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Monday, May 31, 2010

Have a Great Memorial Day!

God bless all our troops fighting for our cherished freedoms...and those who have sacrificed their very lives for this country!

Here is a story of unselfish love toward some of our troops (sent to me from my good friend Lynn in Florida) and how it was repaid in spades!

Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap, I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.
'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan .'

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time...

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base.'

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'
'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.

'This is your thanks..'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did.. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base... It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.

As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America 'for an amount of up to and including my life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

Prayer chain for our Military... Don't break it!

Please send this on after a short prayer.. Prayer for our soldiers. Don't break it!


'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.'

There is nothing attached.. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Apple Offers Self-Publishing!

The Apple iBookstore is offering self-publishing...All you need is an ISBN, a taxpayer ID and your book must be in ePUb format...Seems they could have made it simpler, and I feel they could have easy enough.

Being able to set your own price (if I understand the announcement right), of which you get to keep 70%, is a highlight!

From Jimmy Peterson of TopNews.com:

Now, the authors can now self-publish their titles in the US iBookstore through Apple.

The procedure is not so simple as that of uploading a Word file but is also not very complex

According to Ars Technica, a secure ISBN number is enough and the book must be in ePUB format

The machine have OS X 10.5 or better to encode the e-book. For publishing the book iTunes account and a US tax ID is also required.

Apple created the controversy in the US market as its iBookstore shifted terms for e-book selling to the so-called "agency model by which the publisher once settling the price can enjoy 70 per cent of the sales, leaving 30 per cent for the retailer

Out of six major US publishers only five of them signed up the iBookstore at the iPad's unveiling in April.

UK may also get this self-publishing model from Apple very soon.

According to Apple's terms, no other e-book retailer can reduce its own charging and price on the iBookstore will match the lowest price being offered in market.

One of the publishing house's executive quoted to the Financial Times: "We are not absolutely sure the agency model is either legal or ideal for our authors and us."

John's Note: What in the hell would be illegal about the agency model? Is it illegal for the creator, or who s/he gives rights to, to price their own work?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Power of Expression and the Force of Imagination

Publishers, printers, literary agents, publicists, editors and even authors (who should have been included in these publishing events in the past anyway!) all came together at BookExpo America 2010 to discuss, problem solve, forecast and try to learn how to assimilate changes in the publishing world to produce better models and margins.

Apparently there is still disagreement among the professionals on what is coming and how to proceed!

But, to borrow an excerpt from the following article and mash it up a little: When the dust settles...what you get is that reading remains a joy.

Carolyn Kellogg (pictured at left) of the Los Angelos Times (Books & Ideas) gives this latest rundown on the BookExpo:

Reporting from New York —If it was a bright sign that plenty of iPads lit up BookExpo America, the publishing industry's annual trade show and convention held at Manhattan's Jacob Javits Center this week, it was equally telling that the hot trend for fall books is dystopian fiction.

For an industry still reeling from the battered economy and not yet reconciled to the e-book revolution, tales of society gone wrong have resonated. As for the big picture, it was possible to find writers, independent publishers and executives optimistic about the future, but many remain guarded and grim.

Most participants on the CEO panel, which kicked off a day of professional sessions on Tuesday, emphasized that 90% of their sales are in traditional bookselling — never mind that the e-book market is growing rapidly.

"No author is going to want to only publish his book online," said Jonathan Galassi, head of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. "They want to give their mother a copy." This got a laugh, but publishers might also do well to consider what authors' children find appealing.

That was the point of the edgy, multivaried 7-by-20-by-21 panel, in which writers, innovators and independent publishers offered an array of new ideas.

One panelist proposed that literature be taught backward (from " Harry Potter" to Holden Caulfield to "Hamlet," instead of the other way around); another showed photos of an upcoming book of literary tattoos, raising issues of writing, the body, and how devoted young people are to reading.

Jennifer Egan — a Guggenheim winner and National Book Award finalist — presented a chapter from her new novel, "A Visit From the Goon Squad," which had been written using Powerpoint. Thematic color schemes, overlapping bubbles, page position and the odd formality of the slides were employed to create the story.

Egan's experiment should play well in e-book form; at 47, she offers an example of how authors don't have to be Gen Y to embrace — and have fun with — new technologies.

But novelist Scott Turow, new president of the Authors Guild, used his time on the CEO panel to raise concerns over e-books and the changes they bring.

He warned of the growing influence of "device manufacturers" (in addition to Amazon and Apple, Google is poised to enter the market). "The entity that ends up controlling that device," he said, "will be a behemoth and a threatened one."

John's Note (1): ...controlling that device (?) What device? Maybe Scott Turow meant the entity that controls the manufacture of ALL electronic publishing/writing devices...In which case I think his concerns are for naught...since no one ever will control the diverse intellect & entrepreneurship involved!

John's Note (2): I think author meant threatening one.

From the consumer perspective, e-books are just another format to add to hardcovers and paperbacks; inside publishing, however, they're forcing significant shifts. Also speaking as part of the CEO panel, ICM agent Esther Newberg said e-books had hit the industry "like a fist."

Amazon.com began a tradition — which its Kindle readers applauded — of selling e-books for $9.99 apiece, a price that publishers find unsustainable. Apple's emergence as an e-book seller has allowed publishers to have more control over pricing: Many e-books now retail for between $12.99 and $15.99.

But Apple has also forced a change in publishing's traditional retail model that is resonating throughout the business: Because of the way contracts have been structured, authors stand to lose the most.

John's Note (3): I think publishing's traditional model has been the agency model not the retail model (that Amazon introduced with the Kindle with all prices set at $9.99 by Amazon (the retailer).

John's Note (4): I disagree with the conclusion that authors stand to lose the most. Authors may not get advances but they will get a bigger per centage of royalties on each book sold. I refer you to author J. R. Konrath's novel Shaken published by the new online publisher AmazonEncore. Read about it on my other blog at

At a private Authors Guild event on the eve of the convention, Garrison Keillor spoke of the end of an era; a version of his talk ran on the New York Times' op-ed page Wednesday.

"This book party in Tribeca feels like a Historic Moment, like a 1982 convention of typewriter salesmen or the hunting party of Kaiser Wilhelm II," Keillor wrote. "I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea."

