Once upon a time, authors and publishers – along with readers and booksellers – knew their separate places in the book world, and stuck to them. The distribution of power was uneven, maybe even unfair, but the pecking order seemed to make sense.
Then, the revolution erupted and the digital transformation of books and publishing created a more level playing field. Authors and independent publishers especially rejoiced at their newfound freedom to write, publish, and sell books. 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 the rulers wise and beneficent or crass and cold-hearted? Are we building a utopia for readers, or making their lives miserable? At the just-concluded Publishing University 2015 in Austin, Texas, members of the board of directors for the Independent Book Publishers Association explored these questions and more.
Joining moderator Christopher Kenneally of Copyright Clearance Center were Rana DiOrio, founder of Little Pickle Press; Kelly Gallagher, Vice President of Content Acquisition, Ingram Content Group, and Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly editorial director.