In the last five years, we have entered an exciting new era for both readers and authors.
Much to the dismay of the well-entrenched, stodgy traditional publishers, the landscape of the publishing industry was literally transformed overnight.
The advent of self-publishing and the growth of e-readers has shifted power away from this tightly knit old-boys network and into the hands of the reader.
During this period, we’ve seen a rise in the power of Amazon, bloggers, and now the average reader.
Thanks to the web-tocracy most of us now inhabit on a daily basis, each person’s voice has power. Simply clicking ‘Like’, leaving a comment, or writing a blog post adds our vote to the never-ending stream of consumer preferences that weaves its way through our networks.
When enough people cast their vote in one direction, we can make a real difference and make something go ‘viral’.
Ironically, many pundits predicted that reading was on its way out. This was an understandable conclusion in light of society’s thirst for online micro-connections.
The result of so many short-lived bursts of data, with each drawing your attention from the last, has been a dramatic decline in our attention spans. Add to this a decline in the proper use of spelling and grammar, a direct result in the growth of Twitter and texting, and it would appear that the experts had it correct.
However, the opposite is actually true. Reading is on the rise. Something that has helped fuel this viral phenomenon is book clubs. A quick search of the Internet will show that book clubs are popping up everywhere.
Websites such as Readers Circle, Book Club Reading List, and GoodReads are evidence of this trend.
In fact, you can even find book clubs with the stated goal of driving this viral experience. Book Club Reading List has launched a unique new reader’s group called The Lit-Tank. Indie authors compete for the group’s marketing support.
In Week One, members vote for one of three books.
In Weeks Two and Three, they purchase the winning book to read. At the end of the third week, the winning author hosts an online book club meeting to answer any questions.
In Week Four, members begin by adding their reviews.
If the group likes the novel, they will actually help market it by following a simple schedule to mass tweet, post comments, write in blogs, etc.
The rules of the game are changing due to a technological self-fulfilling cycle that has left traditional publishers grappling to understand. The result has been increased access for consumers to high-quality literature by up and coming authors at inexpensive prices.
As a result, demand for e-readers has increased by leaps and bounds creating this self-fulfilling prophecy.
When consumers make this purchase, they are more likely to increase their demand for e-books. The cheaper the books, the better. As the traditional publishers double-down on reality TV celebrity fluff that does nothing to enhance our lives, and they expect to sell it at premium prices, educated readers become more open to giving self-published novels a chance.
Readers interested in having more input in determining the future of publishing are joining book clubs like The Lit-Tank. This has put the publishing industry on notice.
Steve PojerovaLooking for a great read? Steve Pojerova is a twenty year veteran of the publishing industry with a knack for spotting up and coming writers. When he’s not reviewing books or entertaining his online book club, he’s busy blogging about the ever-changing publishing industry.