Its interesting to watch self-publishing move mainstream and gain more acceptance. The conversation seems to be moving from, “Is self-publishing a viable option?” to “Self-publishing is the way to go!”.
Services like Lulu.com and Amazon self publishing are empowering many authors to self-publish their works and handle the business side of getting their work sold. Keeping more of the profits in their pockets.
This is definitely a viable option for many authors, however I think there will always be a place for niche publishing houses. Not every author is up for the task of promoting their own Book.
With the acceptance of self-publishing, the evolution of self-publishing technologies like Mimeo Connect Cloud Print, we will see a lot more publishing houses pop up. These small publishers will provide distribution, marketing, and on-demand or small run publishing services.
I would like to see more open-source projects that support self-publishing platforms for books, photos, posters, cards and other popular print formats. This would provide a platform for aspiring publishers that have connections or a expertise in a particular format or subject area.
Publishers could employ open-source publishing platforms that utilize cloud print APIs to get their products printed, then provide additional services beyond just printing for their customers. This would leave their authors to do what they do best. These niche publishers could provide their authors with the attention they need and cater to a specific audiences. Long-tail audiences that larger self-publishing providers don’t have the time for or expertise in.
I think we are slowly entering an era of distributed self-publishing, where publishing is being democratized using new publishing platforms and cloud print APIs.