Monday, September 8, 2014

Books are old technology? Ask James Patterson if there is still gold in publishing

by Don Keith

I've posted multiple times about how rapidly changing technology has affected some media much more than others.  That is especially true of two media in which I have more than a passing interest: broadcast radio and book publishing.  I'm a former radio broadcaster and I have published more than two dozen books.

Well, I keep hearing that nobody reads anymore.  With all the audio and video choices, why bother turning the pages of a paper book or flipping the simulated pages of an e-book?  Apparently plenty of people still turn off Facebook or Netflix or Pandora and curl up with a good book, whether it's on ground-up trees or in an electronic device.

Forbes Magazine is out with their report on how much the best-paid authors make and, frankly, the haul is breathtaking.  And that correlates to plenty of copies of books being sold, whether in printed or electronic form.  No surprise to those who are aware that James Patterson leads the ranking with more than three times the income of number two.  Of course, he now has a small army of "co-authors" cranking out so many books it's hard to keep track of them all.  He averages releasing a book a month with his name on it.  But somebody obviously is.  Keeping track and buying them, whether they have time to read them all or not.

By the way, in case you are wondering, my income from writing books is similar to Mr. Patterson's...if you move that decimal point many, many places to the left!

(Another by the way:  I was actually under consideration to be a "co-author" with the late Tom Clancy.  I had always heard he paid his "co-authors" a flat $1,000,000 per book.  Here is another example of needing to move the decimal point many places to the left to be accurate.  Still, I was thinking about accepting the job if offered just to have the opportunity to work with Mr. Clancy.

Still, if Mr. Patterson is reading this, I could probably do a darn good "co-authoring" job on his genre of book, too!)

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