Published On: Tue, Mar 11th, 2014

Will eBooks Spell The End Of Traditional Publishing In 2014?

You’ve probably all heard the news that eBook sales topped those of paperbacks last year, and whilst this is amazing news for the digital industries and indie authors, some people are a little concerned about the effect it would have on the traditional publishing houses.

eBook salesTo be quite honest though, they’ve been taking advantage of writers and their audiences for long enough, so it’s about time there was a change that puts them firmly in their place. Using a mainstream publisher, an author can expect to receive around £1 for every £10 book sold. This is a shockingly low amount for the time and effort they put into the work.

I know what you’re thinking; if that same author sold 1 million books, he/she would be rich, right? Well, sadly, very few titles ever sell this amount, and so you’re kidding yourself if you think the average writer could ever achieve that level of sales.

In some instances, publishers trap talent by giving them advances they know will never be recouped, as this keeps the writer under their control even though they’re earning a pittance. This practice, and many more are long outdated, so I, for one, am happy to see them changing thanks to something as simple as an ebook download.

Still, have digital downloads got enough momentum to shut down the old publishing industry entirely? That remains to be seen. All indications do show that sales a steadily increasing though, so it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.

Before we continue any further with this, I feel it’s important to look at the deal indie authors get when deciding to self publish and release their own ebooks. I’m sure you’ll agree; it’s much more favourable than the alternative.

Firstly, authors can spend years or even decades trying to get a publishing contract and taking the same old manuscript round to publishing houses all over the world. However, this is no longer the case if they’re willing to go it alone.

Most major digital booksellers provide a means for anyone with enough text to release it as a professional quality eBook for little or no expense, which is obviously good for both the author, and the reader. Having no or low upfront costs means the title can be sold cheaper, which also encourages more people to buy it. Do you get the picture?

The average ebook seeks for somewhere between £2.99 and £10 depending on how respected the author is, and the length of the text. Now, I don’t want to give away any industry secrets, but indie authors are often paid upwards of 70% of this money, meaning they’re actually able to earn a good wage for once.

With all this in mind, I’d like to return to the question posed in the title of this short article; will eBooks spell the end of traditional publishing in 2014?

If you want my honest answer as a writer who publishes his own work, I really hope so. It’s about time these rich old publishers were pushed out of the marketplace altogether, and I can’t think of a better way of doing it.

Thanks for reading!