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Arbor Services Predicts The Future Of Publishing


Is the new world order in publishing leaving the old guard behind? Many industry experts seem to think so, though there are those on the periphery who persist in trying to stop one of publishing’s greatest movements: the hundreds of thousands of independent, self-published authors.

First some background. There is no doubt about it: publishing is going through a massive change, both rapid and permanent. E-books are the new reality and traditional bookstores are closing en masse. Bookstore operators are bereft of ways to bring in buyers as Kindle and iPad owners simply bypass them for an easy and instant purchase experience.

The same is happening on a nationwide scale with one of the publishing industry’s largest traditional customers: school systems. Digital books may, within a decade, replace all textbooks in America because they are cheap and don’t require massive storage space or shipping costs.

Packaging, distributing and promoting books means something different today than it did just a few years ago. Literary agents are now acting as marketing and promotion people, and the real profit centers are developing through inexpensive, direct-to-the-customer deliveries such as self-published e-books and ghostwritten audio books. already offers e-books at fire-sale prices, which has traditional publishers up in arms, fearing that their revenues could be slashed by as much as half or more. Some publishers, such as Simon & Schuster, are responding by dumping their paperback divisions in favor of a push toward digital. But fierce competition with self-publishers could further erode their bottom lines.

According to Joel Hochman of Arbor Services,, a New Jersey-based ghostwriting and book marketing company, e-books are exploding, with a more than 500% increase in sales compared to only a few years ago. Then there’s the soon-to-be-ubiquitous vending machines like the game-changing new Espresso Book Machine. Print on demand will continue to get more affordable and more profitable for independent authors, especially when they save valuable time by hiring editors, ghostwriters or book designers to help complete their work.

The dislocation caused by the latest publishing trends is unsettling but inevitable. In the wake of the e-book revolution, and as brick-and-mortar bookstores start to close, traditional publishing houses may be the next to disappear. In a virtual world--with manuscripts only a click away--the influence of the big houses will be reduced and independent publishers will have access to a bigger slice of the book-reading pie. However, in order to attract customers, independent authors will need to wear more than just the hat of the writer. Social networking, reviewing other books and leaving the largest possible footprint on the Internet is key.



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