10 Bookish Conversations We Never Want to Have Again


RJS: Since we’re on the subject of authority and gatekeepers…God, I don’t know if I even have anything interesting to say about this. I’m so over it. People can publish their own books. Some of them will be successful. Many of them will not. Traditional publishers will continue to offer services and tools (and, ahem, authority) individuals cannot afford on their own, and for that, many writers will resist self-publishing. The end.

JSO: The hand-wringing about self-publishing is so weird because self-publishing actually predated what we call publishing by a couple hundred years. The prohibition on “vanity” publishing is a relatively new idea, and one I’m glad to see go away. Unless self-published works are, in aggregate, so embarrassingly awful that everyone who reads one is so turned off that they never read another book again ever, I think it isn’t a threat to good writing and great stories. It might be a threat to the book publishing industry as we know it, but as I always say, the publishing industry is not the same thing as the “reading” industry.

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