[A]fter many years of life in the bookish interweb, we’ve identified some conversations that just keep coming back up. And we’re ready to put an end to them. So pull on your crankypants, kids, and join editors Rebecca and Jeff for a good old-fashioned Airing of Grievances.
#10: SAVE OUR BOOKSTORE
Rebecca Joines Schinsky: I’m just gonna come out with guns blazin’. I never want to hear another variation on, “Save this bookstore! Give them your dollars!” ever again. I love indie bookstores as much as the next girl, and I’m doing my part to keep my local’s doors open. I believe in voting with your wallet to support businesses you want to see stick around. But bookstore owners need to innovate and find new business models and ways to compete, and if they can’t, it shouldn’t fall to their customers to save them.
Jeff O’Neal: I agree—with a small qualifier. If a bookstore is looking for funds that will add or alter how they make money or that will reduce costs, I am more sympathetic. It’s the “give us money so we can keep doing things the same way,” I have a tough time being interested in. This also relates to the zero-sum game of giving: wouldn’t giving that money to beleaguered public libraries be money better spent? In the grand view of keeping books and reading supported?
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#2 SELF-PUBLISHING IS THE END OF EVERYTHING
RJS: Since we’re on the subject of authority and gatekeepers…God, I don’t know if I even have anything interesting to say about this. I’m so over it. People can publish their own books. Some of them will be successful. Many of them will not. Traditional publishers will continue to offer services and tools (and, ahem, authority) individuals cannot afford on their own, and for that, many writers will resist self-publishing. The end.
JSO: The hand-wringing about self-publishing is so weird because self-publishing actually predated what we call publishing by a couple hundred years. The prohibition on “vanity” publishing is a relatively new idea, and one I’m glad to see go away. Unless self-published works are, in aggregate, so embarrassingly awful that everyone who reads one is so turned off that they never read another book again ever, I think it isn’t a threat to good writing and great stories. It might be a threat to the book publishing industry as we know it, but as I always say, the publishing industry is not the same thing as the “reading” industry.
Link to the rest at BookRiot