I was reading an interesting blog entry on The Reading Experience about the future of publishing which also referenced this article at Backspace by Richard Curtis. Both are good reads if you’re interested in the topic.

Normally I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the future of publishing because I am too busy with the now of publishing but I do find the topic fascinating. The Backspace blog talks about Amazon.com’s Booksurge program which is intended to allow publishers to keep titles in print longer by using POD. An order comes in to Amazon, they print the book and ship it to the buyer. Curtis believes, as I have for a long time, that once big publishers figure out how much sense it makes not to print 3 times as many copies as necessary everyone will move to the POD model. In The Reading Experience blog, Daniel Green supposes that this will cut out many of the middlemen in publishing; book sellers, editors, agents, and publishers as we currently know them.

It is my feeling that if publishers want to stay relevant they need to concentrate on promotion of titles and authors. It has become easier and easier for a book to be published through self-publishing. But because of the huge influx of titles it has become more and more difficult, just in the past 10 years even, to get reviews and get attention for a release. So I see publishers almost as consultants for authors who can coordinate media campaigns, get reviews, assist with blurbs and production aspects of the book.

It’s a fascinating time to be in the publishing business.

Update on the score:
13 editions in
12 more to do
9 weeks left


  1. The irony here, it seems to me, is that publishers will put less money into production if they use POD, but since it is so much easier to publish, the money that would have been spent on production will now have to be spent on marketing so that the book gets the attention needed to sell a lot of copies. This isn’t a value judgement, it’s just interesting.

    I’m wondering how this “new” dynamic will affect advances vs. royalties in contracts, if at all. Will this usher in a whole new paradigm in the way publishers think about contracts? Interesting stuff.

  2. That’s a good point about the money basically switching from production to advertising. Interesting question about royalties and contracts. I would think that on one hand there should be more money available for advances since the publishers wouldn’t need to put much money up in advance. But I think publishers will start taking into account the author’s marketability and media savy (not just the marketability of the release).

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