Of course, we've heard this many times before. Twenty-five years ago, it was corporate conglomeration that was going to kill publishing, then the advent of chain retailers such as Borders and Barnes & Noble and later the rise of Amazon.com. Even as far back as the 15th century, Venetian judge Filippo di Strata declared of Gutenberg's movable type, "The pen is a virgin; the printing press, a whore."

Through it all, books and publishing have survived.

What may be new is the exhaustion in the top ranks. Newberg expressed what other publishing veterans won't say out loud: "One of the only good things about being old is that I won't have to deal with this."

And yet, in a distant corner of the convention floor, 75-year-old Lewis Lapham, the legendary editor of Harper's, was attending his first BookExpo with his new journal, Lapham's Quarterly. The publication has a successful online presence, but he wanted to meet independent booksellers and librarians in person.

"We've had a lot of inquiries," Lapham said. "We're hopeful." Tellingly, he was less interested in talking about the business than in "the power of expression and the force of imagination."

That kind of engagement is a reminder of why books matter. Take away the booths, the changing business model, the e-readers and all the other noise around BookExpo, and what you get is that reading remains a joy.

Novelist Michael Connelly was at his eighth convention; although BookExpo is open only to publishing professionals, he signed hundreds of copies of his upcoming book, "The Reversal." He sees hope in this community.

"When people come together," he said, "I get a sense of celebration."


Friday, May 28, 2010

British Publishers Ink Deals with Apple

More intrigue in publishing with the iPad's coming-out party in England...Some previously committed publishers to Apple delayed final acceptance until the last minute! Talk about a last minute prom date...

Four big English publishers finally signed with the iPad agency pricing model and had ebooks in the Apple iBookStore today at the iPad overseas launch...

This report from TheBookSeller.com by Catherine Neilan:

Hachette UK, Penguin, HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan are the only British publishers to have inked deals with Apple, with e-books produced by all companies appearing on the iBookStore this morning (28th) and available to UK book buyers.

The four represent five of the original global publishers who signed with Apple before its US launch in April—only Simon & Schuster is currently missing. Between them, they account for roughly 36% of the UK books market.

Man Booker-winner Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate), David Mitchell's number one The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (Sceptre) and Stephen Gately's The Tree of Seasons are available to buy with prices ranging from £11.99 to £9.99 for hardbacks and £6.99 to £3.99 for paperbacks.

Prices are in the main more expensive than the equivalent print versions available on Amazon.co.u. For example, the paperback of Wolf Hall is £3.60 on Amazon, but £6.99 on the iBookStore. Thousand Autumns... is £11.99 via Apple, but Amazon is charging £9.41 for the hardback.

However, readers can download more than 100 pages of Wolf Hall for free, with an option to buy it while reading the sample. Nearly 100 pages of Mitchell's novel can also be downloaded for free.

Tony Parsons, Jeremy Clarkson, Chris Evans and Frankie Boyle are all among other authors appearing on the virtual bookshelf. Currently, Evans' memoir It's Not What You Think is number one.

Freelance writer Ben Johncock, who already owns an iPad, said: "There is a huge selection on here, with titles from all the genres - there is a really good sample of work available." He added: "I was a bit worred there would be nothing on here but there is actually quite a bit."

Read more at http://alturl.com/uomc

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Apple Overtakes Microsoft ??

Apple finally is worth a tad more than Microsoft...primarily due to the iPod, iPhone and iPad...

Does anyone really give a damn?...I mean, I don't care as long as both companies keep on the edge of discovery and innovation to bring the best experience to their customers...They do this and they will continue in success.

Interesting notes on the capitalization of these two companies by Sharon Chan, Seattle Times technology reporter:

It was the day a million iPads trumped a billion PCs.

On Wednesday, Apple passed Microsoft to become the world's most valuable technology company based on market capitalization.

While the two may end up trading positions for weeks and months to come, the unseating of the Redmond software giant captures the rise of consumer gadgets over workhorse corporate software.

Microsoft continually has dismissed Apple for its single-digit percentage of the PC market. With the launch of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, however, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has continually dazzled Wall Street traders with the new, new thing.

Traders appear somewhat bored by Windows and Office, even if the software continues to rake in billions of dollars.

As Roger Sterling said in the TV show "Mad Men" about ad accounts, "Old business is just old business."

Microsoft stock fell 4 percent Wednesday to close at $25.01, which figures out to a market capitalization of $219.1 billion. Apple stock fell 0.5 percent to close at $244.11, giving the company a market capitalization of $222.1 billion.

Market capitalization is the share price times outstanding shares, a common measure of how much the stock market values a company.

"It's mostly symbolic," said Matt Rosoff, analyst at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm in Kirkland. "Apple built a lot of new businesses; they've been able to be successful in those businesses. They also started from a smaller base."

To compare the two company's financial performance, Microsoft had $14.6 billion in profit on $58.4 billion in sales in fiscal 2009. It says 1 billion people use Windows.

Apple had a profit of $5.7 billion on $36.5 billion in sales in fiscal 2009.

Microsoft is trading at a stock price 12.83 times earnings, also known as a price-to-earnings ratio. Apple's stock is trading at 24 times earnings.

The wide gap is a sign of Wall Street's faith in Apple's future potential earnings and that its stock will continue to leap and bound.

Microsoft's price-to-earnings ratio represents the sentiment that the company has less room to grow.

"Microsoft has a slightly slower growth profile that's reflected in the valuation," said Sid Parakh, analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen. His 12-month price target for Microsoft is $38 a share.

The drop in Microsoft's stock comes on the heels of Tuesday's news that two video-game veterans are leaving the company. Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices division, is retiring, and J Allard, a senior vice president in the division, is leaving but will remain a consultant for Chief Executive Steve Ballmer.

The company's stock had been dropping through May after trading near a 12-month high in April.

Apple and CEO Steve Jobs have been riding a high, launching the iPad tablet device in April and selling 1 million units since. The iPad represents a triumph of sorts over Microsoft, which had the head start many years ago with its work on tablet PCs.

Going back over the past decade, though, Microsoft's stock has hovered between $24 and $34 a share, while Apple's stock has risen from less than $10 to more than $200 a share.

In 1997, Microsoft stepped in to help Apple with a $150 million investment, when its rival was trading at $7 a share.

