Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Publish or Perish

Amazon might have brought about the end of store front bookstores such as Borders. Now it might make publishers obsolete.

Who Needs Publishers? article details how Amazon is courting top authors and writers in need of self-publication who previously were locked out of book deals by New York publishers. I should feel bad for the publishers and probably the lost jobs down the road. Publication houses closing, agents losing clients, editors out of work if this trend gains speed.

I'm all for the economy gaining jobs rather than losing them, but I have long been frustrated (as I'm sure many other authors are) of the old gate keeping system that's become more rigid and impossible for new writers or unusual genre fiction to gain any foothold.
The old system could take years if you're a writer. Just getting an agent who thinks your writing is worth his/her time could take even longer (or never happen), but without that agent most fiction automatically goes in the slush pile regardless of its quality.

Yes, there's a lot of crap people write and send that probably shouldn't be published, but Amazon gives these writers a shot not only to self-publish but also bring it to a wide readership. More profits also go the author who did most of the work instead of a long series of middle men.

I'm not hoping for the death of publishing houses, but they need to be more accessible and competitive with Amazon by courting new talent rather than automatically locking the gates on them. If they do this, they risk these authors going to someone who will publish them because they are no longer the only game in town.


  1. I can't help but agree. I was just getting over the loss of a wide-variety book store [Borders] and heard that Barnes & Nobles was going the same way... I go to Target for the latest YA fiction or whatever but that can only get me so far.
    But my first thought was: what am I going to do? I've been trying to get published for a couple years now and I'm not going to have a place to market/sell my work without bookstores. Self-publishing might be the way to go, but not with what I have in the works... I'm not going to make a living that way.

    1. I really don't know if the physical book will be common in the near future. What I'm pretty certain is the publishing industry is changing in a radical way that might be akin to the invention of the printing press. Many authors can self-publish at a low cost electronically.

      Personally I haven't been a fan of the traditional route. The publishing industry has become very guarded and locked out from new talent when they require an agent just to get your manuscript looked at.

  2. I just got a letter today from the small independent bookstore that was selling my books saying they are going out of business and I have to pick up my last book that hasn't sold. This is the second time that's happened. I think it's really sad! Plus now the only place left to sell my books is Amazon!

  3. I'm really sorry to hear that. It's always sad seeing bookstores go out of business. :( Do you still have the book as a word file on your computer? Perhaps you can publish it online through Amazon or Barnes and Noble?