Back when 90 percent of everything was crap and as much mindbendingly awful stuff was being mass produced for people to sift through to get to the good stuff there was this operation responsible for doing just that, called bookclubs. Mostly gone now. But with the ebooks revolutionizing the business one would think enterprising, forwardlooking folks like tor baen small beer and etc would put together a subscriptionbased ebook club through email or whispernet or whatever. Hire someone good like john klima or Ellen datlow to run the bookclubs and buy up available good ebooks to mail out to ebook readers. As the waves of bad ebooks clog the wires in the post-print, self published world seems like a viable line of work for a hungry editor. They secure ebook rights and handle the ePub conversion if necessary, and their subscribers pay a monthly fee for someone to wade through the crap to the good stuff.
I bet oprah could turn a profit on it right now… And tor.com. Imagine tor.com setting that up across platforms. One just selected the preferred format to interface with their preferred reader, it slips through amazon and iTunes and nook and retains the Catholic approach of their fine website wherein Jo Walton picks the books she likes for the club, runs a discussion on them -with guest controbutions from reviewers from time to time – and all subscribers have the might of tor to find out what ebooks are available and how to get them for a price appropriate to the profits of the book club. With running discussion at for.com and all the joy that entails, I would think the ebook future will still have publishing companies and editors. We will just refer to them as ebook clubs. And they will filter out the slush for us in ebookland.
So no more doomsaying ‘kay? Publishing will do just fine in thirty years one way or another.