6 thoughts on “All a publisher has to do”

    • They don’t and didn’t – except that the publishers constituted a cartel which froze the chappies out of the channels of distribution if they didn’t agree to surrender control of their copyrights. It is now more than 70 years since George Bernard Shaw said (PG has quoted him): ‘All that is necessary in the production of a book is an author and a bookseller, without the intermediate parasite.’ It was true enough then, and is far truer now.

      • The channels of distribution are creations of the publishers. That’s why the Chappies went to the publisher. They didn’t want to follow Shaw’s advice and create their own.

        Shaw is correct if we consider the Chappies need fulfilled by minimal sales. Then he doesn’t need the publisher. But, if he wants more sales, he does need him. And I’m considering Amazon a vertically integrated epublisher here. They produce the commercial unit, distribute it, and sell it.

        • Amazon is a bookseller. It does not contract with the author for exclusive distribution rights for the life of the copyright; it does not work to prevent the publication of books; it does not reject 99% of submissions out of hand. Its behaviour is in no way comparable to that of publishers. You are drawing a false comparison to try to support a weak argument.

          If you look at the history of the bookselling trade, you will find that publishers, in the modern sense, are a relatively recent development, and the restriction of distribution by an oligopoly of publishers is a development of the 20th century.

          • Late 20th at that.
            There were hundreds of decent sized tradpubs into the 70’s.
            Each BPH imprint used to be an independent competitor for decades; too many to restrain trade. Once the multinationals rolled in that changed.

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