Traditional publishers and their disconnect with readers.

In this new age of self-publishing and electronic book and readers, the most rousing debate is about what the future of publishing is going to be. A great many people suspect that the big name, traditional publishers will be obsolete in a few years. Some of our more beloved authors have insisted that traditional book publishing is not something that should be abandoned and that they in fact are going to stick to it, at least for the major projects.

We have talked about this many times on this blog – where is the future or publishing going and what it means for the traditional publishers when websites such as our own Free-eBooks.net and Foboko.com are mainstream. Our focus is on getting our authors out there to be read, to foster a relationship between authors and readers, and to give every writer the chance to be heard. You might say we make it our business to put the authors and the readers together in an environment that fosters further creativity and a broader set of reading opportunities.

What that means for the traditional publishers, as Nick Morgan at Forbes.com has so eloquently put, is that “[they] have one chance left: form a relationship with readers.” He goes on to state that they traditionally have concerned themselves more with the authors and distributors than readers. Their focus has been on getting the best possible deals for the authors and less about what the readers want to see and how they want to see it. He believes that this is the strength behind Amazon’s success – having a finger on the pulse of the readers’ reading habits and tastes.

I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with this point. How many of you in the Free-eBooks.net and Foboko.com communities know who the “Big Six” are? How many of you understand the nature of the stink between the U.S. Department of Justice and 5 of those traditional publishers recently? How many of you can relate the name “Hatchette Group” to something you’ve read lately?

It’s not a reflection on the intelligence of the reader, it is a reflection on how much time and effort is being made in making a connection to the readers. And let us not forget that it is the readers that are at the foundation of this business. Without them, there really is no need to write, publish, and distribute.