Over at XinXii (it’s sort of a German Smashwords with a little bit of Scribd thrown in), self-publisher and book designer Joel Friedlander has published an optimistic look at today’s marketplace. He thinks it’s a golden age, and he lists eight reasons why.

You can check out the full article at XinXii for details, but here are his reasons. What do you think of them?

  1. The playing field is leveling.
  2. Access to tools and professionals is easier than ever.
  3. Social media makes effective marketing affordable.
  4. Digital publishing eliminates production risk.
  5. Industry prejudices against ebooks and self-publishing are waning.
  6. The definition of a “book” is not only changing, but expanding to make room for new ideas and products.
  7. The Internet provides a global marketplace for authors.
  8. Mobile technology is accelerating the adoption of ebooks.

(Photo: Un ragazzo chiamato Bi)


  1. I largely agree with his reasons, with 2 comments: Regarding #5, I’d say industry’s prejudices against ebooks and self-pub may be waning, but slowly… it’s public prejudices against ebooks and self-pub that are waning even faster; and I might add point #9, that Competition has driven us to the homogenization stage, finally whittling down many incompatible formats and systems to just a few more manageable formats and systems, making the entire industry more efficient.

  2. I would agree, but self-publishing’s golden age does not equate to publishing’s golden age. When everyone can grab a megaphone, it doesn’t mean that everything gets better. It just means that everything gets louder. I freely admit to being someone who has not changed my own reading habits in response to the rise in self-publishing, even though I do 95% of my reading on my Kindle these days. I freely admit that there may be many “just as good” writers who are self-publishing, but I’m just not willing to divert reading time to hunting/gathering time. People enthusiastically talk about the new review sites popping up to focus on self-published/indie books, but then I have to investigate the *reviewers* (do they have a financial interest in recommending the book [e.g. trading good reviews], do their reviews show that they actually know anything about writing and craft, can they put the book into any sort of context with similar work, etc) to know whether to take them seriously. Not interested. I wish this didn’t sound like I’m carrying water for the publishing industry, because I’m not. I think the industry needs re-working from the ground up (starting with authors getting 80-90% and the publishing industry surviving on the rest, rather than the reverse). But I’m not yet feeling that giving everyone a printing press is a path forward.

  3. It’s all about marketing and I’m not altogether sure social media is ‘effective’ marketing. Just ask any musician. Without effective marketing, the remainder of the reasons are meaningless to an author.

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