David Hill over at Singularity Hub has an interesting take on the closing of Borders. While agreeing that Borders' downfall is a shame, Hill argues that it will actually be a huge win for authors and readers. It will benefit authors, he says, by accelerating the changes in the publishing industry that are putting the authors in control. Those same changes will hasten the move to digital books with all the advantages that brings to readers.
Hill's post has a link to a post by Alan Rinzier, an industry insider, that is also interesting. Rinzier confirms the trend of greater author control and says, basically, that the publishing industry has no idea what it's doing and is coming to realize that. As evidence for this, he reports that 80–90 percent of all published books lose money.
Rinzier says that while it's as hard as ever to write a good book, authors who can now have the opportunity to self publish and control their own destiny. As I suggested in my Future of Books post, the publishing industry is undergoing great change but appears to remain in denial. If they wish to avoid Borders' fate, they had better get a clue. They still provide a valuable service but they are no longer the gatekeepers that they once were. If their tactics to defend their business models become too annoying, authors and readers will simply route around them and they will learn first hand the meaning of disintermediation. As I also said in that post, I hope that doesn't happen but I see little reason to be sanguine about their prospects.