As I was reading an article in the Huffington Post by attorney and bookseller William Petrocelli, I kept thinking this guy is in his own cubicle world and can't see beyond the wall. He feels that writers and readers see publishers and bookstores as a hindrance and they would prefer to cut out the editors, designers, distributors and promoters, and make more money.
He does say that "alternative publishing" is "an essential corrective for authors who feel shut out of mainstream publishing." But he feels this is not an alternative to traditional publishing and those writers going their own way don't understand all that publishers do. He also puts forth that eliminating publishers and booksellers would "run the risk of discouraging authors and leaving many future books unwritten…. Without the services of publishers and bookstores, the books that readers want to read are not likely to be available to them in any reasonable fashion."
He believes that publishers are the key because "they make it financially worthwhile for authors to spend their time and energy writing books." And the publishers' and the bookstores' okay on a book is the only way buyers can become aware of books they might want to read. "Without such a system, only the very famous or the very wealthy would be able to write books and reach a wide enough audience to sell those books and make a living. And without such a system many, many writers would be discouraged from spending the time to write books that they knew they would have no reasonable prospect of selling."
His rant is aimed at those who feel publishers and bookstores are obsolete. Personally, I think he would have done better at getting his point across if he had NOT attacked indie authors. I don't think publishers and bookstores are in danger because of writers publishing their own books. I think it's because publishers have for so long relied on certain authors to sell large numbers of books and readers waiting months for the next one to come out. And now readers have many choices to read while they wait on their favorite author. I think they're discovering some poorly written e-books, but also some great writers. And they're coming back to download more and pay less.
I think both publishing systems can survive. For now. And perhaps forever. We can cherish our print books while we embrace e-books.
What do you think?
5 weeks ago