Book publishing is simply becoming self-publishingsays Virginia Heffernan in The New York Times, making the point that the stigma once attached to this method of getting your work out into the world has largely dissipated. Not only are numbers of self-published books up (2009 was 181% over 2008), but self-published books are acquiring a certain cachet. Heffernan quotes IndieReader, an online source for self-published books as saying :
Think of these books like handmade goods, produced in small numbers, instead of the mass-marketed stuff you’d find at a superstore.She also points out that self-publishing is :
...a quiet godsend to literary history. ... Books that defy traditional classification now appear in print, and reprints of public-domain titles account for the biggest category of self-published books.
There's a very good response to this article by Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer. He finds holes in some of Heffernan's findings but says that :
Self-publishing is incredibly healthy and growing at a pretty amazing rate. ... And as far as quality, why is it that no one ever looks through the huge piles of schlock that are included in the 288,355 books from traditional publishers? ... The self-publishers I’ve been dealing with since the 1990s routinely turn out books that are every bit as good as those coming from traditional publishers. And we’ve been doing it the same way for the twenty-odd years I’ve been involved in independent publishing: by paying attention to detail, hiring in professionals where needed, and knowing the market because we are the market.
Here are the readers' comments on the original article.