"Microsoft stock price has pingponged for the past 10 years. It hasn't really gone up or down," Rosoff said. "Apple's has gone up significantly."

Analysts say the market capitalization will not fundamentally change how Microsoft will do business. The company declined to comment, but executives have said in the past that all they can do is focus on execution, not the stock market.

"I don't think the notion of their market cap being slightly lower than Apple's is going to fundamentally drive how they run that business," Parakh said.

The only thing Microsoft can do is to make products that consumers like, such as Windows 7, he said. "Clearly it just boils down to long-term strategy execution."

Update 11:41 a.m.:

The gap had narrowed again as of mid-day Thursday.

Microsoft stock is up a few percentage points in intraday trading to $26 per share, pushing its market capitalization up to $228 billion and closing the gap with Apple. Shares of apple were also up a few percentage points to around $252, making its market capitalization $229.4 billion.

Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or schan@seattletimes.com. Follow me on Twitter @sharonpianchan

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Publishing Execs STILL Confused About Future

BookExpo America's (BEA's) first two days has pointed out confusion among publishing executives and those of peripheral businesses!...So, what's new? Publishing Executives sit on top of a historically hodge-podge industry that sort of came together in a subjective, patch-work structure and this is the environment in which these current execs learned their trade...

So, it's only natural that confusion reigns (when this fragile structure shifts) and a lack of some semblance of unified leadership is missing when trying to absorb and adapt to a changed publishing environment. I do believe, in my heart of hearts, that a unified approach will eventually be arrived at resulting in new business models that produce better margins for all.

Sarah Weinman , publishing industry reporter for the DailyFinance, gives this report on the spirited forums at the BEA:

Book Expo America, the publishing industry's annual trade show, kicked off yesterday morning with a lively, wide-ranging panel discussion featuring several top executives. Penguin (PSO) CEO David Shanks was there, as was Ingram CEO Skip Pritchard, American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher, Workman publisher Bob Miller, and literary agency ICM co-president Esther Newberg. Scott Turow, recently named president of the Authors Guild and bestselling author of Presumed Innocent and Innocent, also sat on the panel, which sought to make some sense of the fast-changing industry. And as is typical of such panels, the consensus turned out to be that there wasn't much of a consensus about anything. But there were fireworks!

Farrar, Straus and Giroux publisher Jonathan Galassi set the early tone with prepared remarks expressing amazement at just how quickly change has come over the last five years. Now, with digital sales accounting for up to 10% of the market for trade books (fiction, narrative non-fiction and business books), Galassi said that "education is precisely what we need."

The proceedings got off to a heated start as Newberg, Galassi and Shanks sparred over issues related to royalties (agents and publishers tend to think differently about such things), and how they might shift in the e-book era.

Miller, who recently tried a more experimental approach to publishing with HarperStudio's low-advance/ equal profit share model before bolting for Workman, meanwhile believes the downward pressure on book pricing by the influx of cheaper-priced e-books will "kiss goodbye" the $27 price point for a hardcover, and that even the prospect of compromise won't change this: I don't think we can sit and decide" pricing as a group.Teicher was all about compromise -- because to admit that there can't be one is to essentially bestow a bigger market share to the digital behemoths like Amazon (AMZN) Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG).

E-Books: The Future Perfected?

When talk turned to enhancing e-books the divide between panelists yawned wider still. Galassi has little use for them: "who has time for all the enhancement? You could be in there forever." Miller reached back in history for his rebuttal, arguing that similar objections came up when Gutenberg created his press: "These books are going to be a real time suck." And with all the emphasis on e-reading, what of the book as a physical object? Newberg brought up Steve Martin's upcoming novel, which Hachette's Grand Central imprint (LGGDY) will issue in a "beautifully bound" edition. Pritchard, however, disagreed strongly with the notion that an object can stem the inevitable tide of downward pricing. In his mind, the vast majority of readers aren't going to care.

Watching the panel brought to mind the feeling of passengers trapped on a speeding train headed for a wall that might be made of solid brick or soothing transparent liquid. Nobody knows what that wall will be, and the fear of brick is doing battle with the possibility of the more permeable stuff. Whatever happens, that train is going to crash, creating a kind of chaos, either for good or for ill. In the end, Newberg proved the most pointed -- and funny -- about publishing's future. "I'm scared to death," she said at one point. "One of the only good things about being old is that I'm not going to have to deal with this for long."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The New Paradigm of Publishing

More and more writers are getting their books published and to readers utilizing internet avenues and new online publishing models (companies such as AmazonEncore) not available before...New models such as the new-developing middle ground publishing field I posted about yesterday on my other blog Writers Thought for Today Blog http://alturl.com/tnap

Writers are establishing online platforms by giving some of their work away for free and getting feedback and editing from the readers, entering online contests, producing serial podcasts, etc... and many are being picked up by online publishing companies that will also sell POD written versions of their books.

Exciting stuff happening!

Regan McMahon, writing for SFGate of the San Francisco Chronicle, has some details of just how three Bay Area writers got published using internet avenues and bypassing the old agent-publisher-bookstore gatekeeper model:

In the old days - which, in this case, you might define as "two years ago" - getting your book published would entail finding an agent, sending it off to publishing houses like Random House or, when that failed, paying a vanity press to put the thing in print.

All of that has changed, thanks to radical shifts in the publishing industry and, oh yeah, the Internet.

Here are some examples of how a few Bay Area authors recently got into print:

Retired occupational therapist turned writer Francine Howard of El Cerrito had a short stack of unpublished manuscripts collecting dust while agents kept rejecting her queries. Then in January 2009, she entered her novel of interracial love in the Jim Crow South, "Page From a Tennessee Journal," in Amazon.com's Breakthrough Novel Award contest, whose top prize was a contract with Penguin Books.

She didn't win, but for making it to the second round, in a field of 6,500 hopefuls, her prize was two Amazon Vine (customer) reviews of a 5,000-word excerpt of her book. They were both raves, and that May, an editor from the Web site's then-week-old imprint called AmazonEncore called with an offer to publish her book. It came out last month.

