Let’s go back to the 15th century and look at music and the public. If you wanted to listen to music, you had to either play it yourself or listen to someone play it live. This is how it went for the next 400 years when along came recorded music. This created a new market and gave musicians a larger audience. Musicians no longer had to play in front of a live audience in order to attract fans (customers). As with any market, if there is money being made, you will see more of the product produced (supply & demand).
Recorded music opened the market to a large number of musicians who previously would not have had a chance to break into the industry and gave the public a more diverse variety of genres to hear. It also gave small entrepreneurs the ability to buy a vinyl press and start their own record label. This remained status quo for the many decades until digital recording hit the scene. Buried in all the chaos of how MP3’s and downloading would kill the music industry, musicians found a new way to be heard. They now had a means to market their music to the public and bypass those who had controlled the recording industry for decades. This digital music revolution has opened up even more genres to the public and allowed musicians of all shapes, sizes and sounds to develop a following (customers).
Let’s go back to the 15th century again and look at books. Books have just become available to the masses, thanks to the printing press. With all these people learning to read and write, more and more authors rise to the surface and publish books. As with any market, if there is money being made, you will see more of the product produced (supply & demand). But, if you wanted to read a book, you had to hold the physical printed on paper copy in your hand. This is how it went for the next 400 years when along came print on demand digital printing. This gave the masses the ability to enter into the industry but lacked the distribution power behind the publishers who controlled the market. A decade later ebooks arrived on the scene.
Because of ebooks and P.O.D., authors who would be ignored by the industry have been given a voice. It also has given entrepreneurs the ability to start small publishing companies without the huge capital investment of large scale printing presses. Just like the big record labels who get their musicians played on the airways, the large publishers will continue to get their books on the shelves of the big chain book stores. As the garage bands of today, work their way to the surface of the digital ocean of music and make their way onto the radio stations, so will the ebook and P.O.D. authors make their way to the shelves of Borders and Barnes & Noble. There are those who still consider ebooks as a fad that will quickly fade. But, those voices come from those no willing to adapt to the changes in the industry. Eventually, ebooks will offer multi media options and become the standard choice of reading material.
I would guess that those who think I’m way off on this prediction are people who still do not own an eReader.