Of late, you might have read news about a lot of book stores closing down through out the world and in India as well. Thanks to cut throat competition from e-commerce bell weather Amazon and local poster boy Flipkart, the price of books have spiralled down that made book stores business non-viable.
But it does not stop here. It is not that Amazon is giving competition to just book stores by offering books delivered home at cheap prices, but publishers as well. Majors publications are really facing yet another challenge from Amazon in the form of e-book. Gone are the days when publisher’s used to price their products. Amazon has shaken the whole publishing industry with pricing even best sellers at cheaper prices that the sale of paper backs has slowed down substantially over the last few years.
Amazon’s Kindle, the e-book reader is a break through innovation that brought all the book stores that sold books literally on to their knees. Kindle offered readers with various features and flexibility of carrying a mini library all the time helping a lot of people to choose e-books.Amazon is growing at a neck-break speed offering a lot of options like lending your e-books and enabling people to read book from any platform be it Kindle or Apple or Google based tablets or mobiles.
Rise of Self Publishing
It’s not just Amazon that is becoming a threat to traditional book publishers. The rise of self publishing where in authors can publish their own books without the help of major publishers is yet another challenge the traditional publishing industry has to overcome. The best-selling novel 50 shades of Grey by EL James is one example where self publishing has created new avenues for aspiring writers to avoid the hassles of dealing with publisher’s rejection.
It seems Amazon did not want to stop with offering paper back at cheap prices or selling e-books , it has also introduced a new platform called Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP) Platform where in young aspiring authors can start their whole writing career right from writing to editing to designing covers every thing on the platform.And it does not end with just a platform , Amazon is also planning to introduce Kindle Serials that allow novels or books be published as ‘serial’ meaning one can publish several chapters over a period of time. Interesting isn’t it for authors who want to take up writing during their leisure time. With the advent of such technology platform for publishing and wide-spread adoption by people , it is becoming hard for publishers to keep up with the new trends in publishing.
Publishers getting into Self Publishing
In this new digital age, publishers are finding it difficult to understand readers’ interest and also what works with the target audience. It’s also difficult for publishers to go through all the drafts from aspiring authors and hence the lead time to bring new books to market is quite high.
These are the possible reasons why a big publisher like Penguin has now bought a self publishing company Authors Solution to help better understand the demographics, people’s taste and preferences, identify upcoming promising authors and choose books based on these factors there by having less lead time to bring the products that readers are interested into the market.
Scientific Publishing go Open Access(OA)
Similar revolution is happening in scientific publishing industry as well. For a long time, scientific publishers have been using public tax payers’ money indirectly. To explain better , the research articles written by authors are a result of research through grants funded by tax payers’ money, yet the journal publishers charge the university library astronomical amount for journal subscriptions. Through the last decade , scientists and literary scholars have started opposing this idea of using tax payers’ fund for research but still not make the content free and accessible to every one.
This has led to the birth of Open Access – a collaboration where group of renowned scientists and academicians come together to publish their content through Open Access so that it is available to every one for either free or at very low cost. This can really help research students cut down on money spent towards references.
Can Digital Publishing and e-book bring down the cost of school education?
With the growth of tablet and e-book reader market paving for a new revolution throughout the world and the Indian Govt. aspiration of providing tablets like Aakash 2 to school and college students, yet another technology disruption is starting to take place. In India, the state and central government trying to bring all the schools under a single syllabus system, with engineering and medical courses already following a uniform syllabus across all colleges, the burden and costs of designing and publishing the study material as e-books will be reduced to a great extent, also proving affordable prices to students buying these books.
One day, ebooks for every student will become a reality . It avoids a lot of hassles – especially for students,they need not carry a bag full of books to school and can spend only a fraction of money for getting the e-books.
All that is required will be a scalable and easy to adopt publishing system and cost-effective business model for publishers that can trigger the next big revolution in education through out the world.