Will Self-Publishers Kill the Book Industry?

At least they’ve stopped blaming bloggers.

Very interesting article in the New York Times today talks about the burgeoning world of self-publishing. Through this blog, I’ve gotten on a lot of mailing lists and I get emails every day offering me books for review. I think that’s great – but some of the books give me pause. For example, I was offered a book that purported to show proof that John Lennon had sold his soul to the devil. I was tempted to take it just for the giggles, but a guy who could say that with a straight face could also fire-bomb your house, so, maybe not. I find it hard to believe that a big publishing house paid good money for that little tome.

Overall, I’m thrilled to hear that self-publishing is a growing industry. I think the book industry has gotten to be much like the movie and television industries: if it doesn’t appeal to a huge mass of consumers, no one is interested in producing it. If our viewing options were reduced to the sort of toilet-humor slapsticks, brainless sitcoms and explosion-a-minute thrillers the big studios seem to favor, it would hardly be worth buying a movie ticket or owning a tv. What has come to our rescue? Independent films and cable. Smaller productions aimed at niche markets that don’t need to appeal to the mass market to be successful. I see self-publishing much the same way.

The article has some great success stories as well as caveats for people interested in going this route. I honestly believe that great work will find an audience, even if that audience is a very select one and I am excited to hear that more and more people are able to look for their audiences this way. What about you? Read any good self-published books lately?

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