To the Editor:
As a former independent that got out when the getting was good, I couldn’t help agreeing with every one of the points made in Jon Platt’s thoughtful April 5 article “Value Your Assets.” However, the reality is that indies are only 5% (and sinking) of market share for publishers. If 95% of your business is coming from other sources, you will be giving those sources their due and not be overly concerned about a fairly insignificant part of your sales.
The conundrum for publishers is that they need indies and don’t know what to do about them. Indies continue to be community hubs, if you like your hub to be real rather than virtual. Indies can create events, both in and out of the store, that attract book buyers, get local (and virtual) press attention, and create buzz. When was the last time Amazon had an author read or discuss a book in the real world? Word of mouth from indies is gold for midlist authors, and indies are willing to promote those B-list authors who are the future of publishing as we’ve known it.
I’m not sure what the answers will be for the publishing community, but if it continues to give short shrift to indies, it will be a brave new world for Google, Apple, and Amazon—who will eventually represent the new publishing paradigm.
Warren CassellPortland, Ore.
Cassell was the longtime owner of Just Books in Greenwich, Conn. He retired in 2001.