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Nowadays, for better or worse, everyone — literally, everyone — can be a publisher. Not because the First Amendment guarantees it, but because the Internet does. You simply create a blog or other website, and everyone across the globe can read your pearls of wisdom. Silly thoughts you previously shared only with those closest to you can now be shared with a stranger online in Nairobi, Tahrir Square or Uzbekistan. Your persiflage can reach countless iPad owners who have never heard of you (yet) and who stumbled across your website accidentally. And most important here — as a hint of what’s to come below — your published work can also be downloaded in Paris.

Your “book,” as it were, about diphtheria, meditative paragliding or the modern marvels of bathroom cleansing solutions can become a “best seller” orchestrated from your humble publishing house, otherwise known as your broadband-connected laptop. Your brilliance (or folderol — whichever, really) can be read worldwide, without a single reader ever having left his home to buy your work. You’ve become a virtual publisher to an audience of millions, arguably billions, without an actual overseer publisher burdening you with an editor who audaciously vets your commentary for libel.

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