In the early 1950's an electronic communication technology became extremely popular, challenging the supremacy of the entertainment industry. Before television, a handful of large, privately owned companies were the gatekeepers visual entertainment. As television became a part of every day life, the production of movies by the big companies slowed and small independent studios rose to fill the gap. It was believed that the film industry would die off, but yet, we still watch movies.
At the turn of the twenty first century, digital music rose to challenge the handful of large, privately owned companies that were the gatekeepers auditory entertainment. With the increasing popularity of the MP3 format, it was predicted that CDs would disappear entirely. This has yet to happen.
Early in the twentieth century, a third electronic communication technology became extremely popular and challenged the supremacy of a few large, private companies that stood as gatekeepers literary entertainment. As a student of history, I am skeptical that physical books and traditional publishing will disappear. The music and film industries did not, after all. I do believe, however, that they will be forced to change in ways that will vary from what has come before due to several important factors that differentiate the three industries.
First, the eBook revolution is able to leverage the distribution infrastructure already in place for the digital music market. As MP3s and their players became more popular, online services providing straight-to-consumer downloads arose and were matured. By the time eBooks hit the market, many lessons could be learned from past failures or legal tangles. This smoothed the introduction of the eBooks.
Second, the time investment in new music is counted in minutes, while movies only take a few hours. Books, however, may take days or weeks to complete. This distinction makes music listeners and movie goers more open to experimentation than many readers.
Third, creating a major motion picture still requires significant investment in capital and man power, more so than most individuals can field. Though the initial investment in hardware and software can be in the thousands of dollars range for music or books, that figure is doable on an individual level.
As a caveat to this point, it is essential to note that in order to compete with a big house, the indie publisher must produce a product of equal or better quality. One of the major advantages of working with a traditional house is their access to professional staffs. Editors, typesetters, cover designers, proof readers and many more people play a significant role in making a book attractive to readers after the manuscript leaves the writer's hands. Though an individual indie author can fulfill all these roles in-house, it isn't always advisable. Each book is an investment of time and money, so why hurt its chances of success by doing amateurish work in those areas outside your expertise? Hire professionals for what you cannot do professionally yourself.Tags: Sequence 03: Musical Musings