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Charity for the Gatekeepers

James Patterson, best-selling millionaire author, is worried about the fate of book stores. He recently donated $1,000,000 to small book stores to help stave off their demise. A noble gesture, but technology and the market, in my opinion, will render it meaningless. Ebooks sales are rising steadily, and while I love the heft and smell and feel of a three-dimensional book in my hands, I know the writing is not just on the wall—it's on the Kindle, iPad, etc.

Reading (pardon the pun) between the lines, Patterson also fears for the future of those monolithic publishers who are getting elbowed out of the selection process of what the public should be reading. Who are these nefarious nudgers? Why, it is the great unwashed public itself. Heaven forbid they be allowed to decide what they want to read!

The heart of the target of Patterson's campaign is Amazon, also a bookstore, but one that happens to champion ebooks and new, even self-published authors. It is no longer necessary to beg for an agent or sift through a pile of publishers' rejection letters while waiting and hoping to get published. Anyone can upload their oeuvre and if people like you and me like it, it may just become a best-seller.

Rather than go through Patterson's argument point by point, I'd like to introduce you to J. A. Konrath, another best-selling author who also happens to be a champion of self-publishing and has been almost since its inception. Here's a link to his post regarding Patterson; if you listened to the NPR interview and felt that James was sprouting a halo and wings, I urge you to consider the flip side of this discussion. Here it is:
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