Pay No Attention to the Publisher behind the Curtain

Andrew Sullivan weighs in on that question.

Traditional newspapers are dying, to be sure (although I think that some of them will have a future as non-profits).  Andrew thinks that traditional publishing (ink-on-dead-trees) is in a similar state.  Money quote:

My own view is that the publishing industry deserves to die in its
current state. It never made economic sense to me; there are no real
editors of books any more; the distribution network is archaic; the
technology of publishing pathetic; and the rewards to authors largely
impenetrable. I still have no idea what my occasional royalty
statements mean: they are designed to be incomprehensible, to keep the

authors in the dark, to maintain an Oz-like mystery where none is

BTW, I totally agree with him on the incomprehensibility of royalty statements.  I get statements from four different publishers, and I can’t understand any of them.

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  • Carla

    Just be happy you get them.
    I do take issue with his assessment that there are no real editors anymore. But then, he doesn’t know me, so how could he know?

  • Larry

    I suspect as e-publishing takes off the need for a publisher will decrease, as there will be no dead tree books to print and distribute. Publishers currently also server a gatekeeping function, however imperfectly, and there will need to be something to separate the trash from the stuff worth reading. Hopefully there will be something that works better than Digg for finding quality books. Amazon has a start on something like this, with their recommendation system, though it does tend to keep you in a “ghetto” of books just like the last books you read.

  • Korey

    Speaking of Andrew Sullivan, when’s he going to include you on his Blog Love (Particularly in light on his recent commentary and reader feedback on atheism and theism)!? That would be great. I think he’d like reading you.

  • I hate the “it doesn’t work, just let it die” approach everyone’s taking to just about everything these days. It doesn’t work: great, good observation, but don’t enable its incompatibility with the ideal. What ever happened to making things better? The publishing industry is definitely in a dark place and could use a massive overhaul, but I would be just as disappointed with throwing it aside as I am with letting it rot where it is now. Think of it as a green initiative. Let’s recycle dying industries and make them relevant as well as useful again.