A reader writes:
Your reader wrote:"The biggest upshot of the self-publishing revolution is the greater likelihood of people finding the crap that means something to them rather than having experts tell them what crap should mean something to them."
I agree with most of what he or she wrote, but I think the statement above is partially wrong. With more people publishing, there is more "noise" out there. That means that even though there is now a greater likelihood that some crap out there means something to me, there is also a smaller likelihood I'll be able to cut through the noise and find it.
In a Long Tail economy, the role of the gatekeeper becomes extremely important. The gatekeeper can be a traditional one, like the NY Review of Books, or a more modern one like the reviews on Amazon, or it can be some unknown blogger who I happen to find has interesting taste. But I need someone or something to help me find the crap that means something to me. That's why Netflix felt the need to have a competition to improve its recommendation engine by a very small amount. The gatekeepers own the future.