Skip to comments.Book publishers see their role as gatekeepers shrink (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Posted on 12/29/2010 8:11:47 AM PST by abb
Writers are bypassing the traditional route to bookstore shelves and self-publishing their works online. By selling directly to readers, authors get a larger slice of the sale price.
Joe Konrath can't wait for his books to go out of print.
When that happens, the 40-year-old crime novelist plans to reclaim the copyrights from his publisher, Hyperion Books, and self-publish them on Amazon.com, Apple Inc.'s iBooks and other online outlets. That way he'll be able to collect 70% of the sale price, compared with the 6% to 18% he receives from Hyperion.
As for future novels, Konrath plans to self-publish all of them in digital form without having to leave his house in Schaumburg, Ill.
"I doubt I'll ever have another traditional print deal," said the author of "Whiskey Sour," "Bloody Mary" and other titles. "I can earn more money on my own."
For more than a century, writers have made the fabled pilgrimage to New York, offering their stories to publishing houses and dreaming of bound editions on bookstore shelves. Publishers had the power of the purse and the press. They doled out advances to writers they deemed worthy and paid the cost of printing, binding and delivering books to bookstores. In the world of print, few authors could afford to self-publish.
The Internet has changed all that, allowing writers to sell their works directly to readers, bypassing agents and publishers who once were the gatekeepers.
It's difficult to gauge just how many authors are dumping their publishing houses to self-publish online, though for now, the overall share remains small. But hardly a month goes by without a well-known writer taking the leap or declaring an intention to do so.
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For later read. Thanks.
I wonder what effect Net Neutrality will have on this? Will we have to place more emphasis on “minority issue” books? I’m only half tongue-in-cheek here, the more I think about it the more it seems like a possibility.
For a number of years I worked for the Galaxy group of magazines as a "slush pile" reader, evaluating the endless flow of unsolicited manuscripts - sometimes many as a hundred a day - that come into a magazine or publishing house and end up heaped in filing cabinets or cardboard boxes: the slush pile. ... most of the science fiction that came into the slush pile were rejected because they suffered from what I call the 1950 syndrome. ...
There are no races: everyone is white, middle-class, American, middle-of-the-road. No one has ever heard of homosexuality or drug addiction or pollution. ... Everyone is unflaggingly and unquestionably patriotic. ... Everyone is smugly contented. They are all the most trusting of optimists.
I guaran-damm-tee there's some folks out there who are plotting exactly what you suspect.
The rejects in the slush pile sound like the stories I would want to read. I guess that’s the reason I’m reading more Cussler and less sci-fi.
Ever seen a self published Author on the talk shows hawking his wares? They are few and far between.
BUT, the internet is starting to unravel that strangle-hold by bipassing TV and Radio. Its working very well for Music. Self Published Books are starting to sell by word of mouth and by using features such as Amazon.com does. (Keywords and styles matching to better-known Works.)
Ten years ago, I didn’t miss the Sunday talk shows and other such political talk/commentary on TV.
Now I get all the commentary/analysis I need right here at FRee Republic. And the quality is exponentially better.
They couldn’t pay me to watch George Will or Bob Schieffer anymore.
It’s kinda the same thing.
good news again.
On the other hand, there was a time I couldn't imagine parting with my morning newspaper. But I cancelled my newspaper subscription years ago and now get all my news online.
I go to several used book sales a year and get stuff for CHEAP! I think the e-book thing has helped cause that.
As e-publishing continues to expand, I would expect that percentage to go above 90%.
This is not entirely a positive trend for books, although it may be for authors.
Many authors need a lot of input from a good editor, and they're not likely to get it if self-published.
I think specifically of a writer of a series I enjoyed whose quality dropped of dramatically when his wife became his editor.
It seems likely this trend will eventually kill bookstores, which means it will be difficult to go to a physical place to just "browse."
Probably some pluses and some minuses.
On the plus side, likely a lot of good stuff was rejected by publishers for prejudiced reasons. Another good example of that is so-called military science fiction. In the Vietnam days, NOBODY in the field was willing to publish stuff by SF writers like David Weber, David Drake, and others in that vein. Heinlein got away with Glory Road, but only because he was already famous.
Finally Baen broke the dam, and when his books succeeded beyond expectations, a few other editors became willing to join the party.
The downside is that if authors self-publish, and nobody vets them, you are going to see an awful lot of junk. Will there be copyeditors, for instance, which even established writers can profit from?
Well, no doubt it will sort it out, IF the gubbermint doesn’t succeed in taking control over it. Not many good books published when Stalin and Hitler were in charge of things.