Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writing's on the Wall

"This is a story about the end of the gatekeeper. About the movement spreading throughout media, from which book publishing is hardly exempt, as readers of Harry Potter, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey have made all too clear.
     It’s about the reading public – the great unwashed, the hoi polloi – no longer letting tastemakers decide what’s worth reading. It’s about the masses seizing the means of publication.
     Publishing is an injured beast, but it was mortally wounded before Amazon attacked. And the injuries themselves are partly self-inflicted.
     The proof? The vast majority of top-heavy legacy publishers’ books – agented, edited, sales-managed, otherwise massaged, and only then published – tank, sinking with nary a trace. Conversely, some books, refused by dozens of publishers, go on to achieve rock stardom when some kindly soul finally deigns to bring them to market.
     Which means only one thing: Despite their vast education, experience and good taste, publishers have only about a quarter of a clue what the public really wants. For publishers, it’s 'the end of the world as they know it.'"
— Beverly Akerman, The Globe and Mail

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