Thought for the Day: Publishing Woes

Publishing isn’t dying, but it’s certainly going through some major traumatic changes resulting from cumulative changes in technology that are in the process of doing for ink-and-paper printing what movable type did for the scriptorium. Writers, as usual, stand to get all kinds of shafted, but there’s nothing new about that: any change in the status quo of the publishing industry is going to shaft the writers, because they’ve got their business survival methods all carefully worked out and tweaked to work with the way things got left by the last set of traumatic changes.

It’s no coincidence that one of the oldest poems in Old English, Deor, is essentially a poet complaining that the Hot New Guy has shown up and started scooping all the good patronage. The Wikipedia article on the poem says that “attempts at placing this poem within a genre are quite difficult,” but that’s probably because very few working scholars of Anglo-Saxon are also free-lance novelists.

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