E-books and Publishing Houses: Friends or Foes?

It doesn’t take a lot of Internet exploration to  discover that people largely have mixed feelings about e-books: some people love them, while others aren’t too fond. Although many debates about e-books focus on the benefits and drawbacks of e-books versus traditional paper books, there is a bigger picture to be looked at: how is it affecting the publishing industry as a whole?

At first glance, one may think that a push towards digital publishing would hurt major publishing houses, it appears that the opposite rings true. Rather, e-books are saving the industry. It’s been reported that book sales have actually risen quite steadily since 2008 (just after Amazon’s release of their e-reader, the kindle, in 2007) despite the struggles that physical book sellers like Borders and Barnes and Nobles have faced.

Although it is true that publishing houses have of lot of adaptation and adjusting to do in the coming years, digital publishing and e-books are still so new that everyone involved is learning: from digital publishing conferences, graduate programs, and even grammar and spelling disputes on the usage of ‘ebooks’ versus ‘e-books’ – so everyone seems to have a lot to learn. With that being said, I’m not so sure that publishing houses have too much to fear just yet. The playing field appears pretty level – even with the rise of digital publishing start-ups and an increase in self-published digital content.