Big traditional publishers are digging their own graves with a fleet of backhoes.
One of of my favorite blogs is that of Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who came out with one of the best postings ever:
The Business Rusch: Scarcity and Abundance
It looks at the old publishing model as opposed to the revolutionary new world of publishing that has erupted in the last two years.
And yes, it's required reading.
A big part of the reason the big traditional publishers are experiencing difficulties is that the revolution has taken them completely by surprise, and they have not reacted well. They have a mindset, that if continued, will send them the way of the dinosaurs into extinction. They'll continue to lose money with stupid moves like giving Amanda Knox $4 million dollars to do a book of her story.
Four million dollars. That would support 800 midlist writers with an average $5000 advance-- but I guess an outdated story about a court case is way more important than reading 800 other writers. Well, we see where their priorities are. And they will most likely lose quite a bit of money on this. Are we supposed to weep for them? This isn't literature, which they keep insisting they're in charge of. See Konrath and Eisler's comments on the Hachette pub memo.
And neither is another big-selling author book I just read, put out by a supposed professional publishing company. It was crap-- read the reviews here. Wow- this is a cherished best-selling author, and the 1, 2, and 3-star reviews outnumber the good ones. So where's the editing from the pros? Where's the quality? Oh, I see-- his name means they can push any piece of crap out to make money.
Believe me, I know how badly it sucks to be in a dying paradigm. I grew up in a country where we at least gave lip service to concepts like law, human rights, and being the Good Guys.
Hard to justify keeping them around, if this is their way of doing things.