The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Goes Post-Print

Another print outfit, this one the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, has decided it’s time to go 100% online. Oddly enough, this makes me feel just the slightest bit more comfortable with my status as an online-mostly author. Why? Because the “legitimate” publishing world is slowly but surely shifting from book stores and newsstands to the Internet. Many retail stores are converting to walk-in catalogs. An example: Last month my sister was looking for a new laptop, so we headed down to the local Staples (we would have gone to Circuit City, but you know what’s happened there). They had a half dozen home office PCs and a few laptops on display—the majority of which were only available online, at the Staples Web site. It’s a familiar scene at Best Buy and Fry’s: all the good deals are available exclusively at each store’s respective site. And at Barnes & Noble, it’s bestsellers-only. No mid-list books, which is a shame because there are many awesome mid-list books that never make it to the shelves due to lack of space or lack of promotional muscle.

Anyway, I’m seeing a trend here that may pay off in the long run. Respected authors, self-mades, hobbyists, and hacks are all selling via the same platform. This by no means makes things easier for each individual small / online press vying for readers’ dollars, but it is one less reason to shun an author who’s never had his books on a store shelf if store shelves cease to be the primary distribution method.

We’ll see…