Sunday, November 25, 2012

The changing landscape of publishing

To be honest, the landscape of publishing began changing back in 1979, when I graduated from high school.  No, it doesn't have to do with me.  But it does have to do with the fact that personal computers were beginning to make their arrival upon the scene.  And the internet would soon follow.  Then would come the windows format on DOS computers.  This my friends, is when publishing began to change.  And some in publishing today are like dinosaurs who don't realize that the end is coming for them.  They don't grasp that it is coming to 'change or die' finality.

The newspapers and magazines have been the first to suffer, when it became so easy for everyone to get their news and info online.   Encyclopedia makers would suffer too.  I mean, why bother with those cumbersome set of books when you could go online and get tons of info.  Back in 1979, if you had told someone to google it, they would have looked at you like you were crazy.  And back then, you would have been.

But now, with ebooks, and Amazon, and self-publishing, and all - the big, traditional publishing houses are beginning to feel the squeeze.  They are beginning to feel threatened.  I'm reading with great interest all the stories on this subject.  Plus I tons of facebook friends who are self-published authors, and are doing quite well without the trappings of traditional publishing.  And let us not neglect to mention all the small ebook publishers that are springing up now.

Even today, I ran across a side ad on facebook for a literary agent; and I clicked on over just out of curiosity.  It led to her facebook page, and among other things, she discouraged authors from pursuing self-publishing in preference to traditional publishing.  A rather self-serving viewpoint on her part.  In fact, there almost seems to be a war today between old-school traditional publishing and the new Indie writers of self-publishing.

You know what all this puts me in mind of?  I think all this must be a lot like when the first automobiles appeared on the scene back in the late 1800's to the late 1900's.  For a while, both cars and horse drawn vehicles could be found together on city streets and country roads.  Now the only places you find horse drawn vehicles are in Amish communities or fairs and festivals.

The world of publishing is changing, it is in a state of flux.  It has been so for a while.  The bottom line is this:  either you keep up with the changes and go with it, or you get left behind.  We as writers must embrace the changes and go with it.

The winner in all this will be the readers, as they now have a much wider pool of reading to choose from.  And all these ereaders and ebooks are leading to what I have heard called 'a renaissance of reading'.

Yes folks, our world is changing.  It has always done so.  But some eras of change, I think, are more dramatic than others.  Such was the introduction of electricity, the advent of the automobile.  And now computers and the internet are the driving forces creating such dramatic change today.  We are a more connected, better informed, more intelligent society today.  That person on the other side of the world from you is no longer a stranger.  It is a friend that you just chatted with on facebook.  Things such as this can't help but change every facet of our society.

And the big publishing houses who once dominated and controlled what authors did and didn't make it, their grip on that has been loosened.  Why wouldn't they!  This self-publishing stuff and ebooks threatens their livelihood, changes the way things have always been done.  But so did electricity and cars too.

Yes, the landscape of publishing is changing; and some get it, and some don't.  This blog, in and of itself, is an example of that change.

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