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CRISIS - and you might be responsible!

The world is coming back online but that word 'online' is about to destroy the oldest industry on earth...

Are We Willing to Say Goodbye

Well, are you? It's going to happen unless you stop it. All those free books that you consumed, the ebooks that you bought for less than you would pay for a coffee, are pushing the industry to the edge. Of course what you will undoubtedly hear from the likes of Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon will tell you that since June, book sales have recuperated. Indeed, Amazon has revised its previous dire forecast for its book sales from -20% to +17%. You'd be conned if you thought that was 'fantastic news'. These are big companies, but some of them have used some pretty unscrupulous means to maintain their top spots (see my other blogs). Independent book shops, brand new and independent authors, and small publishers are being screwed by the public belief that there simply isn't anywhere else to shop!


"We won't Purchase From Small Publishers..."

Of the big publishers out there, I can tell you none of them will stock books from small publishers. In my own research on the subject, I was frankly told by two highstreet booksellers of renown that they simply will not purchase from small publishers or independently published books. Their reasoning was that they either were not available through their purchase order system (which only orders from mainstream publishing houses with thousands of authors on their books) or that they simply equated to too much risk. Read that again. If you are an independent author you are not considered worth the punt - your book will never grace their shelves because you simply don't represent their desired quality, your writing isn't quality enough! For those unfortunate authors, the independent bookshop is their best hope. That, or be forced to pimp themselves for pennies on Amazon.

Big book sellers have no qualms about forcing out the small independent though. As the managing director of Waterstones said to national papers, he has "no guilt over independent bookshop closures". In his own words "independent book shops had their shot" and by association untested, new, and independent authors had "their shot" too!


Paperback vs Ebook

There is no escaping that digital media has become important to us during these times. Ebook is outselling paperback copies almost 3 to 1 and that ratio is growing. However, literary recognition has not caught up with that technological revolution nor has it any intention to! In my opinion, there is without question, no comparison between the two. Obviously, not everyone can use hardback or paperback books - unless of course publishing houses start to consider sight-impaired and the need for large print, I respect that. For those of us who that doesn't apply to, not visiting those independents, not buying physical copies, is going to kill the diversity of the literature industry.

Now, this is not a blog about not buying from Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, or any of the other big book stores. Some of us don't even have an independent bookshop nearby! My own book is available through Amazon (in physical format and yes, I do sincerely hope that people will continue to purchase copies) and I would be stupid as an author not to ensure that was the case, by book is open to small independents as well e.g. Blackwells in Oxford. However, I am a small-time author publishing through a niche publisher and paperback sales from across the spectrum keep that publisher going. This is also not a blog on why ebooks are bad - they aren't. This IS a blog about the literary forecast because if we do not act soon, small publishing houses will go bust, independent authorship will have no sales potential beyond what Amazon's algorithms decide is worthy, in fact becoming an author will simply be something that only the big names of the industry have access to.


There is a crisis - we are responsible - and if we do not act we are complicit in condemning an entire industry to a predominantly white bourgeoisie of known writers and big publishers.


Don't Believe Me? Check These!


https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/30/amazon-blamed-as-iconic-bookshops-announce-closure


https://www.edp24.co.uk/business/shop-owner-to-close-holt-bookshop-because-of-rising-rent-and-internet-competition-1-6409371


https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/no-guilt-over-independent-bookshop-230100860.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvLnVrLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAJRM1F6xdptnob012DUL0KRRv-MQP2L7o_ofxDJfWQNJ80rooCVeZRFjQzZY_w9ZwmeRf8Ps1yXN9pwcb0VCA2ZlltlU51qoWsB2njOtW2_vmJunX8wJI0HCeKwyjDlN35kp7Qsadnu-TyG5I8v-qHG31aXukV78DH0aFNeldEEr


https://www.retailresearch.org/whos-gone-bust-retail.html


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Copyright: Elizabeth Stephens 2020.

"Books don't just go with you, they take you to a place you've never been." - Anonymous