And now for the news.
Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:
Here’s a thought-provoking article to start off your Tuesday. Harshad Marathe, an illustrator, Rachna Kalra, a publicist, R. Ajith Kumar, a typesetter, and Lakshmi Krishnan, an editor: These four industry professionals from the Indian subcontinent put their heads (and their words) together to create a portrait of what it’s like to be working (or not working) during the time of COVID-19. Their experiences vary, of course, in the way that no one’s pandemic experiences are the same. What’s interesting is what they say about self-publishing. Kalra, the publicist, notes that “we must bear in mind that reading is a leisure activity and at the moment the focus is on safety measures and essential items.” This explains to some extent the variability in the market over the last few months as readers binge-buy and then plateau. Krishnan, the editor, has concerns regarding how the rapidity of change may leave many in the traditional publishing industry afloat:
Suddenly, one is faced with taking into account shifts in remunerative patterns of employers. Benefits of work accruing from independent writers eager to make the most of the lockdown and get their manuscripts readied for self-publishing can but to an extent balance the income sourced from the mainstream; palpable anxiety and fear loom large on the horizon.
Past data suggests that self-publishing and traditional publishing can have a symbiotic, supportive relationship, with authors moving back and forth between the two. What happens if the entire structure of traditional publishing gives way at once? This is an issue we’ll be keeping in mind over the coming weeks.
- Amazon reverses ban on book critical of coronavirus lockdown after decision is blasted by many, including Elon Musk
The title really says it all, doesn’t it? Well, save for one thing … the book in question is a self-published book. This article, courtesy of Washington Post’s Jay Greene, covers all the salient details to this still-developing story, in which two of America’s multibillionaire technology giants go head-to-head over a book. Really, the central question is about a monopoly as well as a book: What happens when one company can manage not only a book’s production from start to distribution as well as the distribution of all other publishers’ books? Sure, both traditionally and self-published authors have other routes to distribution–they just aren’t as centralized and convenient to many buyers. And in an age of COVID-19, increasing percentages of the world’s population is turning to Amazon for essentials. No matter what your view on the companies involved, this is one battle of personalities that could have ramifications for almost everyone. We’ll be watching this developing story, as well.