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Publishers gone mad

standard April 3, 2013 2 responses

While I was traveling last week I stopped in an airport bookstore (as travelers are wont to do). I spotted Jennifer Lawson’s book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, now out in paperback. I was stoked because I’ve been wanting to read it and I do so love laughing.

And god knows I was going to need a laugh or two on my trip. 

But then I stopped laughing, because I saw what the publisher was charging for the book.

No, but seriously, what asinine publisher chooses to charge $16 for a PAPERBACK?



So there I was, desperate to support a blogging “sister” by purchasing her work, happy to support a small airport book seller by buying it there, and frozen by the ridiculous price staring at me.


What on earth is wrong with these people?

I was livid last month when I discovered that, thanks to Apple, publishers had been granted the right to set prices on digital versions of books, ensuring that more often than not the eBook will be more expensive than the paperback version of the same book.

Now I’m just horrified to realize that the madness extends further.

So here’s the new deal.

Writers write books. They bow, scrape, kiss butt to get these books published. They rewrite books to fit the publisher’s vision of what will say. They’re given no say on cover art or final edits for books. They’re given no money or help for promotion and advertising.

And then crazy prices are slapped on these books.

All too often after that, the books are pulled, killed, because they aren’t selling as well as the publishers had hoped and the whole cycle begins again with another poor sob author.

Is it any surprise that more and more authors are turning to Indy or Self-publishing?

Is it any wonder that more and more reasonably priced Indy or Self pubbed books are selling?

Some books need time to “mature” before they “take off.” Publishers don’t give them a chance.

Book stores need to be able to compete with Amazon. Publishers don’t give them a chance.

Writers need to be allowed to write the books they need to write. Publishers don’t give them a chance.

I strongly believe that, much like the major record labels, in the end, the publishers will lose. People will find other ways to write the books, publish the books, and sell the books. Readers will be more and more drawn to good writing, supported and promoted by fans, rather than a big name publishing label.

I can’t wait for that day to come about.

But in the meantime, just how many books have to be shortchanged by the madness? How many authors have to be punished by an antiquated system that refuses to realize that world around it is changing and leaving it behind?

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2 responses

  • Eye-opener. Thanks for writing Jessica. I hope you get a lot of shares to help spread the message. We need to help get more books in the hands of readers and less on the bookshelves of small bookstores!

  • Yes, there’s no doubt that publishing is undergoing an upheaval. But I agree, for $16, I would expect an amazing product.

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