Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Who Won The Digital War?

More theatre screens are getting smaller as living room TV sets are getting bigger. Is it no surprise that more and more people watch movies at home?

The number of e-book titles available online is beginning to dwarf the number of printed books available in stores. Is it no wonder that more and more people read e-books on their e-readers?

To find music CDs is getting harder but music, including individual songs, can be downloaded anytime, anywhere for less money than a CD.  Is it no wonder that more and more people listen to downloaded music (free or paid) than CDs?

And yet billions of dollars in transactions take place annually for each of these industries. Digitization is not all good or all bad, but it does make things interesting.

We’re about 20 years into the Internet revolution, so who are the winners and losers?

Losers                                                   Winners                                              Winners
Paper companies                                   Google                                                 Netflix
Printing presses                                     Amazon                                                Advertisers
Newspapers                                          Facebook                                            Escorts
Magazines                                             Fed Ex                                                Phone Companies
Commercial Builders                             Apple
U.S. Postal Service                               Hackers
Blockbuster                                          Entrepreneurs
Borders                                                Communicators and creative types
Music Stores                                        Pay Pal
Encyclopedias                                      E-bay
Travel Agencies                                   The Government

Interview With E-Reads Founder & Literary Agent Richard Curtis                       

1. Richard, as a literary agent and the head of Richard Curtis Associates Inc., where do you see the book publishing industry is heading? Though many predict the doom of printed books I am certain there will remain a significant place for them if the problems of distribution can be addressed, including returnability which has damaged the industry's profitability for decades.  After this initial romance with digital books we will see a restoration of our love affair with printed books, which remain far more profitable than digital.

2. What do you love most about being a part of the book world for so many years? I love authors. I love editors. I love the process. I love being in the middle.

3. What advice do you have for struggling writers? It's harder than ever, I know.  But first and foremost, go where the money is.  It has always been in genre fiction like romance, thrillers and science fiction, Follow the genres.  Once you're making a living from them, you can write what's in your heart.

4. What do you look for in the authors you decide to represent? First and foremost is the ability to dramatize a story rather than tell it.  After that I value self-discipline.

5. You founded e-reads over a decade ago. Do you feel like a visionary for doing so? I've been told so. Ten years ago I was called a "Grumpy Old Visionary" - what does that make me ten years later? :-)  It's true that I foresaw the transformation earlier than any of my colleagues. But I also acted on it, and that fast start has been a great advantage.  The world has caught up and surpassed my original vision but the head start has enabled E-Reads to remain profitable.  

6. You offer over a thousand books for sale but without virtually any publicity and yet your company has been quite profitable. What is the secret to your success? Many of our books are in genres that are evergreen, like romance and science fiction.  The genres, and the authors, have passionate fans, who spread the word virally when one of their favorites is reissued.  So the books sell themselves with less marketing than is needed by literary authors whose books are harder to classify.

7. Why do so many authors publish their e-book with you? We are dedicated to high quality, we distribute through all retailers, we have excellent underlying technology and a robust and attractive website.  And perhaps authors are interested in what I have to say, in my blog, about the publishing process and current trends.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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