Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Future of Publishing

Are Traditional Publishers Still “Relevant”?

Since I’m a Reader, Writer, and Self-Publisher, I’m always looking for the “other side” in stories circulating in the tornadic flux of the Book World.

Even situations with clear black/white positions have a bit of gray Perhaps some silver or a touch of chartreuse, too :-)

Two weeks ago, I wrote the post, When You’re Too Afraid of The Future To Embrace It . . ., which featured a post from Joe Konrath with a conversation he’d had with Barry Eisler about a document from the publishing conglomerate Hachette – one of the so-called “Big Five” publishers.

Authors Konrath and Eisler, both well-experienced in traditional and self-publishing, seemed to “demolish” the opinions expressed by the Hachette executive.

Yet, Robert McCrum, author and former editor-in-chief of Faber & Faber, has written a post defending Hachette’s position.

In his article, A New Map for The Books World, Robert says, among other things:

“…the [Hachette] document will drive you either into paroxysms of rage, or helpless laughter. Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. The Hachette memorandum is neither sinister nor ludicrous.”

“The Hachette model used to be fully integrated with the literary marketplace. Not any more.”

“Some time between 1990 and 2005….The many book tribes (writers, agents, editors, booksellers) on the lonely route from the moment of putting black on white to the point of sale found that the map they’d relied on for generations no longer described the environment they inhabited.”

“The truth is, no one knows what the future holds.”

“One thing is certain, however: the global audience for the printed word is now exponentially greater than ever before. Whatever the rows breaking out among the book tribes, this is probably a golden age of reading.”

I’d certainly be interested in any comments on this issue of the “relevance” of traditional publishers.

Especially welcome would be comments from folks who’ve read both the Konrath/Eisler and McCrum articles
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