What will it take to restore a fair playing field in the book publishing world?
Amazon, Big 5 publishers, and Barnes & Noble equally frustrate authors today. There’s a clear imbalance going on with how books are published and sold today.
Case in point: The Big 5 – Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Hachette Books are responsible for publishing nearly 80% of all books that hit the New York Times best-seller list. However, they don’t publish anywhere near 80% of traditionally published books. In fact, more than 80% of all new titles now come from self-published books.
Case in point: Barnes & Noble, with about 600 stores, is still a super-power in the brick-and-mortar world. They can make or break a book. Most self-published/POD authors can’t even gain access to those stores. That shelf space is valuable for premium exposure.
Case in point: Amazon has a near monopoly going. They are said to se4ll over 80% of all e-book sales, 505 of all paper books sold, and 90% of all online sales of physical books. They also publish their own books and they self-publish a ton of authors. They can decide what comes up in searches and what gets promoted. The Federal Trade Commission has been urged by the American Booksellers Association, the authors Guild and the anti-trust non-profit Open Markets Institute to investigate Amazon.
According to a recent NY Post article, “The groups accused Amazon of such anticompetitive actions and ‘strong-arm tactics to force traditional publishers to agree to onerous contract terms and conditions and self-preferential treatment for book listings and pricing.”
The book industry has its challenges. The umber of physical bookstores has been halved the past quarter-century, from 12,000 in ’98 to 6,000 in ’23. But the online world makes books available everywhere, anytime, so the key is for authors and publishers to market aggressively to a de-centralized system once you get past amazon and B & N. Writers must connect with opportunities to sell their books wherever they exist.
The book world, in some ways, has been democratized by self-publishing and with anyone’s ability to sell a book anywhere. But all of that freedom comes through the clutter and competition. too much noise is out there.
Dear author, hang in there. Keep writing and promoting. Your book demands nothing less. Let’s hope the book industry reforms itself along the way.
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at email@example.com He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres. Let him be your advocate, teacher, and motivator!
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by www.WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.