Essay: Angela Kim

Changes in the Publishing Industry and Its Effects

Reading books has always been a favorite pastime around the world, even with the expanding realm of the World Wide Web. Recently, the emergence of electronic books (eBooks) has changed the way people purchase and read books. In addition to this change, eBooks have also affected the publishing industry, although many argue whether or not the change is positive.

Self-publishing has become quite popular among authors mainly due to the freedom and accessibility. Self-published authors have more liberty to go through the publishing process their own way and with less difficulty. Books are the mirrors and the real friend of people. you will able to get book review of the book from book report writing service. Getting published with a traditional book publishing company is actually very difficult; one must obtain an agent and deal with unsolicited and solicited manuscripts. There is a good chance that the book may not get published if it is not what the company is looking for or if it does not stand out against other competitors. With self-publication, one is guaranteed to publish a book, though with a price. They have to pay for much of the costs, whether they are for marketing, eBooks, or printed books. Self-publishing is done more easily through eBooks. There are many sites and companies that facilitate self-publication such as Amazon. “It is undeniably a great thing: freedom of expression, a limitless potential audience, a better financial deal if you publish directly yourself,” says Harriet Evans, a published author. Authors do have great opportunities through self-publication, especially in the eBook format. This is partially due to the Internet, which has been a huge source for marketing almost every object or concept for a while now.

As more authors opt for self-publication, it may seem like the publishing industry is failing. Self-publication does not affect the traditional publishing companies as much as many may think. The biggest issue is the quality of reading for customers. Readers deserve the best quality of work – that is what they expect when they choose to open a book. “There’s a big difference between a book published online by the author and one prepared for publication by a publisher, and it goes to the very heart of what books and literature mean to us” (Evans). This statement holds true when one thinks about the sentimentality that comes with reading books. We’ve all grown up reading books; they’ve been the root of not only our academic development, but our social and emotional development as well. Without a solid, professional editor and publisher working closely with the author to produce the best possible piece of writing possible, the book will most likely not reach readers’ hearts and make an imprint in their minds.

The self-published book could be full of typos and grammar mistakes, not to mention inconsistencies in plot and character. There are so many elements in a book that require attention to detail and genuine care. “It is vital that an author has someone willing to be tough with them. It’s in their best interests, and if that person is employed by the author themselves on a freelance basis, [the author] question[s] how tough they’ll be willing to be” (Evans). In traditional publishing companies, there are more quality services provided such as PR, marketing, distribution, copyediting/proofreading, copyright protection, licensing, printing/manufacturing, etc. These are essential in not only producing a good book, but also getting it out there into the world for many to read. From the standpoint of a bibliophile, it is hard to see so many self-published books without proper preparation and guidance from experienced publishers and editors. This belief is primarily fueled by sentimentality, and it is, of course, just one opinion out of millions.

The traditional publishing industry has not changed much over time; its function remains the same and will continue to remain the same. It is just adapting to the new additions (eBooks) that have developed. In actuality, “people who buy e-readers read even more books (as eBooks) than they did before because it’s so easy and convenient” (MK). Thus, people are still reading just as much as they were before. In fact, the eBook can be a factor in getting books back on the market. For example, Little, Brown sold Robert Dallek's book about John F. Kennedy for $9.99 and marked it down to $2.99 for 24 hours. This got people talking and it increased its audience, and got back in the Best-Seller list (it was originally published in 2003).

One can argue that as long as people are reading, who cares if they choose to read through electronics or printed books? People do care, though. Jane Abraham, the owner and editor of Pocahontas Press, expresses her opinion on eBooks clearly: “I do not care for eBooks. I do not like reading on a screen, not being able to turn the pages, and not having a sense of how far I have read in a book.” Many other readers share this opinion. Pocahontas Press does not reject eBooks despite her personal opinion. They print the book as an e-book along with the hard copy so that it creases the availability of the books, which is important in marketing and distribution.

Others view eBooks differently. When asked for her opinion on the eBook, Celia Lee, assistant editor of children’s books at Scholastic says, “it’s simply another reading format, much like a hardcover or a paperback book. Books are meant to be read, and in this regard eBooks are no different than actual books.” As she specializes in children’s books, she has a different viewpoint regarding eBooks for children. “I don’t think the eBook has captured the tactile, hands-on quality of a picture book yet – can it ever? And many eReading devices have been unable to capture the depth and quality of a picture book’s illustrations. Due to technological constraints, it’s a poor substitute for an actual story time experience.” This holds true in regards to children’s books, as flipping pages with just a button and viewing graphics through a screen does not create the same effect of a physical book. Apart from children’s books, Lee believes that the eBook has not affected the publishing industry very much. Current market reports have shown that eBook purchases have plateaued in the past two years or so. And it’s still pretty clear that people are still buying regular books. Often eBook readers will purchase the actual book if they like the eBook (Lee).

The common misconception is that eBooks will take over print sales, but that is not true. Instead of the eBook, “it’s really the lack of brick-and-mortar bookstores that is proving to be the greatest threat to the publishing industry,” as seen with Borders (Lee). While there have been investments in the eBook industry that have produced negative effects, overall, major book publishing companies have been on board with the implementation of the eBook. They do not curse the eBook as the bane of their existences, they actually benefit from it, but not as much as they benefit from printed book sales, which is the driving force of their businesses.

While many continue to argue that holding and reading from a smooth, cold electronic device in bed is not the same as doing so from a battered old paperback with that familiar smell throughout the pages, one cannot deny that the eBook is a popular device used every day. It is efficient due to its size and the accessibility of a wide range of books. Self-published books are also on the rise through eBooks as well (ie. Fifty Shades of Grey). Regardless, the traditional book publishing industry will not deteriorate and disappear and technology will not take over the industry. No amount of artificial intelligence will be able to beat the intricacy and creativity of the human brain. This is why editors and publishers will continue to exist and continue to be needed in book publication. They are vital to an author’s success. While some may have bitter feelings towards eBooks and the rapid dependency on technology, it is clear that these changes will not damage the industry, but contribute to it in a positive manner.

“I optimistically believe that change is a good thing. We’re not in the book business, per se – we’re in the story business. The formats and channels may change, but as long as we keep in mind that it’s the content that people are looking for, then there’s nothing to cry home about.” Lee has put it perfectly into words – while many may think that the eBook has had a negative effect on the traditional publishing industry, it is almost the opposite. Regardless of the amount of sales that eBooks get, there will always be those who will read physical books.

This infographic depicts the different elements and statistics regarding eBooks in relation to the publishing industry.


Works Cited

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Evans, Harriet. The Guardian. "Every Good eBook Needs a Good Editor."

MK. Popcorn Reads. "The Effect of E-Books and E-Readers on Publishers."

Chace, Zoe. NPR. "E-Books Destroying Traditional Publishing? The Story's Not That Simple."

Bailey Belmont, "Using Transition Words To Build Relationships?"

Infographic from: