The Business Rusch: The Death of Publishing
WRITTEN BY: KRISTINE KATHRYN RUSCH - FEB• 28•13
It is the last day of February, 2013, and
by now, traditional publishing should have mailed its holiday cards with the
gleeful misquote attributed to Mark Twain on the cards’ interior: The
reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.
Not that there were actual news reports of
the death of traditional publishing. But if you read the blogosphere in 2010
and 2011, a wide number of reputable publishing industry insiders predicted
that traditional publishing would be dead or unrecognizable by the end of the
Mayan Calendar on 12/21/12.
I’m serious. And I’m not sourcing the
predictions for fear of embarrassing some good friends.
Those of us who understand how the large
industry that is publishing works, and how business works in general knew that
those predictions were misguided to say the least. A number of the folks who
predicted such things stopped when it became clear that the e-publishing
revolution wasn’t storming the barricades of traditional publishing. Like most
revolutionaries, e-publishing grew older and got subsumed into the traditional
system. And those who felt the revolution’s initial passion and fire have
either given up proselytizing, settled into the daily grind that a real work
brings, or have given up the cause altogether.
Where is traditional publishing four-plus
years into the revolution? Bigger, stronger, and richer than ever. Who ended up
getting harmed by the revolution itself? Writers who never really learned how
the business worked and/or writers who believed their traditional publishing
careers were bulletproof, that these crazy changes in the delivery method
wouldn’t touch them.
Even now, these formerly bulletproof
writers have no idea what happened to them. They blame traditional publishing,
rather than their own business acumen.
The writing was on the wall as much as
four years ago, when the recession hit. Book advances worldwide went down
significantly, as much as three-quarters, according to an article in the London Times.
Writers continued to accept those advances and bemoan them, so as the
e-publishing revolution hit and publishers started to realize they could make more
money than they ever had, they kept the advances low. Why put out a
ton of money up front if authors will accept less?
It’s excellent business. Minimize your
up-front costs. Think about it. Would you pay in advance for something if you
could get the same (or better) product for less money, money paid out made six
months after you’ve already profited from that product? You’d do the latter, of
course. And many traditional publishers are doing the same. Pay less, pay lower
royalties, get the same product for one-quarter the cost. Makes tremendous
business sense to me.
for the rest go here:http://kriswrites.com/2013/02/28/the-business-rusch-the-death-of-publishing/