Disruption 101 For Self-Publishers
By Suw Charman-Anderson, Contributor, at Forbes.
The publishing industry is undergoing significant disruption. Amazon is pushing down book prices and controlling the point of sale. Self-publishers are flooding the market with cheap books, producing some very high quality work that competes with traditionally published books, and proving a new business model that may well lure authors away from traditional deals.
The level of disruption cannot be underestimated, and it’s going to have a significant impact on publishing as we currently know it.
“Across industries, only 9% of disrupted organisations ever recover,” found Clark Gilbert and Clayton M Christensen in recent research into innovation in digitally disrupted markets.
“Of those, 100% created a separate digital unit to take on the disruption. Not one company […] succeeded trying to develop digital inside the existing company.”
Gilbert has produced six principles for how media companies must deal with disruption, which should be of interest to all publishers. I also think that it’s important for self-publishers to understand these principles as well, even though we are part of the disruptive force. The landscape is changing and will only change more as the the disruption truly takes hold.
Whilst some of these principles apply mostly to traditional businesses, there are some that are relevant to self-publishers.
1. Create a separate digital unit
Gilbert’s first finding, that only companies which created separate digital units survive disruption, is the one that he gets most push-back on. But, he says, the evidence is so compelling that to argue against it is “like arguing against gravity”. However, while having a separate digital unit is essential to survival, by itself it is not sufficient to guarantee success.
6. Don’t underestimate the magnitude of the disruption
Finally, Gilbert says that “magnitude of the disruption cannot be ignored”, and that’s just as true for books as it is for news. The publishing industry has multiple challenges facing it and is simply not going to triumph by nibbling around the edges with digital-only imprints, outsourced workforces and collapsing advances for midlist authors.
For self-publishers, this means accepting that change is ongoing. What works this year may not work next year, and visa versa. We have to keep on top of the transformations that our industry is seeing and not allow ourselves to be blindsided by future disruptions that alter the foundational assumptions upon which we have built our careers and businesses.
See the rest here.
I feel this is one of the best articles I’ve seen covering the changes in the publishing world. If you’re a self-publisher looking to do well in this landscape a good question to ask might be; “Have I set myself up from a business standpoint to take advantage of these changes?” I feel that the writers who have taken the extra steps to incorporate, own your own ISBN’s, and have their work available through multiple distributors, in every format, will be the ones who will thrive in the future.
From Guest Blogger Randall