Publishers Beware

Your time is up.

Before ebooks, publishers made sense. They paid for the printing costs in exchange for a hefty percentage of the sale. Unless you had bags of money it was almost impossible to become a best selling author without a publisher.

The Internet, and ebooks turn that all around. Now the marginal cost of producing copy of a book is virtually zero. You don’t need a publisher to print and distribute your book. People can and do sell thousands and even hundreds of thousands of books on line without using a publisher.

If I was a publisher I’d be pretty worried.

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7 Responses to Publishers Beware

  1. Ian Argent says:

    Depends. If I was the head of Baen Books at this point, I’d not be worried. There’s still a place for gatekeepers, but they still need to be value add on both sides of the gate.

  2. Joe says:

    What is still missing in most self published e-books and publishers provided is good editing and proof reading. E-books need to find a solution for this.

  3. Tam says:

    As a blogger who gets a bit of traffic, I’ve received more than a few self-published books to review.

    The sad thing is, when the publishers go, they’ll be taking the editors with them, and boy howdy does it show…

  4. Ken says:

    That’s a good point about editors. Seems there’s an opportunity there for freelance editors, if editor and author can come to agreement on price (maybe the editor could provide editing services for a smaller up-front fee and a cut of sales).

    Come to think of it, my last freelance gig was as technical editor for a book manuscript (for a former client, a professional association)….

    I don’t mean to make this sound easier than it’s likely to be. Editing is hard to do well, and it’s time-consuming. Not an easy thing to do on the cheap, and many authors are, shall we say, resource-constrained.

  5. Tam says:

    If I was a publisher I’d be pretty worried.

    An editor would have corrected this sentence to the use proper subjunctive “If I were a publisher…” 😉

  6. Tam says:

    …and an editor would have corrected my missing “the” between “use” and “proper”. 😉

  7. Ian Argent says:

    My wife was a freelance editor in the RPG industry. She is now working for someone else in a related field, because there was no money in it; and nobody pays their bills on time anyway (except for WotC, who are decidedly not judgement-proof, or at least Hasbro isn’t; and they RAN AWAY from ebooks).

    The RPG industry is probably about 5 years ahead of the mass market publishing industry as far as self-publishing goes. It’s going to be a race to the bottom, with some outstanding “brands”; whose money will be made because they sell lower amounts of higher-quality materials.

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