Challenging Times

The publishing industry is in the midst of a monumental change.

Change is not new for the publishing industry. Over the years, our industry has faced many changes that have shaken it up. Yet, it has adapted and not only survived, but thrived.

In the 1930s, the publishing industry underwent a revolution similar to the one it is experiencing today.

Penguin Books introduced the mass market paperback book – then known as the Pocket Book. Not only were these books cheaper than traditional hardcover books (they sold for a bargain 25 cents), they were also innovatively distributed for their time. Penguin distributed these paperback books through magazine wholesalers which placed them so they could be purchased in drugstores, variety stores, newsstands, and in bus and train stations across the country.

The special trip to the bookstore for reading material was over. People could buy books while they shopped for other items. There was no more need to go to the bookstore every time you wanted a book to read.

Think about it. Paperback books became a hit. They were less expensive than hard cover books, and they were easy to locate and purchase. Today, everyone has owned and read at least one paperback book. Everyone has given one to a friend. Everyone has at least one stashed somewhere in their living quarters. The paperback book has put more information and entertainment within the reach of more people than any other form at any other time.

The publishing industry is, again, facing the invasion of a new medium: The ebook.

eBooks are cheaper than the pervasive paperback book. They are easy to locate and purchase, and even better, there is no longer a drive to a store or the wait for a book to be delivered. With ebooks, readers can have instant access to the book.

The advent of ebooks, coupled with the perpetual access to the Internet from smart phones, e-readers, and tablets, is forcing publishers to find new methods of publishing and reaching consumers.

So began my talk titled “Trends in Marketing and Publishing” that I gave at Publishers’ Institute: Expanding Your Reach at ICRS on Monday. If you are interested in hearing more of what I had to say, stay tuned. Hopefully, we will have the audio version of the seminar available soon.

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