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Times are a Changin'

Simon & Schuster is the 4th largest of the American “Big Five” publishing companies (which include HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group USA, Penguin Random House, and Macmillan Publishers).

A tentative deal to sell Penguin Random House (for $ 2.2 billion) was blocked due to regulatory concerns last year. They were stopped. (And the shocking revelations that came to light. See The Asshattery of Statistics).

Only 4 months ago, in April 2023, Amazon close their acquired Book Depository. (See Book Depository Closing)

Do you remember Pronoun? It was a online publisher/distributor, primarily for self-publishing and independent authors. Broken Keys Publishing used it (all titles – allow me to repeat – ALL titles were available via ebook on this platform.

Seeing the rise of the indie-author and the threat that self-publishing and small publishers were becoming, Macmillan Publishers bought it over 7 years ago (Nov. 2017) and permanently shut it down by Jan. 2018, leaving its authors, publishers, and clients scrambling with only 2 months to upload, download, retrieve, and find new avenues for their files, manuscripts, and titles. Rather than compete and offer a good or better service, they opted to purchase and close down.

Rival companies - with Amazon coming to mind specifically – only monopolized on its demise and preyed upon its corpse like vultures. (Amazon reached out to its authors/clients offering them to keep their Amazon titles (including reviews) live, but only under the condition that they subscribed exclusively through Amazon. (ie KDP Select program), thus clipping the author's reach and opportunity to touch upon other markets (ie Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, any and all subscription or library services, Thalia, Smashwords, Walmart, Indigo, Angus & Robertston, Mondadori, Vivlio, Hoopla, just to name a few).

Fortunately, newer platforms like Draft-2-Digital and their growth (acquiring Smashwords in 2022) making their position stronger and less likely to follow that path Pronoun suffered.

I've spoken about this before in previous articles.

The big traditional publishing houses are afraid.

There is change on the horizon.

We are in a world of changing technologies. Gone are the days of ordering hundreds - if not thousands - of copies of our books – storing them in our basements and garages and attics, hoping they sell. Gone are the days of overpriced editors and editing, potentially crippling our books' price-points and sales and marketability.

There is a new literary landscape – a new world of publishing cresting the horizon.

The question is really, where do you want to plant your roots?


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