War is raging in the most peaceful of places: books

Looking at 2016 Farewells and 2017 wishes, I’d say we live in a time of wars, or at least tensions.

War, as taught in school, may not be going on in the streets where I live but there is still a kind of war going on: through politics, medias, terrorist attacks and development of extremes of all kinds. And, unfortunately, war of weapons, deaths and destruction still exists in many places of the world. Nonetheless, there is always a place I am sure to find peace: books.

Books are worlds you can dive into, unravel and make your own. Books are gateways to education, imagination, emotions and freedom. Whether it’s on a frame of fiction or reality, theory or imagination, words tell stories and teach us about life, others and ourselves. This is what has been bringing me the most peace in my life and in the lives of many before me.

Books are gateways to education, imagination, emotions and freedom.

Whether we like it, accept it or not, books are part of a business. We call this business: Publishing. Thanks to many evolutions through the past three decades we are living in a revolution of this business. We, at StreetLib, call it the Renaissance of Publishing and see many beautiful opportunities in this change. Sadly, as many revolutions, it takes time and it takes guts. Parties are formed between people who need this revolution and people who were good in the past situation. Tensions are created, war is on.

I couldn’t believe that, after decades of existence of self publishing and years after the creations of eBooks, people still considered there was to be a competition between formats and forms of publishing.

Months ago, as I was just taking first steps in the StreetLib family as community manager for self publishers (the service was then called Narcissus as a sort of pied-de-nez to people seeing it only as vanity publishing), we held a #StopBookWar campaign to go back to the essentials of books instead of bickering on formats, power holders, etc. The idea was simple: whoever you are in the book market, there is a big chance you love books so share the love! It was almost two years ago and it was an initiative I launched because I couldn’t believe that, after decades of the existence of self publishing and years after the creations of eBooks, people still considered there was to be a competition between formats and forms of publishing.

This war destroying my beloved place of peace had lasted for long enough, it was bound to end.

Yet, today still, every other week, you will read a report, a post, a news, hear a rumor, a podcast, a news saying that Self Publishing is dead or that it’s the future, that eBooks are dying or that they are indeed the future, that traditional publishers are agonizing or taking back the power and, truly, are the future. The content of these news and their comments almost always are blaming a format for the failures of another, pointing fingers at publishing routes when the other shows signs of weaknesses etc.
At the end of last year (that’s 2016), the Huffington Post published a post about the scam, shame, scum of the earth that is Self Publishing.

I didn’t react, share or actually even fully read the post until now. Not because I refused to but just because, well, I had other priorities. If I take at heart every raging post taking one side or another, I’ll have to leave the Internet completely to survive. Which basically means leave human civilization — or at least the one I live in.
Why did I come back to it? Because it stayed in my head like an annoying song (no offense to Frozen) or the last item of a ToDo list. It couldn’t still be a traditionally published person writing that self publishing is only for failed authors, publishing crap and ruining the book industry. In 2016, surely no one in the publishing world could sanely think that. Well, it seems they do. And that’s not even the worst part, the answers to the posts showed self publishers themselves believed they were at war against the traditional publishing industry. I won’t even start to talk about the violence of the answers the poor author of the Huffington post received. It’s so shameful no one should get any attention for it.

I always repeat to anyone around me:

“you can never complain about a situation if you aren’t looking for a way to change it.”

So, what should be done to truly go passed this revolution time and enter in a conflict-free time — at least in Publishing?

As most of our opinions are made by our discussions, fed by medias, social medias, blogs, etc. I turned there. This situation confirmed again the great need of a source of information about publishing up to date with the situation of Publishing today:
* Looking at the industry worldwide,
* Taking into consideration every player and format,
* Looking for the people, businesses and ideas actually trying to evolve for the better,
* And, mainly, looking at the book for what it is (see definition in the future of books post)

Over at StreetLib, we’ve been looking for this source of information and never found it. So, never giving up, we decided to create it! That’s where The New Publishing Standard and its editor Tinashe Mushakavanhu came in:

It’s a media owned by StreetLib where you may read some of StreetLib’s finest talk about publishing matters and comment on various topics but it’s entirely focused on giving information about the routes publishing is taking and on creating a conversation focused on saving the book, not bickering over who in publishing should take the lead.

“The New Publishing Standard is a dialogue, a community and a platform. We look forward to conversing with you and to shaping and reshaping the global discourse around books, publishing and intellectual scenes around the world.” Tinashe Mushakavanhu, Editor of TNPS