Is Self-Publishing A Boon To Entrepreneurs Who Sell Books Online?

If you sell books online you're probably a little worried about the onslaught of eBooks in the marketplace.

Everywhere you look there are dire predictions about the death of print books.

And the not so hidden message is if you sell books you might as well roll over. Is that true?

I say hogwash!

At least in the short-term. Any intelligent person must concede that eBooks will eventually displace the majority of printed books. But the key word here is eventually.

That doesn't mean tomorrow.

Why The Cheery Outlook?

I could yammer on about how readers will never give up the "tactile feel" of printed books. Or I can talk about how readers enjoy the comfort of curling up in bed with a cup of coffee and a great book. I could even point out how signed books will trump an eReader any day.

But I won't. Don't get me wrong -- those are good arguments. It's just that I don't think they're enough to stem the oncoming tidal wave of eBooks crashing down upon those of us who sell books online, especially second hand books.

If you've read my own eBook, The Future of Internet Bookselling, (yes, I write and create eBooks too!), you'd know that I believe self-publishers will be the primary reason printed books remain a significant component of the online bookselling marketplace.

Self-Publishers Will Keep Printed Books Alive

Historically, new technology has always killed traditional ways of doing things in favor for the faster, better, cheaper ways of innovative ideas.

Clearly, eBooks represent an innovative evolution in the publishing industry. However, publishing is also seeing a second type of innovation called print-on-demand or POD for short.

In the past, large publishing houses have dominated the business of publishing printed books. But with the advent of the new hyper fast and ultra cheap printing capabilities of the Espresso Book Machine and the incredible technologies deployed by Snowfall Press the playing field has been leveled.

These days you can walk into a bookstore, order a book, and have it printed while you wait. Amazing.

When you combine the incredible advances in printing technology with widespread decentralized prepress services offered by innovators such as 1106 Design, the cost of entry for anyone wanting to publish their own book is significantly lowered.

Consequently, there has been a flood of new printed books hitting the market simultaneously with eBooks. This is great news if you sell books online for a living. Alas, the used bookstore is safe, for now.

Self-Publishers Flex Their Economic Muscle

Publishing industry watchdog Bowker said in their annual report on U. S. print book publishing for 2011:

…traditional print book output grew six percent in 2011, from 328,259 titles in 2010 to a projected 347,178 in 2011, driven almost exclusively by a strong self-publishing market. This is the most significant expansion in more than four years for America’s traditional publishing sector, but removing self-publishing from the equation would show that the market is relatively flat from 2010.

There you have it from the experts. A confirmation of what I wrote in August 2011 in The Future of Internet Bookselling, you'd know that I believe self-publishers will publish many interesting books and keep the printed word alive for years to come.

To continue to sell books online you're going to increasingly find self-published books showing up in Goodwill thrift stores, garage sales, used book sales, and all the other places used books are found, such as library books. Self-published books will begin to make up a larger and larger part of your profit picture.

The Wind Is At Your Back

There will always be technological revolutions when you sell new and used books. Don't fear them -- embrace them! Make them do your bidding.

Make new technology your own and leverage the unique competitive advantages it affords to grow your business, to prosper, and sell books online.

Do it for your family, do it for yourself, and even do it for society. But to borrow a phrase from Nike, Just Do It! And do it well.

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