I love posting about history on this blog. A lot of really fascinating things have happened in this world over the years! It’s extra fun when the history is happening right now, in the news, all around us. We definitely have that going on in the form of everything that is happening between Russia and Ukraine.
Now, I’m not informed enough to make any sort of definitive statement about that conflict and I’m torn about what I do know. I’ve been doing my best to pay attention. The other night, when the news came on the radio, there was a report about how if Putin makes any more advances into the eastern parts of Ukraine, the “western powers” were prepared to slap some pretty harsh sanctions on Russia. The report came with the qualifier that those western powers who were willing to do this are all well aware that they could be hurting the global economy in the process.
Me being me, my first thoughts didn’t zip straight to politics and power or warfare and economics. No, my first thoughts went straight to eBooks. eBooks and lipstick.
What do eBooks have in common with lipstick? What do they have to do with sketchy international politics and a dangerous economic situation?
Well, it reminds me of an odd little fact I’ve heard several times over the years of one of the leading indicators of economic hardship. When the economy starts to tank, sales of lipstick go up. The first time I heard that, I thought “Huh?” It made no sense to me. But then someone explained the simple brilliance behind the theory. If the economy is bad, people don’t have as much money to spend on luxury items, like new clothes. But that doesn’t stop people from wanting to feel good and look good. So what do they do instead of buying a new outfit? They buy a new $5 tube of lipstick.
So when times are tough financially, people turn to the cheapest alternatives for making themselves feel better. Hmm. I think I see an opportunity on the horizon.
One of the biggest advantages that Indie writers have over traditionally published writers is that they can afford to sell books for a much cheaper price. Our overhead isn’t as big and we don’t have large staffs on the payroll. (Well, you could argue that actually we do in the form of cover designers, editors, and publicists/assistants, but it’s not quite the same) In fact, Indie authors can afford to sell their books for 99 cents a pop if they are so inclined or to put a book on “permafree” in order to sell the other books in a series.
This made me wonder…. If we do get into a situation where the economy goes downhill again because of the Crimean conflict or any other bump in the economic/political road, if people do find themselves looking for a quick emotional boost to make themselves feel better about life, what’s to say they won’t download an inexpensive eBook?
Now, you could argue that the initial technology is expensive. eReaders and tablets aren’t cheap at all. But neither are video game systems, and those seem to be an essential in even the most cash-strapped homes. Also, I am continually surprised by the number of people who tell me they read on their smart phones, no matter how small the screen is. The beauty of eBooks is that they correlate with technology that most people seem to have already.
So I think a boom in eBooks—particularly by Indie authors who can afford to sell for less—could be a real possibility for the near future. We could be the lipstick of the 21st century. And frankly, I’d rather turn to a book than cosmetics to make myself feel better any day.
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