The Wall Street Journal struck gold with today’s article Cherish the Book Publishers – You’ll Miss Them When They’re Gone. The gist is that while DIY’ers squidge with glee about sticking it to us publishers by doing it themselves – going so far as to invent the oh-so lame term “legacy,” as if print books are passé and we are yesterday’s news – there is a group they forgot to consider: READERS.
Readers don’t want to read crap, which, sadly, is the bulk of *DIY books because there is no standard for excellence. While publishers produce some questionable books, for the most part there exists a line of defense that shields readers from those whose desire to be called “published author” outweigh the necessity of learning their craft.
With DIY, now anyone can “publish” a book. Who cares if you don’t know anything about POV switches and pacing? Story organization? Whazzat? We don’t need no steekin’ organization. Publishers want to cookie-cut our tomes of brilliance. Pah! To hell with them. And who is the ultimate victim of this hubris?
Now it’s even harder to determine a good book from one whose literary grapes are still green. The DIYers have been prognosticating the death of commercial publishing because we’re dinosaurs, so I’d like to toss my hat into the ring and suggest that readers will revolt and scream for the return of good books that undergo more literary scrutiny other than the spin and rinse cycle of a broken down Maytag.
There is a lesson that publishers have known since the beginning of Time, and that one never underestimates the power and voice of the marketplace. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and I hope DIYers who already have us publishers six feet under are ready for it.