Monday, July 25, 2011

A Tsunami of Change

Borders StoreChange along the lines of life-altering reality (as far as publishing houses and the industry go) is in the making. On July 19th, Theresa posted on the decline of the brick and mortar book outlet, the most renown being Borders. This in itself is tragic as far as I’m concerned. It signals the end of an era—an era I’m not too sure I want to give up.

But, that future is not in my hands. I still stop in and browse our local Borders and never leave empty handed. Obviously, my shopping habits are not enough to keep the bookselling giant afloat. Still, I have a clear conscience that I have done my part.

Now, the publishing world is taking a look at how they’re approaching this brand new world of bookselling. It started with cyber stores such as Amazon offering the public a quick, easy way to purchase books, CDs, DVDs from the comfort of their home or office. Then technology expanded and soon you could order from almost any electronic device in your possession. Then the inventory of such cyber stores increased to include event tickets, household goods, clothing, etc. You name it; you buy it. All of the cost of shipping and handling and a couple of days in transit.

Still available as eBook!

amazon.comThe global marketing of all the biggies - Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, to name a few – now fused together into one-stop-shopping. You peruse an extensive collection of inventory all on one site, so if you wanted the lasted sci-fi thriller, collection of preschool board books, manuals on technology, along with your favorite Harlequin category Inspirational for the month from Love Inspired (you knew I had to throw that in), you just punch in the url of your favorite site and voila! You find hundreds of choices in every category under the sun.

Cool, huh?

And then the advent of the Kindle revolution began. Digital downloads hit cyberspace running with each publisher testing the waters and creating splashes of their own. At first, the paper copy premiered followed by its digital sibling a few

months later. It didn’t take long for the publishing houses to realize the lost revenue in the lag time and now most bound copies and their digital counterparts release at the same time, each catering to their own audience.

Where do we go from here?

An exciting thing happened July 2011. Tyndale House Publishers launched their Digital First program. They selected manuscripts from first-time authors and have published them DIGITALLY first. Tyndale is the first publisher to go direct to digital publishing with paper versions to follow. They’ll monitor the stats of this new endeavor first and if they like what they see, they might offer more books in this Digital First format later in 2011.

According to an article in Christian Post:   “The audience for ebooks continues to explode. We’ve watched it grow exponentially,” says Jan Stob, senior fiction acquisitions editor for Tyndale House Publishers, based in Carol Stream, Ill. “It has grown across the board but primarily in fiction. When we look at our top 10 best-selling fiction titles, ebooks have begun to appear on that list, which wasn’t true a year or so ago.”

With Digital First, Tyndale will be able to publish more authors.

“There are a limited amount of physical slots in a warehouse to house books – digital is limitless. We can focus on quality without the confines of quantity. [The ebook format] allows us to be much more agile regarding trends,” says Stob. “A print book can take six to 12 months from finished manuscript to publication, while digital can be much more immediate.”

Digital First’s initial ebooks include Delivery, Cash Burn, Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman, The Reinvention of Leona Harper by Lynne Gentry and 40 Days without Food: Divine Goodness to a Starving Soul by Russ Masterson. The ebooks will be priced at full retail. Tyndale will promote its Digital First titles similarly to its other ebooks, which is mainly through reviews and online marketing.

Exciting times, eh? Please pay particular attention to the second book on the list. Pam Hillman is a good friend of mine and fellow Seeker (Seekerville) who has been rescued from Unpubbed Island by signing a contract with a publisher. Pam is no stranger to the Inspirational romance contest circuit. Award winning author – including RWA’s Golden Heart – Pam has finalled and won with many manuscripts including Stealing Jake, her Tyndale release. Congratulations to Pam Hillman and to Tyndale House on their groundbreaking endeavor. Go check out her book on Amazon Kindle. They’re doing a special FREE book promo for their newly launched authors, and celebrating Digital First!!
Stealing Jake
AND check out Pam's Kindle Contest in honor Stealing Jake!

So I guess, I’m giving away an opportunity for a free copy of Stealing Jake for visiting Five Scribes, LOL!

It won’t be long before other publishers follow suit. Check out Pam’s website for a list of her blog tour where she talks about all things writing and her thoughts on being one of the newest Tyndale House authors!

Watch out for the publishing Tsunami! It's coming!


Donnell said...

