Looks like popular media has finally caught up with what I’ve been knowing and talking about for several years. (Click HERE for the NY Times story about book publishing — ebook and print books.) You’ll see the music business tie-in at the end.
Folks, print has never been dead.Yes, I was laughed at and called naive and, in more than one case, “stupid” as well as told “you better get on the bandwagon — or else!”
But why the popular notion that print was dead? Simple: Flackery.
You see, ebooks had a bunch of companies behind them with big marketing dollars whose sole purpose was to sell physical devices (Kindle, Nook, etc.) as delivery systems. When they saw that sales of ebooks weren’t going anywhere (as in, not double- and triple-digit growth to satisfy stockholders), why they added bells and whistles and began selling reading services that could only be gotten from where? Their devices, of course.
Ebooks are still selling. However, authors are starting to offer these through their own websites (for the pricing they set) as one-time downloads with usage licenses contained in the book. (Such as: One download, you cannot transmit to anyone else, one personal print out for your own records, you cannot sell the printout.)
But what about the bookstore chains that went out of business? Didn’t ebooks kill them? No. They had a bad business model in the first place, so that was a market correction. And these large chains pushed many indies out of business. (The independent bookstores are now showing a resurgence. Yay, Mom and Pop!)
Ebook publishing rates are what showed massive growth. The marketing spinners (flacks) made it seem like the publishing percentages were sales percentages when they never were.
Now that the self-publishing fever lowered, publishing rates have massively declined for ebooks and print books. But don’t be alarmed about those declines. You see, the consumer is benefiting because now they don’t have to sift through a gabillion tons of badly written, badly edited, and badly designed books before they find one they like. So, yay for them.
And yay for booksellers, too. Now, instead of having to slog their way through hundreds of thousands of yucky books before they get to something they can sell, they can spend their time choosing between the better written, edited, and designed books for their shelves.
Here is the music business tie-in: Digital distribution is the music business’s version of Kindle. Put your music here to reach massive audiences and rake in the dough!
Only, that isn’t what is happening. Digital distributors charge those who give them the product for placement, and they charge everybody else for using it, but the owners of that product are not seeing any profit.
I predict we shall soon see a massive reduction in the amount of people going into the music business because the easy-to-distribute fever will subside. More and more, many songwriters and artists will opt out of the business because it is now becoming abundantly clear what is needed:
+ High-quality product
+ Proof of ownership
Solid business foundation.
If you want to learn how not to kill your music career, do the following:
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