July 23, 2012
: I think serious reading is more important than serious writing. I...

I think serious reading is more important than serious writing. I think a serious reader reads widely and is wildly unpredictable. Maybe I think publishing has grown more conservative and is less likely to like something that doesn’t remind it of something else, or has not been proven by its…

Yes. Yes.

Read “widely” and be “wildly unpredictable”.

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Filed under: lit reading publishing 
April 30, 2012

"Publishers actually weaken their own case when they articulate their value as “curators”. That makes it sound like they’re squeezing our cantaloupes for us…They’re doing much more than that. Publishers aren’t squeezing the cantaloupes. They’re deciding which cantaloupes to invest in before the seeds are in the ground. They’re deciding based on the farmer and the climate and the soil and the weather forecast which cantaloupe growers get to participate in the market. And, if they don’t invest, those cantaloupes don’t get grown and they don’t get squeezed by anybody."—Mike Shatzkin

April 13, 2012
Queens Library Goes Digital, Lends e-Readers to Patrons

nycdigital:

The Queens Library, pioneering the concept of lending e-readers, is the first to do so in the NY public library system.  According to The Wall Street Journal, 50 Nook devices will be available at the Central Library in Jamaica beginning this week

This could get very interesting…

(via wnyc)

April 12, 2012

"The vast majority of a publisher’s costs come from expenses that still exist in an e-book world: Author advances, design, marketing, publicity, office space, and staff….Publishers have a massive problem with perception of value. When you can’t hold it in your hands and easily pass it along to a friend, $10-plus just feels too expensive to many people."

—Nathan Bransford, “Why e-books cost so much

Publishers could take a page from the organic food industry playbook, which has worked hard to make consumers accept paying more for a product because of the added value of quality and specialized labor.

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Filed under: news e-books publishing 
April 12, 2012
Why the price of your e-book matters

The recent news that the DOJ has brought a lawsuit against major publishers over e-book pricing with tales of secret meetings and greedy publishers has pushed the industry into the headlines. Even Brian Williams covered it.

For people who don’t work in publishing or who can’t quite wrap their head around agency pricing, here’s a quick primer:


Days of yore: books had a suggested retail price: $12.00; $24.99, etc… “Suggested” = bookstores, acting as retailers, were free to price the book however they wanted. Thus, the corner bookstore might offer 10% off bestsellers, a discount for members etc… They were re-selling a book they had already purchased wholesale from the publisher, so they could price it at whatever level would ensure them sales and profit.

Enter e-books: Amazon began pricing new e-books as low as $2.99 or $7.99. Their main goal was to sell Kindles, not books, so the price of an e-book was negligible to them. This was a drastic loss of revenue for publishers and authors and allowed Amazon to control 90% of the market. (This isn’t just a case of greedy publishers: many authors heavily depend on sales of their book, especially if their advance is low.)

An alternative strategy: As the iPad was launched, agency pricing was introduced. This turned anyone who sold e-books from a retailer into an agent: they were selling the book as an agent of the publisher, meaning the publisher set the price and split the sale 70/30 with the agent. The agency model standardized the price of an e-book across the board so that a reader was offered the same price on an e-book no matter where they bought it.

The benefits of the agency model: some prices rose, and others fell, but it gave consumers more choices.  In addition, the publisher of Smashwords has used hard data to conclude that e-book prices have decreased with agency pricing as competition has increased although some argue that major publishers are still over-pricing their titles

The DOJ lawsuit: Disrupts the current system and forces publishers who have agreed to a settlement to reconceive agency pricing. Yes, this means immediate lower e-book prices for the consumer, but you have to question a decision that is opposed by the American Booksellers Association, the Authors Guild and which allows Amazon to regain the upper hand. Macmillan and Penguin vow to fight the lawsuit and each provide a cogent reason why the lawsuit is bad.

No one involved is against Amazon, or low prices per se (“Yay, $2.99 ebooks!”), the question is whether a system can be maintained that allows for a competitive market but one that doesn’t cannibalize the industry it supports. 

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Filed under: e-books news publishing lit 
April 11, 2012
DOJ Sues Publishers, not a good thing

The Department of Justice has just announced a lawsuit against major publishing houses for price collusion on e-books.

This is stupid.

Yes, low prices for ebooks are nice up to a point, but authors, bookstores, and readers eventually suffer.

Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild explains why:

"Our government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition."

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Filed under: news publishing e-books 
April 5, 2012
pantheonbooks:

The New York Times recently ran a fascinating article on the history of Scribner’s Bookstore in New York City, a venerable New York landmark that is now, alas, a Sephora. Read the whole thing here.

Yes, fascinating also for this statement:
"This space was as much about establishing a brand as it was about moving inventory."
The Scribner store did that with bricks and mortar, ironically, now publishers must find a way to do this using new technology because of the decrease in bricks and mortar outlets. Mike Shatzkin makes this argument in a terrific post on publishing’s new relationship with consumers (aka readers). Yet, I disagree with his belief that imprints should be consolidated or broken up.
Readers are smart enough and savvy enough to respect and recognize the strengths of different imprints. It’s up to publishers and imprints to make those distinctions clear and strong. (Hint: Tumblr is a good tool.)

pantheonbooks:

The New York Times recently ran a fascinating article on the history of Scribner’s Bookstore in New York City, a venerable New York landmark that is now, alas, a Sephora. Read the whole thing here.

Yes, fascinating also for this statement:

"This space was as much about establishing a brand as it was about moving inventory."

The Scribner store did that with bricks and mortar, ironically, now publishers must find a way to do this using new technology because of the decrease in bricks and mortar outlets. Mike Shatzkin makes this argument in a terrific post on publishing’s new relationship with consumers (aka readers). Yet, I disagree with his belief that imprints should be consolidated or broken up.

Readers are smart enough and savvy enough to respect and recognize the strengths of different imprints. It’s up to publishers and imprints to make those distinctions clear and strong. (Hint: Tumblr is a good tool.)

March 14, 2012
Off On a Tangent: Tradecraft For The Budding Publishing Reporter

offonatangent:

I think a lot about this subject, largely because it’s my chosen field and I think there’s room for more great reporting, the kind that makes jaws drop and which is clearly the result of a lot of hard work and enterprise. (Most recent example: paidContent’s Laura Owen and her two part series

Two things:

1. NYT: are you listening???
2. Journalists: take note.

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Filed under: publishing journalism 
March 8, 2012
Tumblr: Online’s New Frontier for Publishers

jessicabrokaw:

Well this is cool.


Yes, publishers being dragged into the 21st century by their younger employees.

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Filed under: publishing Tumblr 
February 28, 2012
rachelfershleiser:

linas10:

Who said Public Radio is outdated?!

NPR was definitely the biggest sales bump for my books. Thanks NPR!

The book business loves NPR. Not-so-secret secret.
In other news, Emily Danforth’s novel "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" is a terrific novel. (Bottom left)

rachelfershleiser:

linas10:

Who said Public Radio is outdated?!

NPR was definitely the biggest sales bump for my books. Thanks NPR!

The book business loves NPR. Not-so-secret secret.

In other news, Emily Danforth’s novel "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" is a terrific novel. (Bottom left)

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