Is self publishing immoral?
You could be forgiven for thinking that it was given some of the recent coverage it has had. James Patterson’s recent adverts in the New York Times Book Review and others highlighting the wonderful books that wouldn’t have come into the world if publishers didn’t exist would certainly seem to suggest that it might be.
It is also implicit in the argument I hear all the time from publishers when discussing the subject. “Look”, they say, “at all the talent we nurture. Think of the poor impoverished literary author struggling in her garret. What will become of her if we are not there to publish her books?”
Publishing, they point out, has always worked on an eighty twenty rule, where the profitable twenty percent of books pay for the unprofitable eighty. As no one is all that good at predicting which is going to be which, publishing is – and always will be – a spread bet.
Self published authors – the successful ones – remove themselves from this eco system and so, the argument runs, also remove their subsidy from all those deserving writers who struggle to find a readership – the literary, the unfashionable and the new.
. . . .
Publishers are squeezing the e-book orange for all that it is worth and the profits are flowing. Is there any evidence whatsoever that they are investing any of that extra revenue in new, interesting voices? Not much, no.
And you know why? Because publishers are nervous. As they should be. Self publishing is eating away at their business. By some reckonings self published e-books account for thirty percent of the market. That is a figure that should worry publishers.
Link to the rest at Futurebook and thanks to Sean for the tip