No, apparently ‘they’ are not. The Guardian U.K., reported on HarperPress publisher Caroline Michel’s speech for the Guardian World Book Day Forum last Thursday, and noted that publishing, as a traditional business, is changing. With resale bookstores online like Amazon and happy people ‘releasing’ books for free through the BookCrossings program, the publishing world could be heading toward crisis.
Michel raises some salient points, such as the fact that agents have taken the place of what editors used to do, that neither authors nor publishers make any money from resales of books, and that BookCrossings sort of subverts the intention of selling books by paying their list price only once and then giving the book away to whomever. But for some, a new way of relating to literature is vital. Books are not only dollars and cents, but the backbone of thoughts and ideas which are meant to be shared, and to echo much further than the time it takes for a book to printed in paperback and be stripped of its cover. Shouldn’t books be more than a group of words owned by a company? It’s a little bit of a vicious cycle; taking Michel’s view, books will soon become something like those disposable DVD’s, and if you don’t read them fast enough, the words will fade from the page and they’ll have to be thrown away. And we all so need yet another item for the landfills.
Take a gander at this article, and see what you think.