Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Crack of Doom (for paperbacks)

Those of you who follow this blog know that I have been defending paperback books.  To recap, a major publisher said e-books would replace mass-market paperbacks in five years, a major editor said it would be three to four years, and a major agent said it would happen “eventually.”  (I liked that last answer much better.) 

Last Saturday, I had to admit to one of my proofreaders that things are looking bad.  The figures are in from the latest (September) issue of Locus -- the major trade journal for science fiction and fantasy publishing.  As of June for all genres, year-to-date (YTD) sales for adult hardcovers were up, which is good during a recession.  YTD trade paperback were up.  YTD mass-market paperbacks were down 7.3%.  E-books were up 207.4%. 

Now the crack of doom has appeared:  A Netflix model for e-books by Amazon.com:

In another walk-up to the release of its hotly anticipated tablet device, Amazon is in talks with book publishers to launch a digital library for customers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The service could allow users to gain unlimited access to older digital book content for a single, annual price . . . .

Would you subscribe?

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