Feeling depressed because the recession and the internet are both killing the book publishing industry, and hurting your hopes for the big literary contract you deserve? Just self-publish! Every other jerk is.

You might think that the ease of internet publishing (your own stupid blog, free) and the recession (you have no money) would actually limit the number of people willing to pay out of their own pockets to get 100 copies "Bus Driver, Bus Driver, Spin Me A Rhyme: The Poetry of Jim Hendrickson, King of Muncie" pressed up. Not so! The self-publishing industry is positively flourishing. You probably have a book in you, yourself! What a life you've lived!

“It used to be an elite few,” said Eileen Gittins, chief executive of Blurb, a print-on-demand company whose revenue has grown to $30 million, from $1 million, in just two years and which published more than 300,000 titles last year. Many of those were personal books bought only by the author. “Now anyone can make a book, and it looks just like a book that you buy at the bookstore.”

That's great, just great. How democratic! Just look at the veritable musical and cultural renaissance that's emerged as a result of Myspace. Soon the self-architect and self-tightrope walker and self-haircut industries will take off as well, and we'll never need entertainment again! [NYT]