2020/04/06

It's a Great Time to Be in Publishing

... If you're actually in publishing and not lumber distribution.

Hat tip to author Rawle Nyanzi for documenting this frank admission from Tor Books editor Beth Meacham:

Publishing in trouble

For years, I've called out legacy New York publishers for being in the lumber business instead of the story business.

A book isn't reducible to bound wood pulp pages. It's the story written on the pages.

Yet oldpub apologists doubled down on equating their paper-pushing cartel with "The Publishing Industry."

Now, as predicted, the paper distribution monopoly that was oldpub's lifeline is crumbling under assault from Corona-chan.

Real publishers connect readers with stories they'll enjoy. Newpub authors--including me--have seen increased sales while officers of RMS Oldpub scurry for the lifeboats.

The entertainment industry, more than any other, has always displayed remarkable resilience in the face of economic downturns. Not even the Great Depression could take down Hollywood--though the Death Cult will.

Yet survival is predicated on an entertainment enterprise actually producing entertainment people want in an easily accessible form. That's why newpub, with our fast, lean production and delivery systems, is poised to redefine "The Publishing Industry."

Aloof Manhattan editors once smugly referred to themselves as the industry.

If newpub authors keep providing readers with entertaining stories they like, the industry will be us.

In that vein, here's a little glimpse of newpub's future:

Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier

Newpub authors and readers--you know what to do!

Pulse-pounding mech action in a brutal post-future!

21 comments:

  1. That cover is a work of art. Grats to the artist and you, Brian. Captures the vibe of Xseed better than any cover to date.

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    1. Thanks for the glowing feedback, man! If you like the cover, you're gonna love the book.

      Delete
  2. Cover art continuing to level up!
    Not much to add to the rest. Industries often blame technology for their difficulties, but technology is how you deliver books when you can't ship paper. And switching out to new products is what customers do when you fail them.

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    1. Exactly. The fact that Oldpub spent all their institutional power yelling at the oncoming eBook train is a big white pill for dissidents' future prospects.

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    2. Brian

      No kidding
      Spain's publishing industry is now facing an existential crisis precisely over their paper fetish.
      Their irrational refusal to publish ebooks has totally caught them totally flatfooted.

      Many simply can't do anything with their paper titles and most don't have ebooks or audiobooks to sell.
      So those there'll be yet another round of concentration that'll be very dangerous.

      xavier

      xavier

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    3. Oldpub yells at Cloud!

      Sorry, couldn't resist.

      Technology is, ideally, productivity in concrete form. Industries that plead their inability to adapt to technological innovation simply mean "we are as productive as we care to be."

      Delete
  3. "But...but...but, I can't get you your buggy whips! Why don't we sit for six hours in our idling cars and talk about this horrible problem on our smartphones?"

    So much unintended humor in the post and in the comments from these escapees from Reality.

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    1. Boiled down, Beth says, "TOR's current profit margins are too important to jeopardize by reducing them to ebook levels. Instead, we've chosen to cut our authors' throats."

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    2. To quote Hemingway, "Never trust a publisher."

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  4. Corona-Chan has successfully overturned every old apple cart in the big publishing industry to reveal just how fragile and mismanaged they all are.

    Real talk: e-book sales should not be lower than audio. E-books are the easiest form of book to sell, the cheapest for customers, and the fastest for the reader to use.

    Even if they don't like it that shouldn't matter. I can't read fiction in e-book form and far prefer paperback, but I would be crazy to not offer an e-book option. It's the best seller in Newpub for the simple reason that it is the easiest for everyone involved.

    That they refuse to do it and rely on a creaky lumber industry that can get its legs cut out from under them at a moment's notice is telling in where their priorities are.

    I thought the 2020s would finally be the change we desperately needed, and it looks like that's the case. It just arrived faster than I expected.

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    1. Seconded, especially since audio books aren't books. They're radio play adaptations of books.

      The grossly inflated production costs make audio versions vanity publishing for all but the top-selling indie authors anyway.

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  5. The supply chain is just not necessary. I wonder what the aversion to ebooks is about? Is it the fact that ebook vendors are a two-dimensional marketplace that makes your books and my books look on par with theirs?

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    1. Here's a helpful metaphor: "I wonder what horse buggy whip manufacturers' aversion to the internal combustion engine is."

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    2. This kind of conversation is going on in a lot of places on the Web. It makes all the other battles we've been fighting pretty irrelevant. Minus the physical store advantage, there is no difference (to the reader stuck at home) between trad publishing and indie publishing. The one giving the reader what he/she wants will win, and being able to move vast quantities of paper won't change that. Of course some of the folks in organized fandom who tied themselves to trad publishing aren't likely to be happy with the outcome, but choosing unwisely comes with a price.

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    3. Joseph

      Prestige and social consciousness. They're insecure people in a precarious industry
      Thus by gatekeeping they get a place in society.
      If you can read Spanish head over to the twitter feeds of the European Spanish publishers to get a glimpse of the chin up desperation

      xavier

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  6. They wouldn't even be in this trouble if they had kept their American paper plants instead of selling out fire cheap Chinese shit.

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    1. They might still be, they just wouldn't be able to blame the supply chain.

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  7. That is some sweet cover art!

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  8. Nailed it. We're selling tissue and towel as fast as we can make and cut it up. We used to have two dedicated machines for print that we dumped when everything went overseas, and those could be running hot today if publishers hadn't decided Chinese slave labor is preferable to an extra dollar per copy.

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