While self-published books are on the rise, the modern publisher still has a crucial role to play in the industry. Publishers need to make sure that their mode of doing business has been updated to reflect the digital age. Mark Gottlieb, an experienced literary agent from Trident Media Group in New York City, describes the ways in which publishers need to change their operations to adapt in today’s market.
Many e-book sites such as Amazon’s Kindle Store have very low standards as to what material they will publish. They are rife with counterfeit and useless books that are riddled with errors and typos. When people are frustrated as they try to find a quality book on an online store, they will turn to a traditional publisher to guide them to good reading material.
Publishers keep track of the most successful e-books and may offer publication contracts to the highest-quality and most popular authors. This enhances the publishing house and gives the author an important opportunity to reach more of the reading public.
E-Books and Interactive Publishing
The classic e-book has a strong following. Buyers enjoy the convenience of buying a book on their phone, laptop, or tablet without having to make a trip to the bookstore. It is also possible to carry dozens or even hundreds of books on a modern device, making it possible for people to bring a whole library of reading material with them.
Another trend in e-book publishing is the rise of the interactive book. These books may have glossaries, character lists, interactive maps, and other useful features for book readers. For example, the Apple Books store carries interactive versions of the popular Game of Thrones series. These books take advantage of the advanced capabilities of today’s modern smartphones and tablets.
The number of brick-and-mortar bookstores has steeply declined over the past 15 years. Starting with the closure of the book giant Borders, small and large local bookstores are feeling the pinch of the digital age. Barnes and Noble has been able to survive, though the company has undergone financial troubles in the recent past. Barnes and Noble has become an invaluable partner to traditional book publishers and can still prove useful as a distribution method for established and burgeoning authors.
There are also numerous other bookstore chains or smaller mom-and-pop style stores which offer a chance for local authors to publish their work. Everything from a small “Local Author Showcase” to a more robust distribution platform are available for authors willing to put in the time and effort to track down their local booksellers. There are even specialty publishers who may be able to provide valuable resources to authors within their specialized niche.
The News Industry
Unfortunately, news publishers have been hit hard by the digital age. The sharp decline in subscriber numbers, coupled with a lack of advertising revenue, has forced many local newspapers to close their doors. This means that more people are forced to turn to low-quality or fraudulent news services. Publishers have a strong opportunity to make online news work for them.
In the past, it was thought that the individual blogger might take over the news industry. It is more likely, as the years go by, to postulate that the news industry is headed in the direction of social media. Many people consume their daily news through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes bypassing the local publisher’s website entirely.
Putting Books in People’s Hands
Above all, the purpose of the publisher is to put books in customers’ hands. Whether they are buying e-books or traditional bound volumes, the publisher needs to secure the best possible books for their customers to read. The rise of self-publishing has brought a glut of low-quality material to the market, meaning that the success of some e-books has been diluted. Publishers need to be aware of the shifting demands of the market, making sure that they have their finger on the pulse of the reading public.
Literary agents like Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group can help new and experienced authors enter the publishing industry, making sure that their books are being sold to a receptive audience. An experienced literary agent can often be the difference between a successful career as an author or being lost in a sea of words.