The main question popping out of Books Expo America (BEA) 2013, just held 5/29/13 thru 6/1/13 in New York, was ‘What in the world were the participants smoking?’ — Surely they had gotten their hands on some quality weed and inhaled it into the deepest innards of their beings.
From there they all seemed to enter a never-never land and were issued rose-colored glasses!
According to some of the keynoters and other presenters, ALL is just hunky-dory in traditional publishing! After all, they made it through another year and this assures their survival, right?
Talk about vanity — Thus traditional publishers are becoming known as ‘vanity’ publishers.
A librarian, attending BEA from Pennsylvania, broke the great news that “Publishing is not dead.” Meaning the old TP business model of publishing is not dead — Now, as noted by NYT best-selling author, Michael Levin, a little later on in this post: ‘How in the hell would a librarian know if publishing was dead or not?’
Even when the big traditional publishers were at the top of their game, and the only player in the playground, they failed miserably at fulfilling what a lot of idealistic daydreamers thought or wanted to believe their noble cause was — mainly to discover, nurture and mentor new talent, as well as make money.
TP’s lost their way when they started putting the almighty buck and profit margins ahead of being the true gatekeepers that discovered and curated new artistic literature and culture. I now sometimes doubt that traditional publishing EVER had this as their true goal and was ALWAYS a hard-nosed money grabbing endeavor.
At any rate, when they ditched the noble-cause-clothes (if, indeed, they ever wore them) and donned the money-grabber garb, the only thing they had left of true value for new writers was the double shot of marketing and distribution — and that was wrested from them by independent publishing!
I was so taken by author Michael Levin’s style and comic relief approach to this subject that I just had to pass it along :
Posted by Michael Levin in Huffington Post’s Blog:
In New York, The Real Vanity Publishers Converge
I haven’t had a drink or smoked pot in more than two decades, but I am more than willing to toss away my sobriety if the publishers who gathered at BookExpo America last week would share with me some of the high quality ganja they were undoubtedly passing around.
They think that just because they’ve made it through another year, that their ongoing survival is somehow assured.
If you sell enough fiction, maybe you start believing in it.
The reality is that bookstores are disappearing. That book readers are finding other things to do with their time and money. That independent publishing has stolen the raison d’etre of major publishing houses, who have lost their twin hammerlocks on the marketing and distribution of books.
New York publishers also continue to undermine the value of books by publishing mediocre books by mediocre authors who have large social media followings and therefore permit lazy publishers to publish books without needing to make the effort to market them.
This is a market strategy known as trying to fool all of the people all of the time.
It was last applied, with equal success, to the Edsel and more recently, to New Coke.
The New York Times, of course, treats Book Expo America with the solemnity due Puxatawnie Phil on Groundhog Day. It quoted such worthies as a librarian at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to the effect that “Publishing is not dead.” With no disrespect intended to the librarians of Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who are undoubtedly masters of the card catalog, the Dewey Decimal System, and shushing, how the hell would they know whether publishing was dead or not?