James Scott Bell asked on his blog (see it here): “So does the Eisler Sanction feel like a “tipping point”? What do you think it means industry wide? What does it mean to you?”
First, what do I think it means for the industry:
The simple truth is the publishing industry is undergoing the same digital evolution as seen in music, with the same disruptive, cataclysmic effects upon the incumbent gate-keepers. The proxy in music occurred in 2007 as EMI, one of the big-4 music labels, saw Radiohead go direct.
If it seems similar to the Eisler decision, well, it should. In my opinion, guided by experience in two previous digital shifts, the “tipping point” comments are correct. It has happened. For better and for worse you (the authors) and the publishers, respectively, are now on the other side of the tip. The rate of change that is being referenced in the comments is in fact “mainstream market momentum.” This momentum is not being driven by the ability to self-publish to digital. Technically, that has been here for over 10 years. It is being driven by device penetration (consumer purchase of Kindles, Nooks, iPads and Android tablets) and access to a large library of CONTENT created by YOU the AUTHORS. The same market momentum was seen with color phones in 2002 as mobile games and ringtones became a $2B+ industry almost overnight as a large content library was made available. It was also seen in the DVD market when DVD player prices hit sub $99 (December 2003) and the massive library of old movies on DVDs became available at $14.99 and $19.99 vs. $29.99? Goodbye tipping point, hello mainstream market.
Today, musicians and writers have been empowered. Yes, the door is open to self-publish and many are walking though it (Eisler, Konrath, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, etc). While many artists can self-edit, convert digital files, and submit to digital stores such as iTunes and Kindle, many artists simply desire to create their art in word or song. Some are capable or staffed to self-publish, while others are seeking partners to help with the process.
Second, what does it mean to me?
We have built Premier Digital Publishing, PDP, to help established authors successfully navigate the digital waters and garner their fair share of the pie. Our opinion and the mission of PDP is for the creators of IP (Intellectual Property, not Internet Protocol, ha, ha) to be deservedly rewarded for producing the art forms THEY created. Sure, the ebook storefronts (new retailers) do deserve a share of the pie, but the old publishing model and its revenue splits is fatally encumbered by the weight of legacy systems, overhead, bloated staffs and prevarications a.k.a. royalty reports (wicked wink).
As the story goes, I can go to Lowes and buy $500 worth of equipment to mow my lawn each weekend, but why not pay a “group of guys” to do it for a reasonable cost? (If you live in California – don’t translate “group of guys” into its politically incorrect term). You get the point.
“Readers need writers” – true that. Writers also need self-publishing expertise and weapons to wage war in the new era of digital distribution and reach their readers. This is not limited to clicking a mouse and converting a file. PDP is here to help those who want assistance in merchandising, marketing, etc. and don’t want to “mow their own lawn.”
Welcome to the other side of the tipping point. Radiohead and Eisler are now perpetually famous.
Or is it Infamous?