I was reading this excellent blog post the other day (sorry can't re-find it, have looked) in which the writer said that eventually there would only be a couple of publishers left, as writers were fed up of the measly 10% or less royalty rates being offered, when they could get 70% by self publishing.
I've heard this being said for years, with publishers complacently affirming that they will always take first place in book production. Not any more. There are now so many easily downloadable publishing programmes, and people on Twitter offering to help the self-published that it is VERY EASY to get a good product out there. (Anyone reading this, contact @ one of the many who can guide you through the process).
The other decline, which is becoming very evident, is that of bookshops. Once the go-to literary purchasing spot on every high street, they are now becoming a rare species. Most people attribute this to the rise of Amazon, and the scrapping of the net book agreement, which allowed shops to undercut each other on prices. I blogged about the subject HERE
The lack of support bookshops give to most Indie writers and the inconsistency of their policies means that writers who want to sell paper books as opposed to ebooks urgently need to seek other retail outlets, just as they sought other publishing outlets originally.
I can't get any of my books into my local Waterstones - even though Honour & Obey actually features St Albans as a location, because I am published by Createspace, the publishing arm of Amazon. Even though the quality of the books is superb and they have proper ISBNs .
But a lovely up-market gift shop, Serena Hart @ stocks signed copies and sells them consistently. I also sell lots of books via library talks, local Literary Festivals, book groups, the WI, and am currently exploring other gift shop venues around my area. Libraries may be prepared to stock your books too, especially if they have a local ambience.
If you are happy to be your own rep, arrange your own discount (and remember, Amazon Createspace gives you a members' discount if you order in bulk; I imagine it's the same for other publishing companies) and offer extras like signing the books, it is possible to supplement your ebook income. I love seeing my books in 'non-bookshops' as they are far more visible than when they were just one volume on a shelf. And I get books in the window too (see pic). Never ever happens with Waterstones.
What's not to like?