfpub authors behind.

    If you don't learn the skills you need to keep up, prepare to join them!

    That said, large traditional publishers have already started setting their eyes on the ebook marketplace as a place to release works they control the copyright on.

    This will be a boon to published authors that have slumping or basically nonexistent royalty payments, but for indie selfpubbers, it will probably only make the market more competitive and harder to break into.

    The longer they wait, the better for me!

  2. Ebook Expert is an Australian owned and operated website that specialists in ebook readers such as the Amazon Kindle.We are hoping to adapt to the ebook market in Australia and grow with it.

    Kindle Australia