Sunday, February 27, 2011

Black Swans in Publishing

Few saw the coming of the digital age for publishing-- at least for the tsunami of epublishing these last two years. It went from a marginal niche to the new way of things. Many have still not come to grips with it. It's difficult for most people to change a paradigm, when that is all they've ever known.

This kind of all-out-of-proportion change is called a Black Swan event, from the book by Nassim Taleb, not the ballet movie. If your living depends on having things remain on an even keel, an affecting Black Swan event can be devastating. Thus it is with the big publishing companies now. They're not adapting, and the money and talent are going elsewhere. If they cannot adapt fast enough, they're likely to become a thing of the past.

People are scooping up e-reader devices as they become more prevalent in the marketplace. Soon, most will want one because they know a lot of other people using them (humans are herd creatures). And readers need content, but the big publishing houses aren't pricing their products well, so people are finding new markets. Thus the new places for writing are growing, and the former big boys are going to be left behind.

This does mean good things for you readers, however. You won't have to wait three years or more for a book by an author you like to come on the market- it can hit the e-pub world much sooner. It means good things for writers, too, who can get their works to the readers, and keep their backlist books in constant print.

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