Berkeley author Seth Harwood, who teaches writing and literature at Stanford University and City College of San Francisco, wrote his first book, the gritty crime novel "Jack Wakes Up," in 2005. He began posting 50-minute podcast episodes from it on Podiobooks.com in 2006, establishing a marketing platform for his work. He made a print-on-demand deal with Breakneck Books in March 2008, and then Three Rivers Press, an imprint of Random House, scooped him up and published the book in May 2009.

Read more http://alturl.com/ifdy

Monday, May 24, 2010

Great Peek Into the Old Publishing World Workings!

As I have alluded to in past posts on this blog, I admire and respect the "in-the-trenches" experience of Mike Shatzkin of The IdeaLogical Blog and the Shatzkin Files.

His 23 May 2010 post on the Shatzkin Files Losing the secondary business can kill you gives a rather detailed insight into how publishers published and distributed, how indie booksellers sold and made margin above and beyond street traffic and how authors were treated...A wonderful post I wanted to promote here...

Mike Shatzkin says:

Before the Internet deconstructed the publishing value chain and enabled new models, both publishers and booksellers benefited from a lot of what I’d call “secondary business”. Secondary business was not what they were set up or primarily intending to do, but which they easily could accommodate to earn easy margin that supported their primary operations.

Publishers controlled an apparatus that could make bound books out of manuscripts and put them on bookstore shelves for patrons to buy. These were not trivial capabilities and they were much in demand. Although the principal business model for a commercial publisher was to select what to publish, develop it editorially in collaboration with the author, and then take the risk of printing inventory and distributing it in hopes that it would sell, sometimes opportunities arose that were less risky ways to employ their skills.

Read more at http://alturl.com/akwa

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Everything Just Can’t be Free Forever!

Giant newspaper publisher Rupert Murdoch has been trying to figure out how to charge for online news for some time...He already has some success with The Wall Street Journal, but, this is a paper geared toward business people who expect to pay for so-called propriety news...He is trying to monetize other online consumer news to save the newspaper industry (really his own hide)...Seems advertizing income and subscriptions are way down!

Some simple questions by this outsider simpleton:

1- If your online product represents the gold standard in your niche, why should online advertising go down? If you can implement the attitude that you only accept ads from the top and true businesses and they have been suitably vetted, I would think advertisers would be knocking your door down to get to you (and into this sppecial ad category) with money in hand!

2- Why not get a letter of agreement between all major newspaper publishers to give say 40% of online news free with some payment for remaining news...or something similar? I think this is where old Rupert is falling short...You know, getting the old consortium.

Truthfully, I feel that the conglomerate that Murdoch has built up in the newspaper business is bad for this country, by any standard, and should definitely be broken up. Especially since he and his papers represent a drastically one-sided (and therefore short-sided) point of view that favors Wall Street (big business...often greedy & crooked) over Main Street (the majority of the country and the main purpose for it's existence...of, by and for the people; and all that stuff.

Rupert, old chap, you can't take it with you when you die...You're going out the same way you came in...naked and poor.

Frank Reed of Marketing Pilgrim reports this:

Earlier this month I explored the idea that Rupert Murdoch’s impending paywall announcement was just that; impending. In a News Corp earnings call he said that the publishing giant would have something to announce in 3-4 weeks regarding a group of publishers that would be banding together to take specialized content and put it in an area that would require a subscription for access. The conventional wisdom, even for someone as adamant about the need to paywalls now, is that there needs to be a consortium of sorts to make this a reality.

Well, we are just about at the 3-week point of this self-imposed time line and there are some doubts as to just how real this whole deal is. Peter Kafka of All Things Digital reported earlier this week.

Within the next two weeks or so, we’re supposed to hear about Rupert Murdoch’s digital news subscription service–the one he has been trying to put together for many months.

One problem: That service is supposed to feature content from publications other than those owned by Murdoch. And sources familiar with News Corp.’s plans tell me Murdoch has yet to sign partners on to the venture.

Read more at Marketing Pilgrim: http://alturl.com/hu4s

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Printed Books Resurge Due to eBooks!

Many authors are enjoying renewed sales of their backlist books due to the increased interest in reading spurred by ereaders and ebooks...And, after reading the ebooks, or portions thereof, people are buying the printed versions as well...And other novels by these authors only available in print.

The printed word will be with us forever...For many other reasons besides the aforementioned surge in sales!

Jennifer Havenner, Publishing Director for an independent LA publisher, wrote this in the Huffington Post:

More than once a week this year, headlines crossed my desk about the death of publishing, the demise of books, and the cold-blooded murderer that is the eReader. The Chicken Littles of the publishing world have clucked about lost points in retail sales of books and the increasing digital format trend. This is partly true. Book sales were actually up 3% last year and increased even more in online stores. eBooks exploded with sales over 175% compared to 2008.

Books are not going anywhere. Neither is publishing. Since Gutenberg made his epic contribution to the human race, publishing has secured a place as one of the largest and most profitable industries in history. In that time, publishing has adapted to major technological changes, survived economic meltdowns, persisted through political censorship, and made it to the other side of catastrophic price wars. The likes of Simon & Schuster and Random House are not going to lay down simply because more than 25% of their potential customers bought electronic version of books instead of much more expensive, hard to warehouse, and returnable physical books. If the mainstream publishing world's enthusiastic embrace of eReaders is not evidence enough that they are doing fine, than their stable sales through the largest economic disaster in our nation since the Great Depression should be.

Small publishers need not worry either. They are vanguards in this new trend, innovating and competing in ways the big boys can't catch up with. Like the music and movie industries have experienced, independent book publishers are on the cusp of transitioning into the very lucrative mainstream market.

If anyone should be concerned, it is the bookstore. Amazon's healthy five-year trend indicates that the flight from brick and mortar is not subsiding anytime soon. Couple that with the middleman-eliminating eReaders than bookstores have a great deal to worry about. And their 15 point drop last year is only the beginning. It is the bookstores that need to break into the market with a bullhorn explaining the value of the printed book, not the publishers.

And so then, what is the value of the printed book? eBooks are cheap to produce and cheap to buy. They have negligible environmental impact. They are easy to store, tote, and transfer. They are interactive. What does a printed book have that eBooks don't?


The role of the printed book is still critical, if not for the publishing industry, but for the human race. Our permanent record, whether through artistic expression in fiction, or through knowledge in non-fiction, is kept on printed books, not on electronic signals. Without the printed book, there is no record of our time, place and civilization.

