by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
I can’t help but look back on this amazing year with wonder. On a cold gray day in February, I went to the local courthouse to make Word Branch Publishing official, and it has grown like I had never imagined. Since then, life has been hectic, but satisfying, and I’m grateful for the writers and editors who have come along on this wonderful journey.
The publishing industry as a whole has seen changes this year as well. We’ve seen a transformation like no other during this year, and while some are scrambling to make changes and stay afloat, other factions of the book world are thriving. E-reader sales have nearly doubled in the last year, and tablets are overtaking even those high sales. The advances in e-publishing make it possible for indie publishers, like Word Branch, and authors to take more control of publishing and profits.
Large publishing houses have made some major changes too. Some of the biggest took some hits, like Random House and Harper and Collins, but others rallied to incorporate new technologies into their organizations. Despite the collapse of the Border’s bookstore chain and the consolidation of many smaller stores, it’s estimated that the average American household spends $55.23 annually on physical bookstore purchases. In addition, new technologies, like Amazon Affiliate Services are helping to expand physical book sales.
What hasn’t changed in publishing is the love of reading. Bowker, the leader in bibliographic management, reports that in 2012, readers between the ages of 23 and 33 surpassed Baby Boomers in their consumption of e-books. E-book sales rose 14% in the previous year and are predicted to rise higher once the data is established. Although e-books surpassed physical book sales this year, a healthy portion of the reading population prefer to read physical books citing that reading a physical book is a welcome change after looking at screen all day; they like the feel and weight of a physical book, or that they like to support their local economy by buying from the neighborhood store. Personally, I like the immediacy and portability of e-books, but I still buy ‘special books’ to add to my large collection.
There are most certainly big changes for publishing in the coming years, and I think many of the changes are to the advantage of both the reader and the writer. We looking at a greater variety of books by up and coming authors due to independent publishing and greater royalties and less red tape for writers. Jim Milliot,Publishers Weekly Co-Editorial Director, has said that this is a, “dynamic time in the publishing industry,” and that we are facing a “new publishing reality.” I believe that we are at the border of a new frontier that can only expand our options and increase revenue. I find that exciting and challenging, and given the changes in WBP, I’m looking forward to even more in the future.
The WordWeb Blog brings to you information, tips, trivia and more about writing, reading, editing and books written by experts in the field.