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Old 08-19-2013, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
In what way are publishers not selling what people want? And what would be the point? The only way to make money is to give people what they want. Your issue, I think, is not with what publishers provide, but with the ignorant semi-literate morons who constitute 90% of the book-buying public.

I don't have access to sales figures but I'd be willing to bet a limb that the aforementioned Katie Price has outsold Toni Morrison. And nobody held a gun to anyone's head to make them buy her books.
Hmm. Being Jordan is one of the least crushingly stupid of the many ghostwritten celebrity autobiographies on the market. I won't go so far as to say it's worthwhile or publishable (or even particularly readable) but, it's better than you may imagine from the cover.

What I'd say to you, Mike, is that there's a distinction between what people want and what people buy. In other words, our prospective buyer wants X, but can't get X, so they settle for Y rather than walk away empty-handed ---- and the publishers think "Oh good, we must be selling the right thing" and publish more Y.

At least, that's the only explanation I have for Eragon, Twilight or 50 Shades...

Originally Posted by Synch View Post
This may be one of the most blatantly nonsensical statements I've encountered.

A publishing house exists to sell books. The only way top do that is to publish what people want to read.

The fact, simple ands indisputable, that people purchase anf read published books means the publisher is providing the product they want.
Synch, please don't quote your free market ideology at me as if it were fact. It's not. Publishing doesn't work like that. It's technically a business, but it's not conducted in a businesslike manner. It doesn't make a lot of money. Books are not effectively advertised. Most are just stuck on bookshelves in the hope that the cover and the title will sell them, with zero marketing effort except to the extent that the author personally goes out there and pushes. All the marketing budget is spent telling people about the next Harry Potter: the surefire successes. The way it works is objectively dumb. Publishers and bookshops survive because of favourable tax treatment and government life support, not because they're good at selling people what they want.

The majority of books from small and medium-sized publishers lose money. A few successful ones subsidize all the costly flops, but essentially owning a publishing house is about aspiration and arty-farty lifestyle rather than making money.

The only way you're likely to make a small fortune in traditional publishing is to start with a large one.

None of the traditional publishing houses can adapt to ebooks and print-on-demand. Therefore they're all heading down the tubes anyway.

The main reason my stuff gets published is because the people who run small press-publishers in my field know me. They've published my stuff before, so I get the fair hearing that someone new to them wouldn't. This attitude is conservative and safe and what it achieves is publishing houses that mostly put out almost exactly the same thing they put out last year.
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