A Plea to All Authors: Please Self Publish

There are few aspects of modern life that I find more frustrating than finding an interesting book on an academic topic that is priced outrageously. An example is The Fed at One Hundred: A Critical View on the Federal Reserve System edited by Howden and Salerno. The current price at Amazon.com is $105.82. This is absurd. Although I can easily afford it and have paid a comparable price for math and science books, I refuse to purchase it. Indeed, at this price, the book will primarily be purchased by university libraries, while ordinary people are priced out of the market.

Additionally, who wants to carry around a heavy hardback book?

Thus the problem of using old guard publishers. There is no excuse for doing this. Self publishing would benefit the authors via increased sales and the ability to capture all profits buy cutting out middlemen of dubious value and allow the authors to reach a wider audience by setting a reasonable price. Also, self publishing allows authors to provide their books in various electronic formats as well as paper via print on demand services.

Another benefit to self publishing is the ability to prevent works from going out of print and becoming difficult to find.

In this specific case, the authors can generate publicity cheaply via all of the various Ludwig von Mises Institutes around the world, Tom Woods’ radio show, etc. They already have a large audience that would be eager to purchase such a work at a reasonable price.

Considering the cut that old guard publishers take from books, only bestsellers make decent money for authors. Authors who publish works that do not have the potential to become bestsellers will make more money via self publishing.

In this day and age, given the current state of technology, the overwhelming majority of authors should self publish.

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