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The Future of the Book: Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-books by Jeffrey Trachtenberg Essay (Critical Writing)


Strategic business planning is very necessary for the development and growth within any business industry. It plays a very important role in the management and executions of duties that enable participants achieve their goals. Each business industry including book industry has plans of attaining stable financial growth.

This can only be realized on the fact that efficient business strategies are implemented for the benefit of all participants within the industry. The strategies strive to give leadership in terms of governance and management of resources. A clear vision and mission statement need to be developed in order to show the industry’s integrity in achieving major economic growth status within a particular period of time (Trachtenberg 1-6).

The authors’ issue and conclusion in the attached article

The author’s concern is on the differences in demand between e-books and hard covered books. The author is also concerned about digital revolution that has adversely affected the economic model of the book industry. Citing examples of authors who have lost subsequent amount of money on their publications, because of the tendency of selling e-books at much lower prices compared to hard-covered books. This practice has led to lower percentage returns on the side of writers.

The author argues that there was need by publishers and digital operators to consider authors irrespective of their status. Writers should be considered based on their effectiveness and the level of services they offer within various sectors of economy. The author finds issue on the need to restructure various issues within the book industry including the manner by which publishers handle upcoming writers.

This ensures increase in the level of viable services required for the expansion of the book industry. The author takes issue with the frustrations involved in being full time author; his advice is that taking part time job is very necessary for the purposes of supplementing on individual writer’s income (Trachtenberg 1-6).

The author concludes that there are general low sales on the hard-cover books. He also asserts that currently, there are low numbers of readers not enough to fully support the upcoming writers; this is attributable to the rising of various entertainment choices. The economic downturn is also a contributor to the slide on the sales of hard cover books and this call for discipline and doing the right thing within the market environment.

Trachtenberg, who is the author, discovers that the book industry has suffered a lot due to unfairness in dealing with consumer pricing. Expansion and progress within the book industry should be based on comprehensive relationship between authors and publishers. The success of writers within the book industry lies in chances of being chosen by publishers who have become selective in choosing clients they wish to work with.

According to the author, the big name writers benefit much since the demand for their e-books are on the rise. There is necessity of having good business structure capable of harmonizing the crisis within the book industry. The success of any book selling business could be attributed to excellent management tactics on brand-names based upon the principles of marketing (Trachtenberg 1-6).

The structure and overall persuasiveness of the reasoning

From the article, the author starts by drawing a conclusion on the level of desperation of literary authors citing the need for their ability to support themselves through other means due to acceptance of e-books within the market. The author goes ahead to cite literal examples to expound on the issue, he uses the example on the case between Sarah Yake, one of the agents within the book industry and the New York publishers.

The comparison made in the manner in which independent publishers pick writers and the charges they offer them brings out clear disparity that exists in terms of financial payments. There is no competitive method involved in the selection process; at the end of it all the economics behind it looks so devastating on the side of writers. His research is well structured since research results provided are conclusive and convincing (Trachtenberg 2)

According to the author, restructuring should be done, since the business environment in today’s world demands great changes within the operational and management sectors of any business enterprise. It is necessary for the writers within the book industry to focus on doing good business as well as maintaining excellent social environment. There should be that capability amongst authors of creating new business models that could be used for creating solutions on current economic crisis they face with the sale of their published books.

Following the right procedure could lead to development of right business principles and models having the ability of changing the image of the industry for the benefit of writers within world market. The author argues that despite all these, an individual requires some level of confidence and creativity to be able to attain to the expected financial target required for success within the industry (Trachtenberg 1-6).

Types and quality of evidence the writer uses to support the reasoning

The writer employed statistical evidence in his research. Statistical evidence is the kind of data that is usually analyzed for the purposes of providing concrete conclusions. The writer, Trachtenberg refers to several financial figures in his examples. For instance, he mentions the manner through which authors make little more income when they make sales online. He gives an example on how a $ 28 dollar book sold online, brings only half revenue to the publisher and less than quarter percentage of the total price to the author (Trachtenberg 2).

In supporting his reasoning against the issue, Trachtenberg argues that e-publishing sales are usually lower to the extent that a writer whose sales hit 500th mark is considered successful. He further asserts that majority of e-publishers pay little or no advance at all.

This seems to be one of the major financial setbacks for writers, since also genre organizations do not recognize commercial publication of any text until advance is settled. The discrimination that is practiced on the writers by the editors and publishers could be attributed to the level in which the author could command heavy promotional efforts within the digital market (Trachtenberg 4-5).

The use of anecdotal evidence is also prominent within the text. Anecdotal evidence is based on personal observations around the world. It could be used for disapproving generalizations. For instance, the writer has revealed the truth using examples on the fact that common authors are operating under some financial suppression due to digital sales of their publications.

As per the quality of the evidence, it could be argued that the writer based his argument on a number of study interviews with a number of authors, agents and publishers. Interview with Amazon.com Inc. gave a good example of one of the authors first to sell more than one million of his books online. This and other evidences seem to provide good picture on the recent situation within the book industry. However, big disparity occurs between the sale of fiction books and other publications.

