It is: I’m getting a lot of authors in the last couple of months asking whether I’ll take e-book only or self-published works. The short answer is no; the slightly longer answer is to read the Big Idea submission requirements here.
As for why I have those submission requirements, there are two primary reasons:
1. So that people who are interested in a book featured in a Big Idea have a reasonable chance of walking into a bookstore or major online retailer and finding it immediately;
2. Because I don’t have time to read every single book that people propose for Big Ideas, and I so use publishers who service bookstores on a returnable basis as a filter for which books to consider, particularly from authors who are new and/or of whom I have not previously heard.
Yes, there are good books that are distributed by e-book-only publishers and/or are self-published. However, I generally don’t have time to read those books to make sure. Life is unfair sometimes, and this is one of those times. If the general submission criteria change over time, I will post them and let you know. But for now and the forseeable future, the current submission requirements will stand.