2017 Special Focus - The Publisher Is Dead; Long Live the Publisher!

To publish is a social and public act. This act is a negotiation between an author, a “publisher,” and an audience. The digital age is said to change the terms of this negotiation. As platforms of production and distribution become more widely accessible, the traditional notion of the "publisher” has in some senses become redundant. In some interpretations “the publisher” is seen as the old guard of an outmoded knowledge system, an unnecessary blockage between the author and his or her audience. In place of “the publisher” we have new digital platforms and information systems available to provide unmediated reach to audiences. In this process, what aspects of the role of the publisher are being offloaded onto the author? What do these changes tell us about the future of publishing and about those who can become “visible” in the new economy?

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