Where is Publishing Going?

It’s no secret that the publishing industry is rapidly changing.  With the growth of the digital market, changing printing costs and realities (also thanks to digital technology), and more accessible web tools for self-publishers, things are changing fast.

It doesn’t seem like this kind of change is sustainable in the long-term.  This plane has to land sometime, and I think it’ll be soon.

More self-published books are being pushed to market than ever before, some with great production quality and others that are unedited, not properly designed and with virtually no marketing.  But readers are learning to sift through self-published books and finding new ways to separate the treasure from the trash.

Capital OffenseThere are also some interesting new developments.  I’ve been following Capital Offense through its release.  It was originally released as a web serial before a traditional release to paperback and e-book. (In fact, it’s free on Amazon.com through tomorrow).  The publisher gave all of the content away for free on the web before offering it for sale.  At face value, that seems backwards, but there could be some insight to it.  It’s an attempt to meet readers where they’re reading, which is smart.  Time will tell whether it was a brilliant move or a misguided stab in the dark.

Meanwhile, traditional publishers are still pushing out the same stuff, using the same business model and the same outdated ownership models.  E-books that cost virtually nothing to reproduce don’t reflect that discount in their pricing.  I routinely see traditionally published  e-books that cost the same amount or more than their paperback counterparts.  Granted, the printing and transportation cost of paper books isn’t that high, but eliminating that step ought to lower the price a bit.

So, I’m interested to know: where do you think the publishing industry is going?  What do you look for when you buy books?  Do you think self-published books are worth browsing, or do you stick with traditionally published books?