Current Trends with Book Publishing, Distribution, and Licensing

The idea of writing a book has come to surface once again, but this time I’ve been taking it on a more serious level. Rather than talking about the book I plan to write, however, I think it is important to understand the current trends with book publishing, distribution, and licensing. Lately, I’ve been doing extensive research about these topics and how the market is becoming affected by technology.

One of the biggest concerns in the realm of book publishing is that conglomerates, such as Amazon, Google, and Apple, are pretty much destroying big house publishers. Why is this? Because of the biggest craze of self-publishing. In fact, Amazon is the one that is completely capitalizing off this trend and even making Google shake in their boots.

So what are publishing companies doing to counter this? If you guessed mergers and acquisitions, then you’re on the right track. Anybody and everybody can now be an author and self-publish their material through the powerful distribution model that companies like Amazon possess. But don’t just take my word for it. George Lossius, CEO of Publishing Technology, explains why Amazon is the top dog:

“Amazon’s strength and size is such that it is irrevocably altering the very makeup and fabric of the industry. It’s also driving the way consumers engage with content. While content presentation and delivery is wholly focused on end-user demand, and publishers and retailers will continue to wrangle in their attempts to surpass each other in satisfying the consumer, Amazon still has the monopoly on eBook consumption and self-publishing. The tendency for the consumer to prioritize the ease and familiarity that Amazon represents will continue far into 2013, and publishers will have to work really hard to provide an offering strong enough to alter consumer behavior in this regard. Moreover, if self-publishing through Amazon becomes a commercially viable route for authors and more migrate their books to the site, consumers will come to view Amazon as a resource for exclusive content to rival the output of traditional publishers.”

So what exactly does all this mean? Well, the textbook publishing market is diminishing as more and more books and printed material become electronic. More people are able to self-publish and use Print-On-Demand technology. And with very little marketing and promotion, an author can end up making more money, then having a publishing deal with one of the bigger publishing companies.

But there is more concern here. Are hard copy books going to become obsolete? Personally, I hope not. I love having hard copy books. Sure e-books can be convenient at times, but I still love the opportunity of not staring at a computer screen for hours reading. Plus, I like having a personal library on my shelves. I’m sure many others would agree—even for younger generations.

Speaking of libraries, we come to another trending concern with licensing. Libraries were places with hundreds and thousands of hard copy books. And they still are, but having a fast paced world and emerging technology, libraries are now trying to shift from print to digital. The problem with this is that originally the libraries would have to buy the hard copy books once and be done with it. Hence, allowing them to rent out books without having to repay to keep it in its collection. With e-books, the libraries would have to re-pay for the license after a certain number of times. This sort of model would be expensive and is one reason why publishers are yet to license e-books to libraries. Publishers and libraries are going to have to continue working together to figure out a model that works as we move into the future. What do you think the solution is?

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