The core business of publishing is books. You can’t do anything in the realm of publishing without one. There are only three defensible positions in publishing: writing, editing or publishing a book. Everything else is masturbation.
That’s right. I said PUBLISHING and MASTURBATION in the same paragraph. Though this fierce sexual mention is rare in the field, let’s call it what it is: DIDDLING. If you are not acquiring books – someone has written them and you are in your office editing and publishing them – then you, my friend, are DIDDLING.
What form did this DIDDLING (that word stands in for the last couple of years of commercial publishing activity – with rare exceptions of beautifully written and published books that will continue until the end of mankind) take?
Lawyers, mainly. Paying lawyers. No one in leadership roles wanted to edit and publish books. The formula had broken. So they got jiggy with pricing and colluded. This is unAmerican. I’m not sure it’s a felony, but “felonious” does describe some of these diddlers. There, you have some new words.
Amazon scared and continues to scare them. Instead of innovation, they chose lawyers. It’s a common mistake made everywhere from car manufacturers to marriages. Freeze forward movement. Pick at your wounds. Get defensive. Fail.
ACQUISITIONS UP! Publishers Weekly crows, hopefully with a wink in their eye. Because as publishing stopped buying new properties, the world kept turning. Libraries still got filled with new works, works that were not produced by a trade publisher. Works that were made by writers and small presses working closely on the ground. Works of great creativity and beauty and information and wisdom.
And just look at Amazon. All those new books are there in an amazing library right in the palm of your hand. They were made during the “DIDDLING YEARS” and they are amazing.