Thursday, July 1, 2010

Publishing is Dead?

Two years ago, I would have said a bold statement like "Publishing is Dead" is a little extreme. Two years later, I now rexamine that statement and question, if not dead, then is it fair to say, at the very least, that traditional publishing it's dying? I think so.

The death, or dying, of publishing is not triggered by electronic publishing, rather the lack of publishing in general figuring out what to do because of it. The best way to deal with a problem is to figure out a solution before the problem hits--that didn't happen.

Here's the problem as I see it: Publishing in general is more worried about what distributer will get them the most money than developing a model that works. They are approaching eBooks the same way they approach physical books. The biggest mistake of publishing is using yesterdays publishing model on a platform that is still defining itself. Instead of learning new platforms, they are simply opting in with little understanding of how it actually works.

I saw this as an opportunity.

I told my friend, and now business partner, Roland, that we should try and take advantage of traditional publishings present mistake--to develop a model that just might work.

In June we started setting up our model; we drafted out our first books, opened up accounts, registered the name, and did all the stuff necessary to make the business legal. We called our publishing business Minute Help Press; by the end of the month, we had our first two books. By the end of July, another dozen should join their company. Our plan is to release 5 to 10 a month.

So, in less than a month, we had two books designed, edited, and submitted to electronic distributers. The process for traditional publishing is 1 to 2 years.

The first thing we decided was that people tend to read eBooks on the go. Yes, people read it from home, but truly the best feature of eReading is the ability to have a book literally on your phone, your compuer, and your eReading device--this means wherever you are (at home, at work, or on the go) you have your book at your fingertips. The average person probably is not going t want to read "War and Peace" on their commute to work. The best eBooks are the ones you can read with a subway full of people--something that is easy to read when you are surround by distractions.

The second thing we considered is a growing number of people want to know as much as possible in the least amount of time possible. There are lots of people who are completists--they want to know every single detail about a subject. Those people are not our audience. Our audience is the business man or woman who just picked up a copy of Office 2010 and wants to know what's different about, what the basic features are, and how to use it--the people, in short, who want nothing more than a crash course on the subject.

The second thing we considered is price. We aren't paying anyone to print the books, market the books, edit the books, design the books, etc--we are doing it all ourselves. That means we can sell the books for $0.99 to $2.99 and still make a profit.

There are literally millions of people with eReaders; once people stop being stubborn and realize that eReading doesn't mean the death of physical books, that number will only grow. But as more people launch home-based publishing companies such as ours, publishing is going to take a hit--by the time they realize this, the competition might just be too great, so tomorrow's publishing companies might very well be one's just like Minute Help. In ten years, the books you see in the bookstore, might be books put out not by companies like Random House, but by two little guys with a little bit of know-how. Only time will tell.

If you want to watch the story unfold, you can join our newly launched Twitter feed here @minutehelp or see are new and future releases here:

The first two books are currently available on Kindle; next week they should be available on the iBookstore; very soon they will be available on Nook and Google Editions. To see the current catalog of books, visit the following link. Previews of select titles are available.

1 comment:

Rupert said...

Hi, I enjoyed your article because it exactly reflects how I feel. I also feel that as a wannabe writer I don't need a publisher or agent's permission to tell me if I can write anymore. So with a great sense of empowerment I too have set up a small publishing concern that sells both ebooks and, through the iTunes store, apps: