eBooks were one of the first true revolutions in the publishing industry. For the first time in literally centuries, we no longer have to mash up plants, print something on them, and distribute via boat or foot or truck or whatever, to a brick-and-mortar store.
Think of the reduction in production costs! Transportation costs! Commercial overheads!
Imagine the lowered costs for consumers and the environment! The higher profits for authors!
And imagine the newfound freedoms!
For decades, authors who wanted to write epic sagas had been reeled in by publishers with an eye on the bottom line.
Novelists in genres that trend towards longer stories, like fantasy, found it tough to find someone to take a risk on them.
Publishers, so the conventional wisdom went, only had an appetite for books of around 70,000~100,000 words, even though the reading public has long demonstrated an appetite for much longer works.
Now, that might sound like a lot of words. But the first book in the Harry Potter series – the one I rejected for being too short, even as a child? – that slim volume was close to 77,000 words.
The typical length of a scifi/fantasy novel is often given as 110,000 words+.
And it’s not just genre fiction. Literary novelists whose work was deemed too “niche” to sell enough copies to recoup production costs, even if they stuck to the “ideal” word limit, have also struggled.
So imagine all of the new and diverse authors publishers might take a risk on with the cost-per-page effectively removed!
Oh happy days!
Except… None of those things happened.
At least not across the board, and certainly not on a permanent basis.
Continue reading “eBookonomics”