The evidence given by the author shows that fiction writers at times have less than ten thousand printed copies sold. There is further discrimination from editors who mainly ignores new writers based on experience, there is no patience involved as opposed to pre-digital era.

The writer mentions how some writers like Anne Tyler and Elmore Leonard publications may be lost due to shifting interest on the side of publishers and editors. Evidence is given on John Pipkin’s debut novels which have earned him less revenue due to low sales price on e-books (Trachtenberg 4).

Assumptions either descriptive or value based that might influenced the reasoning

According to the writer’s examples, some assumptions could be deduced in the manner in which the publishers handle writers. One important assertion is that only those who have been in the book industry for long needs to be given first priorities.

This could be true to some extent in that for the success of the authors, one should be able to understand and manipulate resources whose values are in figures. This assumption is to some extent value based in that it is a general understanding that the value of trade is in the size of figures (Trachtenberg 3).

Another important assumption that he made was that good and successful authors are by far large risk takers. They should be prepared for any outcome. It’s a common knowledge that business risks are to a larger extent unlimited. The risks may include losses, fire, political risks, insecurity just to mention but a few. It therefore requires one with courage, perseverance and determination. Success of writers within the industry requires the use of relevant principles and tools that could be used to avert problems brought by ignorance.

The first tool is the use of the Critical Success factors; this means that publishers and editors are required to refer to business core ethical values and then decide on what best suits their working environment. Second tool recommended is the Causal texture modeling which helps the authors to respond to some hidden factors instead of only looking at the common disadvantages and features within the market.

These features might include low morale, poor training, and defects amongst others. There is the scenario writing that may assist writers to plan and prepare for future activities. Finally is the use of After-Action-Reviewers which could assist writers in learning from the past events (Trachtenberg 1-6).

The writers’ ability to reflect on discrepancies could enable them sense some warning and critically think about them as a group. They should have the ability to think concerning the digital market situation and make ethical decisions out of the existing conditions.

They should be aware that all the information always contains world views; therefore however much they try to react in favor of their businesses, the world will still have its view. However, the reaction of other people outside the business should not threaten them since information is never free of bias. In general, writers are assumed to be trend-following masters capable of predicting market movement and hence able to take appropriate profitable positions (Trachtenberg 1-6).

Any errors in reasoning that weakened the arguments

The author through his examples has not put into consideration the level of competition that exists within the market. There is no relationship quoted between the quality of writers work and the area of specialization. The industry should ensure that all writers receive quality training that could enable them understand the importance of diversifying decisions that could help them meet contemporary needs. The author considers some of the new writers to be as good as veteran authors despite the priorities given to the latter.

The system of training offered should enable writers to know how to run their operations on the bottom-up basis; this is the situation whereby those involved within the business perform their duties with minimum interference from the outside sources (Trachtenberg 1-6).

The author ignored the discussion of some important features of the authors which included; hardworking and diligence, this is where they work to realize more sales since they know well that they can only earn in accordance to the level of sales they achieve. The writers could as well be used as means of advertising the businesses within the book industry. The independent writers who identify themselves with publishing company brands will always try as much as possible to enhance and protect the brand image.

This makes them promote the business privately and publicly leading to proactive behaviors towards the brand outside the scope described by their job. This contributes towards viability of the brand and healthy competition. However, writers are not expected to have long-term associations with companies since they are not given other forms of compensation and sometimes change at will depending on the level of profits they make out of the business.

There is no clear plan for marking-up financial percentages to each party involved within the whole processes in the book industry. The process of making decisions based on financial intelligence requires a well learned person with vast experience who understands the real concepts and the business-life cycles.

This helps in reducing the duration taken before books could be profitably sold within the market. There is no clear guideline on the appropriate channels that need to be followed for the purposes of communication. Respect must be accorded to all within the various business channels.

Questions relevant to the discussion of the issue that the writer might have left unanswered

The success of writers lies in the fact that they have got the ability to do some other kinds of jobs like teaching. The trend set-up by veteran writers seem to have given confidence to most new writers since their earnings were always stable in the sale of hard-cover books.

This was before the emergence of digital market. The spirit enabled the writers to focus on customer-oriented services creating a very productive environment. Their operations should give details on how they could handle situations where there is stiff competition within the market and methods of cost-cutting initiative (Trachtenberg 1-6).

The author should have stressed on good relationships between the authors and publishers in the digital market. This ensures saving on operation costs. At the same time writers should be viewed on the basis of their abilities. The author should have advised on the need to conduct performance tests that could allow for fair competition within the book industry. This would ensure that all writers are comfortable with the business culture before they could venture into it.

The process of undertaking new business ventures should also be considered during training since this ensures great and healthy competition. The author should have considered writers as crucial entity on providing the necessary solutions for specific problems within their expertise areas. The presence of a culture that promotes mutual co-operation should also be one of the keys of maintaining high performance levels (Trachtenberg 1-6).

