The Madness of the Value of Books

The Madness of the Value of Books

tumblr_mmzsfn7vKK1rnvzfwo1_500Ever since the advent of e-readers and the ease of which one can publish a book now, the book market has exploded with thousands of different books for readers to choose from now. No longer are readers limited by what traditional publishers choose for us to read, readers can now be the gatekeepers of what books make it and what books don’t.

In spite of readers now being in charge of quality control, there are so many traditionally published writers out there that believe an oversaturated market is going to diminish the value of their traditionally published novel. And they really don’t have a strong argument for why this is. They just think their book is going to drown in the sea of crap, and that sea of crap is going to diminish its value because readers are now going to have a difficult time finding books that are worth reading because of self-publishing. But books aren’t like money. The more money printed, the more the dollar loses its value. How can this hold the same for books? Isn’t it a good thing that readers have control now and no longer have to rely on the traditional publishers to feed their demand? Why is that such a bad thing?

In my opinion, if you feel your traditionally published book is going to lose its value because now anyone can publish a book, you lack confidence in the reader to be able to choose what’s good and what’s bad. Only 5% of novels ever started are actually finished, and only 1% are ever published. If all 5% of those books are now being published, well, you’re still a special little snowflake because the rest of the 95% can’t finish a book to save their lives. And that’s really what it is for people complaining the value of their books is going to be diminished. They want to feel like special snowflakes who waded through the muggy waters of publishing and made it. They don’t want anyone else to intrude upon their territory, especially that guy who published a book and had never written before.

But the special snowflake syndrome is ridiculous. Anyone can publish a book now, but not everyone is going to be able to sell well and make it. Of the %5 that can all publish now, only 1% are probably going to sell well enough to write another book. Now that anyone can publish a book, there is more pressure on writers to create quality content so they have a reason to keep writing and publishing. There are just as many crap self-pubbed books as there are crap traditionally pubbed books, even though there are probably more self-pubbed books out there–the ratios are still likely the same.

I think this is a great era for writers. The stigma of self-publishing is dying because readers don’t care who the publisher is. They’re probably going to look at the cover, blurb, and sample pages before they’re even aware that Random House is behind the book. They only want a good story, and if the top books are self-pubbed books, who cares. I say let the readers be in charge. The books are made for them, after all.

This oversaturated market just means writers have to work harder to be seen, and that is a good thing.