What purpose do book publishers serve?

What purpose do book publishers serve?:

Self-publishing often means Amazon is in control

The author also mentions her reluctance to become “Amazon’s bitch,” as she puts it, by making her work only available through the online retailer and its mobile platform. While self-publishers see themselves as fighting the system, she notes that they are really just exchanging one large corporate entity for another:

I don’t mind if someone else chooses to read my work electronically, just as I don’t mind if Amazon is one of the places to purchase my work; I’m simply wary of Amazon monopolizing the reading landscape.

But one of the biggest reasons Lepucki gives for not wanting to self-publish is also one of the best weapons good publishers have in their fight not to be disintermediated by Amazon, and that is the relationship that forms between a publisher — and the editors who handle a book — and an author. As she puts it, even the notes on her rejected manuscript from the sub-editor who handled it showed “these professionals are valuable to the process of book-making.” For every publisher who treats their writers so badly that they switch to Amazon, there are likely others who value that relationship and work hard to improve it.

[The problem is that entering into that relationship is costly so the big publishers have a lot of gatekeepers in place and often won’t even look at a book that doesn’t run through the industry mill. I don’t disagree that trading in one corporate owner for another is problematic. Unfortunately, that is the simple answer if you don’t want to do the work of building an individual relationship with your readers. Maybe do it as part of a plan. For example, it is often suggested that you publish a blog etc. in order to build an audience, and then the potential to earn money rises with the audience. Essentially you get to sell the “second” act, or the second book, etc. But maybe you can use Amazon to build that audience and then do something different with follow-ups so that you don’t lose all control.]

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