RE: Garrison Keillor on self-publishing

Mike Tribby wrote:

In a column appearing today in the Chicago Tribune, Garrison Keillor writes about changes in book publishing, specifically the advent of self-publishing.
A highlight:
“And that is the future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.”
In the Tribune’s continuing efforts at online helpfulness, they provide a link to information on World War I apparently because Keillor mentions Kaiser Wilhelm II and “his coterie of plumed barons” in passing. I love those helpful links almost as much as Amazon’s zany suggestions of stuff I might like!
The full article is here:,0,1253174.column

Thanks for sharing this. This idea that Keillor mentions of what I will term as “every man his own publisher” actually seems to be a continuation of what we have had for a long time. Take a look at LC’s catalog for titles “every man his own …” and on Google for “every man his own …”

It’s interesting that when I search more specifically “every man his own publisher” in Google, I only get one result, where it is used as some sort of paraphrase. Maybe it’s a brand-new topic for research and publication!

While I sympathize with Garrison Keillor, the days he talks about are over. When printing first came up, lots of people prophesied the end of civilization, and certainly the printing press changed many things forever in some fundamental ways, yet humanity survived. And lots of people think it even got better 😉 I think the possibility to realize very clearly that you are not alone in your thinking and opinions, but that that there are many out there who not only share your ideas, they are actually interested in what you have to say, signifies a fundamental advance in our society. It is a choice to be something other than a passive recipient, silently consuming what others decide to give you like cattle feeding at a trough, but with these new tools on the web, you can participate, and maybe even… make a difference!

If the for-profit world of publishing is going to survive, I think it needs to become much better than it is now and what it has been for several decades. Just as libraries are having to face real competition from various new sectors and entities, so does the world of for-profit publishing. I think people are slowly realizing that while they (and I) want to read what Garrison Keillor writes and there are lots of people out there who want him to have the freedom to write more, I don’t think people care much about his publisher. Of course, the publishers want us to assume that writers need publishers if they are to survive, but that assumption is changing today. This is the change where I believe, lots of opportunities await.

As matters work themselves out, I think what will come will be good—and far more exciting–for everybody!