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Social Media And The Future Of The Publishing Industry

Technology has rapidly changed the way many of us interact with the world. Think about it—10 years ago, nobody had heard of Facebook, Wikipedia, or YouTube. It’s hard to imagine life without those online tools today. In fact, today, one out of every nine people on the planet is on Facebook—and collectively, mankind spends 700 billion minutes per month on the popular social platform.

These technological innovations have had a lasting impact on many industries, and the world of publishing is no exception. The speed and widespread availability of the Internet, combined with devices such as smartphones and tablets, has decimated traditional bookstores. Just ask Borders. This summer, the book retail giant closed its doors, primarily because of competition from online retailers like

And that’s not all—social media, blogs, and the emergence of e-books are having an impact on the way content is produced, marketed, and read. Where could the industry be heading—and what could the changes mean to you, as a business owner?

Author John Green may have recently given us a glimpse of the future. Green was able to achieve bestseller status for his book The Fault in Our Stars...before it was even published. 

As Mashable explains: "His latest book, The Fault in Our Stars, is riding high on the charts. It recently landed the number-one spots on and But here’s the thing—his story won’t be published until 2012. Green promoted the book to his 1.1 million Twitter followers, according to The Wall Street Journal: On (a) Tuesday afternoon, he posted the title of his new book on Twitter, Tumblr, and the community forum An hour later, he upped the stakes by promising to sign all pre-orders and the entire first-print run, while also launching a YouTube live show." 

Got that? Green’s social media strategy was powerful enough to land him the top spot on major bestseller lists—despite the fact that the book hasn’t even been published. 

As Green has shown, the potential of social media as a means for promoting books and other content cannot be overstated. Can you think of other ways social media can have an impact on society? 

[Image: Flickr user brianjmatis]