This particular post on the Dystel & Goderich blog explains what their agency is doing by offering new services. In this post, and the one below it, they explain it far better than I can explain it.
The publishing industry is changing, no doubt about that. And digital publishing seems to be the catalyst. I'm glad I saw the signs a few years back and made the switch when I did. At first I was apprehensive about signing on with e-publishers because I didn't understand what e-publishing was all about. I'll never forget my first phone call with Claudia Regenos at love you divine, where I pretended I knew what she was talking about and didn't have a clue...she'll get a laugh out of that one. But I have no regrets at all. And knowing what I know now, the only thing I would change if I could go back in time is that I'd have made the switch a few years earlier than I did.
But with all these changes, I do think authors need to be aware of certain "things" nowadays that aren't explained very well on some publishing blogs. I don't think the bloggers are doing this on purpose. I just don't think they know any better...yet. And one of those things is the difference between self-publishing and e-publishing.
Self-publishing, which I support all the time here on this blog, is not the same thing as e-publishing. When you go the route of self-publishing, you are taking on all the responsibility, making all the decisions, and paying out of your own pocket. It's business venture that takes courage and conviction.
Now, e-publishing isn't that much different from "traditional" publishing, except that the books are all released as either e-books or print on demand...and they are usually priced far lower than with "traditional" publishers. If you decide to pursue a career in e-publishing (not self-publishing) you still have to query, submit a manuscript, and wait to hear a response from the e-publisher. But if you are accepted, you won't have to pay to have your work published. Some even offer advances.
I've often thought about self-publishing a few things myself. Like I said, I love the concept and applaud those who take the plunge. But I don't want the responsibility of making all the decisions, and I don't want to have to manage everything from initial concept to final product. I've done that twice before in my life with other businesses and right now all I want to do is write and communicate with my readers.
So there are new opportunities popping up everywhere for new authors. And looking into these literary agencies who are offering new services might not be a bad idea. I've heard good and bad. But I hear good and bad about everything these days and only time will tell. Five years ago everyone was laughing at e-publishers and e-books, and look what happened there.