Andrew AlbaneseSelf-publishing – at least in its digital form – no longer carries a stigma. Indeed, for Amanda Hocking and Hugh Howey, among many others, self-publishing has paved a path to profit and celebrity. But a smoldering debate on just how much authors really stand to gain when they light out for the self-publishing territory has flared up this week and brought the subject much-needed scrutiny.

In a blog post, Howey set forth data that challenged any lingering notion of self-publishing as an outlier in the book business, as well as the advisability for authors, of working with publishers. Now, Mark Coker, Smashwords founder, has come to Howey’s defense in a Publishers Weekly column.

“Critics of Howey’s data are missing the point, Coker argues – the thrust of Howey’s argument is that indie authors are taking e-book market share from traditional publishers,” PW’s Andrew Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “The Internet has changed the balance of power between authors and publishers. What matters is that trend, and the strong social, cultural and economic forces that will propel that trend. Arguing over the numbers now, says Coker, is to miss the forest for the trees.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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