Atime2write - Fiona Tarr

Living A Creative Life

Is Traditional Publishing Dead or Just Stale?

I subscribe to the ASA (Australian Society of Authors). It is a newsletter sent by an association which has a slant towards traditionally published authors and I have found the evolution of the resent articles very interesting.

Recently, there was great resistance to resent government changes which could remove the PIRs (Parallel Importation Restrictions) from books coming into the country. The article highlighted that most published authors average only $13,000 per annum in income and that this policy could erode existing incomes.

Now I understand the impact of cheap imports on business after nearly ten (10) years in retail business, eleven (11) years in manufacturing and more than five (5) years in primary production, but I also understand there is more to selling an item than the item itself. The publishing industry is no different and if authors want to control the distribution and cost of the rights to their own work, then they need to adopt a business models that eliminate the threat.

This issue is another nail in the coffin of traditional publishing and we have to wonder how long before the publishing industry wakes up and realises that there is no money or future in pumping out autobiographies, biographies and fiction from so called already famous people; that short term sales might be there, but long term influence is mute when people realise the writing has no depth and the topic is even less interesting.

The publishing industry is afraid; afraid of taking risks, afraid of no guarantees in sales and afraid of testing new and unproven authors and that could spell their death in the long run. While they fight unrestricted trade policies, they are wasting time and money; money better spent growing and developing new talent. So many good quality authors have abandoned traditional publishers in favour of self publishing and it won’t be long before self publishing is the norm, instead of the irregularity and unauthenticated option.

There are new and resourceful marketing and self publishing options emerging every day, while traditional publishers rub their heads in dismay. If traditionally publishing houses want to survive and thrive then they need to seriously consider how they can work with, rather than against the self publishing revolution. We all want the same thing and should act as a united community to get what we wish for.




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