From The Huffington Post:
Self-published authors have created a devaluing of the written word, and, some of them are scrambling to see how low they can go to get noticed.
Let us list the ways: 99-cent price point for ebooks. Free ebooks via KDP Select program. Unedited work. Kindle giveaways to get attention and bulk up sales. And lastly, nasty reviews from other authors with the sole purpose of driving down customer ratings.
Why are indie authors selling their work so cheap? In short, mismanaged expectations. Many self-published authors hear about the outliers who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they’ll do anything to try and reach that pinnacle. The plain fact is that most of them never will.
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Many indie authors are now relying on gimmicks to gain sales. They’re giving away Kindles and iPads in exchange for reviews and as raffles during sales promotions. Traditionally published authors aren’t stooping to these tactics. Why are indies? The short answer is that with over 1 million ebooks published each year, it’s difficult to make a mark.
The lesson may be that if indie authors don’t value their work, chances are no one else will either. Readers want, and deserve, quality books, and they’re used to paying for them. Think about it: pennies for pages didn’t exist before ebooks and self-publishing were viable.
Link to the rest at The Huffington Post
PG would suggest that self-published authors are saving publishing industry by remaking it.
Traditional publishing has been in a long decline with smaller and smaller numbers of books being sold for higher and higher prices.
In 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts published Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. Among its findings:
Literary reading is in dramatic decline with fewer than half of American adults now reading literature.
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The study also documents an overall decline of 10 percentage points in literary readers from 1982 to 2002, representing a loss of 20 million potential readers. The rate of decline is increasing and, according to the survey, has nearly tripled in the last decade.
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“This report documents a national crisis,” Gioia said. “Reading develops a capacity for focused attention and imaginative growth that enriches both private and public life. The decline in reading among every segment of the adult population reflects a general collapse in advanced literacy. To lose this human capacity – and all the diverse benefits it fosters – impoverishes both cultural and civic life.”
While all demographic groups showed declines in literary reading between 1982 and 2002, the survey shows some are dropping more rapidly than others. The overall rate of decline has accelerated from 5 to 14 percent since 1992.
Women read more literature than men do, but the survey indicates literary reading by both genders is declining. Only slightly more than one-third of adult males now read literature. Reading among women is also declining significantly, but at a slower rate.
Link to the rest at National Endowment for the Arts News Room
PG suggests the evidence demonstrates that traditional publishing grossly mishandled literature in the United States as it moved from a diverse collection of small publishers to a few large publishers owned by even larger international media conglomerates that care for nothing more than quarterly revenue and profitability. The combination of price increases substantially outstripping the rate of inflation and a stifling environment of homogenized me-too copycat titles was destroying the culture of reading in the United States.
Indie publishing has reinvigorated American publishing and is rebuilding the publishing industry in a different, author-centric form. Big Publishing has devalued the author of the written word. In a thousand different ways, megapublishers disrespect authors, forgetting that books don’t come from editors and agents and vice-presidents and bribes to the New York Times to obtain favorable reviews.
Twenty-five years from now the creative destruction of legacy publishing we are witnessing today will be regarded as a major cultural turning point, a literary renaissance. We will celebrate countless brilliant books created by authors who would never have been published by the corporate cretins that slithered into control of the levers of Big Publishing.