If audiobooks are so popular, why are they not offered in a similar capacity to the digital music industry by the largest US retailer and producer of audiobooks? While there are costs involved in the production of audiobooks that are time-consuming, the audiobook market is clearly approaching the same issue that the digital music industry faced during the time of illegal downloading services like Napster and Limewire. The hesitancy towards moving to a more open model of consumption is creating piracy issues that are infinitely more destructive to the industry than an overhaul of the current model.
It seems like the natural progression of digital entertainment services, regardless of the form of entertainment, is leaning toward each platform making its own content. We’re starting to see that change in the world of audiobooks in the form of “born-audio narratives.” So what does this mean for publishers?
In the world of book publishing, the word feedback calls to mind the image of an editor handing a manuscript back to the writer filled to the brim with little red marks. Authors need feedback and editing to polish their work and deliver the best writing they can. It follows that the publishing professionals who are working to produce a book can’t afford to stagnate either. Any career professional must grow, and being able to hear and effectively implement feedback is crucial to that end.
It’s normal for films and TV to display warnings and ratings, and even in the publishing industry we sort material into age-appropriate categories based on content and language. Now the discussion is underway about advancing this one step further to include specific content warnings—also called trigger warnings—as we contemplate accessibility and how we can incorporate mental health practices into our work. But what is a content warning exactly, and how does it apply to book publishing? When is it appropriate, and when is it redundant? Is it only the finished, printed book that needs to be properly tagged, or is it important for authors querying out to agents and publishers as well?
Sheila E. Gilbert is just one example of how successful editors do things in the world of publishing. It is a treat to get into the mind of an award-winning editor, since most editors are very private and it’s difficult to find information on them. But they are the wizards who bring the best books to the market.
My friends and family were naturally curious when I shared my plans to start a master’s program in book publishing. Many asked why I needed further education to enter the publishing industry. Is a bachelor’s degree in English literature just a fun way to spend four years and thousands of dollars? So I applied for internships before I dove headfirst into another educational commitment. Microcosm Publishing of Portland, Oregon, was gracious enough to offer me an internship, and my personal experiment began. Would this internship be sufficient to teach me everything I wanted to learn about the industry in order to eventually get a full-time job?