August 27, 2013 Henriette Weber wrote:

Traditional publishing vs self-publishing – no debate in the eyes of the tiger

traditional publishing vs self-publishing

In the beginning, there was a lot of snobbery in the literary world when it comes to self-published (indie) books. Traditional publishing houses started the campaign by convincing readers that all indie books were poorly written, shabby versions of their traditionally published competitors. That there’s a reason prices were so low. That they weren’t worth the price of traditionally published books.

Then the campaign grew nastier and completely went out of the loop. Trash posts about self-publishers out to kill the industry followed soon after. That traditional publishers were struggling to save the book industry and with it – culture.

The debate became too much a drag and a gag, a collective insult to our finer sensibilities so much so that Toothless Tiger decided to dedicate this post and join in the (fun) fray.

After all, our CEO Henriette Weber self-published her book,  Return on Involvement in 2009, when it became clear that there was nothing the publishing houses could do for her, that she can’t manage herself. They simple don’t have a reason to exist in the book publishing project, at least not for 85 % of the sales.  So she self-published her works and laughed all the way to the bank. Talk about living and breathing Business Unusual!

Who are they fooling, rockers? The truth is much nearer – big publishers are just struggling to save their skins. The ivory infrastructures they’d enjoyed for decades – high-priced offices, executive benefits, inefficient production systems, absurd distribution channels – they continue to cling onto these crumbling pedestals for dear life.

What they have been missing all along and continue to ignore to their peril is the simple reality that books, as a medium of storytelling, don’t really matter. Like scrolls and caves of old, books are giving way to pads and smartphones.

What is wrong with that? Do the stories they carry and spread being harmed in any way, be it an illuminated manuscript or a Kindle? Sure, there will always be people who collect printed books as artifacts. There will always be people who treasure illuminated manuscripts as priceless works of art.

But what readers want, what they will always seek is information, excitement and inspiration.  While printed books make excellent vehicles for those (make no mistake, books is still where the money is and will be, for some time), they are not the only vehicles and perhaps not even the best.

Another brilliant self-published book we have been looking at lately is “Choose Yourself” by James Altucher. He even was on one Cheryl Richardson’s podcast talking about self-publishing and why you should consider it (more and more each day). Anyway he wrote a great article on how to self-publish.

Great publishing, traditional or indie, has always been about more than the story. It’s about building that special bond with the audience.

In the same vein, smart businesses should always ask themselves, ”What do the people want? What’s the best way to give it to them while maximizing profits but keeping costs low?”

In the end, people will always demand connections that inform, excite and inspire. By all means give it to them.

Do you have what it takes to do just that?

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