RARA-AVIS: Re: state of NY publishing

From: davezeltserman (Dave.Zeltserman@gmail.com)
Date: 12 Nov 2009

  • Next message: davezeltserman: "RARA-AVIS: Re: state of NY publishing"

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "New Pulp Press" <bassoffj@...> wrote:
    > It is certainly true that the chasm between the "stars" and the midlist writers is getting wider and wider, but I think that there are also some positive trends in the publishing world. Although it is often derided, the advent of Print-on-Demand technology has started to change the rules of publishing and will continue to do so in the future. And I think that it is a good thing. The basic idea of POD technology is that a publisher is now able to print out a single copy when a single book is ordered (and get it distributed), as opposed to printing 5,000 copies and sitting on 2,000 of them. This does a couple of things: 1) It reduces the start-up capital necessary to start a publishing company and 2) It reduces the risk, allowing small and midsized presses to "take a chance" on a writer that would have otherwise been seen as not commercially viable. In other words, even if the book bombs, the publisher didn't waste any capital in printing unsold books. And isn't that lack of risk-taking one of the big problems in major publishing? It is a business and publishers determine what to print and market based on what they think well sell the most copies, not on what is the most innovative or well-written. Sometimes quality and commercial appeal meet, but not always.

    Jon, however well-intentioned you and other POD/micropress publishers might be, no matter how innovative or high quality the books you publish are, unless money is spent on promotion and distribution, none of this is a positive--the lower the investment cost by these new technologies (and with Kindle the cost is 0) only means that more and more books will be flooded onto online bookstores, which will mean that the vast majority of the reading public will end up paying more attention to the bestsellers and ignore this massive sea of lesser known books. I know there's the myth of viral marketing and building niche readserships, but I'll be amazed (and happy for you) if any of your books ever end up selling 1000 copies (or any POD publisher, for that matter). So on a purely democratic matter, yes, these new technologies allow anyone to be a publisher or to be published with very little to no investment, but it also means that it will be near impossible for writers to make a living at this.


    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 12 Nov 2009 EST