It's no secret that trade publishing is in trouble and that their business models need to adapt if they are thrive in the new digitised landscape. What started their woes, I would argue, was a loss of focus on readers and writers. A creative business has to balance both sides of that delicate scales and since the 1990s, when the mergers and conglomerations began, and deep discounting and super-size-me sellers started to dominate bookselling, that balance has fallen apart.
Contemporary trade publishing focusses on mergers and buy-outs, cost-cutting and consolidation and slash-and-burn discounting on a scale never before witnessed. Retailers like WH Smiths and Barnes & Noble or supermarkets like Safeway and Tescos decide how much shelf space a book should have and whether it will succeed. Supermarkets tell publishers what price the book will sell at, how many copies to print, what to put on the cover, what to call the books and even, on occasions, what to put inside them.
Ignorance is the greatest burden to be carried.
If you are a writer and are not willing to research the various ways to get your work to market, then the vultures stand ready, willing and able to swoop in and take your money and your work and disappear with both.
When children and the infirm are exploited, it pisses me off.
When otherwise intelligent people who have the means and ability to educate themselves get screwed, without even a moments research...?
Not so much.