You held this up as the future of publishing. It is not. It is the future of dreck, and as such it is no different from the past of dreck, which includes Barbara Cartland and any of those other drones who have spewed out endless dreck. All that is different is the medium. There is nothing to be learned here about new technology. It is about dreck, pure and simple. I now repeat my favorite quote from a long lost post somewhere else here on webmasterworld:
WOW. Just WOW.
That is awesomely narrow-minded. My apologies for making anybody else read it again by quoting it. The word "dreck" twelve times in one post? Really? And you somehow expect to be taken seriously? I'll bet that's a record here.
I'm just wondering if many others share that same point of view, or don't you see the big picture of how good of a thing this can be? Should have begun your post by telling us exactly how much Amanda Hocking you have actually in fact read, before you go calling it "dreck". And even if you had read any of her stuff and not liked it, so what. That is the nature of art. One persons trash is another's gold and vice versa.
But to come and say that self-publishing leads to nothing but trash being output is where I believe you are looking at it wrong. Her books are doing well because of not only price but more importantly word-of-mouth. She managed to get some online book bloggers to review her and since then has done very well. People who buy books do so very much on word-of-mouth and that is largely how she has gotten successful.
It is true that a lot of people could put out rubbish through self-publishing. But it will still not do well at all unless it really is good enough to get people talking about it.
The stuff that truly is rubbish? Who cares if it's out there, when you also can have so many other great choices and other voices to be heard (or in this case, read).
My vote for the worst attempt at a parallel ever goes to the spam thing. Nobody goes to Amazon and says "can I buy some spam email please?", but they do say "got any Amanda Hocking?". (my own lame attempt at fixing the parallel, that spam thing's going nowhere) :)
Following the current trend it's obvious that Amazon the bookseller is positioned itself as Amazon the book publisher as well, pushing Harper Collins, Random House, etc. out the window eventually. Not only is Amazon the publisher, they're selling the digital reader, the Kindle.
I believe you may have that wrong. To the best of my knowlege (not being an avid book reader myself, don't know how people find the time) they don't actually publish but are a distributor who also provides tools with which you may publish your own works online. Correct me if I'm wrong.
And actually, the big traditional publishing houses are major players in online publishing how I understand it. (my understanding coming from a post in Amanda's blog, see below)
I actually first read this thread a few nights ago, and was intrigued so I followed up by doing a lot of reading on Amanda Hocking's blog
[amandahocking.blogspot.com]. (O.k. website critics, the background must go) And there is much more information there which may help enlighten people reading this thread. After all, she is a writer and studies the publishing industry in a way few posters here ever would have. Plus she is entertaining.
I personally have not read any of her books, just a bunch of her blog so far. The "genre" of her books does not seem like it would be my thing. But I say her story is quite interesting and congratulations to her and her success. Her success is also in part due to her usage of social media. Which is a lesson many here are interested in.