Self Publishing Bubble?
Ewan Morrison asks whether self-publishing is the next bubble, of the magnitude of the dotcom bubble or the housing bubble, and if so, how does that play out for the publishing market?
Meanwhile the mainstream publishing houses have suffered huge losses and now can only publish authors who seem to offer a guaranteed return. The entire field of publishing has shrunk, beneath what seemed on the surface like an infinite expansion. Publishers have been forced to launch their own epublishing sites in the attempt to join in the bubble and gain kudos, but they are too late and are wasting resources, and further undermine their old status as market leaders. They in fact turn to the new model of the self-epublishing "star" to get them out of the doldrums. This is the point at which self-epublishing becomes a hall of mirrors and speculation runs in circles.
And what has happened to all those new authors who were told they could make money from epublishing? Well, they are working entirely for free (on spec) on the promise of those big 70% royalties on future sales. They write their books, they blog, they net-network and self-promote; they could put in as much as a year's work, all without payment. So much writing-for-free is going on that it upsets the previous paradigm: people start to ask, why should any writers get paid at all? Why should "professional" writers get a wage or advance, when I've had to do all this work on my self-published ebook for free?