The self-publishing phenomenon and libraries

, and . Library & Information Science Research 28 (2): 208--234 (2006)


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the concept of book self-publishing for fiction and nonfiction began to loom large in the North American publishing universe. As traditional mainstream publishers consolidated and were often loathe to take chances on unknown writers whose books might not turn immediate profits, some authors found that fewer and fewer publishing venues were open to them. As a result, new self-publishers--collectively called äuthor services" or print-on-demand (POD) publishers--appeared alongside subsidy (or vanity) publishers. Against the background of an increasing corporatization of mainstream publishing, book self-publishing can theoretically be situated as one of the last bastions of independent publishing. This article examines how academic and public libraries dealt with the book self-publishing phenomena during 1960-2004. To what extent did libraries collect fiction and nonfiction published by self-publishing houses? Can any patterns be discerned in their collecting choices? Did libraries choose to collect more titles from äuthor services" publishers than subsidy publishers?

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