They're going to stop rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and start colluding against icebergs.
There has been a lot of moaning by publishers and big bookstore chains about how e-books and Amazon are threatening to put them out of business. E-books are outselling hardcopy books, Amazon is undercutting prices, e-books sell for less, so the profit to the publisher--oh, yeah, and some other guy...Oh! Right, the author-- is lower.
Doom and despondency all around.
What I'm not hearing at all is whether total book sales, e-books
included, are up or down. Paperbacks are down, yes. And despite the
handwringing, that doesn't mean a damn thing. CD sales are down as well,
but people still buy new music. Eight track sales may never recover.
If the publishing industry as a whole is selling more books, whether
through Amazon, Apple, brick and mortar or whatever, that is a net boon
to writers. The potential audience is growing. People who live out in
the sticks, people in countries where their native tongue isn't the
standard, all can now get any book any time, via online e-book sales.
This is a Good Thing.
And Amazon isn't piracy. People pay for the e-books. So the author
gets something, and with the longer reach, the author should get a piece
of greater overall potential sales.
E-books should not cost the same as print. Yes, the author worked
just as hard on it. So did the editor. But there are savings in
production, shipping, storage and returns. This is truth. And an e-book
is less valuable to the consumer, since it's harder to lend, you can't
sell it at a yard sale or donate it to the local library when you finish
it. If an e-book is $10 I will stick to print. And I will buy half as
many books as if I can get a $4.99 e-book.
Maybe the publishing industry should try to sell more books,
encourage more reading among the next generation (say what you like but
the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series have done all writers a great
service by introducing recreational reading to more young people) than
trying to ensure they get the same cut they always have.
They need to stop rhapsodizing the longbow and crying when the enemy bring a machine gun to the field.
Amazon sells a boatload of books. Let's encourage the selling of a boatload of books.