With the arrival of eReaders, iPads and other mobile computers, the publishing industry has begun to rub its temples in vexation. Like an early scene in the music industry's similar battle for relevance, the struggle represents a synthesis of content creators and consumers, with publishers slowly being nudged out of the picture.
However, most industry experts agree that publishers are not going anywhere. As Mary Ellen Bates puts it in Information Today, self-publishing will become the norm, as traditional publishing becomes the new "vanity press."
"If writers do not know who their audiences are, they can, in essence, ride the coattails of the marketing channels of a traditional publisher," she writes. "If, on the other hand, they have already built their readership through other avenues, they may rely on their own reputation for credibility, rather than on the imprimatur of a publisher, to sell their books."
Bates argues that in this new relationship, publishers need to develop creative marketing techniques and perhaps even new business models to show both creators and consumers that their intermediary function is a valuable process in the publishing chain.