Monday, May 14, 2012

Notes on a Dying Industry

James Altucher makes some salient points re the 'morgue' of the Traditional Publishing Business. We've heard that before, but Altucher's broader focus makes this rant a bit different:
He also sideswipes some other 'dead but don't know it' businesses along the way. I'm paraphrasing him here:

• The book publishing industry is dying the way the typewriter industry and Blockbuster died: They're dead but don't know it. (Or don't want to know it.)
• The entire music industry is dying, and broadcast television might be on the way. The tablet industry is the first sign that companies like DELL might be in major trouble. And companies like Sirius mean the radio industry is dead.
• Where’s the financial benefit for an author to go with a publisher if advances are going to zero and royalties are a few percentage points - and he has the option of self-publishing?
• The time between book acceptance and release is too long (often a year or more). That makes no sense in a print-on-demand or digital-download world.
• The book industry sells “books”, while what they should do is sell their “authors”. Authors now are brands, they are businesses, they are mini-empires. Publishers do nothing to help 95% of their authors build their platforms and their own brands. This would increase author loyalty to a publishing house. (Authors formerly were loyal to editors, and a great editor would take authors with him/her if he/she changed employers. Today, most publishers do minimal editing.

Re Big Publishing's marketing incompetence, Altucher relates how "Not a single publisher told me I can log into Amazon Author Central, create an author’s page, link my author’s page to my blog, upload a video, have my twitter feed in there, have an FAQ in there, and all the other basic tools Amazon uses to market your book. Why? This is the world’s biggest bookseller. Why wasn’t I told about a basic marketing platform I could use?  I just learned about it last week after writing books for eight years. Now I have it all hooked up and I have a feeling I’ve only begun to explore the Author Central area and what Amazon can do for me.".

"I don’t want to trash the publishers. They are all hard working people and have done good jobs but it’s just not worth it to me to go that route anymore."

Altucher then briefly details the steps he took to self-publish his own book.

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