There’s an interesting article that is featured on The Atlantic right now by Andrew Sullivan concerning the problems with and future of book publishing. In the short posting he writes that:
My own view is that the publishing industry deserves to die in its current state. It never made economic sense to me; there are no real editors of books any more; the distribution network is archaic; the technology of publishing pathetic; and the rewards to authors largely impenetrable. I still have no idea what my occasional royalty statements mean: they are designed to be incomprehensible, to keep the authors in the dark, to maintain an Oz-like mystery where none is required.
The future is obviously print-on-demand, and writers in the future will make their names first on the web. With e-distribution and e-books, writers will soon be able to put this incompetent and often philistine racket behind us. It couldn’t happen too soon.
I couldn’t agree with him more. Particularly in an economy that is becoming increasingly poor it only makes economic sense for writers to explore means of making an income that does not require the overhead that the current publishing system does. Furthermore, what Sullivan suggests here would allow writers to create and define themselves as a brand online and then move to print when they know that there will be a significant demand for their works.