Authors going it alone, sort of


from Press News, posted 04/19/2013 - 06:29

One reason for there being an author boom at the London Book Fair (as discussed in my last post) must be the rise of self-publishing.

Despite the best efforts of the Creative Commons movement, self-publishing is still uncommon in the academic world – not least because of the continued weight placed on the peer review process. However, there are other reasons, too (for instance costs in time and money), as explored here.

But in the literary world self-publishing has really taken off. Not only is this because of dissatisfaction with what the traditional cartel of publishers, agents and booksellers has to offer (usually not much) but also because the internet has given authors the tools to express themselves and reach out to a wide readership.

An early pioneer here was Lulu.com (celebrating ‘ten years and two million storytellers’), which offers tools and services to make publishing simple and which claims it has the most options to sell your books. Today there are many other companies offering similar build-your-own publishing services online.

However, the gorilla in the teashop is Amazon with its Kindle Direct Publishing service, allowing authors to quite easily publish their works in the Kindle Store. In effect, Amazon has set itself up as a publisher, a move that has already had a marked effect on its revenues and share of the publishing cake. Critics claim that the Kindle Store is swamped with rubbish, however, and very few of the tens of thousands of authors flocking to Amazon are making any money.

Be that as it may, ‘Authorworld’ is humming both at the London Book Fair and beyond. As for (not) making money, well that sounds a lot like the situation of most academic authors.


 

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