Earlier this week I weighed in on the changes facing the publishing industry. My feeling on the matter is that change is inevitable and although publishing will look different after e-voluion, most major players (aka the big 5) will still be around.
I believe this because even though the internet changed several aspects of the entertainment industry already, most major players are still in the marketplace - albeit, they look a little different.
The cautionary tale, is video. Internet killed the video store. Well, redbox helped. Together, they killed ‘em dead. Is there something to be learned there?
I used to think streaming video was weird. Now, I only have Netflix and Hulu. I don’t have cable. I don’t have local channels. I consume all of my television via the internet, instantly. If I want to rent a movie I drive to the corner and rent from a redbox (redbox is clumsy and burdensome compared to the immediacy of streaming. The only reason to go to redbox versus streaming is limited content releases. If I really want to watch a movie and only redbox has it – for the time being- I’ll drive to the corner to get it. I don’t even buy movies from Walmart anymore because once their available for streaming I can pretty much watch them whenever I want. I find I only buy used DVD’s/BlueRay’s when I want to watch an oldie-but-goodie that I can’t find on Netflix or Redbox).
It’s funny for me to think about getting cable…why would anyone buy cable when you can stream a heck of a lot of content for less? I wont go back.
I also used to buy exclusively paper books. Never an ebook for me. Four years ago I got a kindle for Christmas. I thought, “he he, I’ll use this because it was a gift but I’m still a paper book girl.” And then, one night, I finished a book at one in the morning. I wanted to know what happened next. I didn’t want to wait until B&N opened at a reasonable hour. I didn’t want to drive to a book store. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I wanted to know what happened next and I wanted to know it right that minute. I immediately downloaded the next book in the series and started reading.
Timeliness. Immediacy. As much instant gratification as a book can offer – I got all of those things from my kindle. I’m hooked.
I spent a lot of money on books last year (much to my husbands chagrin) – but I only bought two paper books (one was a gift for my in-laws, who still don’t have ereaders). That’s it. Two paper books. Sure, big 5 publisher site ebooks are only 30% of their revenue but are ebooks only 30% of the entire market? Could the big 5’s limited revenue from ebooks speak more to their unwillingness to price ebooks at market rates than to the success of the ebook as a platform?
But here’s the bigger issue, publishers, *waves you to lean in and listen*
Now that I’m digital, I wont go back.
Just like streaming eliminated my need to own cable, the access to digital books eliminates my need to own paper books. There, I said it. I don't need paper books anymore. Just like I don’t need to cook over a fire now that I have an oven. Or how I don’t ride a bike to work now that I own a car. Or the way I don’t write my books by hand with a pen and paper now that I have a computer.
The technology of books has evolved. And like all evolution, there's no turning back. Now that I have an ereader I don't need paper books.
Since past consumer behavior is the greatest indicator of future behavior, I have to imagine once the book reading public goes ereader, they’ll never, or rarely go back to paper books.
The distribution model for consuming books is changing. What are your thoughts about ereaders?
Want more on the battle between ebooks and paper books?
Check out this post by The Passive Voice and this post by PV as well.
Check out this interesting dialogue between JA Konrath and CEO of Kennsington Publishing