Monday, July 12, 2010


I have kicked around a few ideas for what to write in this space, but not until today did I "feel" something strong enough to write.

The American book industry has been suffering. Some people like to argue about eBooks versus traditional books and how it will play out in the marketplace, but the whole argument reminds me of what happened with online/electronic music sales.

Not everyone reads at the same level. I am reminded of this when I read a book in French. Some people like easy books, mindless books. I like hard books. Some people aren't avid readers and a hard or elaborate book might feel to them like a book in French does to me.

But this shakedown of POD, independent, subsidy/vanity press, traditional and ePublishing has made it more and more difficult to determine what is the best fit for each author. I think it the end, more authors will see publication because of the variety. Among these will be good authors too risky for big traditional houses and some too poorly skilled for these same houses.

Editorial staff may play out the same way. Some small houses may not have the money for quality editors.

As if this weren't enough for authors to worry about, I now hear about more and more "contract cancellations" and similar situations where houses cancel the publication of a book.

This is heartbreaking to me. I look at the industry right now and wonder if I really want to deal with all of this. I wonder if the industry will find better footing in a year or two.

Cancellation is happening to good authors... some of whom I know from writer's groups. It's like a death in the family. What do you do but say "You have my sympathy" and "I'm sorry."

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