Today is my birthday, so I'm spending much of it celebrating with friends and family, but that doesn't mean I'm not paying attention.
Dragon Award winner, and Hugo Award finalist, Brian Niemeier made a very good post at his blog (Kairos) the other day about the ongoing shift in the publishing business for science fiction and fantasy. (Go read it; it's worth your time.)
The Supreme Dark Lord, Vox Day, had a very interesting post on many of the Social Justice cultists afflicting the field.
Combined, both posts expose facts that give weight to a suspicion I held about the degenerate state of traditional publishing (especially in my preferred genres of fiction) for some time: the rot set in when the broken children of incompetent parents came of age and began taking positions in the business, and implemented the bullshit they learned while at university.
Competition is a sin to these people, as a consequence of their failure to rise against their childhood challenges. They engage in corruption such as log-rolling (the practice of fixing selection results beforehand, interval over interval, to eliminate true competition in choice from behind the scenes, by those either eligible or administering the process), establish and enforce GroupThink using cult behavior methods, and pull so many iterations of Point Deer Make Horse that an unreality sets in that becomes a bubble of delusion.
You see this now in how the culture around traditional publishing is wholly out of touch with reality. You still see magazines, outlets, stores, even panels at conventions go on about how you need an agent, how to get a contract, and so on. Amazon doesn't seem to exist with them, despite said company eating their lunch at a voracious rate. The days of literary agents is over, but you still see people go on as if you need them to breathe. So goes the rest of this rancid, crumbling remnant that once had value.
Upstart houses taking advantage of the reality of publishing are making big gains (e.g. Castalia House), properly leveraging what such a company actually does to bring value now vs. what you can do on your own, and what you can do now on your own is very easy to do (which is why I am doing it) so long as you're willing and able to put in the time and do the work.
And that's just people writing books. Other forms of publishing? Even less reason to keep them around as they've been. They are unfit for purpose, cannot be fixed, and are irredeemably corrupted with those aforementioned broken cultists. Burn it all to ash, and then salt the piles.