The author’s slice of the pie

Jonathan Heawood has an interesting perspective on publishing:

While readers have an interest in seeing a wide range of high-quality writing for all tastes, and authors have an interest in a marketplace which can generate income from their idiosyncracies, the print market itself is geared towards promoting ever smaller numbers of increasingly conventional titles. Whether readers get their content in black ink on a white page, blue text on a grey screen or white chalk on a black board is irrelevant. As Clare Alexander pointed out, authors aren’t in the paper business, they’re in the communication business….
…If conventional publishers, agents and retailers want to find an answer to this question, they are going to have to stop defending the status quo. The present dispensation is a historical accident. These particular middlemen arrived on the scene over the last few hundred years, whenever the industry became richer, at the same time that new copyright controls were imposed as each new player – agent, publisher, retailer – sought to defend their slice of the pie. The pie has grown, but so have the number of slices. The only player with a diminishing slice is the author.





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