I loved this article by Paul Constant in the Stranger about the state of the publishing industry. While much of it focuses on the exorbitance of Book Expo America and big publishers, I especially liked the dichotomy between the small presses rising up, embracing good lit, intelligent readers, The Long Tail and new communication methods (ie: SBP allowing free CC downloads of John Kessel’s book of short stories The Baum Plan for Financial Indenpence, for example), compared to the celebrity-and-wonder-hit-obsessed big publishing houses who, according to the writer, are not releasing any big hits this winter for fear that what they’ll release will turn out to be market-duds because national attention is turned toward the election.
(disclosure: Small Beer Press and I are mentioned mid-way through.)
I have to say – I put a lot of faith in the idea of The Long Tail. We moved through a hundred years of homogenizing behavior as a species as everyone tuned in to fewer and fewer sources of information, as cultures and traditions and languages were quashed because of the allure of modernity and capitalism. And so I hope that the new publishing mediums (blogs, the internet, etc) will encourage more and more niches to form to replace what was lost, if not necessarily by quality at least by quantity.
So go! March yourself off to form your weird little club on teh internets! You’re helping to preserve the net cultural diversity of our species.