Archive for August, 2012
During a very long highway drive to northern Maine, I remembered something a philosophy professor said to me when I was in school: “Most philosophical problems are caused not by having the wrong set of assumptions,” she said, “but by having assumptions you’re not aware of.” Later on this week, I’m meeting with some friends to lay the groundwork for a new publishing model I’ve been kicking around for a while now. That got me thinking about my own assumptions. Here are a few of the most essential. Some may see obvious or too abstract, but they do lead in a direction.
The only two constants in the publishing value chain are authors and readers. Authors create, readers consume. Everyone else in the middle serves merely to make that exchange as efficient, scaled, and pleasurable as it can be.
Whether you agree or not is likely to turn how the word merely strikes you. I expect it would cause many literary agents, editors, publishers, marketers, and publicists to scoff. The arbiters and gatekeepers of what counts as worthy of publication naturally feel that their role is crucial. It is. I’d say the function they provide is more essential to the vitality of the author-reader relationship than ever before, but it’s migrating away from the domain of traditional publishers in myriad different directions and taken up by: Continue Reading…
First off, accept my apologies in advance for the length of this post. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been ruminating about the future of bookstores, if there is one, what it might be. This is the likely the last post on bookstores that I’ll write for a while, for reasons that will become clear.
I just recently attended Kepler’s 2020, an unusual gathering of nearly 80 booksellers, publishers, book industry service providers, librarians, and members of the Menlo Park community in Silicon Valley, where Kepler’s Bookstore is located. The gathering took place over two-and-a-half very packed days of conversation and debate. Publishers represented included Sourcebooks, Chelsea Green, Chronicle Books, and Workman Publishing. Also represented were folks from Village Books (Bellingham, Washington), Book Shop Santa Cruz, and Booksmith and City Lights (both in San Francisco).