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Disintermediation in Books

January 1, 2011 12:00:21.485

Richard Fernandez notes that more authors are starting to move away from formal publishing, and doing it themselves - they get to keep a lot more of the money that way. The problem for new authors trying to do the same thing? Visibility:

Maybe Joe Konrath can go direct to his audience. But he’s got a reputation. Authors without an established readership base face a chicken and egg problem. Nobody buys their books because nobody knows about them, and nobody knows about them because nobody has yet bought their books. New print on demand services like Createspace and Amazon’s Kindle have only solved the self-publisher’s logistics and distribution problem, but they have not solved the self-publisher’s more fundamental problem, which is marketing.

That's certainly a problem, but I wonder how much of one going forward. The Amazon recommendation engine has turned over a lot of books for me, many of them self published ones from fairly unknown authors. I've found the quality of those books varies about as much as it does for "professional" authors.

The thing I don't really know is how those authors make the leap from utter obscurity to that recommendation list. Clearly some people are making that jump, but I have no idea how many, or how hard it is.

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posted by James Robertson

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