Thursday, January 22, 2009

Time Magazine on the Future of Book Publishing

Awesome article by Lev Grossman right here. It pretty much sums up all the issues that are swirling around the publishing blogosphere reagrding the state and future of the industry. Plus, it's clearly worded for the laypeople who might be thinking about these issues for the first time.

The conclusion seems to be that old-school publishing will survive alongside the new "unofficial" methods of bringing information to the people, including self-publishing. I am all for this new freedom of information that seems to defy the censorship of the priviledged few, who don't always know best what the world wants to read.

However, the article mentions often the fact so much of this material is unedited. What does that mean? Is it that people don't appreciate the value of editing? Don't have time to wait for editing? Can't afford editing? What are the implications for the future careers of editors? Any thoughts?


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Eventually, plenty of the new material will be edited. I already contract with some self-pubbing authors who believe having one's work edited is absolutely necessary. One of my possible claims to fame is having copyedited the first self-published book of author M.J. Rose to be picked up by a traditional publisher (Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books imprint) years ago. Pocket contracted with me to edit the book after Rose had already published it.

I have more than one copyeditor colleague who works nearly exclusively with such clients. And I know freelance developmental editors too.

Editors are just going to have to get a lot better at marketing their services to the right people, that's all.

GJ said...

I would have a couple reservations about self-publishing a book. First, you would have to handle all the marketing tasks yourself, which would be difficult if you have no experience in that area. It would also be time-consuming. Second, there's probably no way that the libraries in your area would agree to carry your book. Third, although the article mentioned several people who self-published and then were noticed by traditional publishers, I bet this doesn't happen very often.

Jena said...

I didn't go to read the article, but it sounds similar to this Google mockumentary: