Before you freak out about the book industry, consider this:
There are some AMAZING things happening right now. Borders and midlist freak-outs or no, the bottom line is that people are still making money on books. It may not be in the same format as it always was -- and Mary Kole had an excellent post about what that means for agents, if you're interested -- but authors are no less in demand than they once were.
Some of the coolest things going on:
Picture Books Apps (and Apps in general)
Have you SEEN one of these suckers? They are the neatest thing since sliced bread! Not only do they read stories to your children, the children can TOUCH things in the story to make sounds and say words, they can play games and fill in the colors, they can choose alien bodies for cat heads; the possibilities are expanding daily. Parents love them as an alternative to movies and video games for entertainment, and authors love them...because parents are loving them.
I don't think I actually want to try one of these out, but just the thought that people are becoming best-sellers via text blows my mind.
Just another example of how clever new packaging or ways to read mean MORE sales and income, rather than the death of publishing and authors!
E-pressesI know authors that make over $50,000 a year on ROYALTIES ALONE via e-presses. Not that I'm saying it's the norm; certainly, the majority of these are in romance and they publish four or five titles a year, but still. I know these up-and-coming venues still tend to be looked down upon as one step above self-publishing, but they are definitely a force to be reckoned with.
The YA Market
Not exactly a technological development, but defintiely a sign of hope in publishing. Consistantly, TEENS DON'T LIKE E-BOOKS. This is our future, and the market is booming; all the new genres available are paving the way like a gateway drug into the adult market. Of course, as soon as e-readers become more affordable (and replaceable) for teens, they'll probably start climbing the e-charts too. But they'll still be reading!!
These are just a FEW awesome publishing developments that I can think of right now, but really...that ALONE should tell you...the future isn't bleak...if you embrace it! If you know of anything else I've missed here, please do share below; I'd love to hear of it!