A fifth of surveyed Americans have read an ebook, in a new study just out from Pew Internet; one publisher joins the discussion of authors and agents; Pottermore is off to a bustling start; and still we look for ways to make craft, creativity, and business work together. On the Ether.
Of course the Pottermore setup isn’t replicable by other authors. But there are parallels with the case of Amanda Hocking. While she and her DIY “vampyre” shtick also stand as unique among writers, her example of self-publisher-invited-in-from-the-cold changes authorial thinking. It’s the same with Rowling: anything but your everyday success, and yet, she has changed things.
It’s a sadly traditional rift, the gulf between authors and the publishers who depend on them for the raw material of their business. But as with so many things in the industry, the digital dawn seems to be aggravating this strange estrangement. Insiders are starting to call into healthy question the scorn with which too many in the publishing core see their indispensable writers.
We like that word now, don’t we? Disruptive. Oh, yes, we do. Not for nothing did Gayle Feldman, covering the American Association of Publishers for TheBookseller quote one publishing executive saying, “things are going to get ugly” as the US Department of Justice circles with warnings of a collusion suit.
A dizzying amount of copy is hitting the fan of the publishing community about the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation of “agency pricing.” This post is an off-day Writing on the Ether collection of selected writings on a potentially a key moment in the digital evolution of the industry.
“There is absolutely no correlation among advances paid or sales or price or buzz or anything and talent. If there were, Paris Hilton would not have received a dime from a publisher.” Industry specialist Kassia Krozser looks at the crisis in quality and pricing amid the digital upheaval in publishing today. This and a range of other issues from publishing.
This week in Writing on the Ether: Literature and long lines / The AWP conference sits down in Chicago … Open sorcery / A call for industry-class conferences (not more AWP-level confabs) for authors … Amazon / Some embrace it, others run from it … plus book piracy, Google, Apple, reading, and Virginia Woolf (this week’s Last Gas).
Can real sense ever be made of the digital disruption of publishing — mothership retailers hovering in cyberspace over flocks of woolgathering independents in pastures below — if the core industry’s relationship with writers isn’t addressed? During discussions of the new incident between Amazon and the Independent Publishers Group (more on that below), I’ve been reminded by our colleague, Andrew Rhomberg in London, of the phrase “creative destruction” from economic theory.