Publishers funnel massive amounts of resources into promoting titles that they think will become bestsellers. But they've become spellbound by 'stories of struggle' that can succumb to stereotypes.
Rules for the UK's most prestigious and lucrative literary prize effectively mean it is dominated by big publishers.
The company is hardly the evil megalomaniac that many have depicted: it's actually been very good for the book industry.
It is still stigmatised, still seen as amateur, even as illegitimate, but self-publishing has truly arrived. We ignore it at our peril.