How extensively do companies that accommodate the increasing number of self-publishers change the industry landscape? Do they change it at all? Platforms like Amazon’s CreateSpace, Lulu, or iBooks from Apple, make self-publishing a more viable option than it once used to be, but does the existence of these options threaten traditional publishing? Maybe, maybe not. If anything, they highlight the selectivity of big publishers and encourage the creative produce from an untapped source. Understandably, big publishers can’t, from a business standpoint, take a risk on everyone they come across, even if an author shows promise, but are there ways they can make themselves more relevant to a growing pool of writers?
Whether traditional publishers step up their game or not, companies that support self-publishers are upping theirs. In addition to the few I’ve already mentioned, Blurb has been developing resources for authors, and surprisingly, the commercial segment of the industry.
An article published in The Telegraph by Andrew Cave highlights Eileen Gittins and her work with Blurb, and the way the company has grown since 2005. The company is entirely online and outsources its warehousing and production.
When set beside CreateSpace and Lulu, Blurb may not be a clear stand-out when it comes to self-publishing, but the fact of the matter is, the company is growing and is following the needs of the users. Until reading the Telegraph article, I hadn’t considered how self-publishing platforms could accommodate commercially for film companies or others that require photo-heavy productions. Is this a new source for revenue that publishers can take into consideration or not?
Today’s publishing world is faced with disintermediation- the cutting out of a middle man. In Professor Levitz’s Transmedia class, we learn how the industry is changing to reflect this. In the past, no one would have thought that an individual author would be able to have their work reach a wide audience without the help of agents, editors, publishers, and marketers (and still make a profit!) Today we see that it is possible to promote yourself and your work without the help of a publisher. Whether the traditional publishing model will disappear, change shape, or remain the the same is anyone’s guess. As aspiring publisher’s we must keep an eye on the market of self-publishing. Websites like Lulu allow authors to create, design, and promote their books from the comfort of their own home.
They offer authors editorial services, ebook and print publishing, and design services. As entrepreneurs, we should take stock- perhaps instead of working at a big six, we may find a future at a self-publishing or print on demand service like this. How easy is it to create and design a book here? Take a look and make your own samples!
Since its institution in 2002, Lulu has been one of the most popular companies for self-publishers. Its headquarters are located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and it provides creators with publishing, printing, and distribution services. Through Lulu, writers can publish content of all categories, such as conventional books, ebooks, photo books, calendars, cookbooks, poetry books, yearbooks, wedding books, and portfolios. Once a visitor has chosen one of the forms, the website explicitly walks consumers through the production process. Lulu has published well over one million titles and adds 20,000 new titles to their registry each month. Most importantly, Lulu offers a variety of facilities, including marketing and cover design.
Such amenities allow self-publishing to compete with traditional publishing; however, the quality and quantity of services separates one from the other.