Friday, September 24, 2010

Predictions and Prophecies: Vive le Revolucion!!!

Lately I feel like I'm at war with the world's bookstores. Nothing could be further from the truth. While it's true I've been social networking and virtual "cyber" pushing the Kindle and EBook sales of my new bestsellers, The Remains and Moonlight Falls (and the forthcoming The Innocent), like a street-corner prostitute on crack, I haven't completely ignored the value and communal benefits of the traditional bookstore. After all, all my books are still published in paper and like any other author, there's no greater feeling than holding your own book in your hand.

However, bookstores if they are to last must face some serious facts, the major one being, if they don't adapt to the new indie publishing revolution, especially EBook/Kindle publishing, they will go out of business, or at the very least relegate their personalized service to the big box Target's of the world. That includes the littlest corner shop to the big B&N stores.

So what's going to happen if bookstores are to survive?
-They will reduce inventory and order on an add needed basis which will fuel the rise of POD and short print runs.
-The old, antiquated, and author damaging return policy will either be abandoned or seriously reduced. In other words, shop owners will no longer be able to depend on this luxury for balancing their bottom lines.
-POD kiosks, like the kind seen in Japan, will become more and more the trend. How's this work? A reader walks into a book store, browses from a list of titles and covers, and orders a copy. It is automatically printed and bound inside the store.
-EBook sections will arise. It will work just like the POD kiosk only you will receive downloads on your EReader.
-Bookstores will become much more communal; meeting places for writers, authors, etc. This is already happening of course, and has been for years. What it means however, is that Book Store Owners will now have to get into the food and beverage business.
-Book Stores will become mini publishing houses. They will begin to offer electronic and POD publication of a few select authors in their communities. They will publish a few traditionally, perhaps even entertaining agented deals. But most will offer publishing services in which wanna-be authors will "pay to play." This is already happening in Albany in a big way!
-The retail space Owners must rent will be reduced to perhaps half of what was once needed in order to house thousands of titles.
-As traditionally published books fade into the sun, much like 8-track tapes, cassettes, vinyl disks, and CDs of old, Book Stores will reply more and more on used and "Rare" book sales.

Paper books will survive alongside EBooks. Book Stores will survive too. But only the ones that embrace the radical changes that have not only occurred in the industry over the past year, but that will come to a head over the next three to five years.

Welcome to the new world publishing order where authors have more control over their own work than ever before!!! Viva le Revolucion!

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