Tuesday Tantrum: Will We Really Miss the Book Publishers?

I'm thinking quite a bit about this precipice upon which mainstream publishing is now perched, and wondering if it might not be yet another instance of democracy in action. A decentralization of publishing, after all, will ensure that divergent material is offered. Not deviant. Just different. And I'm not the only one thinking this. Anne R. Allen posted a brilliant essay on her blog about this very topic.

She was responding to the ever-insightful Wall Street Journal's recent article about the woes we readers will face if the big pubs disappear (which they probably won't) or diminish in influence (which they definitely will). The article waxed prosaic about how dire things will be if we are forced to wade through the muck offered by the Kindle authors to find one good novel worth reading.

How considerate of WSJ to have our best interests at heart.

Right. Sell me a bridge while you're at it. Allen responded (as did a slew of folks seeking to set WSJ straight) with the simple observation that the shift to self-publishing has already led to more variety in the market. Rather than having one dystopian yarn after another catapulted to market before the ink is dry on the last one, or whatever the publishers have deemed to be what's hot today -- translation: whatever sold millions yesterday -- readers can access genres, themes, and stories that can't get to market via traditional means. This is a good thing. In fact, it looks a lot like freedom of choice.

4 comments:

  1. Great post. Thanks for the shout-out. Excellent point--the corporate drones are always chasing last year's hits--like generals who are always fighting the last war.

    People are so afraid they'll have corporate books snatched from under their bifocals, but I believe books by the Snookis, Steve Tylers and Sarah Palins will always be provided by international conglomerates.

    Books for the rest of us are more likely to come from indies and small presses.

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  2. Agreed. Was totally annoyed by the WSJ's suggestion that I'm too stupid to make up my own mind about what to read. And completely agree with your last paragraph here. Well said, thanks for this! :)

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  3. Hi, I just found your blog and I thought this was a great post! I am a teen and also an author, and it does look like a lot of the books from the big publishers are essentially the same stories over and over again because publishers seem to only be looking for what is 'in' today. I love reading and anything that gives me more variety to choose what I like to read rather than what someone thinks I want to read is a good thing to me. That's why I like self-publishing. Anyway, I'm glad I found this blog. Thanks for the great post!

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  4. I must agree! In my opinion, many gifted writers with unique story ideas are passed by because they don't fit the mold. Can we say boring? Publishing houses have dictated our reading material for far too long. I love the idea of the market being overrun with fresh writers. Conventional or self-published, it makes no difference to me. I merely want a chance to choose for myself. (Guess I'll get down from my soapbox now.) :P

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