Once upon a time, authors and publishers, along with readers and booksellers, knew their separate places in the book world and they stuck to them. The distribution of power was uneven, maybe even unfair, but the pecking order seemed to make sense.
Once upon a time is no longer in the book world, for better or worse. The digital transformation of books and publishing has created a more level playing field. As with so many revolutions, though, the change has come at a cost. In 2015 who holds the power in the book world, and are these rulers wise and beneficent or crass and cold-hearted? Are we building a utopia for readers or making their lives miserable?
Those are the questions CCC’s Chris Kenneally will address to a panel at the general session opening Publishing University 2015 next month in Austin, Texas. “Pub-U” is the annual conference of the Independent Book Publishers Association, the largest publishing trade association in the U.S.
“We’re very excited that we’re bringing ‘Pub-U’ to Texas for the first time, and that’s to honor the growing strength of its literary community,” says IBPA board member Rana DiOrio, who founded San Francisco Bay’s Little Pickle Press. “South by Southwest started featuring publishing panels a few years ago, and the Texas Book Festival is now accepting self-published books. So we thought it was time to bring Pub-U to Texas.”
DiOrio explains why she chose to qualify her company as a “B Corporation” – certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency – and how that mission-driven focus puts her in plenty of good company among IBPA members.
“I think one of the greatest changes in publishing is that today there is an environment where independent publishers can flourish and voices can be heard in new ways, and with new capacity,” she says. “I think our members are very reflective of that movement.”