What is the relationship between author and publisher?

Both the author and the publisher have one shared goal in mind, to make a book succeed. In order to do just that, the author and the publisher should posses a passion and desire to get a book on the New York Time’s Best Seller list or the USA Today Best Seller list (to name a few). Whatever the factors/means of meeting that goal, the author and publisher work collaboratively in order to create a great book for its readers. When an author goes in search of a publisher – they seek advice, knowledge and encouragement…honest encouragement and constructive criticism. Along with being honest, publishers need to be supportive of their author. That is a huge part of the reason why authors seek out renowned publishers. Over the years, publishers have developed their own identities and reputations that either deter or attract great writers. Unfortunately with new technology on the rise, the relationship has become somewhat strained. (Top 10 Publishing Houses: Random House, Pearson, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Scholastic, Thomas Nelson, Holtzbrinck, Tyndale House, John Wiley)

How is the relationship being altered by today’s technology/market?

Big corporations like Apple and Amazon have started to go straight to the author when it comes to selling their books. This does not leave a lot of options for publishing houses because, what are they to do when Apple cuts the author a better deal (more profit)? Publishers have no other choice than to jump on the big corporation bandwagon. This may be one reason why five of the six largest publishers of trade books sell their digital editions for a significant amount cheaper than a hard cover copy ($12.99-$14.99 vs. $26). These pieces of technology produced are just the beginning: iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Internet accessibility and so on.

They have changed the means of obtaining information (i.e., books) as well as the nurturing relationship between author and publisher. The technology does not provide enough for the author because the author needs more than money. They need support, encouragement and help – something an iPad and even Suri are incapable of carrying out.

In the end, who wins?

In today’s society, people have new information at their fingertips 24/7. Consequently, today’s generation would prefer to wait ten minutes to download a digital version of a book versus taking extra time to drive to a bookstore, search for the book and purchase it. Time is money, so the saying goes. But in the end, big corporations (Apple and Amazon) seem to be making more profit off of other people’s work. Just like the newspaper industry, sales of hard copy books may be dwindling but there is still a ways to go till they no longer exist.

For more information:

By Lauren J. Galippo ’13, sports producer for TCU 360, reporter for the TCU Daily Skiff and the alumni relations coordinator at the Schieffer School of Journalism.

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