Forget vanity, it’s bespoke publishing now

MA Course Leader Alison Baverstock is quoted by the Times Higher Education this week, describing how self-publishing – which she suggests should be called ‘bespoke publishing’ – empowers authors previously reliant on agents and publishers. Read the full story from the THE.


2 responses to “Forget vanity, it’s bespoke publishing now

  1. Having just completed The Bookseller’s survey for Futurebook, I feel, like Oscar Wilde, that talk of the book’s demise is, to say the least, premature. Yes, everybody in the developed world is buying e-book readers and buying e-books at an apparently insatiable rate with Mr Larsson becoming the first e-book million seller, etc. However the keywords here are “the developed world” and the nature of Mr Larsson’s books. What used to be called mass market paperback fiction is indeed prime fodder for digital reading as sales in the developed world have proved. However, outside the developed world and the narrow, blinkered self-interest of the UK/US .digital community lie the rest of the world which, everyone should remember, is not developed, doesn’t have the same, if any, level of computer access and use, and will be using the printed word for education and leisure for many years to come. So, be careful everyone, our publishing decisions (digital or not) should be taken with the world in mind and not just our small corner. Just a thought.

    • Hi John, you make some interesting points. I think my colleagues and I would probably all agree that the physical book is here to stay – at least in the medium term. Looking at the music industry mp3 files haven’t killed CDs, or even vinyl (for specialist recordings); as a keen kindle user I certainly won’t stop buying ‘real’ books and, as you say, not everyone has access to the enabling technology. What is changing however is the ability of ‘non-publishers’ to publish books (physical or otherwise). That is the main thrust of Alison’s point: that individuals now have the power to design and produce their own book. That book could be printed or available as an electronic copy (or both) but technology is enabling people – in developed countries at least – to take control of their own publishing if they wish. Of course, talk of the publishing industry’s demise is also premature. What you probably can’t do as an unknown individual is build and communicate with a market to the extent that thousands of them will buy your self-crafted tome. So the physical book isn’t dead. The publishing industry isn’t dead. But it is changing. And the wider world that you refer to is as important as ever.

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