Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wall Street Journal's Take on Self-Publishing

In a look at the growing digital self-publishing market, sure to be accelerated by Amazon's new 70 percent royalty for self-published e-books that meet certain conditions, WSJ offers its thoughts.  Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says his company "wants to be a partner, not a threat, to publishers. 'I think the real risk is that there are a multitude of publishers.  Some of them are really forward leaning, and are really going after this new e-book area,' he says. 'If you are not one of those publishers, then I would be worried.'"

Seth Godin sees the overall market splintering into two tiers of offerings: "branded/high-quality" and "cheap/good enough."  Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccahagrees, adding "there is some truth to the idea that low prices will drag down our prices."

Self-publishing advocates like to celebrate the small number of successes--Karen McQuestion says she has sold 36,000 ebooks (priced at under two dollars) through Amazon (she is now an Amazon Encore author). But at least this WSJ story also notes that "most self-published authors don't have popular followings and see modest sales," citing a more typical author who has sold fewer than 400 print books and 100 ebooks.

Some publishing people are rankled by the Journal's six or seven-step comparison of what's involved in traditional publishing versus self-publishing.  Raccah places that number closer to 26 steps. 

Copyright 2009 AmSAW

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