"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
scratchware manifesto was shown to me today by and it got me to thinking about other creative mediums.
It is a well-known fact that publishing is in trouble. The vast changes that came with the buy-outs in the 80s and the imposition of the corporate bottom line has hurt it ultimately.
I watched the changes happening. I watched the transitions. A lot of what the scratchware manifesto sees as the ultimate source of trouble for the gaming industry applies to publishing.
The profit margin on books has always been small. They have always been labors of love more than money. That is — until the corporations came in. In order to maximize those minimal profits, the editor lost his throne. At one time the editor had the discretionary powers to buy the books he wanted. Now the editor’s power has been replaced by the committee. If there is a king in publishing it is the marketing department.
The Mom and Pop bookstores are mostly gone. The independent jobbers are gone, replaced by centralized distribution.
The hosts of first readers have been replaced by agents.
All of the direct human to human components of publishing are gone.
I see the matter as very similar to how games are now produced and how they were once produced. The big companies put 50 to 100 people on the design team to make it a reality.
Books are now being decided by a host of people working in committee like swarms.
As a result it gets harder and harder to sell something offbeat.
And that’s in both industries. Really, it’s in all creative industries right now.
The result is what Fritz Leiber called “Word Wooze” (Silver Eggheads)