Bookstores are repositories of our most important examples of human wisdom, knowledge and art. The role of bookstores is to protect and promote that. Publishers can reserve eBooks for all those billions of dollars worth of fluff they put out every year, but should keep the important works in print and in bookstores.

In this new frontier, bookstores will be the ultimate source of vetted high quality material. We as book readers will know that if it was important enough to make it into print, it is important enough to buy. That's a hard case to make for an online shopping cart.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Can Social Media Be a Revenue Generating Business for Publishers ?

Social media is a rapidly growing phenomenon...And literally ALL publishing business decision makers are involved; however, they are struggling with just how to monetize the vast potential offered by these sites...As are the little guys, like myself !...But they have a good strategy formulating...

Matt Kinsman, Executive Editor of FOLIO magazine, wrote this insightful analysis in the May 2010 issue of FOLIO:

According to a 2009 Forrester Research study called “The Social Technographics of Business Buyers,” b-to-b buyers and decision makers are among the most active groups in social media. However, monetizing around that participation has been a struggle for b-to-b publishers.

Still, turning social media into a revenue-generating business is a priority for many publishers in 2010. As Cygnus Business Media looks to build value after emerging from its Chapter 11 restructuring last year, one of its top priorities will be harnessing what CEO John French calls “social business media.”

“Social media is the buzz word du jour but just like how everyone talked about Webinars and e-newsletters a couple years ago, everybody finds a new horse to ride,” he says. “We think social business media is as important as those previous developments but it’s a lot bigger. Business-to-business is a form of social media. The difference was in years past, it was done in print. We’ve gone from magazines delivering push content to getting the people out there to get together and talk.”

The next step is figuring out how to monetize social media around communities such as Firehouse.com, Officer.com and EMSUnited.com. As part of the relaunch of its brand, Demers Ambulances wanted to create a social business media “buzz” and purchased an integrated package in order to reach a targeted group of EMS professionals that included ads, e-blasts, blogs booth space, podcasts and Webcasts on EMS Garage.

“Getting manufacturers involved is one of the things we’re working on now, and we don’t have the perfect answer,” says French. “We’re trying to figure out the next best step. Our experience has been, it’s OK for a reader to see advertising from a manufacturer, they know they’re getting the magazine for nothing. The precedent has already been set. If there is an ad message in an online community it’s going to be OK, users realize without this the medium wouldn’t exist. Take the 50,000 people who got a magazine for the last 20 years. They didn’t know at the time but they were the beginnings of the community.”

Read more: http://alturl.com/2cqw

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Do Great Writers Drink?

I just love people who write neat stuff!

Something a little different today...I was directed to a great post RE the subject at http://alturl.com/ty6r ...This is a blog written by Samantha Miller (I would link her here but couldn't find which Samantha Miller she was)...Anyway, she gives and analyzes online university reviews but delivers so much more...Like resources for college students including where and how to apply for scholarships, grants, government funding, state level student opportunities, overseas studying opportunities, etc, etc, etc.

BUT, this blog site deviates from it's core-named mission and posts other refined, informative and unique items such as:

- 20 Distinguished Writers and Their Drink of Choice (http://alturl.com/ty6r)

- 50 Incredible Books Every Educator Should Read

- 50 Best Blogs for Grammar Geeks

- What You Won’t Learn in Business School: 100 Cutting Edge Blogs

So visit http://www.universityreviewsonline.com/ for a unique experience...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Barnes and Noble Jumping into Self-Publishing!

Why not B&N in the self-publishing world? Everybody else and their brothers are flying to this forecasted-to-be-explosive field!

From Publishers Weekly (PW) Industry News:

Barnes & Noble is entering the self-publishing business with the summer launch of PubIt! by Barnes & Noble that will allow independent publishers and self-publishing writers to distribute their works digitally through Barnes & Noble.com and the Barnes & Noble eBookstore. Publication and distribution will be limited to digital works with no sales through the B&N stores. The company said it will release details of the royalty model and compensation process at a later date.

To distinguish itself from other companies offering digital self-publishing services, B&N is highlighting access through the Nook and other devices compatible with the ePub format. “As a company that has achieved much of its success by building mutually beneficial relationships with publishers and authors, Barnes & Noble’s new PubIt! service represents an exciting evolution and significant opportunity in the digital content arena,” said Theresa Horner, director, Digital Products, Barnes & Noble. “Barnes & Noble is uniquely positioned to support writers and publishers and bring their exciting digital works to the broadest audience of readers anywhere.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Shaken" Conventional Publishing Economics

This post will give us a peek inside the eBook publishing numbers and authors' royalties!

J. A. Konrath, author of the popular Jack (Jacqueline) Daniels female cop series, has just contracted with AmazonEncore, the publishing imprint of Amazon, to publish his latest entry Shaken in a Kindle edition for $2.99 and a paperback edition for $14.95.

Mind you, this all happened AFTER major New York publishing houses turned Shaken down! Does this show you just how much these traditional publishers DON"T know?

Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The IdeaLogical Publishing Consultant Company and author of The Shatzkin Files Blog, had the most incisive report on this happening:

Author J. A. Konrath, who has been self-publishing on Kindle and reporting about it for quite some time, just contracted to have the latest in his series of novels featuring female cop Jack Daniels published by the new Amazon Encore imprint. Encore was originally announced as Amazon’s way to pick up and feature already self-published books. They apparently bent the guidelines a bit to include Konrath’s yet-unpublished book, Shaken. Amazon will publish the Kindle edition at $2.99 in October and release a paperback at $14.95 next February.

Although Konrath is a media- and tech-savvy author who has published with major New York houses (the Jack Daniels series was previously published by Hyperion), he is not a regular NY Times Bestseller brand. Not only is he not a multi-million dollar advance recipient, he makes it clear that the novel he just signed with Encore was rejected by the New York publishing houses. So Amazon had a low bar to jump to secure him for its Encore line.

Nonetheless, this is a significant jolt to conventional publishing economics. Sales of Konrath’s $2.99 ebook will deliver him about $2.10 a copy (Konrath says $2.04; not sure where the other six cents is going…), as much or more as he would make on a $14.95 paperback from a trade publisher, and significantly more than he’d make on a $9.99 ebook distributed under “Agency” terms and current major publisher royalty conventions. And, however one feels about the degree to which pricing is a barrier to ebook sales, one must assume that the $2.99 price will result in a lot more ebook sales than a $9.99 price would. Many times the sales!

