First, here's the link to read the article.
The points the writer brings up can be boiled down to four things (he lists five, but one of them doesn't really count). What do you think about them?
1) Amazon will continue to grow in power. (Kind of obvious, but OK.)
2) Traditional publishers have one chance left: form a relationship with readers. (That's one way to think about it, but there's more than one option on the table.)
3) Hybrid self-publishing companies are the other winners. (Not sure what is "hybrid" about self-publishing, but he endorses the premium services some self-publishers offer. My own philosophy is that money should come, not go, and it'll take a lot of convincing for me to think otherwise.)
4) What's not published as an e-book goes online and gets shorter. (I have no idea what this means.)
Even for Forbes, it was a bland article. But I'm still interested in your thoughts. What do you think?
Interesting. Thanks for the link.
I just read a similar projection from Publishers Weekly and from my limited viewpoint decided they were all wet, and most pumping up their own wish fulfillment. You have to think Forbes would be more objective.
Again, who am I, but I have a really hard time with number 3. My impression is that those hybrid (which I interpret as "who us? vanity publishers? Oh, no, no, no... just pay us to print you, then give us a percentage of sales") have had their heyday. They flashed in to prey on writers hoping to take advantage of new publishing opening, but are starting to be more widely seen for what they are, which is kind of "just a big a rip-off, but lie about it more". And obviously have nothing to do with SELF publishing.
4 is a bit hard to figure. Maybe it has to do with all the predictions that ebooks will move into "the cloud".
Something tells me that there will probably be tons more curveballs in the coming years to shake up the world of publishing. Not sure if this list means anything at the end of the day.
Well, first of all I'd say that by "traditional publishers" he means the big publishers that are now part of multinational 'communications' companies. Of course, there have always been smaller presses that operate a little different and never seem to figure into these articles. But still, I'd say there are a lot of smaller publishers that have a "relationship with their readers," beyond just the Harvard press he mentioned, and they will likely constinue and do well. In crime fiction there are some good presses like Stark House and Snubnose and I think we will see more. There has been a lot of good crime fiction short story sites come and go (and come back again) over the years and e-books make it easier for more of these places to branch out into publishing without a lot of upfront capital.
The wrench in the works, so to speak, is Amazon opening up publishing companies of its own which may make it very tough for these small presses to survive. Amazon distribution terms aren't the same with all the publishers and oter distributors - that's what the IPG fight was all about, and it was just the first contract that came up for renewal.
Amazon as a publisher offers a much fairer deal to authors than traditional publishers. And they are choosy. I haven't managed to get in yet, but will try again.
Otherwise, I don't see electronic publishers as anything but middlemen who'd like to make money off my books and stories without doing much for it. Same as with electronic rights that linger in the claws of big publishing houses.
Remember, for every unbaked scribbler who gets a kick out of being "published", there is a ma & pa publishing business that has sprung up to benefit from the rush to Kindle.
"Hybrid" self-publishing is just another way of ripping off the author. Why not hire your own cover designer and editor and then cut your own distribution deal if you're going the print book route? Who needs a middle man?
I'm as confused as you with some of this list. Like the part about "traditional publishers have to form relationships with readers". Uh, duh. Haven't publishers been doing that for years? What the heck does this mean?
In my opinion it's a silly bunch of dribble that says nothing and in absolutely no detail.
All the stuff this supposed list is highlighting has already been happening or changing.
Thats the hilarious thing about publishing these days. I'm in a couple of dozen online things where everybody there has comprehensive awareness of it, and how it works, but I don't think I've seen a single professional journalist in a general newspaper who has the slightest clue about it.
He's right about Amazon, of course--there's basically no real retail competition right now. If by "form a relationship with readers" he means "find a way to enter the retail market," then yes, I think he's right about that, too, although anything they do at this point will be too little, too late. Basically I think they'll have to resign themselves to their new role as content providers for Amazon, which will cause at least a couple of the big six to get out of the book publishing business in the next few years. Hybrid self-publishing is a scam, obviously--remarkable that this guy doesn't know that (or pretends not to). The current trend does not seem to be about shorter--it seems to be about longer but dumber. See Twilight. See Fifty Shades.
Sure, makes sense. All the big six are subsidiaries of bigger companies now, aren't they? They'll probably just sell the publishing division to Amazon.
Of course, with Amazon Studios moving into film and TV production, maybe Netflix will move into ebook distribution and publishing...
I think we'll see more corporations moving out of publishing than moving into it.