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Hybrid publishers on the rise

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It is no secret that in recent years the publishing industry has faced a real challenge from Amazon compounded by the evolution of eBooks as they morphed from “that book that really isn’t a book” to a large share of book sales. Augmented by the growing popularity of print-on-demand and a simultaneous explosion of self-published authors including some big names, publishing a book which was once daunting has become quite easy.

Although the overall unit sales and book revenues for traditional publishing held their ground in 2012, pricing wars accelerated. The eBook edition of bestsellers like John Grisham’s Sycamore Row was actually discounted to $3.29 during the 2013 holiday season.

Over the past few years we have seen “hybrid publishers” emerge and some are going tooth-and-nail with Big 5 as well as some of the successful self-publishers. Others are extended arms of the Big 5. Their business model combines a royalty-paying traditional publishing business with publishing for indie authors. Many use the same printing platforms an indie author can use on their own, although some even have their own printing capabilities.

What defines a hybrid publisher?

There is no one-size-fits-all description because it can include most of the requisite elements, or just some. However, because of the combination of markets they are not wholly traditional and not wholly a self-publishing company. Hybrid publishers may be the cost-effective model of the future for authors who don’t command the advances or sales of New York Best Selling authors.

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MORGAN ST. JAMES is the author of ten books in publication, over 500 articles related to writing and the publisher of the blog and free bi monthly eZine Writers' Tricks of the Trade. Links to the current and archived issues are available on the blog.

For more information visit www.morganstjames-author.com

Hybrid publishers generally operate with a small staff dedicated to the business

The salaried employees of many of these publishers wear multiple hats and the owner or CEO is generally also hands-on. Sometimes no one is on salary, but rather on a percentage of profits. If the books don’t sell, they don’t get paid. This can include the company’s owner(s), designer and editor. Some have people in charge of marketing, some don’t.

Turning their imprints into consumer brands

If it seems as though these hybrid publishers are very clever marketers, it’s because they are. By large publishers creating imprints bearing their famous brands as the parent company it can help sell books that might otherwise go unnoticed. For smaller companies, it is the ability to do business with minimal risk.

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