I RECENTLY LISTENED to a webinar that featured Penguin Random House’s international CEO Marcus Dohle, who is incredibly bullish about where the publishing industry finds itself in the early twenty-first century, and the available data bear him out: more people are reading than at any time in history. Mr. Dohle pointed out these six key indicators of the industry’s robust health:
- The global book market is growing dramatically.
- The industry has established stable and very successful business models for the physical and digital distribution of books.
- There is a healthy split in the industry between physical books, which occupy 80 percent of the market, and digital books, which now claim 20 percent of the market.
- The “addressable audience”—meaning readers eager to read—is dominated worldwide by people who read in English.
- Children’s book sales are increasing dramatically, meaning that new generations of lifelong readers are being created.
- Digital audio book sales are booming and are becoming an entirely new—and highly profitable—publishing medium.
Dohle’s optimism addresses only so-called traditional or legacy publishing, which makes sense. That’s the business in which he works. When you add the explosion of publishing that is taking place in the author-directed realms of independent and hybrid publishing of physical books as well as the digital, Internet-based publishing that is now possible on myriad platforms, the result is that there have never been more or better opportunities for a writer to publish and reach a targeted audience.
Any writer who wants to be published these days can be published—and published well.
That’s pretty exciting stuff for those of us who are compelled to share our words with others!