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Old 06-11-2013, 07:55 AM   #1
HarryT
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12% of ebooks are self-published; most are rubbish, claims editor

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Self-published ebooks now account for 12 per cent of the entire digital book market, according to new research, and also have up to a fifth of the genre fiction market.

A full 20 per cent of crime, romance, sci-fi, fantasy and humour ebooks sold are self-published, although authors who go it alone in graphic novels, food and drink and children’s non-fiction ebooks are only nabbing five per cent of the sales, Bowker Market Research found.

In adult and general non-fiction ebooks, self-published tomes take a 14 per cent share of the market, Steve Bohme, UK research director at Bowker, said at the Writing in a Digital Age conference according to The Guardian.

However, not everyone at the conference thought that self-published missives were good for the market. Andrew Franklin, managing editor of Profile Books, said the vast majority of them were “unutterable rubbish”.

“They don’t enhance anything in the world,” he told the conference.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06..._market_share/
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:04 AM   #2
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However, not everyone at the conference thought that self-published missives were good for the market. Andrew Franklin, managing editor of Profile Books, said the vast majority of them were “unutterable rubbish”.

“They don’t enhance anything in the world,” he told the conference.
No big deal; a good chunk of popular videos and music is also rubbish. The bottom line is sales; quality is secondary. Let the masses decide.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:17 AM   #3
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They don’t enhance anything in the world,” he told the conference.
Whereas each and every traditionally published book does. Someone has a high opinion of his own tastes.

The whole problem with this trad versus indie publishing "war" is that traditional publishers always want to paint themselves as the gatekeepers of quality--of art. When nothing could be further from the truth. They have zero concern with what might "enhance the world." Their gatekeeping role is predicated around what they think they can sell. There's nothing wrong with that -- as long as you don't pretend it's about anything else.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Whereas each and every traditionally published book does. Someone has a high opinion of his own tastes.

The whole problem with this trad versus indie publishing "war" is that traditional publishers always want to paint themselves as the gatekeepers of quality--of art. When nothing could be further from the truth. They have zero concern with what might "enhance the world." Their gatekeeping role is predicated around what they think they can sell. There's nothing wrong with that -- as long as you don't pretend it's about anything else.
He's biased, plainly, but it's a fair point that traditional publishers do play a valuable role as "gatekeepers", in terms of filtering out the unreadable crap. That's why I personally generally stick with books from publishers - I don't have the time to find the gems that I'm sure do exist in the large garbage pile of indie books.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
He's biased, plainly, but it's a fair point that traditional publishers do play a valuable role as "gatekeepers", in terms of filtering out the unreadable crap. That's why I personally generally stick with books from publishers - I don't have the time to find the gems that I'm sure do exist in the large garbage pile of indie books.
Unfortunately true. I already deal with weeding out crappy stuff (really bad grammar, atrocious spelling, etc) when I read fanfics. I wouldn't want to deal with it on books I actually pay for.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:18 AM   #6
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Andrew Franklin, managing editor of Profile Books, said the vast majority of them were “unutterable rubbish”.
How does he know? Has he read "the vast majority" of self published books? Has he hired a team of people to do that?

Traditional publishers also publish lots of “unutterable rubbish”, profit being the sole criterion of decision.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pablo View Post
Traditional publishers also publish lots of “unutterable rubbish”, profit being the sole criterion of decision.
True. But profit is a powerful motive for selecting those books that stand a reasonable chance of being bought, and while I do of course accept that popularity and quality are not always the same thing, if I buy a book from, say, Baen, I can confidently expect that it'll be fairly well-written and properly edited.

Last edited by HarryT; 06-11-2013 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
True. But profit is a powerful motive for selecting those books that stand a reasonable chance of being bought, and while I do of course accept that popularity and quality are not always the same thing, if I buy a book from, say, Baen, I can confidently expect that it'll be fairly well-written and properly edited.
Maybe, but profit, not quality, is the reason why traditional publishers despise self-published books. They fear that self-publishing platforms may gain an important market share in the future and force them to re-evaluate their business model.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:44 AM   #9
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Oh, I agree, but on the other hand the comment that most indie books are crap is a perfectly valid one to make. They are.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:45 AM   #10
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Content aside, there are a lot of eBooks published by both traditional and Indie folks that are not formatted correctly. As a matter of fact, I've seen a lot of "rubbish" (formatting wise) from big name publishers who don't know the first thing about digital publishing. Content rubbish has, does, and always will appear, but that is for the individual readers to determine. Format rubbish needs to be addressed, and is in my opinion a much more important issue.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:50 AM   #11
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I review books for a romance website, I know the books written by authors I am involved with are not 'rubbish' and the formatting isn't an issue either.

I detest broad statements that seem to cover the whole story!
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:50 AM   #12
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There is nothing stopping a self published book Author from hiring an editor to prep the book for market.
Of coarse, the Author needs to be willing to accept the editors input. What other publishers have is the 'CHECK' waiting as encouragement

Last edited by theducks; 06-11-2013 at 11:02 AM. Reason: wrong word fixed
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:59 AM   #13
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I review books for a romance website, I know the books written by authors I am involved with are not 'rubbish' and the formatting isn't an issue either.
Do the books you review undergo any sort of initial screening process? In all seriousness, when I've looked at indie books (which I do from time to time), the majority (I'd estimate at least three quarters) have been riddled with elementary errors in spelling and grammar (eg not knowing the difference between "its" and "it's", or "your" and "you're"), and I'm afraid that's "instant fail" as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:24 AM   #14
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The whole problem with this trad versus indie publishing "war" is that traditional publishers always want to paint themselves as the gatekeepers of quality--of art.
I've heard the gatekeeps of quality part before, but never the gatekeepers of art. Well, maybe some snooty publishing house will make such claims.

The thing is, major publishing houses are in the business to make money. You make money by creating a product that meets consumer expectations, which includes expectations for quality. If they fail at that responsibility long enough they will lose the interest of consumers and the business will fail. In other words, they must be gatekeepers or cultivators.

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They have zero concern with what might "enhance the world." Their gatekeeping role is predicated around what they think they can sell. There's nothing wrong with that -- as long as you don't pretend it's about anything else.
If it sells, it is because it enhances the world in a way. It may enhance the world by making its reader happy, even though the story is shallow. It may enhance the world by making its buyer feel smart, even though the book sits unopened on the coffee table. Sure there are better ways to enhance the world, but books are limited to touching the lives of people. A book doesn't need to be art to do that, but it does have to reach the reader.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:41 AM   #15
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You don't need people in the roles of the traditional publishing gatekeepers to help you wade through all the crap in the self-published world. Cream still rises. The good stuff you'll hear about through word of mouth (and reviews) and the crap will still languish in crapland. The only real difference between that and the traditional system is that things will get noticed because many people are actually liking something, rather than a handful of people guessing (no matter how educated a guess it is) that enough people will like it for them to make money on.

There will always be good enough filters in place that people won't be forced to wade through garbage for the pearls (unless they want to). They'll just be filters based on actual reader responses to works rather than a self-appointed 'dispenser of art' commitee.
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