I don't know which publishers Mark worked with previously, and it probably doesn't matter, but different publishers do have different cultures. I've often attributed those differences to being corporate or independent, but there are other factors too. Fact is, getting a book published is a dream come true for most authors, and many have very wrong expectations about the realities of book publishing. While much of what Mark writes makes me wince, I encourage you to read it. It helps me to remember how harsh some of these realities seem when seen through eyes that haven't been calloused by the business.
I do disagree about book lovers. Most of the people in this business (not all, but more than Mark implies) love books. I also love business. To me, smart business is fun, and smart book business isn't even work. I love it.
Mark also paints publishers as lazy opportunists who simply imprint their name on a book and sit back to rake in the cash. That's just not an accurate picture. I mentioned in a previous post that the average net profit on a book is about 5%. How does that compare to most author royalty rates?
Mark downplays the risk the publisher assumes. In 2007 Cumberland House spent an average of nearly $20,000 per book before it ever received a single payment. That is real cash going out the door for an advance, design, printing the books, and freight. Those are real checks we write for every book whether it goes on to sell 100 or 100,000 copies. It doesn't include the salaries of the editors who will edit, proof, and typeset the book. It doesn't include the marketing and sales staff who will create catalogs, sales sheets, Web pages, and distribute the information about your book and make personal presentations to all the distributors, chains, Web sites, and other booksellers. $20,000 may not sound like a lot of money for a business, but would you spend it? Would you spend $20,000 to develop, print, and sell your book? If so, you might consider self publishing. There are many viable options available today, and it seemed to really work for Mark.