May
10
2012

On the Matter of Books…

Interesting observations over here (via Ed Driscoll on Instapundit) on the future of publishing.  I personally have three criteria directs and will direct my purchasing habits when it comes to books:

  1. I want the books to be reasonably priced.
  2. I want the books to be worth the price.
  3. I want the people writing the books to be able to make a reasonably decent living at it.

The first criterion satisfies my personal desire; the second satisfies the expectations and traditions of literature generally; and the third satisfies the needs of the artists who create literature.  Interesting thing of note, there: nowhere in that list are the concerns of publishers taken into account.  That’s because publishers exist to provide me with a product.  If they can’t, well, that’s their problem, not mine.

Which is not to say that I am unsympathetic to the travails of publishers… but I’m not here to subsidize their old business model, either.  They’re in the business of dissemination of information – and it’s never been easier or cheaper to disseminate information.  Deal with it.

Moe Lane

PS: Sorry, you still have to deal with it.

PPS: Yup, live is not fair.  Deal with it.

8 Comments

  • Skip says:

    I think you misunderstand the publishing business, they’re not in the business of disseminating information, they’re in the business of selling used paper at a markup. I’m guessing that they have huge penalties in their long-term paper purchasing contracts if they fail to buy certain amounts – nothing else really explains their behavior.

    On a different note, are all the lefty advertisers targeting your site, or do I just see the ads because I live in “Moscow on the Guadalupe”? Essentially all I see on your site is anti-Walker in Wisconsin, Obama, etc., lately. I guess I should click through so you get some revenues from it…

  • Spegen says:

    The was an article a couple of weeks ago regarding the amazon/apple issue with ebooks. Admitted that paper was a minor cost. Stated the cost was because of authors and marketing cost. Dont believe it when I can buy a paperback cheaper

  • Luke says:

    The numbers I’ve seen say that authors earns about 11 cents a book. And it’s rare that I’ve seen or heard a book advertized.

  • Rob Crawford says:

    E-book prices are the publishers thinking they’re essential to the process. They’re going to learn they’re not.

  • Jinx says:

    Publishers provide a number of useful servies to authors and readers. The actual medium of the book doesn’t change these:

    1) They filter out a lot of absolute drek from the slush pile.

    2) They help edit books into something readable. Think of what happens when a big name author gets big enough to be protected from editors.

    3) They provide publicity and trusted brand names for new authors, heping connect them with their reading market.

  • BigGator5 says:

    Moe, email me.

  • mb says:

    “1) They filter out a lot of absolute drek from the slush pile.

    2) They help edit books into something readable. Think of what happens when a big name author gets big enough to be protected from editors.

    3) They provide publicity and trusted brand names for new authors, heping connect them with their reading market.”

    #1 – true and one of the reasons I don’t look at most self-published e-books. Some kind of filter is needed. Publishers, though, don’t do a very good job of it; look at all the drek that gets through.

    #2 – Not that much editing goes on any more; see “drek,” above.

    #3 – Publicity? From my 20 years experience as a reasonably competent midlist author – BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! All they really provide is distribution. That meant a lot in the last century. It may be meaningless in this.

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