Just one or two generations ago, our society largely believed
the greatest and only threat to free speech was the government. We all were
aware of an Orwellian bureaucracy looking to edit our freedoms, whether it
lurked in our schools and libraries or with our local and national judges and
government agencies. The threat was real — and still exists — but it turns out
the government ranks maybe a distant fifth place on the threat list now.
The tech titan of search engines (Google) poses a huge threat to free speech. They manipulate what they choose to show or prioritize on these searches. Those who control who sees what impacts the world.
Social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) is Public Enemy No. 1 or 2. If you get placed in cyber jail you might as well be in a real prison. Those who decide who gets to say what controls the public dialogue.
Close behind are the near monopolistic merchants of books, such as Amazon (online) and Barnes & Noble (brick and mortar). Those who control which content is sold can really influence the world.
Then comes the Cancel Culture Mafia. That is us, we the people. If we let factions kick content and its creators to the curb over a difference of opinions, lifestyles, or group identity, we will be left with an uneven, sanitized, and corrupted version of life and truth.
Next are the book publishers. What the biggies decide to publish shall greatly dictate which stories and ideas get greater exposure. Just five companies are responsible for producing 80% of the Publishers Weekly bestsellers — Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster. These publishers collectively represent hundreds of imprints, many of which used to be independent publishers.
But wait, the United States government might be our free speech savior!
Now the Justice Department is stepping in to block a pending merger between No.1 publisher, Penguin Random House, and fellow Big 5er, Simon & Schuster. Let us hope the government succeeds where greed has failed us.
Every time a big boy swallows a competitor, we lose. Yes, lose.
Consumers lose out on having competitive pricing and more book selection.
Authors lose on having an alternative publisher with competing compensation available to them.
Society loses on hearing more diverse voices in the marketplace of ideas.
It is true that self-publishing has transformed the industry, and it is true that today, annually, there are more than thirty times the number of books that were published 30 years ago. However, in terms of major critical book reviews, library shelf space, bestseller lists, and leading book awards, the major traditional publishers, particularly the Big 5, are the gatekeepers. Let’s not shrink that to 4.
You know free speech is truly under attack when we need to look to our government to save it. God save us!
Contact For Help
Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in helping thousands of authors in all genres.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: .