It seems that there are many voices in the traditional publishing establishment ranting against self published books, and in spite of my little experience in the field -I only just published a couple of short stories and I'm still working on my first novel- I want to give my two cents in the matter.
I believe that these rants are but a tantrum of someone with their livelihood threatened.
Traditional publishers are seeing how the indi industry is coping more and more of the market and they are seeing how their percentage of the sales are being reduced, so instead of adapting to the changing times, they decide to scream and whine.
In my humble opinion, what they should be doing is searching for ways to attract more of us writers to their ways. And how can they do this? It's actually quite easy. They just need to open the possibilities for writers. Increase the percentage of royalties, make better contacts, change their distribution tactics, etc.
Instead of defending their old ways they should embrace the new standards. It's the only way they will survive. Otherwise they will die a long and painful death.
I am no seer, but it is quite obvious that self published writers are going to increase and continue to cope more and more of the market. Soon someone will think of a way of distributing indi books to libraries and books stores and that will be the mortal blow to traditional publishers.
I, personally, am not against them. I respect them and would not mind to be a hybrid writer, that pursues both paths. But I am not going to loose a year or more of my life, trying to get some publishers or agents to read my manuscript, let alone publish it. This industry moves along really fast and loosing so much time, is not an option.
Before, you had no other way, so you had to do it, and loose that time. Now, it is not necesary, so why bother with trad if you can almost instantly publish and see royalties trickle into your bank account?
And let it be clear that I do not believe that indi publishing is the fast track to fame and fortune; fame and fortune come with good quality writing and readers interested in what you have to say. It has nothing to do with the way you reach readers. So what I defend is the freedom of a writer to put out his work effortlessly and the right of the reader to have a wide variety from which to choose.
It trad publishers don't change, they will disappear, and no one will miss them at all. It's a shame, but life isn't fair.
This reminds me of other revolutions in other industries were automation replaced hand made manufacturing People are usually scared of change, but whoever wants to survive, needs to adapt. And that is a fact.