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In a recent blog post, my friend, Brian Kell (aka [info]briankell), wondered if the vast number of books published, self-published and/or e-published these days will hurt the industry.

I’ve seen a lot of (mostly negative) speculation about this. Personally, I don’t think it will make much difference. After all, there are already way too many books available for folks to read in a lifetime. The vast majority of readers buy their books from Wal-Mart, Target, their local grocery store, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com. They don’t know (and frankly, don’t care) about the hundreds of thousands of other titles available elsewhere, and why should they?

There’s an argument that poor writing/editing quality found in many self-pubbed works will ruin things for those of us lucky enough to have a traditional publisher, as if the experience will somehow put people off reading all together. I don't see why. It would be like sitting through a dreadful movie and deciding you'll never go to the cinema again.

Besides, it’s not like the folks who buy those books are going to buy one less elsewhere as a result. I imagine most people who buy a self-pubbed novel only do so because they know the author in some way (the same probably goes for many traditionally published authors whose work doesn't grace the shelves at the likes of Barnes & Noble).

When I look at the industry as a whole, I really can’t see all these extra publishing options changing things much. Sure, lots of folks now have e-readers, but like their audio counterparts, e-Books are still books. I suspect the sad truth of it is that, regardless of format, most people haven’t even noticed the upsurge in the number of titles available to them.

When I’m browsing the shelves or scanning a website, I’m not thinking about where else I could go to buy a book. I want it find it ‘here’ - whatever the ‘it’ and wherever that ‘here’ may be (even when I don’t know what I’m looking for).

The extra titles available these days make advertising and positive word of mouth more important now than ever before, but they’ve always played a major role in a book’s success or failure, especially to an unknown – and by ‘unknown’ I mean ‘unknown to the potential reader’.

Personally, while getting a traditional print contract is probably harder today than it ever was, I don’t see the publishing industry collapsing any time soon.

How about you?

How do you think the increasing number of published books will affect the industry?

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Jul. 23rd, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
While amazon doesn't hide the fact that a book is self-published,
they don't call attention to it, either.
At least a few people who don't know me have bought at least one of my books,
and I hope this trend continues.

But just for the sake of analogy,
I can't imagine Herman Melville
supposing that more whales in the sea
would somehow endanger whaling...
Jul. 23rd, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
Excellent analogy :)
Jul. 23rd, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
With all my spouting off,
we still get along swimmingly...
Jul. 23rd, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
This...makes me think of a friend on LJ, ambrmerlinus, who is bringing a unique perspective to a slow but steady review of Moby Dick. And I will say that Queequeg still wins.
Jul. 23rd, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
Is that piece already connected with a venue?
I guess I mean has it already found a publisher?
Because I'm figuring on a Flatwater Press edition of Moby Dick
and could use something like that.
Jul. 23rd, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC)
Do you mean the review? That's on ambrmerlinus's LiveJournal blog.
Jul. 23rd, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC)
And it's also being gradually illustrated, too!
Jul. 24th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
I looked it up and asked...
Thank you...
Jul. 24th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. So far, it's been a lot of fun to read.

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



Books by my writer friends - compressed

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