Okay, this may not be big news in the sense that BP getting the Gulf oil leak plugged is big news, or the Bachelorette picking between those two guys on that Not-So-Reality show is big news, but if you have been paying attention to the ongoing revolution in book publishing, this is almost that big: According to Publishers Weekly, Dorchester Publishing "has dropped its traditional print publishing business in favor of an ebook/print on demand model..."
This isn't a case of some small upstart publisher failing to make a dent in the print market and switching to ebooks at the drop of a hat. Dorchester has been around for forty years, making them the oldest independent mass-market book publisher in the United States. Primarily known for books in the romance genre, Dorchester also publishes books in the horror, thriller and Western genres as well as their award-winning Hard Case Crime line of mysteries.
Dorchester is the real deal.
They have also been losing sales at an alarming rate - According to the Publishers Weekly story, 2009 showed a drop in retail sales for the publisher of an astonishing 25%, and this year's sales results have been even worse, although exactly how much worse was not specified.
To deal with this new business reality, effective with the release of their September titles, Dorchester will offer their books in ebook format, and "some ebooks that are doing well in the digital marketplace will be released as trade paperbacks...however, the company will not do any more mass market paperbacks for retail distribution."
Back in March, when Medallion, my publisher, advised me they were pulling out of the mass-market paperback business and instead offering FINAL VECTOR as an ebook, I felt aggrieved. It seems like that happened five years ago, not five months, considering how much the publishing landscape has changed since then. It turns out Medallion was just ahead of a very sharp curve.
Lots of small/independent publishers have done it, Medallion Press has done it, and now Dorchester Publishing has done it. Can the big New York publishers be far behind? How long can they continue subsidizing all their losing titles with the one or two big hits a year from their mega-superstar authors?
If you're a reader and you haven't yet availed yourself of a low-priced Kindle or Nook or iPad, you'd better hurry up and get yours before you find yourself with nothing to read...
If you love to read and you love to get FREE STUFF, check out my website for details on how to win a free copy of every book I ever publish!