There are still some die-hard purists who refuse to admit that printed books are dying. These people cling to the minor advantages of printed books while completely ignoring the benefits of e-books. Likewise, there are still people who refuse to admit that retail bookstores are mostly a dead end. CNN Money recently posted an article with a headline that read “Barnes & Noble has been destroyed by Amazon.”
The basic point of the article is that Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader tablet is fading against tough competition from Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad. Expect the Nook to disappear soon because few people have a reason to get one. if you’re a self-published author selling e-books, don’t expect the Nook market to grow. That’s like hoping the 8-track tape market will suddenly make a come back. From now on, the Nook market will sink, which will discourage self-published authors form posting more e-books on the Nook, which will discourage more people from buying the Nook. This creates a vicious cycle of no return. So say good-bye to the Nook. There’s no reason for it to exist.
In the meantime, Amazon’s online shopping still sells more books than Barnes & Noble and at less cost. The cost of running a retail store chews up any profits Barnes & Noble might make. With the limited selection of books in a bookstore, you can expect fewer varieties of books, which further discourages people from visiting a bookstore when they can find what they want online much easier and have their books delivered to their homes. So say good-bye to retail bookstores as they cling to the past and slowly wither away.
There’s an old story about putting a frog in a pot of water and gradually turning up the heat. Because the change occurs so gradually, the frog is lulled into complacency until it’s too late and it boils to death.
On the other hand if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will feel the heat and immediately jump out to safety. Even though both pots may have the same boiling water temperature, the second frog saves itself because it recognizes the danger right away while the first frog dies because it doesn’t recognize the danger until it’s too late.
You can see people clinging to the past and losing everywhere. Watch Sears and K-Mart struggle against Walmart. Watch McDonald’s struggle against newer fast food chains that offer healthier and tastier food. Watch Barnes & Noble struggle against Amazon. Watch Microsoft struggle against Apple and Google.
Despite the ample evidence that change is occurring, you’ll still find so many people desperately clinging to the past and hoping change won’t occur fast enough to affect them within their lifetimes. Such empty wishing leads nowhere.
If you’re a self-published author, watch the printed book business die before your eyes. The future isn’t just e-books but information because that’s what books really are. Printed books are really just a delivery mechanism for displaying information and e-books are just one way of providing that information. Online videos are another way too.
Don’t let the narrow confines of a printed book give you tunnel vision on what you can do in the future. You’re not just a book author, you’re an information provider or an entertainer in the case of fiction. Once you free yourself from thinking about information or entertainment int arms of a printed book, you’ll be astonished at the vast number of opportunities right in front of your eyes if you’d only look for them.
For self-published authors, it’s time to stop looking at printed books and retail bookstores like Barnes & Noble as something that’s going to survive because it won’t. It will still survive in the same sense that a corpse survives as the remains of a living person. Rather than cling to the past, embrace new opportunities and you’ll find much more success in a growing field than a stagnant one. It’s obvious to everyone except people who bury their heads in the sand and hope change will slow down long enough so they won’t have to adapt.
If you think like that, it’s already too late.