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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sayonara to Traditional Publishing?

Traditional publishing has not disappeared just yet; but it is irrevocably changed!

I don't believe trad pub will ever disappear. I see it morphing some more and settling into a type of "status" or "collectable" entity.

At any rate, I just finished reading an article in the Today's Zaman (your gateway to Turkish daily news) by Musa Igrek that gives a most succinct, complete story behind the emergence and acceptance of self-publishing and the resulting, traumatic impact on the publishing industry as a whole:

End of the road for professional publishing?

The world of publishing is gradually becoming more and more dominated by technology.

Up-and-coming authors can now have their books published in e-book format through the self-publishing system, first introduced by the giant online bookstore Amazon.com.

Authors who self-publish bypass the publishing house phase, drastically reducing the cost of having a book published in hardcopy. The author can sell their e-book at whatever price they wish, and through programs available on self-publishing sites, can decide each and every detail regarding the book -- from typeface to cover design, from editing to distribution. This way, the author also holds all the rights to his or her work. The system bypasses numerous levels in having a book published, such as the editor, the publisher and the distributor, as well as the marketing stage.

The global market in self-publishing is constantly growing, particularly because it offers an area of showcase for first-time aspiring authors. There are authors who have sold hundreds of thousands of books through self-publishing. The arena of self-publishing also serves as a showcase for publishers to pick from, so self-publishing authors can sometimes be picked up by a publishing house, too. Turkish online bookstore Idefix unveiled last week its upcoming self-publishing project called “Açık Kitap” (Open Book), which will be launched next year. The company will start serving self-publishing authors in exactly the way Amazon.com does. The project’s director, Bora Ekmekçi, says the website does not intend to make a leap to the publishing business with the launch of its self-publishing branch. “We will be providing amateur writers with tools with which they can produce their own e-books and a platform on which they can publish their works,” Ekmekçi explains. “This project will set [book] production free, there will be more material [to read] out there and it will also help publishers discover new authors.”

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