The Rise of Self Publishing?

From Publishing Perspectives:

My prediction for 2011: Everyone Becomes a Publisher. Literally. Whether it’s bloggers turning their posts into books with Blurb, or going the whole DIY route, self-publishing will become an increasingly attractive option for greater numbers of writers, be they casual or professional. Not so fast. If the growth numbers hold steady, I expect Bowker to announce before BookExpo America that nearly a million new titles were published in the United States alone this year – of which it’s likely more than half were self-published. If you’re looking for a top trend for 2011, a further explosion of self-published books, either in print or digital, is likely to be it. Of course, point-and-click book publishing might never truly make an author happy –publishing is, after all, collaborative — and the question remains of whether the audience is there to buy and read so many of these new titles.

That passage is part of a post asking various industry figures what the biggest thing in publishing was in 2010 and what they predict for 2011. For libraryland, it begs the question: in the age of self publishing, how many of those kind of books become part of the collection? Will the current trade publications start reviewing them? Or will it be left to book bloggers to take up some of the load? Or will no one read them unless they happen to catch on?

Out of the three scenarios, I would predict their likelihood in the reverse order they were asked. There are smaller issues like how to deal with people who want to donate their self-published ebook (since it takes up no physical space except for that of a hard drive) and whether self published books or ebooks could become their own group within the overall collection*. And if a library was to accept self-published works on a larger scale, what kind of quality control goes into separating well written material from the (for lack of a better term) bad stuff. It would appear that, while the number of purchases of physical books is going down, the overall number of books coming to the library is going up. Not something I think people would have even considered five years ago, for certain.

It is worth taking a look at the publisher’s thoughts and predictions. There are considerable mentions of tablet computers, ebooks, the aforementioned self-publishing, and learning to thrive in a new business model and consumer expectation environment. It’s certainly worth the short read.

(*If anyone is wondering what that faint repetitive schnick sound is, my guess is that it is Liz Burns sharpening her shiv and getting ready to skewer this topic.)

3 thoughts on “The Rise of Self Publishing?

  1. If I wanted to read slush, I’d go work for a publisher or agent. I say that as librarian and book blogger.

    All it takes is reading one godawful self pubbed work where it quickly becomes apparent that the writer ignored every. single. article about writing (including self publishing) about critique groups and editing to say, “gatekeeper, please.” I’ve gotten smarter about saying “no” to these because it is simply not worth my time to read. And yes, I resent the idea that book bloggers who read for the love of reading (very few of us are paid, I am one of the exceptions) should now become the free gatekeeper, instead of the paid gatekeepers instead of agent/ publisher / editors, to figure out what is crap and what is not.

    Your mileage may vary. Awesome! You go read those. I will continue to pay for value — a well edited, well written book.

    Do some self published authors do it “Right”, in terms of editing?

    Yes.

    But they are few and far between.

    That said, if a library wants to pay me to read slush 35 – 40 hours a week? AWESOME. But why would they when librarians aren’t allowed to read on the job? They don’t pay to read real books. For some, they don’t even pay to read professional review journals.

    • I knew you wouldn’t disappoint on your reply, Liz. And it’s nice to see you have it compressed into a pretty tight argument. Thanks for your reply!

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