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Saturday, August 29, 2009

E Publishing

The trend of increasing use of internet to access newspaper content is a portent for the future of book publishing. What is holding back the explosion of online publishing is the essential conservatism of the average book reader. It is the younger generation who will adapt to the change without a thought. All that is necessary is to provide the electronic gadget that will allow e-reading to be more comfortable and compact. Amazon and Sony amongst others now have viable models available on the market.

There are many advantages for the e-book reader. The plight of the traveller who has difficulty in finding a suitable book in far flung places of the globe will bea thing of the past. She will have the greatest library of content ever assembled on this small planet at her disposal. Access to literature will never have been easier or cheaper. The economics of publishing will shift from the publisher to the artist/creater. The only online costs will be modest formatting, editing and marketing costs. The major costs of paper, printing, delivery and retail will be avoided. E-books will be cheap and cheerful and the increased return and control of the originator allows more writers to find exposure.

There are some who forecast a diminution of quality of content and editing. Yet to look at the bestseler lists of the current times all you see are books expressly promoted by the publisher to give commercial success. Serious literature has to be very forunate to get an airing at all. This unseen filtering of the literary effort of a generation has done untold damage to the literary creativity. Publishers stand between the creater and the audience like an all powerful force that controls what is released according to mostly financial whim.

To date I have completed three novels none of which I have published. I tried sending my first to some publishers and agents but found the whole process dis-spiriting and slow. I felt I was begging a publisher to stand in judgement over my work and hoping it met her standards. I had not written the novels for any particular publisher - nor indeed for any particular audience. I had written them because something had driven me along that sometimes lonely and difficult route. The ultimate arbiter of my work should be any eventual readers whether in present times or future times. Literature once created takes a life of its own. The creater loses control once it emerges into the public domain. It is the public who decide on the merits or otherwise of a work. The most important thing is to get exposure for the work. Unfortunately the traditional means of finding a publisher has run its course. The economics of publishing has taken its toll on good publishers. The lofty ideals of the good publisher have been swamped by the economic necessity of the times. Now there are the chosen few towards whom the publisher lends her full weight of PR and marketing to ensure an economic print run.

And then over the hill the cavalry arrived in the form of e-publishing....

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