Believing Legacy Gatekeepers Will Fail To Adapt Is Not The Same As Wanting Them To Fail
from the important-distinctions dept
Still, many people assume that I hate these groups and want them to fail.
Author Barry Eisler, who has been in the news lately for turning down a half-a-million dollar deal from a traditional publisher to instead self-publish (and more recently, for signing a deal directly with Amazon, allowing him a sort of hybrid model between publisher and self-publishing), has been taking some similar heat lately as well. He wrote a guest post for Joe Konrath's blog, in which he discussed the nature of the legacy publishing business (short hand: "New York," just as people refer to "Hollywood" when discussing the legacy movie business), which he doesn't think is handling the digital transition particularly well -- especially compared to Amazon.
In response, many people accused him of hating "New York" and wanting those publishers to fail. In a followup post, Eisler does a nice job clarifying his position and explaining why wanting an institution (or group of them) to change and believing their current path is destined to fail, is not the same thing as wanting them to fail:
Now, if you ask me to bet on the likelihood that New York will successfully adapt to the advent of digital and the emergence of Amazon as a publisher, I would have to regretfully decline to bet very much. As I noted in my previous post, companies coddled by a lack of competition get flabby, and New York, which hasn't faced real competition in living memory, is now squaring off against a formidable competitor indeed. I don't think it's likely legacy publishers will be able to adapt and survive. And though I hope I'm wrong about that, my hope doesn't lead me to want to protect New York from competition, either.Indeed. That is very much the way I feel about the legacy music and movie businesses. I'm a huge fan of movies, music and books. I would love for all those industries to continue to be as successful as possible, but that requires adapting, and, like Barry, I just don't see many of those legacy players doing a very good job adapting. But that doesn't mean I want them to fail, or even dislike them. I just wish they'd stop trying to muck up the rest of the world while they attempt to figure all of this out.
Maybe I'm clarifying here more than is really necessary, but I've learned from recent experience how willing and even eager people can be to mischaracterize arguments they find threatening. So again: the fact that I'm predicting an outcome doesn't mean I'm hoping for it. I predict that one day I will be dead, but that doesn't render me particularly enamored of or eager for that outcome. Similarly, though I don't think New York's chances are good, come on, guys, I'm cheering you on. I want you to step up, not give up.