For all of you who see your everyday lives morphing faster than you ever dreamed possible, let me say that nothing is changing quicker, or with more uncertainty, than book publishing. Those of us on the inside can only stare and shake our heads. As authors we try to adjust, but few of us can predict which of our books will sell best—if at all--or in what format. Will old-fashioned paper even be involved?
Only a handful of years ago, nobody thought book stores would soon become obsolete. Yet while they still stand around looking formal and important, except for teens with computers under their arms—all heading for the coffee bar—adult readers have largely abandoned them.
Part of this is the fault of the chain bookstores themselves. In their zeal to rid themselves of competing independents, they also killed off the eager librarian types who once “sold” their readers the world’s best books. Today, the chains are not known for selling anything; all they do is display. Which Costco--or your best friends--do just as well.
Meanwhile, we authors are scrambling to become known in that mysterious and semi-visible world of the Net. Those of us who aren’t kids any longer soon learn we need expertise on steroids--so I’m finding computer mavins to make me and my books internet-visible. Will this help me sell some of the books in my garage?
I honestly don’t know.
I’ll be happy to share the answer in a few months.