Read more at http://www.idealog.com/blog

Monday, May 17, 2010

Publishing Past is Over. But Publishing Future is Under Construction

While the traditional publishing biz model is gasping and dying before our eyes, newborn biz models are struggling to hatch completely...Models that are being forged by many factors such as the internet (YouTube, blogs, social media, POD), and other technology and apps proliferating media gadgets to make the "written Word" more comfortable and accessable in digital...

Publishing past is over. But publishing future is under construction.

I borrowed that cool phrase from Steve Rosenbaum (pictured at left) in an interview he did with Debbie Stier (former Associate Publisher of HarperStudio) for The Huffington Post in which they discuss "the best of times and the worst of times" in publishing:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

A great sentence that could well have been written about 2010 and the world of book publishing. For Debbie Stier, a lifelong member of Publishing's elite, it would be easy to see the glass as half empty.

She was working as an Associate Publisher for HarperStudio, a forward thinking HarperCollins imprint that offered lower advances and more profit sharing with authors. But when Publisher Bob Miller announced he was leaving, HarperCollins pulled the plug on the HarperStudio operation. Stier was left an Editor at Large, somewhat a minister without portfolio, watching the business she loves struggle with gut-wrenching change.

Still, she's grinning, ear to ear.

"Books aren't going away," said Stier. "I read on a iPhone, I read on a Kindle, I have a Sony and I have books. And I recently have made a return to books. And I have decided there are different kinds of reading, and there's certain kinds of reading that's ephemeral. There's always going to be a place for printed books"

"It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness."

For a seasoned marketer like Stier, finding a title starts with the reader.

"I start with, 'Who is the audience for this book,' and then, 'How am I going to reach that person,'" she said. "And I have worked with many literary authors back in the day, five years ago, and seeing if you can get that author on NPR and maybe the New York Times Book Review. And there still is that. But now it also means teaching that author how to connect with their audience online. And a lot of the literary authors, it's very hard for them to do. But I try and find that place. I always say, 'If you had a magazine, what would your magazine be? Make that magazine on Wordpress.'"

Stier's authors are on the cutting edge, and there's no better example of a cross over author than Gary Vanderchuk, the peripatetic preacher of Wine gospel (see: Wine Library TV) and fast rising business coach.

"I saw him speak at the Web 2.0 conference," she said. "I had been following him on Twitter. I'd seen Wine Library TV, I knew what a phenomenon he was. I loved him, I thought he was great. But, then when I saw him speak at the Web 2.0 conference two years ago, I said, this guy has a book."

"It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity."

Stier talks about authors in way that is personal, intimate and with a real sense that she gets them.

"I always knew, to be quite honest with you, that I was going to do a book with [Gary], from the second I saw him up there speaking, and I was like, that's my guy," she said. "The book was written here, out-loud, and I have a whole bunch of tape recording devices, and we start with an outline, and Gary just speaks it, and then we put it on paper, and we go from there.

And yet, getting books through the old system of publishing is a slow and painful process.

"It's like a jar of peanut butter, and somebody says, 'Okay, swim, swim through it.' There are so many layers of why it's difficult, you cant even believe," she said. "So let's say you have something that's timely like Sarah Palin. And you can push it to the front of the publishing house, and get that done. Now you've got the stores to deal with. They've booked up their shelf space, six or eight months in advance. So that's a layer of complication that you have to get through."

But today publishers are embracing social media; they're talking about Twitter, Facebook, blogs and webpages.

"I say that we're down the rabbit hole," said Stier, "and it feels to me, everyone gets what I'm talking about, and then I have these moments when I realize that it's actually same 20 of us that are just bouncing ideas in the echo chamber off one another."

"It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness."

While books are central to Stiers world, she admits that even her habits are changing.

"I hate to even admit this, but I just recently cancelled my subscription to The Times. I had cancelled my print version a year or two ago. And then I was getting it on the Kindle and I realized: I don't even read it on the Kindle."

Read more http://alturl.com/p8dx

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Are Publishers Predators?

I always thought publishers...and I mean the old-school publishers...were scholarly, sophisticated, intelligent people who made their living by discovering, mentoring and helping new talent get into print as well as managing known authors.

But, I am finding I was wrong!

When I started researching the publishing industry, not too awfully long ago, I began to understand the meaning of the phrase "putting the cart before the horse" and also the newer "the tail wagging the dog".

The crumbling publishing business model (always critically flawed!) took egregious advantage of the very talent off whom they made their money! I see the new technology empowering writers as almost a second coming!

That's why I read with interest Lenox Parker's blog post from his Eat My Book Blog titled The Legacy of Publishing’s Ownership of Work:

NOTE: Some strong language is used...

There are a couple of things here that you may think are unrelated but I’ll try to bridge the gap and make a coherent argument in support of my thesis. I contend that the history and very institution of publishing has lent itself to a culture of a lack of ownership by authors and artists, resulting in today’s hysterical clamoring on privacy issues.

You all have a better sense of the publishing industry since Gutenberg than I do, so there’s no need to retread. So just think about how difficult it is to turn that Titanic of a beast around in just a few short years. I’m no industry apologist–I think that’s been made clear–and I’m not saying that we should give it some time. I’m asking that we reconsider how we are framing the debate around the breakdown of the traditional publishing industry; the rise of the independent author; the risks and opportunities of technology to serve readers, established authors, and independent writers; and the implications of copyright, privacy, and ownership on all of the above. Here are some of the areas through which we have to change our perspective in order to offer thriving solutions:

Read the rest of the post here: http://alturl.com/rw8z

Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Intro to the American Booksellers Association (ABA)

In yesterday's post I introduced and gave links to two of our industry's trade organizations: The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the American Library Association (ALA).

Today I am introducing everyone to another of our industry's trade organizations: The American Booksellers Association (ABA).

The American Booksellers Association is a national, not for profit trade association, and exists to protect and promote the interests of its members: independently owned bookstores, large and small, with storefront locations in towns and cities nationwide...And it's been around for 110 years!

