c is for cat

Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule


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To me, the weird thing is that reasonable people like you and Jay Lake are reacting to all this death of publishing nonsense as if it were an actual possibility... (well, I realize you're airing your views to explain things that perhaps should be obvious to people who don't get it. But still.)

I have no doubt that self publishing will grow as it becomes easier to produce and distribute ebooks on your own. However I do not expect publishers to say, oh well, I guess we'd better shut down... I expect them to continue to produce books, and do everything in their power to remain in business, including evolving in various ways to remain technologically current. I expect the majority of books read to continue to be books that exist in a physical format, in book stores and libraries. Most importantly, I expect that readers will pay money for the books they really want to read, which are written by the writers they know, and the writers they know are published writers. If all those writers start self publishing, that'd be one thing, but I don't expect that. Some people will be interested in a free or very cheap ebook by an unknown, to check it out, but they will still want their Stephen King book, or their Robert Jordan book, or their Palimpsest, and the retailer that continues to offer those books will be the one who gets their money.

I don't know. The only way I see publishing dying is if authors decide to abandon traditional publishing and self-publish en mass. And if that happens, then it will be ok, because the authors wouldn't do that unless it was better for them that way. As you said, if a company offered to do what publishers do, authors would line up to participate. As long as that's the case, publishing's not going anywhere.

At least that's how it seems to me.

PS I support you guys, I hope my sometimes reflexively combative tone doesn't obscure that. It's definitely unfortunate that some authors are taking a financial hit due to this foolishness. But I don't think the industry is about to crumble or anything.

I don't think so either, which is why I posted this.

To me, the paragraph in the original post about how if publishing did die somebody would set up a publishing house and authors would flock to it illustrates why it's not going anywhere. It fills a need. I believe self-publishing is going to go to some amazing places because trad publishing doesn't and can't (and shouldn't realistically be expected to) fill every need.

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