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Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Self Publishing: The old paradigm vs the new

My dream was always mass market. I wanted to walk into bookstores and see my books on the shelf, right after Anne McCaffrey's. I wanted it so bad that I would go in to bookstores and feel hate for the physical books of writers that I believed couldn't write as well as I did.

Both the hate and the dream are dead.

I don't need bookstores anymore, just as I don't need publishers.

 Last night, in bed, I got two new books. Books that I couldn't have bought in bookstores, not because they were self-published, but because they were out of 'print'. The bookstore as we know it, my friends, is marked for extinction. This I've blogged about before.

Before, if I used a print on demand service, I'd have had the books sitting in a box somewhere in my house because I wouldn't have been able to get them in stores.

Now, though the option is available, I can't be bothered. Why should I, when I can electronically distribute to virtually every English speaking country, virtually instantly? Why should I, when I can do the same to almost every country in Europe with a mouse click? Yes, I could go through Createspace and have physical books available through Amazon, but paper numbers are simply paltry compared to ebook numbers, for indie authors.

Publishers still have a lock on distribution to bookstores, but that doesn't mean very much anymore, and it means less every day.

I almost want to call print on demand a vanity thing,but it's not, for most, not anymore. Instead, it's either a nostalgia thing, or it's a sign that the author hasn't figured out which way the wind is blowing.

My dream was to hold my book in my hands. Now it is to get my works into the hands of as many people as humanly possible. The old paperback is, sadly or otherwise, on its way to the dustbin of history.


K.C. Shaw said...

I still want to see my MMPB books on the shelf, but I'm definitely with you: the more people who read my books, the better, and I don't care what format they're reading them in. And I do love the ability to buy, download, and start reading a book within minutes.

David L. Shutter said...

Great outlook Mike. I laid my paper dreams to rest this year and they were as big as anyones.

I think paper will stay with us for a awhile, at least to the end of the baby boomer generation, but thoroughly believe in the Konrathian argument that it is very, very quickly on it's way to becoming niche and ancillary.

When the Big 6 houses look at their books it won't take that many more shareholder meetings and "digital has the much higher margin, why isn't that our main focus" questions before the real bosses make it happen.

expat@large said...

My problem: the books I want to read are the "not available on Kindle" ones, the out of print ones and the don't exist any more ones. Plus yours.