Hachette vs JAKonrath – an interesting debate on the future of traditional publishing stateside

It all started because of a leaked memo, where Hachette  (one of the Big 6 American publishers, which also has British division and French parent) tried to make the case for traditional publishers compared to authors selling their own work digitally direct to customers via services such as Amazon, Apple, Sony, Android marketplace etc.

Take a look at what they said on Writers Digest here.

JA Konrath, (an ex-Hachette author, incidentally) is a succesful digital self-publisher and takes them to task in a blog post here.

I do feel a certain sadness for the decline of the traditional publishing model. But the market will change as ereaders become ubiquitous over the next few years. Paper books won’t die out, but they will sell less than in the past.

Publishers can continue  to add value  in the digital world I’m sure, especially in editing books, and in filtering – so that readers are guaranteed that the work they publish is of a certain quality. But they will only succeed in that if they embrace the new technology and don’t spend all their time and energy irritating genuine customers with anti-piracy technology.

The sad fact is that anything can be pirated, all technology can and will be broken. Fortunately most people are reasonable and will pay for something if they can get it legally and easily, in the format they need, when they want it. If publishers provide that they will win hearts and minds. That is much more important than shock and awe anti-piracy measures that are unlikely to add any revenue at all.

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