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Will There Be Book Publishers in 10 Years?

An Op-Ed Piece by Jeff Rivera

With new devices such as Barnes and Noble’s Nook, the Kindle and a host of other eBook reading devices, authors can now skip the entire traditional book publishing route. Within seconds writers can make their books available for sale by using free services such as Smashwords. The question then becomes this: when it comes to eBooks, what use is a traditional publisher today and maybe more importantly, what relevance will they have in 10 years?

Will one of these services within the next 5-10 years add a component that will allow eBooks that have built a large enough platform, with enough traction, to be available for purchase brick-and-mortar stores on physical book shelves beyond a print on demand model? And if so, where does a traditional publisher fit into this picture?

Writers can now hire freelance editors who once worked for major book publishers to edit their manuscripts, and help bring their work up to the standards expected. What advantages do major publishers have with dwindling in-house publicity and marketing resources that have shifted away from mid-list titles and on sure-fire hits from authors with bankable track records?

Are publishers’ brand-names that recognizable to readers that they would prefer buying a Simon & Schuster title over a Random House title as easily as they would choose Tide with Bleach over Clorox? Or will traditional publishers come back with a vengeance and reclaim their rightfully-owned place in the marketplace?

Although no one knows for certain, what do you think the future holds for book publishing companies in the next 5-10 years?

This Op-Ed piece does not reflect in any way the opinion of Mediabistro, GalleyCat or its subsidiaries.

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