It is always important to understand the clear set-up of an organization’s environment before putting up any optimization action. Creation of economic awareness assists in defining specific functions for various groups within the digital market.

The use of some known tools such as Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) could help in exploring some important action items to be implemented and their roles. The business training should be applied in this case for the purposes of equating books and writers hence forming preferred action plans. This enables the report to reveal full information about the books including the values attached to them (Trachtenberg 1-6).

In this article, it is not possible to scrutinize each transaction and have a full review of some challenging details. It is not possible to trace the writers’ abilities and the value they consider for their writing materials. The data on this article could also be used to display the monetary metrics and there sources. The average book value should be shown together with the rate of transactions and the total revenue generated in paid and non-paid.

Any pertinent observations related to the writer’s tone and writing style

The whole idea of the author is based on the financial knowledge and the manner in which books are handled before and after being published. The other strength lies in the flexibility of the writers within the job market without applying any form of discrimination.

The expansion of the business is also one of the main advantages it could have over other related sectors within the industry. This contributes towards the building of the asset base and encourages continuous flow of published books from one destination to another which acts as a very big boost towards consumer satisfaction.

There is need for diversified skills on the part of authors. This would enable survival by helping them evade financial frustrations they are exposed to within the book industry. The book industry ought to focus on how to guide writers towards economic change. Other alternative to counteract economic downturn is to venture into merger with other industries that operate under similar programs. Restructuring the industry helps in efficient management and running of different business lines within the industry.

The business requires increasingly modern and sophisticated control mechanisms like computerized tracking and control of all operations within a central position. To maintain consistent growth and resistance from external pressure like economic crumbles, writers need to put a lot of emphasis on rich internal culture within their businesses. The following authors have the same view as Trachtenberg’s;

Duncan, Apryl. ‘Everything E-publishing’. 2010.

This text explains the advantages and disadvantages of electronic publishing. It gives candid directives on e-publishing decisions, the article advices on a number of things a writer should consider before settling on e-publications. Security issues, pricing of books, their availability and rate of sales are discusses in details. These explanations shades more light on the level of frustrations writers encounter when dealing with digital market.

Cassidy, John. How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities. 2009.

There is description of several insights both negative and positive that led to collapse of world market. The book describes market outcomes influenced by ideologies from different line of perspectives. The author describes the way in which standard economics has been affected by poor choice of business models within the digital market. The author helps the people understand the world market from a perspective different from that of economics.

Jackson, Peter. ‘Are libraries finished? Five arguments for and against’. 2011.

This article raises concern on the possibility of loosing evidence on books based on originality and inspiration. This is since most of the old publications has been ignored in favor of new arrivals. The author worries on the status of public libraries which faces the threat of closure due to lack of readers.

Anderson, Kent. E-book Sales Beat Hardcover Sales at Amazon. 2010.

This article explains the results of the combination of modern and traditional trends in sales within the market. The article asserts that demand for e-readers is on the rise, and this can be attributed to the low prices offered for the books. The book describes the nature of change experienced by publishers, bookstores and writers.

Impacts on the Company

Shift towards e-books has had a significant influence on every part of the book industry. This has made publishers to try reinventing some value assertions and at the same time the effect being felt within the brick and mortar bookstores.

The sales of the e-books are on firm rise leading to further invention of electronic devices used in displaying e-books; this requires the company to upgrade its operation systems. However, this kind of shift has led to tremendous income on the side of publishers who gain at the expense of writers. The author is very much convinced that the secrets of commodity trading through the digital market could be achieved through learning (Trachtenberg 3).


Internal strengths and weaknesses help in bridging the gap that exists between the current status of the business and its future. The strengths that exist within the book industry are determined by the level of commitment of publishers, editors and writers. The weaknesses of business enterprises are determined by lack of enough funds for expansion, low manpower, the poorly laid down structures on overall management and ineffective ways of communication and in some cases unbalanced competition.

The basic integrity and ethics within the book industry should be the points used in the processes of restoring business professionalism and standards. The moral conviction of authors, editors and publishers within the market should act as driving force used to propel the book industry to greater heights. This further calls for the industry to get involved in thorough planning which will ensure creation of economic opportunities to individual writers and massive development of publishing companies.

Works Cited

Trachtenberg, Jeffrey. ‘The Future of the Book: Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-books’. Wall street Journal, (2010): A1

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1. IvyPanda. "The Future of the Book: Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-books by Jeffrey Trachtenberg." April 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-future-of-the-book-authors-feel-pinch-in-age-of-e-books-by-jeffrey-trachtenberg/.


IvyPanda. "The Future of the Book: Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-books by Jeffrey Trachtenberg." April 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-future-of-the-book-authors-feel-pinch-in-age-of-e-books-by-jeffrey-trachtenberg/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "The Future of the Book: Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-books by Jeffrey Trachtenberg." April 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-future-of-the-book-authors-feel-pinch-in-age-of-e-books-by-jeffrey-trachtenberg/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Future of the Book: Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-books by Jeffrey Trachtenberg'. 22 April.

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