by Dan Balow
“Nobody is buying print books anymore”
“Nobody is buying printed magazines or newspapers anymore”
“No one shops at bookstores anymore”
“No one is reading anymore”
“No one goes to the trade shows anymore”
“No one needs a traditional publisher anymore”
“Everyone should just self-publish”
When the speed of change is faster than we can easily comprehend, our language has a difficult time catching up with reality, so we have a tendency to use over-stated terms to describe what is happening. Our very choice of words open the door to making some very poor business decisions. How? Rather than seeking wise solutions by understanding the facts, we make fast decisions based on incomplete information. Simply…it’s faster.
Nobody, no one, everyone, always, never, etc.
Not limited to publishing, over-stated language fills our political process, the financial markets, our personal lives and even our churches.
Overall, eBooks represent about 25% of all book sales…so digital-only books miss 75% of the market.
Print magazines, newspapers and trade shows are a lot alike…they reach a point where the cost cannot justify continuing, even though hundreds of thousands of people still read them or thousands of people attend an exposition. Readers Digest declared chapter 11 bankruptcy but had millions of print subscribers.
Bookstores still sell half of all print editions of most books. Sure, it is less than it was years ago, but it is still significant.
Traditional publishers still publish hundreds of thousands of new titles every year and account for significant majority of all books sold. Alternative methods of publishing have surpassed the title output of traditional publishers, but hold a small % of the overall dollar and unit volume.
So why use the word “nobody” to describe 75% of the market or “no one” applied to something that still holds a majority of a segment’s business? Information and facts always make things complicated. Wise decision-making is harder to come by. Take time, see the truth, then make wise decisions and hold realistic opinions.
As the great social commentator and sage Yogi Berra once said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”