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Re: Definition of "self publishing"

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  • David Bratman
    ... The generic verb for what a publisher does is publish . In the book field, manufacture is a technical term meaning to create the book physically, i.e.
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 12, 2004
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      At 10:23 AM 3/12/2004 -0500, Edward Carmien wrote:

      >By manufacture I meant in the broadest sense of the process of putting a
      >book into circulation. Of course, a number of steps in that process are
      >commonly done at the direction of a publisher. I couldn't find a better more
      >generic word than "manufacture" for what a publisher does,

      The generic verb for what a publisher does is "publish". In the book
      field, "manufacture" is a technical term meaning to create the book
      physically, i.e. to print and bind.

      >given the
      >publisher's essential task is synthesis, bringing together many different
      >kinds of skill sets.

      Yes, publishing is a combination of things, which is why it's hard to
      define, and why it developed relatively late in the history of the book
      trade. As late as the 18th century, the job that we now call publishing
      was generally incidental to printing or bookselling.

      Publishing requires that you do a number of things, which if you only do
      one of them, you're something else. If you only pay for the book's
      issuance, you're an investor. If you only edit it, you're an editing
      service. If you only manufacture it, you're a printer or binder. If you
      only warehouse it and send out copies, you're a distributor. If you do all
      these things and more, you're a full-service publisher.

      >Oh, and of course anyone who notes that paying anyone to publish your work
      >is a bad idea is entirely correct. See also "vanity press." :)

      Here we get complicated again, because companies like Xlibris are actually
      vanity presses, and there's nothing wrong with that because they're
      straightforward about what they do. If you have a book with no commercial
      potential, and want to publish it yourself without handling the fiddly jobs
      yourself, a vanity press will take the task off your hands.

      The companies to beware of are those which claim they'll distribute and
      publicize the book, that they'll provide professional editing services
      without which no publisher will look at a manuscript, that imply there's a
      publishing conspiracy to keep authors from selling, and which charge the
      author for these services.

      - David Bratman
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