The growth model of publishing to have emerged this second decade of the millennium since 2009 is hybrid and indie publishing, a combination of self/independent-publishing, electronic online publishing, and indigenous publishing through the main stream publishers that empowers writers, authors, publishers and gives a wider choice to the book readers.
Bookstores -v- OnLine
Bookstores are increasingly waking up to the need to co-exist with changing markets and the embryo of e/iBooks which is exponentially increasing in sales since 2009-10. The traditional way of readers having to enter a bookstore to find what they want and have to stand there to peruse potential selection does not make for a relaxing environment for a new generation of book buyers. That said there are rightly still may, many people who prefer to visit the still invaluable booksellers and handle the textile that is the physical book and decides on a purchase.
Combining bookstores with a warm welcoming and relaxing environment where readers can feel comfortable looking at books, where seating is available to go through a series of books and then perhaps stay for a while to contemplate which book(s) readers will choose to buy makes the whole book buying experience more conducive to encouraging increased sales.
Comments on social media alone reinforces the latter with comments around the technology conveniences of e/iBooks and how readers feel more relaxed and comfortable whilst browsing e/iBooks selection online which is a small but important part of a customers journey in buying the e/iBooks and likely means that over a time they will buy more. This principal needs to be better understood and applied in bookstores to balance sales of printed book editions along side e/iBook formats. Books are no more threatened by e/iBooks than stairs by elevators!
Hybrid + Indie-Publishing + self-publishing direct online are each dynamic
While there are clear steps, benefits, and drawbacks to the distinctly separate models of self/indie-publishing and indigenous publishing, hybrid publishing allows authors and publishers to take what they want from each model in order to create a tailored, innovative approach to publishing, which offers mutual benefits to all readers and authors alike.
A glimpse of the future
Irrespective of whether ‘e/I’ or print book it should not pose a threat. Both formats are here to stay, but it can be envisaged as we approach the 22nd Century where print books in the home will become less, mostly as an aesthetic piece of décor to create a conversational piece at dinner parties, (reduce space and dust cleaning), and confined to the tablet. Libraries will follow to reduce costs and able to offer a greater range of books and publications via a major database. That said history has a habit of behaviours going full circle and returning back from the contemporary of today to the nostalgic historical past and doubtless there will be future generations of people who will enjoy, (neigh, even prefer), to read a print edition of a book rather than on an electronic tablet.
I would in no way wish to denounce the printed book! As I said above there is nothing nicer than handling the tactile – that is the book. I am of a generation that has grown with printed books from school to college to uni, to work & leisure but I am a realist that, (like the vast majority of us), we are witnessing a new era where technology, (like of loath), is introducing a new format that is the e/iBook that is excelling in the reading market that is widely welcomed by the sales stats and offers options and choices for the reader.
On a number of levels I find this exciting in that it has opened up a new world to people who would not otherwise read books, neigh even access books in third worlds and where literacy is an important part of reading to learn, and by this learning to write! Interactive books although play an important part is getting people to learn to read and write so this has to be a good thing for many.
e/iBooks along side print books should not pose a threat
We have witnessed where huge companies such as HMV who maintain a stance of tradition in records and CD’s and initially would not embrace the technology that was mp3’s and when for bust because of it. The publishing industry should have already learnt its lesson when it maintained a stance of hard production print when the embryo of technology broad in Desk Top Publishing and because of that we sadly saw the major part of the print industry diminished.
ePub, ida, or whatever the format will eventually be, (again almost like the ’70s argument of Betamax versus VHS), this increases the range and depth of books being published and opens up the exciting prospects of so much for future generations.