Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nash on Publishing

The Globe and Mail asked Richard Nash of Soft Skull Books about the state of publishing., Here is a sample:

JD Yes, and here's the question. Let's assume print-on-demand and digital publishing take off (and it will sooner than later for the small press and special markets). How do we help writers, and readers, realize this could be the best thing that ever happened?

RN The onus is on the independent publishers to embrace rather than be suspicious of it. I do often feel that I'm viewed as a bit of a curiosity in the field of literary publishing for being so gung-ho about the digital download book. Which is especially ironic because the suspicions derive, I think, from their personal affection for physical books, which would have been part of what brought them into this field. Yet the average trade paperback is getting crappier and crappier, and the only way I can see to allow the book-as-object to truly flourish is by allowing the digital download to be what generates sales volume, what creates new readers by having impulse-buy scale pricing. Then, by having tens of thousands come to something for $1.99, you can develop that small percentage of that who really become serious fans, and want a deep connection, part of which will be reflected in an intimate, perhaps personalized object. Come to the cheap download, fall in love with the author, fleece the fan for a $100 limited edition once they're hooked. [Emoticon suggesting this was said with a wink.]

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