The Internet has changed traditional writing trends, whereby books could take long processes before they could get published. The Internet has created an alternative outlet for people to express themselves. While we can not rule out completely that printed books are still on demand, the fact that their demand has dwindled cannot completely be put to the shade.
Demand for books in print has alternated with demand for electronic ones. People are finding it convenient to read from the web compared to reading printed work. The cost of printed books has sky rocketed, with a lot of personnel involved before the final copy hits the market. Editors have to be paid, ink has to be bought, papers too , not forgetting high shipping bills etc.
The web has now provided a better outlet to writers. It appears to pay the writer much more compared to the returns being offered by publishing houses. Many writers are reclaiming their copyrights from publishing houses, and self publishing their work on-line whereby the returns are high, with writers being offered up-to 70 percent of the sale, compared to the low percentages offered by these publishing houses. Writers are now getting their work out of print, an example is Joe Konrath, a 40 year old crime novelist who plans to self publish all his novels in digital form.
Publishing houses are also making losses, due to the decrease in demand for printed material. They have now turned to the POD (print on demand) option which does not have much returns. This is because demand might be low and the cost of production is high. Bookstores have also made the situation worse by reclaiming full repay for books which don't get bought.
In the world of print, few writers could afford the cost of self publishing but now these writers can sigh in relief since publishing on-line will not require them to shoulder huge burdens of printing and shipping their work to book stores. Another advantage is that the writers can sell their work directly to readers without first passing through the hurdles of finding publishers and even agents to market their books. It is prudent writers are choosing the on-line method over the publishing one , since there is no distribution cost in publishing books on-line.
Availability of a diversity of on-line publishing outlets example, Amazon, the Sony corp , Google inc. etc is also another factor leading to a major revolution in the publishing industry. They have given writers the support and encouragement to venture massively in publishing their work on-line. These outlets have provided space for writers in the world's greatest bookstores, with writers not having to rely on publishers, for example Google has launched an on-line bookstore which also allows independent writers to sell their work on their own sites.
Print book sales are dwindling in an alarming rate, however publishers have not written off hope. They are actually aware that the sale of books is not a steady jog anymore, but they don't see the situation as dire. Their hope hangs on the fact that, many on-line books are not up-to standard and as long as people want quality books, publishers still have an edge. This is to mean that before anybody finds a way of sorting out on-line manuscripts and separating the good from the bad, publishers will still rule.