Right up front – I believe that the way of the book publishers, literary agents, editors and brick and mortar book stores are heading the way of the dinosaur.
Here’s why: First, there is a high risk factor involved with paying an author to publish a book. The cost could be astronomical to have the manuscript read, then edited, then pawed over by publishers and their bean counters. Then, the edited manuscript has to go to print. Color illustrations can’t really be a part of the book because they cost far too much money to process.
So, publishers choose authors who are already published. Does this make sense? If an author of a best-seller is unknown, how can his or her best-seller ever see the light of day? If that “best-seller” does make it into the premier placement at the front of the brick and mortar book store, it may have a shelf life of only two or three weeks before it is tossed into the back of the store, and ultimately it ends up on the discount table at Joes’ Buck-a Book Emporium.
Then, there’s the issue of returns. Publishers have agreements with book sellers whereby they get their money back for “loser books” that were placed incorrectly in stores, or didn’t sell briskly enough.
It may take three years before a book title and subsequent content – beyond that of the 40-page Submission Package, is reaches the brick and mortar.
I need only to remind you that Borders – the number two book store chain, has contemplated bankruptcy. The aforementioned reasons are partly to blame for the demise of many bookstores to date – including the thousands of “mom ‘n pop’ stands that used to dot America or any other city of town across this planet.
Therefore, my conclusion is that the future of book sales will be in the online e-book format. How it might work is that authors (rookies or published) will create their book. They will initiate and control the title of the book. They will design their own covers. They will edit their books using any number of excellent spelling and grammar software programs now available. They will format the book (usually in safe-mode, locked.pdf format), and they will upload the book(s) into an online book store. The book store could be their own – complete with their very own system of collecting money from credit cards (or using existing PayPal technology). Their books can also be uploaded to Google Books, or Amazon, or to any number of online book stores that will be coming to the Internet – especially now that the number two chain has sent the signal that brick and mortars are on the way to extinction.
With the advent of the Internet, and “Kindle” or “nook”, or Apple’s I-pod, or any laptop computer, any book can now be read….without ever being printed.
The publishers of tomorrow will make out much better because:
Authors will prove themselves by the number of books they sell. If a book takes off into the stratosphere due to any number of things that can propel it, the new publisher of tomorrow can be there to generate the contract for that book. At that point, the publisher knows that this book can generate a ton of cash. This is what was missing before. There was always a risk. Now, with the advent of the online e-book, and tracking capabilities for sales, there is minimal risk.