There’s been much discussion recently about trends in the publishing industry and how authors should respond. Should we embrace e-publishing? Are we being unfaithful to local independent booksellers if we allow electronic versions of our books to be sold, thus taking sales away from those who have supported our work through the years? As an author, and as an author in the horror genre specifically, I watch the trends and these discussions with great interest.
I believe that with the current changes in the publishing and bookseller industries the horror genre has a unique opportunity. Horror remains healthy on film with an amazingly dedicated following, but that enthusiasm has not translated to literary works. Yes, the top names, King, Straub, Koontz, Barker, etc. do fine, but otherwise horror-themed books are largely overlooked. (And, yes, I’m aware of the Twilight series, but that’s really YA/Romance, and has very few true horror themes.) Barnes & Noble doesn’t even have a horror section and many booksellers dismiss the genre altogether.
But, now there’s the surge in eBooks and print-on-demand (POD). Smaller publishers are getting into the game, the major book distributors are faltering, thus giving independent booksellers an opening to rise in popularity and in influence. As with the music industry a decade ago, the major players are losing hold of their monopolies and the power is falling into the hands of the common person, be that a publisher, bookseller, or author. This, as a horror writer, I see as an opportunity. With eBook and POD options, publishers – large and small – can take risks with both new authors and riskier genres because they don’t have to worry about the expense of a full print run. As well, I know of many authors who have had their previously out-of-print works revived as they can now be produced cheaply through e-publication and/or POD.
Booksellers, too, should rejoice. The POD option still allows retail outlets to order the same books offered as e-publications. True, in most cases there is no longer an option to send unsold POD books back to the publishers, but in my mind this just means that booksellers need be more realistic when ordering. No longer can they purchase dozens of more copies than they know they will ever sell simply so they can qualify for a discount, only to then send the vast majority of the order back a month later. This practice as long been one of the downfalls of the industry and even the major retailers are finding it difficult to maintain.
Let’s be honest, as the music and home video industries have already learned, there’s no going back once a new technology has been introduced. Consumers are buying eBooks. According to amazon.com, they already sell more e-publications than they do print. This is not a bad thing. It’s simply the reality of our time. If handled properly, this could allow more books to be published – and purchased. Once publishers get over the idea that they should charge nearly as much for an eBook as they do for the print version, book sales will surge. Again, an opportunity for lesser-known authors and for fringe genres. In my mind we should embrace the coming wave, encourage small, niche/genre related booksellers and publishers, and hopefully bring horror literature back from the shadows.
Check out my novel, THE DEMON BAQASH, at http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Baqash-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309177285&sr=8-1
Thom Reese is the author of THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.
Copyright 2011 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.