With the increasing popularity of digital media and e-book readers, the world wonders what these changes will mean for the future of publishing, the actual art of reading, and, in particular, for the very presence of flesh and blood (or paper and binding) of books. Mark Coker, the co-writer of the self-published novel, Boob Tube, believes that he may have part of the answer. After attempting to publish his novel, co-written with his wife, Coker, believing that every audience, however small, deserves to be reached, decided to self-publish. It is this belief that led Coker to develop and build Smashwords.
Coker describes Smashwords as “a free online publishing platform that would allow any author, anywhere in the world, to publish their work online in seconds.” Although Coker does understand the need for the rigidity and strictness within traditional book publishing, Coker states that “there’s something inherently broken about a system that rejects titles through this narrow lens …
Publishers also cannot accurately predict which titles will become huge hits, and which will flop, so they routinely overlook great works.” Smashwords, on the other hand, makes it possible for an author to put his words out there and potentially gain a following.
Smashwords, Coker asserts, however does not necessarily mean the end of traditional publishing as we know it. He argues, “If you assume 95% of all book sales are still print, then a traditional publisher is the most effective route of gaining widespread distribution in brick and mortar bookstores, and will remain so for as long as physical bookstores remain relevant, and let’s hope they do.”
For the full interview with Mark Coker, click here.