Have you seen this post at Rachelle Gardner's blog? (She's an agent.)
The gist of it, as far as I'm concerned, is that readers are morons. Why? Because unless your book is vetted by the big NY publishers, you won't know what to read! ::gasp!:: You won't know where to find the books you need to read! ::double gasp!!::
Is this how agents feel about us, the lowly public? Cast aside the whole writers thing; think like a reader. Remember that first time you read through a book and understood the story? Remember when your mother/father/relative encouraged you to read, read, read?
So in Ms. Gardner's insular (ooo, a gold star word!) world, readers are idiots who can't find their way around books without a leash of some sort. And she thinks that indies/self pubbers aren't going to be serving readers? In what way? Self pubbers are eliminating the middlemen (agents) and serving up their stories directly to readers; readers will then decide whether a writer and his/her stories are worth their time, by buying or turning a blind eye to their stuff.
The writers who continually produce crap will fade from the scene.
The NY publishing world will keep recommending "safe" books to their bosses, while self pubbers and the small independents out there will keep putting out "unsafe" books: those that NY deems unworthy of publication. Self pubbers and the small independents will do something that NY hasn't done in a while.
They'll give the readers what they want.
Power to the people! :-)
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