From Nathan Bransford:
It’s no secret that the publishing industry is in the midst of a vast transformation. The question is whether the industry can pivot to a vastly different reality.
. . . .
Russ Grandenetti, Amazon’s Kindle vice president said:
The old print world of scarcity—with a limited number of publishers and editors selecting which manuscripts to publish, and a limited number of bookstores selecting which titles to carry—is yielding to a world of digital abundance. Grandinetti told me that, in these new circumstances, a publisher’s job “is to build a megaphone.”
Building a megaphone is a really great metaphor for the value publishers can still bring to the publishing process even as we march steadily into the e-book era.
. . . .
The old print world really was based on scarcity. There was only so much shelf space in bookstores, therefore there was only so many copies of any book it was profitable to print, therefore it was necessary and profitable to winnow down all the books out there into a select, chosen few.
Publishers added value through the act of curation. Gatekeeping is now treated with derision in some quarters, but it was a terribly important, valuable business activity. Publishers built cachet through quality control, and booksellers and authors alike came to depend upon them for this service.
Publishers were a crucial funnel. They made the system work when it simply wasn’t profitable to print every book ever written during the first five hundred years of the printed word.
. . . .
The value in publishing is no longer built around scarcity. It’s abundance. Instead of culling books into a select few that arrive on bookstore shelves, the value publishers now must bring is helping authors rise above the noise and connecting readers to the books they want to read.
. . . .
This is a world of choice. There are two major shifts publishers need to make in order to accommodate this shift:
1. They will need to start treating authors as customers
2. They will have to invest in publicity, marketing, and branding
Can they do it?
Link to the rest at Nathan Bransford and thanks to Sandra for the tip.
PG would point out that it takes a much different skill set to be a curator than it does to help authors connect with readers. Since publishers are institutionally unconnected with readers, one wonders how useful they’ll be to authors.
It sounds to PG like a pretty lame value proposition for authors.
There are a zillion experts in marketing to consumers who have a big head start over publishers when it comes to connecting with readers.