Audra, I think we blinked and things changed, huh? Very interesting post. I think Border's management is to blame for their failure as well. It will be interesting to see if Books a Million slides into some of their popular locations.

Thanks for the tip on Pam Hillman. As soon as I catch my breath, I will definitely check her out. And kudos to Tyndale Publishing for seeing the value of digital and acting on it. We need publishers to be proactive in staying alive and competitive. Great, informative blog!

Vince said...

Hi Audra:

I think Tsunami is the wrong metaphor to use for the change in publishing. A tsunami can be seen coming, it hits all at once and the destruction is universal. A tsunami eventually recedes without bringing any rewards.

The change in publishing is like a virus that kills the old and weak but also brings with it a new vitality and immunity to the young and healthy.

The change is not just coming. It’s here now. It’s endemic. The old trees are going to die and fall. New growth will sprout and the forest will change. And it will be a happier forest knowing that not as many trees will be sacrificed to the paper mills. (How’s that for employing symbiotic metaphors? :))

I only mention this because so many of us think in images and thus it is important to visualize with the most accurate images.


Audra Harders said...

Vince, thanks for coming to my rescue. When I think havoc of global proportions, I think Tsunami. Or maybe, I just like saying the word : )

Clearing away what as been good, serviceable, productive and ushering in a change -- whether we like it or not.

You're right about the destruction of a Tsunami. It's beyond recognition. I don't think the new publishing norm will be destructive on such a scale, but it is messing with the old reliable norm -- big time.

More like a forced revamping.

Either way, we see it coming...
It's here...
We need to adjust!!

Audra Harders said...

Hiya, Donnell! You give the rest of the Scribes a run for our money on fun, informative, factual posts. You've set the standard high, just trying to keep up : )

I think Borders jumped on the Kobo wagon just a hair late. Kindle and Nook products are outstanding and the marketing surrounding them second to none. Perhaps if Borders had done a few things differently, it would still be a neck and neck race for profits between 3 giant rather than two.

I love Borders. It's the only bookstore (other than used bookstores) in my town. They hosted great events of adults and children alike. The staff friendly; the inventory superb.

I'll miss them. Hope a book chain moves into the building.

I love bookstores in general : )

Pam Hillman said...

Wow, Audra, when you give away an ebook, you REALLY give it away, don't you? lol

Pam Hillman said...

Vince, what an apt description.

In plain, country girl lingo, I think you said something similar to...

"You adapt, or you die."

Audra Harders said...

Pam, just doin' my part : )

Vince does have a way with words, doesn't he? I love it.

Leslie Ann said...

Hi Audra,
I was surprised at how upset I was to learn Borders was fini.

While I hadn't bought anything there in awhile, other than coffee :), I did use it as my first resource when I needed something specific like a How-To book.

Brick and mortar stores allow one to browse a book easily. You can choose one while comparing a selection side by side. That isn't easy on the computer, unless I'm missing a step somewhere.

(Remember us when we were trying to decide on which Dreamweaver book to buy? We pulled them all down and looked at them together.)

And I do love everything about a physical book, the smell, feel, weight.... But I'm joining the e-book revolution. I'm out of space and I worry about the amount of paper (trees) and ink that is being consumed. So my books will primarily be e-books and maybe Print-On-Demand (which are far more expensive...and again paper, so I have to think about that, 'tho my mother for one, doesn't yet own an e-reader.)

I do think Borders management just didn't move fast enough. I'm wondering how Barnes and Noble is faring. I like the Nook ;)

Hugs and wear high water pants,
LA of the scribes.

Donnell said...

Just gotta say, that I still think books look a whole lot better and real in the book store. And although you can dowload in a second, unless you know they're there, you won't stumble across a diamond the way you once did in a brick and mortar.

It's down to economics now. Dang, I wish I was Donald Trump with a better, longer hair piece. I'd buy one and do my best to make it thrive. What a tough business!

KL Grady said...

I was heartbroken to hear about Borders. It's never been my bookstore of choice, but I've spent HOURS there, sometimes three hours in one visit, and spent tons of money there. It's awful that they couldn't keep up with the changes in the industry, but here's hoping indies and other chains will fill the hole Borders is leaving behind.

I hate to say it (because I'm a member of the Old Farts generation), but all this "what would we do without a physical bookstore" commentary is really only applicable to us Old Farts. Kids born today have never known an age that wasn't digital. They process information (and books) different than we do because they're being raised on computer screens, e-readers, etc.

