Di Filippo: "Self-publishing is an unmitigated disaster. Curation is a necessity."

25 Feb 2011 in international, interviews | questo post è lungo 559 parole

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Paul Di FilippoPaul Di Filippo Paul «is a science fiction novelist and short story writer of wide genrebending influence, as well as a journalist, a sometimes comics writer, a mail art friend, and a bunch of other things that are probably very hard to describe. Also, the first person to use the word “Steampunk” in a book title.» [Warren Ellis] Return to the Twentieth Century | Wikiworld

I should preface all my comments by saying that for the most part they are entirely personal, self-centered (if not selfish!) reactions, and in no way attempt to mirror the state of the industry or the entirely respectable and honorable feelings of numerous satisfied, enthusiastic e-reading folks! I want to hate and deride ebooks with all my old-fashioned soul, but am trying to restrain myself out of the belief that one day there will be no other format, and I will be forced to love them or give up reading and writing entirely! I do not even own a cell phone, never mind an e-reader! Like Ray Bradbury, who refuses even to fly in an airplane, and yet writes about travel to Mars, I limit my technophilia to the printed page. Even though I cannot imagine existing now without the internet, I do need to escape it whenever possible. Ebooks can be a disruptive. They already have been. And it might all work out very well for writers (larger royalties), publishers (more sales), readers (cheaper books and more titles), and the environment (fewer trees chopped down). But my own reluctance to heartily embrace the technology is strictly from an addiction sustained over 50 years to printed matter in all its carnal beauty.

True massive obsessive reading has always been a minority pursuit, and always will be, with a likely invariant percentage of the world's population tuning in. I am an elitist aesthete, and, to quote a famous line from The Red Shoes, "I can't bear amateurs in my religion."

The only place I have ever felt at home, or been accepted. I don't dislike the big houses or much of their output, but they just don't want to seem to play with me, so I go and eat my lunch at the nerds' table! Anyway, self-publishing is an unmitigated disaster. Curation is a necessity. I don't call self-publishing "indie." Maybe "anarchy."

If ebooks are DRM-free, they should be priced more than the ones that come in chains! If a vendor like Amazon is going to sell you something you can't loan and which they may delete at will from your machine, then at least they should charge less for the insults!

I want to go back to 1929 and be Thomas Wolfe, with Maxwell Perkins helping me, and then maybe a seat at the Algonquin Round Table. A small income and freedom. No blockbusters, no book tours, no media. The world broke the very nice exclusive little toy known as publishing and all the innovations since will never hide the glued-together cracks. Looking at the present, publishers like my pal John Oakes with his new imprint OR Books are actually leading the way.

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