The Changing Digital Landscape

Originally Published: June 2012
by Karen DelleCava
Emma Dryden led attendees through the chaotic, exciting and rapidly changing digital landscape. Children are more familiar with the digital landscape, more so than their parents and are seldom away from a screen. According to the NY Times, the toy of choice for toddlers is the Iphone. The over 35s need to learn new protocols and must continue to reeducate themselves.
With all the digital options available, Dryden has NO fear that books will disappear. Writers and editors must continue to strive to tell stories that matter, stories that will make the reader feel and develop characters that the reader will identify with.

Publishers, editors, writers and illustrators will need to remain flexible in order to adapt in the digital age. Dryden cited the demise of Borders Books as not being willing to adapt to the swiftly changing landscape.
The industry anticipates that by 2014, half of all books sales will be ebooks. Ebooks have fewer overhead costs and come to market more quickly. They’re affordably priced for the consumer from $0.99-$9.99.
Ebooks have opened access to out of print books which is very appealing to publishers and agents. Ebooks have also begun to blur the lines between the two entities. Some agencies are becoming ebook publishers. These agencies tackle editing and choosing covers which is in direct conflict with and causes greater competition with trade publishers.
Ebooks have opened the door to authors to self-publish which gives authors complete control plus higher royalties. While there is quality self-publishing appearing on the landscape, Dryden warned that unedited manuscripts could harm a writer’s career. She also noted that success in the digital market does not necessarily translate to success in print. About 2/3 or the country’s libraries are adapting to the digital landscape by lending ebooks.
Dryden believes that technology shouldn’t rule exclusively. The industry still needs traditional authors, illustrators, editors and agents. Literacy should be an ongoing concern for our children. Authors and illustrators who strive to produce the highest quality work will find parents, teachers and librarians searching for the best books-print or digital-while navigating the ever changing digital landscape.
Karen DelleCava is the author of YA novel, A CLOSER LOOK by Westside Books, October 2011. Check out her website

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