Unless you're a publisher you might give the eBook revolution no more consideration than you do the iTunes revolution. It's happening, and you love your eBook reader -- it's compact, carries thousands of books in your purse or briefcase, and it's really fun to play with.
As a publisher, our focus is to shift and change with the business model. While "old-schoolers" continue to embrace their paper tomes, eBook readers are buying the electronic versions in droves. In the last six months, our company 3L Publishing has seen the most dramatic shift in interest when it comes to eBook sales vs. print. This change was long ago predicted to escalate by 2015, and so goes the trend. Our last top-selling book sold one print to nine eBooks. Whereas just last summer our top-selling book sold more like every 4 out of 5 eBooks.
The eBook revolution isn't going to slow. Diminishing floor space in Barnes and Noble, increasing restrictions in national distribution systems that hinder print sales for independent publishers, and a decrease in interest in reading print spells out one thing, publishers better keep up. Now don't forget the increasing costs in postage and shipping that often makes it ridiculous to send something at $5.50 standard mail that only nets $6.73 on Amazon. You can surmise economies of scale make a difference in quantities of books offsetting cost per book. But when your cost per book is $3.50 and your postage is $5.50, well it's called unworkable math.
What it boils down to is eBooks are challenging the physical costs of manufacturing books. Publishers have to consider these factors. Now add the ongoing costs of storage. And the shrinking margins nearly force publishers to move almost exclusivity toward eBook publishing. In fact, here at 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) we don't advise authors to make large investments in print runs. We tell them to do slow, incremental print runs and see how sales shake out. Why make an upfront investment in a dying media?
So what's a publisher going to do? It would be like making rotary phones when everyone owns a Smart Phone. You either change with it and go out of business with it.