On Mashable, Lance Ulanoff posts about the trend toward self-publishing through Amazon and other e-book shops. Amazon, he writes, has a huge potential audience, and both known and unknown writers are finding audiences for their books there. And Apple just unveiled iBooks Author, which makes creating e-books easier than ever. Of course, there are concerns over quality, especially given that many e-books may not have been professionally edited.
Whether you use Amazon or Apple, these platforms tear down the traditional publisher barrier and put control firmly in the hands of you and me. I wonder how this will impact big name authors and their publisher parents. Will writers like James Patterson start self-publishing books and short stories on Amazon? Why not cut out the middleman publisher and take nearly all the profits?
Most of what he writes has been written before; I suspect that the post is really just link bait for the $2,199-a-head Mashable Connect conference Mashable is pushing, which promises “a rare and valuable opportunity to be surrounded by digital leaders across industries” while “exploring the future of publishing and many other digital trends”. For $2,199 (or $2,499 with hotel), it had darned well better be “valuable”. At that price, I’d expect them to be handing out solid gold Kindles at the door!
There certainly have been a huge number of conferences aimed at discussing “the future of publishing” over the last couple of years, haven’t there? I’m starting to wonder if conference organizers see all the industry concerns over “the future of publishing” as blood in the water that means they can charge high fees to concerned executives desperate for a solution. Whether the publishing industry learns anything or not, the conference organizers still come out ahead.
Of course, I know I’m not really the target audience for this type of conference. It’s aimed at publishing and technology industry executives, who can either have their companies expense it or else make enough of a salary that $2,000+ is basically pocket change. But on the other hand, if these industries can afford to send their executives to $2,000+ conferences, it doesn’t seem to me like they have a whole lot of room to complain about how badly their margins are getting squeezed by Amazon. Perhaps if they cut down on the expensive conferences and other boondoggles, they could figure out how to offer books at more reasonable prices and still make a profit.