There are many different e-book stores selling e-books at what publishers feel is a sustainable price and discount. The landscape for publishers looks quite a bit like the print era – sales are healthy because multiple e-book vendors are adept at reaching new audiences and publishers are able to invest in finding new ways to market in the Internet era.
Authors have the option of dealing with e-book distributors if they want to take on the responsibility of editing and designing their own books, but it wouldn’t be very advantageous for authors to deal directly with any one e-book vendor because the bookselling market is so fragmented. Only publishers and e-distributors have the reach to make an e-book available through all the different e-book stores, and thus the middle men (publishers or distributors) are crucial in order to reach readers, just as you needed a publisher or distributor to reach readers in the print era.
When the dust clears the e-book era looks a whole lot like the print era.
I'm reading all the endings (such a cheater).
I like this one the best!
Moira Young says
Seconded. This one gives me the most hope. It still means a shifted role for the publisher, though.
Matt Ryan says
So this is where I landed. This seems like the most plausible (to me) outcome of a free market industry.
Great post Nathan.
I landed here. I think the e-reader makers will try to control the e-book market, but will ultimately fail because the winner in e-readers is going to be the company that provides the most options to its consumers. Google didn't become a hit by restricting its searches to only a fraction of the internet.
INteresting to see how the different paths end up. Thanks, Nathan. Will you have any stats as to which outcome was the most popular among your readers?
Nathan Bransford says
So far "Publishers Give In" (i.e. the most depressing path) is the most popular one, followed by "E-books Don't Catch On."
Nevermind. I realized that since we're all testing all of the paths and posting comments, you don't really know which one was the one most people actually believed.
Oops. I cross-posted.
Oh! Ok then, I guess it wasn't so hard to know. Wow, the depressing one is winning? And even one with no e-books? I'm kind of surprised.
ryan field says
I'm glad I ended on this one.
I like this ending the best.
Of course I ended up with the most depressing ending when I went with what I really believe.
The non-exclusive contracts now used by some E-publishers could survive and spread. A writer (or his or her agent better still) could sell the book to several E-publishers without a premium for exclusivity. Non-exclusive contracts are theoretically possible for print books too.
This sounds like the logical conclusion to me. Thank you for all the effort you put into this post. I was a little nervous each time I clicked on an option, but in the end, I survived. As will the publishing industry, I'm sure.
Not sure how I got here. Must have been that little pill. 🙂
Still don't see a dominant natural consumer progression to e-books. They can add as many bells and whistles to them as they want, but it seems downloadable technology draws a different kind of attention span; a more "disposable" one, with magazine-like bites of info.
Convenient for travel, people who need to alter text size, and those who read so much they have no room for more books and/or are drawn to cheaper prices. I do see apps that tell stories, though. Just not with prose as we knows it. 😉
Melanie Avila says
This is where I ended up.
Nathan, you seriously rock. I can only imagine how fun your book is if you have the creativity to come up with this!
Angela Shetler says
I like how this ending has the publishers shifting but still viable (though of course I immediately went back to the original post to see what the other outcomes were, like with any good Choose Your Own Adventure). Very creative way to highlight the unknown future for publishing.
Jim Bessey says
Outstanding post, Nathan. Creative AND interesting. Sadly, my first round landed me on THE WORST ENDING.
I really hope I was wrong in all of my clicks. I like this ending the best, of course.
Kathy Collier says
As always, I love your blog. This gives me hope. Hope for the future in E-books. Hope that we won't get lost somewhere out there in cyberspace, and hope that we won't just be a figment of someone's imagination, where words are no longer tangible. Somehow, I think it will be a long time before books become a thing of the past and e-books the only thing of the future. It is my hope we will find a happy balance between our physical realm and our new electronic realm of the present. Here's to hope, hope that we will all find a happy balance from our past and apply it to the future and enjoy the present. Here's to books and e-books, may we always have both, and the freedom to choose in this great country.
Kathy S. Collier Mehl
I landed here. I haven't read the others, but this path makes the most sense to me.
And I thought Choose Your Own Adventure books became obsolete with MMO's. I mean, seriously who's reading these any more?
Heather Kelly says
Well, I'm posting here, because I'm hopeful, but my first trip through took me to the Publishers Give In path. Urgh. I'm just going to focus on writing books and buying books, and the things I actually can control. And hope for the happy ending for us all.
Other Lisa says
Hey, I ended up here! I like it!
This ending seems digestible. This is probably what should and would happen.
The middle men can't lose out on their jobs because of technology. It will always come back to them one way or another!