The transformation of publishing

A lot of people miss that the transformation of the publishing industry has little to do with literature, authorship, even the reading audience. It is a business transformation driven by shifting costs.

There is no more economic need for publishing companies. Printing presses, paper and binding, distributing books are all so cheap they might as well be free. There is still a need for editors, qualified critics, and the other players who contribute to well-done polished books, but with improved electronic communications, a project manager, not a publishing house, is all that is needed to produce a book. Publishers are endangered by the disappearance of their purpose.

The transformation has not done well so far with incorporating the non-authorial contributors to the evolving publishing process, but it is early times and I have hopes.

I believe readers like and are willing to pay a premium for good books. Therefore I, as a reader, am not threatened by the transformation and the other contributors to a good book are not threatened either, but the ride may bounce us all around for a while.

—Marvin Waschke, on The Passive Voice