Thursday, September 20, 2012

Books and bestsellers: If indie eBooks are the future, why are we ga-ga over Fifty shades of grey and a soldier’s diary?

In recent months, two books caught the attention of digirati, bloggers and the media: The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and the No Easy Day: firsthand account of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden. The two books are of diagonally different genera, catering to distinct audience. However, they have one thing in common: capturing airtime, making the authors instant celebrities and possibly wealthy beyond their expectations.

Bloggers and commentators have tried dissecting the various aspects of the books, the genius behind marketing them and the timing. I have only read reviews of the books. Fifty Shades is supposedly a "gripping modern story" with a lot of erotica thrown in. No Easy Day, on the other hand, is a biography of a solider with an elite team that killed Osama Bin Laden. The decade long “war on terrorism” is fresh in the western conscience and it is natural for folks to be curious about the slaying of a most-wanted man.

Even with the success of the books, one cannot conclude that the publishing industry will be invigorated and continue to seek fresh crop of writers. More than the stories in the book, what has fascinated many writers, and aspiring writers is the marketing of the books. The success of these books is all more interesting given how independently published (indie) eBooks are also taking off (ref blog: How Amazon Saved My Life).

The big question writers continue to ask: will self-publishing continue to be a “long tail” or replace traditional publishing? If the publishing industry continues to bring forth bestsellers like Fifty Shades or No Easy Day, there is probably No Easy Answer.

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