Amazon, possibly the best known name in the book publisher world at the moment, is on record as saying that the only things we need are a reader, and a writer. Taking this to its logical conclusion, the book publisher is a dinosaur raising its ponderous heads in a vain attempt to block communication between the parties that really matter. But is this a fair view?
Many people regard Amazon itself as a book publisher, but in actual fact it only provides the platform upon which people self-publish. In other words, apart from a minimal supervisory check on the part of Amazon itself, and the raw force of natural selection (governed by readers), there are effectively virtually no standards being imposed by third parties.Imposition of standards is one of the traditional roles of the book publisher. Obviously they have to survive as businesses and so they choose the books they publish with a commercial eye, but they have also traditionally been the arbiters of taste and controllers of presentation. Their role is gradually being eroded by the leaping of the gap which self-publishing provides and they are becoming sidelined.
However, if the sum of available books were to become a tangled mass of half-baked ideas presented in unedited text and impenetrable formats, then the bulk of readers would in all probability seek entertainment elsewhere and leave the writing world to stew in its own juice.
Like in any other area of the human world, people who control the quality of raw materials prior to their consumption by others are a necessary part of the fabric of society. Let's not advocate dictatorship, but imagine if the quality of food sold in the shops wasn't checked but instead relied on guinea pig shoppers to work out which products made them ill and which didn't. It doesn't bear thinking about.
The good news is that the book publisher world isn't dead. Far from it. While traditional publishing houses watch their backs and the literary world is swamped by a free-for-all, a new breed of publisher is emerging which can take advantage of the facilities offered by Amazon and similar distributors, while at the same time providing the controls on quality without which the industry cannot survive for long.
A book publisher which specialises in online books, and which perhaps also offers the choice of printed copies, selects books in much the same way as traditional publishing houses but from there on in, what they offer and the way they operate can be far more transparent and favourable to the author.
Does the text need editing? Can the author do it themselves? What do they need help with? Let's run with this book cover and perhaps try something else if it doesn't prove to be eye catching enough.
Unlike the book publisher whose sole output is printed books sold in bookshops where their wares will be mixed in with those of others, an online book publisher can create a brand and inspire loyalty in readers by providing comments and insights, news features and suggestions, links and connections, bringing together all the books of one author, for example, and giving sections for types of book. This is the book publisher of the future and the one to look out for.Atul is author of countless articles on a myriad of different topics. He represents Any Subject Books, a top book publishing company that offers authors the full range of modern publication, promotion and other ancillary services.
The Book Publisher World Isn't Dead