Sunday, July 8, 2012

The future


Lately, I’ve been contemplating the future of writers in today’s high technology society. What will become of us and the books we write? Will the paperback go the way of the compact disk? Will publishing houses disappear the way most record labels have? Will the paperback book become a lost art? I don’t know, but one thing I do know is that there will always be writers and there will always be stories to tell. What is uncertain, is what medium will sell those stories. I have several theories on what may happen in the not-to-distant future. One, and something we can all agree upon, is that ebooks will replace traditional books to a large degree. People will carry libraries of their favorites in a nearly weightless ereader the size of a sheet of paper or less. And we all know how easy it is to pirate a book and place it for free all over the internet. So, how will a writer make money? I’m nearly certain that book advances by major publishers will be non-existent within five years. I have two theories. My first, is that authors will have websites that people can join and then read the author’s books. For instance, I would charge say, 99 cents a month to read all the books I have and continue to put out. No one would really own the books but they could read them everywhere and on all types of devices. This would work extremely well if you had a large following. Imagine thousands if not tens of thousands of people paying .99 cents a month. That’s a lot of scratch. My second theory on the future of authors and their books is perhaps an author will offer their ebooks for free on websites or even as stand alone novels. The twist, there would be ads on both the site and in the book. The product would be free to the reader, but companies would pay to advertise alongside or in between the pages. This could generate quite a bit of revenue if the book became big. Imagine charging a certain sum for advertising per month and then switching it up between advertisers. Again, that’s a lot of scratch. As I see it, the traditional book industry of buying a single paperback from a single author through a bookstore or website will soon become ancient history. But for the author, this opens up a whole new way of getting the world to notice you. We’ll see what the future holds.