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Slate
has a interesting piece today by Jill Priluck about how digital publishing is leveling the playing field for small publishers.

The piece argues that the tools of digital publishing and the growth of online communities have allowed small presses to blossom. While many of these businesses are not in anyway poised to be the next Random House, they do have loyal communities that are happy to support their endeavors and buy their books.

From the piece: “In the little-guy economy, the personal wins. In this way, indie publishing is no different from the start-up world.’There’s a premium on the individual. Getting an e-mail from somebody who says, ‘Hey, check this out,’ means a lot more to the recipient than spam from the Random House publicity department,’ said Richard Nash, formerly of Soft Skull Press and founder of Cursor, a portfolio of digital publishing communities that launches next year.”

Still it takes a lot of work to build and online following. The piece continues: “Electric Literature co-founder Scott Lindenbaum, who, with co-founder Andy Hunger, worked every day of the week for six months to ensure that the business would exist one year after they sold 3,600 iPhone apps of their literary magazine in July 2009. Embodying the little-guy economy maxim that marketing and product are becoming the same thing, they spend 70 percent of their time creating digital content and promotional material to tacitly remind trollers of YouTube, blogs, and other virtual spaces of their existence.”