Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yes, traditional publishers can profit from ebooks, too

For a few years now, left-leaning Luddites of the literary establishment, like Jonathan Franzen, have been decrying ebooks and the Amazon Kindle as pernicious in various ways. 

Franzen, who is a beneficiary of the pre-epublishing establishment, sees epublishing as a benefit only to self-publishers and Amazon.com, both of which he disdains. Franzen has said:

"In my own little corner of the world, which is to say American fiction, Jeff Bezos of Amazon may not be the antichrist, but he surely looks like one of the four horsemen. Amazon wants a world in which books are either self-published or published by Amazon itself, with readers dependent on Amazon reviews in choosing books, and with authors responsible for their own promotion."

We know: It's a vast rightwing conspiracy. Isn't it always, after all? However, traditional publishers can, in fact, profit from ebooks, too, as HarperCollins recently demonstrated:

"Revenues at HarperCollins decreased 7% to $328 million in the first quarter of its fiscal year — the first as part of the new News Corp, the newspaper and book publishing operations spun off from the larger News Corp earlier this year. At the same time, profits increased by 8% to $43 million. 
 Ebook sales drove the profit growth at HarperCollins. Ebook sales were up 30% in the quarter versus the same period a year ago and represented 22% of overall book publishing revenues, up from 15% a year ago. 
 Overall, revenues were down 3% at News Corp to $2.07 billion, versus $2.133 billion in the first quarter a year ago."

Epublishing is environmentally friendly and promises to make reading more widespread. Liberal types should be doing cartwheels over it. 

Instead, the political Left has made Amazon.com and epublishing into an evil conspiracy against independent booksellers, traditional publishers, and established authors. Go figure.

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