Technology

Feb 29, 2016

e-Books: A Disruptive Innovation

The landscape of publishing has dramatically changed over the last few years. In the past, if an author wanted to publish a book, he had to make a deal with a publisher. Now, anyone can write a book and submit it to one of the online stores like Kindle, Kobo, Nook or others, where readers will get an easy and instant access to the millions e-Books and magazines.

e-Books are changing the book publishing business in a disruptive way. It's not about devices: a reader can use almost any sophisticated gadget to read e-Books. Meanwhile, an army of independent self-published authors, so-called "indie writers", is winning the battle against large publishing houses.

Last September at Amazon's Kindle, the world's biggest e-Books store, the sales for "nontraditionally published" e-Books from self-publishers made up 58% of all Kindle e-Books purchased in the US. At the same time, e-Book sales for big publishers are declining as they're being replaced by "indie writers" sales at lower prices at Amazon. In the 18 months between February 2014 and September 2015, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), whose 1200 members include the "Big Five" publishers, have seen their collective share of the US e-Books market collapse.

Many unknown independent self-published authors (indie) are offering their first e-Books for free download, just to become known among readers. The second e-Book is usually published at very low price, between 1-2 USD per download. At between 35% and 70% commission depending on the e-Books store, that's quite some boost to indie's income.

Traditional brands may appear to dominate e-Book subscriptions, but the truth is that pure digital publishing companies are winning authors' hearts and minds, positively changing the face of an author's income stream and market reach. Nowadays, indie authors earn more comparing to "traditional" authors, and both digital publishers and authors gain market share at the expense of traditional ones.

We all, as readers, are benefiting from this disruptive innovation. You can purchase, download and start reading an e-Book within minutes, without leaving your chair. It's environmentally-friendly, mobile and does not need any shelf in your room. Within the new "economy of abundance", and zero printing and shipping cost the end-price for the reader is so little that e-Books are affordable for every person, providing better-than-ever access to knowledge and great opportunities for self-improvement.

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