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On which books make it to market

"... it's an uphill battle. An uphill battle on a craggy cliff that's quickly crumbling and shaking from the threat of piracy, digital book e-Readers, and the threat of retail bookstores disappearing in a cloud of bankruptcy."

Although Answerman from Anime News Network is talking more specifically about which mange series are chosen to be translated and released in the US, much of what he talks about can be generalized to the book market as a whole.

And that's a pretty powerful visual image....

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
sff_corgi
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
:( I wanted to open an SF&F bookstore once, with my friends. They wandered off and the market has gone to pot.
johnridley
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
That's funny. e-readers have actually made it easier to go to market. Just like bands don't need a record company anymore, authors don't need a publisher. Granted, authors still need editors (possibly with rare exceptions) but they can capture a fair amount of market with just a website and possibly a deal with an instant printer.

And as far as the "threat of piracy" - as with music, it's a ghost. Those who have released GOOD work, either music or books, to the internet for free, wind up making far more money than they ever made when they were selling hard goods only (books/cds). I believe that a certain author of steampunk comics has seen their sales and profile in the market skyrocket after starting to give their stuff away for free online.

Plenty of the stuff I read on my e-reader is pirated stuff from usenet. But largely that's because I either can't get it in legitimate form or because it's only available in formats I can't use (like Kindle). And when I find an author I like, I go out and buy stuff from them. Often I buy the book I just finished, even though I am already done with it and probably will never read it again. And I don't think I'm alone.
alicebentley
Jul. 11th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
Both ereaders and widespread free copying have indeed been good for a number of creative works, but this discussion was about one particular subset: licensed manga. For that subset, the ubiquitous scanlations have indeed warped the marketplace. A few titles have benefited from exposure they wouldn't have gotten, but there's been no question that it's had a quelling effect on sales of everything. So if you're a publisher considering whether to license and translate a series, knowing that the scanlation is easily available will change your expected overall sales.

The whole situation is still is such a state of flux, I can't see how anyone can make firm, correct predictions on near-term sales. I see a lot of potential down the road though.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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