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February 17, 2008


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I don't know. The focus on "anyone" being able to publish sounds like a lot of the same hype we hear all the time in the self-publishing arena. The social networking features could be worthwhile and the auto conversion to other formats is handy. I think there is a lot of potential for ebooks but there's going to be a lot of crappy ebooks spilled out by this platform, too.

As you said, the key is "if it's done properly".

Mark Coker

Hi Joe. Thanks for the kind words!

To Jeff: your points are well taken. We realize a lot of bad stuff will be published, but it's a necessary tradeoff to enable us to create a universal publishing platform. We don't believe that publishers should be the the sole arbiters to determine what's worthy of being published, and what's not. Authors should be able to publish anything, and the readers can sort out what's worth reading. Often, especially with writers who are before their time, we don't realize the brilliance of a work until many years later.

L.L. Barkat

And the place of the traditional publisher in all this, if anything? What do you think?

Joe Wikert

L.L., I see the traditional publisher filling much the same role they have up to now, namely, the authors and projects that appear to have the most PR and broad distribution potential. The up-front investments for the traditional publisher's products are much more significant than the one that come through the self-publishing channels. The traditional publishers will still have the experience and capital to help make these products a success.

To be fair, I fully expect operations like Smashwords and other self-publishers to push traditional publishers to innovate and try new models. There have been far too many books that never saw the light of day because they couldn't get placed with a traditional publisher. Even if they only address the needs of a small market it's great to see these products have platforms and distribution models that can work. Btw, I'm not saying that all self-published titles will be low-sellers! I'm quite sure there will be many breakout titles from the self-publishers...again, it's a great way to keep the traditional publishers honest!

Bob Martinengo

Joe - this reminds me of an old joke:

Q. Why is talk cheap?

A. Because supply exceeds demand.

Joe Wikert

Hi Bob. Excellent point! There's no doubt services like this will be filled with questionable content. Then again, are any publishers arrogant enough to say that questionable books never get published?...

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