How much has the publishing industry changed in six years?


Literary agent Rachelle Gardner

The publishing industry is rapidly changing. There are different startups, new e-readers, and self-publishers becoming millionaires. Literary agent Rachelle Gardner looks at the past six years and just how much things have changed in the publishing world in a post on Books and Such.

One of the most revealing statements from Gardner was just how much her views on self-publishing changed.

I wrote posts back then about how there was a stigma to self-publishing and I warned writers against it— if they wanted to be taken seriously. Now self-publishing is a normal and accepted option for writers.

Perhaps this is one of the biggest changes. It may even be that the turnaround in the perception of self-publishing is the reason that everything has happened: the explosion of e-readers and then tablets, digital distributors, and the rise of e-books. Perhaps that is stretching a little bit, but the changes are definitely there.

Here are some of the examples Gardner points out:

– The closing of Borders was an epic blow to the industry, many independent bookstores have closed, and pundits frequently discuss the future of Barnes & Noble.
– Several small publishers went out of business; even larger publishers are at risk with the bankruptcy filing of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012.
– E-books grew substantially in terms of their proportion of overall book sales, and the percentage of people owning e-readers is continuing to rise.
– The price of books became a huge issue as the low cost of self-published e-books and low publisher promotional prices began to affect consumers’ willingness to pay full-price for books.

It’s interesting to see one person’s view on of things have changed in such a short time.

What are some of the changes that you have noticed in the last six years?

1 Comment on How much has the publishing industry changed in six years?

  1. Barry Morten // March 13, 2014 at 6:48 am //

    Yes, evidently digital technology has shaken up the publishing industry. There needs to be an awareness of other potentially game-changing technologies out there. For instance, the WHY Code ( is focused on capturing the answers to the fundamental learning questions of a reader, automatically indexing and publishing information from a text in this format. This enables people to understand information far faster than under conventional methods of knowledge publishing.

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