If you don't need books on shelves, do you need publishers?
NPR has been looking at the revolution going on in publishing. Lynn Neary says, “As somebody said to me, What you need the publishing houses for is to put books on shelves. If you don't need books on shelves, you don't need the publishing houses. So everybody's trying to figure out how many books do we need on the shelves? How many are going to be e-books? And if it's going to be mostly e-books at some point in the future, what's the future of the publishing companies?”
This is kind of a simplifying things. I need an editor and a copyeditor, and my need for them (and every writers need for them) is never going to go away. But I also need a publisher to get me into bookstores. But if bookstores go away or are greatly reduced in number, then what?