Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Publishing is Finally a Democracy; and Guess Who Has the Power?

It’s no secret that technology has leveled the publishing playing-field AND empowered writers/authors. I, for one, have followed and written on the publishing revolution since 2008.

But, I just love the following article by Keith Ogorek, the Senior VP of Marketing for Author Solutions. His visualization of publishing as an old dictatorial aristocracy, where an elite few held the power, being democratized and the power spread more fairly is simply excellent:

The democratization of publishing

Since its inception the publishing industry has operated like an aristocracy. An elite few held the power to essentially determine if an author’s work would be allowed in the public square. It was publication without self-determination for authors. For no matter how passionate or motivated an author was about his or her work, the fate of the book rested entirely with a few publishing houses. Those days, however, are over. Everything has changed.

Publishing becomes a democracy thanks to technology

In the mid-1990s, the convergence of three emerging technologies laid the groundwork for a revolution in publishing. First, desktop publishing replaced traditional typesetting, which meant an individual could design a book more quickly and cost effectively. Second, the debut of print-on-demand (POD) technology meant copies of a book could be printed individually at costs comparable to traditional, large offset runs. Third, the internet became a retail distribution channel. This leveled the playing field for authors who wanted to distribute their books broadly and cost effectively. These technologies, all developing at the same time, meant the elite no longer held the power. Authors now had it.

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