Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The End of Publishing?

Last night, at a dinner with Mary Rosenblum and others from the Other Worlds Book Club, we talked about the future of publishing. Or the lack of one.

Today, the big publishers are all operating on razor thin profits, and are cutting back to only celebrity authors and best sellers. The bookstores only carry books by the big, New York, publishers.

This is not just a problem for authors. Where do readers go to find new books? It used to be if it was on the shelf at a big bookstore, it had a good chance of being a decent read. After all, a big publisher put it out. But if the shelves are full only of celebrity mommy books and best sellers the reader has already read, what then? Where do they find their new favorite author?

Random searching for your favorite genre on Amazon will yield a sea of titles. Many of them self-published, most of them awful.

So, from the readers point of view, what is the future of book finding? Mary thought that quality small presses could be come a brand that readers would use. Many were not so sure. Who notices the publisher? We talked about favorite book review blogs. If a blog gained your trust, you would try a new book it recommended. Or both. The reader might not know a "quality" small press from a "publish anything that gets submitted on" but the blogger might.

Whatever happens, interesting times ahead.

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