Is the "Publishers' Monopoly" Broken?

Image - iStockphoto: ZimmyTWS
Image – iStockphoto: ZimmyTWS

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson Is the “Publishers’ Monopoly” Broken? Writing on the Ether

[su_dropcap size=”4″]T[/su_dropcap]his author on Twitter had never heard the 50,000-copy figure for the number of print books his publisher was saying it would produce for his launch. Or any other number. Despite the fact that 50,000 copies is a handsome number for a print run—the author was clueless on this point. Let’s note, those print run figures aren’t something you take to the bank. They’re frequently inflated by publishers to make a launch look big and supported. They’re a PR stunt, in crass terms. But this is the fourth time this has happened. Different author, different book, and different publisher each time. I “craft a tweet.” Author tweets me back in happy surprise. Publisher has not shared with author what the announced size of the print run is. The PR line fed to Publishers Weekly isn’t even shared with the writer.

Dana Beth Weinberg
Dana Beth Weinberg

This incident reminded me of something that Dana Beth Weinberg said last week at the Digital Book World (DBW) Conference & Expo in her presentation about the “What Authors Want” survey that DBW and Writer’s Digest (WD) produce. She talked about partnership. Between authors and their publishers:

This new partnership needs to be genuine, not based in lip service, or it will backfire terribly. The approach is worth a try. If it can lead to better cars, more on-time airline departures and arrivals, and fewer deaths in hospitals, why can’t it also work in publishing?

Main confab panel, largeThat’s from a written edition of her comments she has posted at her site. It’s called Should Traditional Publishers Feel Threatened by the Potential of Self-Publishing? Summary of My Presentation at Digital Book World 2014 And her opening lines are these:

Should traditional publishers feel threatened by the potential of self-publishing? Of course they should.

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