I’ve often claimed that entry into this business is so much more simple (less expensive) now than it was before the arrival of the internet, and am glad to see this report from Los Angeles Magazine about how this is playing out in LA. (Link via The Digital Reader.)

Turning a manuscript into a book is so laughably straightforward nowadays that it makes old guys like me, who spent a lifetime learning how to do exactly that, seem like simpletons. To “publish” an ebook may take about half an hour (the writing should take longer), and setting it up for print-on-demand manufacture will take an additional few minutes. Selling the damn thing is another story. Contrary to everyone’s assumption, the hard bit of publishing is getting rid of the product. Many authors conclude that traditional publishers abilities in this area are worthwhile, but as we all know many, many self-published authors have broken the barrier and have earned huge profits by figuring out how to reach their audience on their own.

I think the thing that guarantees the future of the book publishing industry is the fact that it is so much easier to publish a book than it is to write one. Thus people who’ve managed to publish their own books successfully will always be tempted to repeat the trick without waiting till they’ve written another decent sized manuscript. Get your friends to write the thing. Offer your expertise to all and sundry. Given time, you too may evolve into a More-or-less-Random House.