For them, the closing of Borders is only a blip on their radar. When they're adults, and they next wave of sprogs enters this world, physical bookstores and physical books will probably be quaint reminders of how wasteful we were with paper and space.

Janet Dean said...

I miss our Borders, Audra. They were very romance friendly. Change is hard on many levels. What next?

Very excited about the release of Stealing Jake!


Audra Harders said...

LA, some of our best brainstorming was accomplished in the Borders at the 29th Street Mall.

And people watching.

And unavoidable eavesdropping.

Ahh, I miss the atmosphere already : )

But seriously, all the brick and mortar bookstores hold some memory of time spent daydreaming over having my name on one of their shelves.

It's one thing for Foxx Books to put Little Shop Around The Corner out of business. But Foxx Books is now the target. And really? I think it's painfully obvious they spent so much time squashing the little guy they had no clue they could be squashed themselves.

Sad day.

Audra Harders said...

LOL, Donnell! The hair can be combed and sprayed, but he needed braces as a kid!

Ol' Donald. Ya gotta love 'im. Or so I"m told.

YOu're right about the diamonds found hidden amongst the clammoring volumes. Can you just stroll down a cyber aisle and scope out interesting covers? Not really. When I shop at Amazon, I know what I want already and just click to buy.

Covers? How on earth can a sweet or sexy or diabolical looking cover sway a reader to buy anymore?

I'm not liking this.

Audra Harders said...

I hate to say it, KL, but you're right. Our generation and those past will lament the passing of the bookstore in favor of express.

So, how long before Trusts and Foundations dry and libraries are casualties of progress?

Audra Harders said...

Hi Janet! I'm sorry you're losing a romance friendly store. Those are/were few and far between.

So wonderful of Amazon to offer Stealing Jake as a free downloand to the Kindle. I love the promoting Amazon does.

(stomping foot) but I still want to keep my bookstores, too!!

Pam Hillman said...

Audra, I'm the same way. I want it all!

I'm picturing the world in 100 years (if it's still here!) as little pockets of people in their homes, doing everything remotely.

GPS-controlled robots will deliver food and necessities to barred, gated communities and homes, and the only humans wandering around will be gangs and scaaaarrrryyy folks.

Sheesh, it's almost my bedtime and I'm scaring myself!

Audra Harders said...

Oh Pam, I know what you're talking about. Where's the interaction? The exchanging of ideas?

I won't lie. I love the ease of satiating my cravings for immediate book-on-Kindle.

But my Kindle doesn't SMELL like a bookstore!! LOL!

Vince said...

Hi All:

Where are your memories?

I had three different friends who owned book stores in Tulsa and they were all put out of business by the mega chain stores. If you have tears prepare to shed them for the small independent bookstores.

It gave me great joy to see that Shakespeare and Company was still open in Paris! (See Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris).

And how about this: “Buy a Kindle and Get a Million Dollars of Books for Free”. Think about it. Almost every out of copyright classic is now available for free! And you can use the search feature to find the passage you want to quote from that classic. BTW: will your paper book read itself to you while your driving?

When it gets right down to it: it’s about the value!

Yes, I like browsing a bookstore for the joy of discovery. But do you know what? I like having the, If you liked, "Stealing Jake” you may also like: “Rock Mountain Hero” “Heartbreak Creek”, and “The Past Came Hunting” feature even more! I have made far more serendipitous discovers online than I ever made in a bookstore.

One more thing:

“But my Kindle doesn't SMELL like a bookstore!! “

Don’t worry, they are working on that right now. It soon will – at the owner’s option, of course.

There is hope. If you like paper books think of this: there still are cowboys, horses, blacksmiths, saloons, and lots of cattle. The poetry of these things is still in the air.


Audra Harders said...

Vince, you're such a hoot! Yes, yes, yes, I agree with you on all counts, but that doesn't mean I like it -- does that make sense?

I've with 100% on the instant download to the Kindle awesome recommendations on featured on the pages of the book you're considering...nice of you to mention Rocky Mountain Hero : )

[“But my Kindle doesn't SMELL like a bookstore!! “

Don’t worry, they are working on that right now. It soon will – at the owner’s option, of course.]

ROFLOL! Will most definitely be watching for that option!!

Just sign me: Resistant to Change but Loving the Progress!!