I feel knowing these organizations, and how and why they operate, will add to your knowledge base of the writing-publishing-selling logistical chain and give you more insight and ideas into marketing your own books. AND where you might market them or seek advice and get inside help and connections! So, periodically, I will be discussing more industry trade organizations.

Go to http://www.bookweb.org/index.html to learn all about the ABA.

Visit all the pages of the ABA site to get a well rounded understanding of this organization...there's a lot of interesting info...bookmark for future reference.

Friday, May 14, 2010

American Association of Publishers' First Annual Books Preview

Two reasons for this post:

First, to introduce those that may not be aware to the AAP (Association of American Publishers) and the ALA (American Library Association) and

Second, to point out that the ALA is a VOLUMN book buyer of new books for all their libraries and should be included in any book marketing plan.

Go to http://www.ala.org/ for more info on the ALA and

http://www.publishers.org/ for info on the AAP.

This press release from the AAP website:

AAP (Association of American Publishers) Inaugurates Fall Books Preview at ALA (American Library Association) Annual Conference

From the Inside(rs) Out: Book Editors and the New Titles They Love

Co-Sponsored by Library Journal and EarlyWord

New York, NY, May 5, 2010—The Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced today that its Trade Libraries Committee, in collaboration with Nancy Pearl, National Public Radio commentator, author of the Book Lust series, librarian action figure hero, and book lover rock star, will host its inaugural Fall Books Preview at the upcoming Annual Conference of the American Library Association in Washington, DC. The program, titled From the Inside(rs) Out: Book Editors and the New Titles They Love, will be held on Friday, June 25 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Room 103A of the Washington D.C. Convention Center just prior to the opening of the Exhibit floor.

Co-sponsored by leading library trade publications Library Journal and EarlyWord, and for the first time at an ALA Conference, the publishing world’s top editorial talent will share their passion for new fall titles in a program filled with behind-the-scenes stories and presented exclusively for the library community. The event will kick off the Conference’s Exhibit activities which get underway at 5:30 on Friday. The presenters will include:

Jamie Raab, Executive Vice President & Publisher, Grand Central Publishing (Hachette Book Group) presenting OOGY, by Larry Levin; and An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin

Cal Morgan, VP/Editorial Director of the Harper Perennial, Harper paperbacks, and It Books (HarperCollins Publishers) presenting Celebrity Chekhov by Ben Greenman; and Blow by Blow by Detmar Blow and Tom Sykes

Susan Kamil, Senior Vice President, Editor In Chief, Random House and Editorial Director, Dial Press (Random House), presenting Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship, by Gail Caldwell; and Luka and the Fire of Life, By Salman Rushie

Ina Stern, Associate Publisher, Algonquin Books (Workman), presenting West of Here by Jonathan Evison; and Exley by Brock Clarke; and

Bob Weil, Executive Editor and Vice President, W.W. Norton, presenting Charlie Chan: The Life and Times of a Chinese Detective by Yunte Huang; and Because It is Wrong: Torture, Privacy, and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror by Charles Fried and Gregory Fried.

“The industry’s top editors are profoundly grateful to librarians as book buyers and book promoters in towns and cities across the country. Librarians and libraries have enormous influence on cultural life, bringing good books and good authors to their communities,” said Talia Sherer, Director of Library Marketing at Macmillan and Chair of the AAP Trade Libraries Committee. “Throughout the course of the Conference, librarians will be visiting booths and attending many educational seminars and meetings. We thought it fitting to kick off the Conference just before the doors open by talking about books, and just books. Having the event hosted by the beloved Nancy Pearl, one of the most admired librarians in the country, will be an added treat.”

AAP’s Inside(rs) Out session is open to all badge holders. For more information, contact AAP’s Tina Jordan at tjordan@publishers.org

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Publisher Condé Nast Moving to Ground Zero WTC ?

The proposed new World Trade Center development plan started off with a bang, lost popularity and recently resurged in the "let's Do" popularity realm (due to the bubblings of economic recovery, no doubt).

Could the WTC plan now be in vogue again because of the giant publisher of Vogue magazine (among many others) wanting up to one million SF in the new facility? You betcha! The magazine biz can't be hurting that much, you reckon?

This was reported in Crain's New York Business by James Comtois:

In the span of about a month, the World Trade Center development has gone from unpopular to potentially Vogue.

After a number of real estate developers began to bid for a minority stake in the once disfavored project, The New York Times is reporting that publishing giant Condé Nast has been talking with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about moving to 1 World Trade Center.

In a move that could be a potential game-changer, the publisher may take up as much as 1 million square feet in the planned office tower when it is complete, the Times said.

Currently, the only tenants for the tower-in-development are government offices and a Chinese real estate company. If the publisher decides to ink a deal, it could rebrand the project that up until recently, few tenants wanted to touch.

Due to its cache, Condé Nast—which publishes The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Vogue—could rebrand the financial district, much in the same way that its 1999 move into 4 Times Square was seen to have helped rebrand the midtown area as resurgent.

In 2007, the publisher was part of a bid for the development rights over the West Side rail yards by the developer Douglas Durst, whose family owns 4 Times Square.

Representatives from Condé Nast and the Port Authority declined to comment.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Scott Turow, New President of The Authors Guild, Ponders the Future of Publishing

Scott Turow (pictured on left), bestselling author of Presumed Innocent and numerous other mystery suspense novels, just became the president of The Authors Guild...Good pick, indeed, him being a lawyer and all. He seems well equipped to handle the ponderous problems facing authors in today's devastated, topsy-turvy publishing industry.

This excerpt is taken from Jason Boog's interview with Scott Turow on Media Bistro dot com:

Earlier this month, novelist Scott Turow became the new president of the Authors Guild--taking charge of the group during a tumultuous time for the publishing industry.

In today's installment of Media Beat, the bestselling novelist and attorney advised writers about the biggest problems facing the publishing industry. In previous segments, Turow talked about his new novel, Innocent, and offered advice for aspiring writers.

Here's an excerpt: "Right now frankly royalty rates for eBooks are too low. The Book royalty rates don't represent the same kind of division of profits that traditional hardcover royalties have represented. So that will be a meat and potatoes issue for us. But the larger problems for us is the pirating of books. It has killed large parts of the music industry. Musicians make up for the copies of their songs that get pirated by performing live. I don't think there will be as many people showing up to hear me read as to hear Beyonce sing. We need to make sure piracy is dealt with effectively."

