Commentary: Disruptive Innovations Creating Opportunities for Writers

Photo of Susan Petrie, Hudson Whitman/Excelsior College Press.

Today, Susan Petrie discusses why publishing model disruptions are a net positive for aspiring writers.

The book industry is in flux. Boy, is it in flux. Almost daily, there are heated disputes that involve the role of corporate publishers, the role of Amazon, and the role of writers who self-fund their books. There are “buy local” movements at independent bookstores persuading readers of their community value. There are new e-book subscription models, such as Oyster, and Amazon Unlimited, that act a little like Netflix. There are people who love Amazon, those who buy big-name authors and writers who don’t mind the corporate publishing model, and those who support the companies that make it easy for self-published authors to reach their readers directly. Large publishers have created direct-to-customer sales portals, which compete directly with Amazon, but also puts them in competition with bookstores, traditionally the mainstay of print sales. Academic monographs are being challenged by OpenSource and potential changes in tenure granting structures.

Add to that changes going on in the public library system, with some branches purchasing their e-book content directly from writers and publishers, while others opting to rent it from cloud-based content aggregators, and it is potentially a head-spinning mess!

To me, the take away from the upheaval is this: writers have choices.

Read the full column.

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