Everything is new for children’s publishers now. The barriers to electronic books have been finally dismantled in 2010. First, the iPad surged onto the scene and provided us with a color reading device. Despite its high cost, parents showed little reluctance to their kids putting their sticky hands on it. The direct interaction of fingers on screen is exactly what tykes crave. Try showing a two-year old how to double click and you’ll understand. In the first half of the year, children’s books accounted for 81% of all iPad books downloaded.
The combination of ebook and on-demand has put authors in control.
Clearly there was some pent-up demand for a device like this. Barnes and Nobles responded to this apparent market by hurrying out a color Nook. And many other color readers are emerging in quick succession. So that was the first hurdle. The second hurdle was on-demand children’s books. If you wanted to release a book in electronic form, then on-demand makes the most sense for those who still desire a paper version. If you dismiss the printed book altogether, you would miss out too many customers. If you print thousands of books, you’ll risk too much investment. How many printed books can we expect to sell? Hard to say, especially when you factor in buyers who choose ebooks instead. Well good news to us! We can now print hardcover, color children’s books on-demand. Again, a new revelation for 2010.
So, the game has changed but publishers don’t want you to know it. The entire publishing industry is built around the big publishing houses and the big retailers. Ebooks and on-demand books bypass their entire establishment. Small publishers can now release a book in just a few months and get as many sales as the big guys and without the costs. Now, the big guys are also enjoying the higher profits and lower costs of ebooks but they see it only as a bonus to their traditional methods. If you, as a talented author, decided to publish your own book, you easily could now and you will eat away a tiny fraction of their sales. As more and more of us do the same thing, we dismantle the establishment like ants at a picnic.
Don’t think it will last forever though. A new establishment will form, somehow, to protect the market share of the elite. It always happens. Just the natural evolution of the marketplace. So, if you have been waiting for the right time… tick tock.