Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Economic Collapse? What about the Future of Ebooks?

The latest deluge of economic data has swept through and it doesn’t look good - how will this affect the future of ebooks? Austerity measures are creeping over the modern western world, and yet Spain is the next runner-up in sovereign nations on the edge of default. Europeans have been consuming ebooks and their corresponding technologies voraciously, and their employment struggles are as intense as ours here in the states, if not worse. On the other hand, huge new markets are set to open in the near future. One example is the Kindle’s debut in China set for next year. Another is the up and coming consumers of India and Australia.

I bet right now in some deep dark nerd dungeon, there are a lucky few engineering 21st century translation software tailored for ebooks that are destined to be the billionaires of the next decade. Something palpable and malleable that will be used by online distributors from Bangkok to Boston.   

Many ebook authors find themselves wondering what the future of ebooks looks like given the mainstream media’s harping on ever more dangerous fiscal realities. Many of us ebook authors in the trenches have seen our sales dip after the last holiday season and rightly so. Since then too much about most people’s money has become unstable, unsure, and unpredictable. Big name titles are still making it to Hollywood, and recently guests on popular talk shows are there to promote their “ebook” finally, but what can the average author expect?

What the Future of Ebooks Will Bring

  • The unflinching domination of print books by their digital counterparts will stay the course, unless for some reason we go back to the Stone Age.
  • Handheld technology and eReaders will be distributed and used by a third of the human population within the next decade.
  • Quality control is going to begin hammering down, putting more pressure on aspiring ebook authors to polish their work in order to compete.
  • Readers will form increasingly powerful niche groups online that most likely promise more sales than traditional social networking today. Sorry Facebook and Twitter.

Time to Take Stock

A fair amount of authors today got in the digital gold rush of ebooks around the middle of last year. Like a herd, discouraged workers, college students, and the unemployed sought to be the next big thing to hit the digital scene, and make a killing. However, the recession has worsened, and some of the hype didn’t pan out. Perhaps now is a good time, in light of the future of ebooks, to sit back and take stock of what you’ve done. Furthermore, what you can do to ensure a higher degree of success in the near future.

  • Get your works edited/proofread as soon as possible. Filling the shelves is great, and needs to be done, but make sure that the products can compete.
  • Go over the small details and make sure everything is as it should be. One big example is categories. Too many authors skim the small stuff thinking it doesn’t matter. Tip: Get your books out of any “general” category, and put them in something more refined.
  • If things are squared away, do some digging and see if there isn’t another new ebook distributor looking for titles. Do your research, but sticking to the Big Six isn’t practical anymore.

Discouragement is really Encouragement

I myself have published 14 ebooks, and I’m not quite at the point of a smashing success yet. I wholeheartedly, from balls to bones, believe in the future of ebooks. It’s been a rough road. The countless hours writing, formatting, and self-editing/re-reading made my shoulders and elbows ache, my lower back throb, and my eyes sore. However, the outlook is bright, as long as we consider our ebooks as what they are: long term investments not short order satisfaction.

3 Easy Things You Could Write for $$$

If you would like to see some quick sales, I advise people in my sphere to compose shorter articles between 4k-10k words long. They are less time consuming in terms of the editing and formatting departments, and the quick reads seem to be really popular right now. The last one I did was a mini biography in the owner of SpaceX, Elon Musk. Here’s five good ideas from me to you.

  • Do an article on how a family could construct and maintain a small herb garden say, on the deck of a one or two bedroom apartment.
  • Write one that in some aspect will appeal to the large swaths of “renters” that have taken over the depressed American real-estate market.
  • With the end date of Dec 21st 2012 just around the corner, a “prepper” article would be a good shot. Give it a fascinating twist.
  • A short zombie story that has to do with the “bath salts” drug would probably get some good hits. Be Quick!
  • Figure out something you would love to learn, something small, simple, and then teach someone how to do it in 5k words.

Here’s to the future of ebooks, Cheers!

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