Do the Internet and other digital innovations threaten the livelihood of the literary community?
That issue took center stage last week at the annual BookExpo America (BEA) in New York City, where more than 20,000 publishers, authors, and booklovers gathered at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
Digital devices like Kindle e-Readers and Barnes & Noble Nooks are changing the way we read books but it might not be the biggest threat to the literary industry. The real concerns are online retailers like Amazon.com. Not only do online retailers sell at prices lower than the publishers', but they also eliminate the close relationship found between bookstore owners and their customers, booksellers said.
However, Booksellers and authors affirmed that the future looks optimistic for the book industry, despite the changing technology. If the crowds at BEA were any indication, people are still excited to read and discuss books, whether they are read on a Nook, shipped to your doorstep by Amazon.com, or thrust at you by an eager publicist at BEA.
Online retailers weren't the only thing shaking up the publishing industry. Here are five other trends:
1. The sale of e-books and digital reading devices are growing rapidly, outselling print books in many cases.
2. Online reading communities like Goodreads or Zola Books are gaining more users. These websites are also expanding to new platforms via iPhone and iPad apps.
3. Direct and independent publishing is becoming more common. One notable example is J.K. Rowling's independent release of the Harry Potter e-books via her Pottermore website.
Will digital libraries replace traditional paperback & hardback books? Share your thoughts below!