ORCID

Abstract

Trade book publishing is characterised by authors with weaker bargaining power than the commercial intermediaries, including publishers and distributors. One key solution representing the empowerment of authors is self-publishing works, thereby cutting out the gatekeeper. However, self-publication has failed to improve the position of authors: their incomes continue to fall across the sector. Using social network analysis as well as industry practices, this article examines UK trade book publishing dynamics. It argues that the reason for the self-publication route’s ‘underperformance’ is structural, explained by a realistic view of the publishing sector and the relationships it entails. The self- publishing author is shown to have little information and bargaining power, while self-published books are subject to inherent commercial limitations. The wider structural impact of market concentration in book distribution is clarified. The findings suggest that solutions need to combine copyright with competition law interventions as bargaining and market issues require different but coherently designed remedies.

DOI

10.1080/10286632.2023.2288584

Publication Date

2023-11-23

Publication Title

International Journal of Cultural Policy

First Page

1

Last Page

18

ISSN

1028-6632

Embargo Period

2024-01-16

Organisational Unit

School of Society and Culture

Share

COinS