While the publishing industry has done its best to ward off its impending death, including launching a curated e-commerce site, the tragic Going Out of Business signs flooding Borders are a glaring symbol that whatever progress has been made is not enough.
The publishing industry has been struggling to evolve. The popularity of digital books is transforming the usual publishing cycle and in a new, telling trend, paperbacks are being released way earlier than usual—sometimes less than six months after the hardcover.
Because the digital versions of new books are released at the same time as the hardcover and usually cost the same, customers are more likely to spend their money on the e-book than wait another year to purchase the paperback.
There are obvious exceptions, like when a book’s hardcover sales are still going strong (like anything by Stieg Larsson).
Even though there are obvious growing pains, the trend seems a hopeful one for the consumer and publishers. By adapting to a faster, digital printing model, the industry can save itself and appease the discerning customer.