I listened to a piece on NPR this week, that claimed that despite all of the uproar about e-books, they still claim only 20% of the market. I think that is probably true–sort of. I think the market has shrunk and the NPR news story did not address that.
For instance, how many of us get a newspaper delivered anymore? You notice I was listening to NPR, not reading it. I think many of us get news while we are, metaphorically speaking, on the run, during our commute or perhaps when we’re trying to exercise. Of course, somebody has to write what we’re hearing, but it does cut down the number of writers as our news becomes more and more centralized. Maybe not such a good thing for a balanced view.
Another place I think the writing market has gotten a bit smaller is magazines. We can get recipes and decorating ideas on the web. Pinterest, anyone? And who pays those writers? Magazines are trying to fight back by having their stuff available on the web, but I think in the next few years, we might find more magazines going out of business.
As for books, I think its a tossup. Ebooks are especially successful in the Romance genre and the reason seems to be that reader of the steamier romance subgenres can get their fix without others knowing, since they can download a book and have it on their reader without anyone being the wiser. I’m willing to bet that share of the market is well over 20%. Other genres lag a bit as readers seem to need a little longer to find the benefit to e-books, but I think I’ve seen a big attitude shift in the past year or two alone. I think it has opened things up in the romance field to newer writers. You still have to be good but Harlequin is not the only way to go.
I think its finally coming to the point where readers of other genres are following in Romance’s footsteps. And I think we writers are finally benefiting but it’s at a slower pace.