The Rose, a free short e-book by Linda Aksomitis.

The Rose, a free short e-book by Linda Aksomitis.

There’s no argument that the book publishing industry is changing–it could even be put out as a disaster movie, with some traditional publishers trying to find the right attack to blow up the asteroid, err, e-book, headed right at them, threatening to forever change the face of the planet. They won’t find it, of course.

A May report from the Association of Book Publishers indicated ebook net sales revenue for 2011 was $21.5 million, a gain of 332.6 percent over 2010, while print sales remained flat with a 2% increase in 2011 at $335.9 million, compared to $328.3 million in 2010.

Book Expo, held June 4-7, 2012, proved some of the publishing industry at least, are prepared to talk e-books, although Scholastic, Harper Collins, Harlequin’s Karina Press, and many of the big six publishers had a non-existent digital presence according to Michael Kozlowski at GoodEReader.com.

Other sites, however, reported a number of positive signs that e-books have at least been allowed into the room with the grown-ups:

  • Kobo announced a new program that opens their service to self-publishers (Writing Life), who previously had to use aggregators or bring at least 10 titles with them to join.
  • Amazon’s KDP program is working more closely with publishers using CreateSpace to get their POD books into e-book format and uploaded.
  • Disney is focusing on new apps using their graphics and animations.
  • E-Book displays were given a center stage next to some of the publishing industry’s big players.
  • Fans could even get e-book author autographs!

While nay-sayers still had some negative comments about the latest New York Times bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey, that started life as fan fiction on a website, then was rewritten and released as a self-published e-book by British author, E. L. James, none could deny its success. Instead, the word is out that publishers will always be interested in authors who manage to create their own hype and market in the e-book world. In other words, if e-authors can make it on their own, traditional publishers may be interested in sharing the wealth. Go figure.

In the scramble to get print books “back on track” the Book Expo added a new feature this year, in what Boris Kachka, at Vulture.com, described as dipping their toes into the consumer waters. While Kachka indicated he doubted Book Expo would ever become a Comic-Con for book lovers, it was a very successful venture. Here’s his list of “Power Readers” coming out in paper form this fall (no comment on e-books yet): http://www.vulture.com/2012/06/book-expo-2012-the-ten-hottest-prospects.html