Video of interview can be viewed here: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid57408845001?bctid=84440520001

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Are eBook Price Increases on iPad Hurting Business?

According to Publishers Marketplace research by Michael Cader, as spoon-fed by other publishing indies, the higher prices charged for ebooks on iPad's iBooks app (the so-called agency model, where the publishers set price rather than the retailer, e.g. Kindle)...has NOT resulted in any loss of customers! On the contrary, business is booming with iPads selling approximately one million in April and the iBooks app of iPad quickly becoming the most popular feature...some books on iPad even outselling the same books on Kindle!

The fact that higher prices on iPad are successful is VERY BIG because I (badly pictured at left above) personally feel that the new, fledgling agency model (and it's future offspring) will positively affect future worth of content...and subsequently authors' pay. When the public domain & hashed over content being used as fillers for these devices today wears thin and/or gets a little boring...new, fresher content will be in high demand to satisfy the ever-hungry-gadget-reading public...which is GROWING by the way...day by day!

I predict content demand and price, and therefore authors' pay, will increase in the future! There are industry professionals that disagree with me on this point, but, I feel it's the only way things can shake out and be true to the creative process.

Just let the dust and uproar settle down a little bit more due to "newy" e-devices and rapidly changing business models...More people are reading content faster on faster delivery systems today than ever before and will be demanding evermore content faster...What's that old axiom about supply & demand?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Google Editions Could Launch eBook Revolution!

How about an online book store with 4 million books to choose from? Oh yeah!

First of all a simple definition of Google Editions (GE): GE is an upcoming online e-book store that will be run by Google. It will offer universal access and non-restrictive copying...AND books and other products will be able to be read on ANY electronic device, mobile or otherwise.

Kevin Klause (pictured below), reporting for phandroid.com, gives some details about this possible GE-sparked eBook revolution:

The publishing industry has been backed into a corner as of late, as the digital age hasn’t played too nicely with old fashioned paper and ink. Companies that rely on the sale of books and printed media have turned to producing their own e-readers in an attempt to capitalize on digitized publications (see Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook), but stand-alone devices for reading e-publications have proven hard to justify for consumer’s who already own any combination of MP3 player, mobile phone, laptop, and now tablet.

The distribution end of this growing problem for the publishing industry is starting to become less of an issue, however; on top of various eBook devices, the iPad, smartphones, and upcoming tablets are all available as easily accessible channels for delivering content. The problem now becomes an issue of the content itself, a snag Google is hoping to eliminate with the launch of Google Editions. According to Japan Today, as of the beginning of this week Google has reached agreements with over 25,000 publishers and authors. This equates to around 2 million books available at launch. Compare these numbers to 60,000 from iBooks, 500,000 from Amazon, and around 1 million from Barnes and Noble currently available.

If Google is able to include the over 2 million public domain titles it already plays host to on its Google Books service (just a small slice of the 10 million books Google already claims to have digitized in its Books database), the number of titles available grows to over 4 million. An effort to have Editions play nicely with all major devices and e-readers means a truly monumental amount of texts available readily for anyone with a device capable of reading them.

So while the eBook revolution has begun to pick up speed thanks to the run away success of the iPad, the content delivery aspect is nothing new. Yes, the iPad has done great things for reinforcing the viability of e-publications, but it will take a great library of titles for the demand for digitized content to grow. The beauty of Google Editions is that users will not be limited in their device selection in order to tap into the huge library available.

Sure, Editions will be pushed on Android phones and tablets, but you won’t have to own one. Having worked for an academic publisher (perhaps the sector of the industry most affected by the shift towards digital media), I can say that one of the biggest things hindering eBooks is the sheer number of formats and services a book must be prepped for in order to reach a mass market.

No digital book store has quite done for the printed word what iTunes accomplished for music distribution. Could Google Editions be the catalyst for a move towards digital texts as the standard? I think you’d have a hard time arguing against the sheer volume of titles that will be available, which looks to be well more than what could be read in a lifetime.

[Japan Today via Android and Me]

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Revolutionary Online Service for the Publishing Industry!

An online international service has debuted that proposes to match up writers, publishers, literary agents and all associated fields such as illustrators! AND their database includes "newbie" writers as well! How about that?

This service is worthy of tracking to see how effective their service evolves...This could be BIG...

This press release from i-Newswire.com :

PubMatch.Org is a revolutionary online service for the publishing industry, the main objective of the online service is to “match publishers, authors and agents world wide”. It provides a perfect platform that facilitates the creation of business relationships and encourages the spread of ideas worldwide.

The online service – PubMatch.Org is for all the facets of the publishing industry that deals with the domestic and international rights. It provides information and services to publishers, authors, agents/agencies, illustrators and book lovers.

It is an integrated portal that provides publishers with a readily available database of authors. The newbie writers too get an access to a large database of publishers; their names, contact details and information about the project requirements. Agents play an important role in the publishing industry; they are always on the hunt for new titles and suitable publishers. The portal also helps the publishing agents to link with the new authors and various suitable publishers.

PubMatch.Org is a unique concept, a revolution in the publishing industry; it provides with a world of possibilities to the aspiring publishing professionals.

About PubMatch:
PubMatch.Org is a revolutionary online service for the publishing industry, the main objective of the online service is to “match publishers, authors and agents world wide”. It provides a perfect platform that facilitates the creation of business relationships and encourages the spread of ideas worldwide.

Company Contact Information
George Essex
277 White Street
Phone : 914-739-7500

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

In This Corner: Nokia!...In Opposite Corner: Apple!

More intrigue in the electronics underworld...

"Just who the hell came up with the iPhone and iPad tech first?" asks Dr. Watson. "Nokia or Apple?"

"Ah ha, that is the question." murmurs Sherlock..."It seems all these lawsuits and counter-lawsuits are muddying up the bloody picture!"

"Take a look, Watson, at this article from the Associated Press in The New York Times":

The Finnish cellphone maker Nokia Corporation said on Friday that it had extended its patent-infringement claims against Apple to include the new iPad.

The latest complaint, filed in United States District Court in Madison, Wis., follows other lawsuits by Nokia claiming that a broad swath of Apple products violate Nokia patents. Nokia says the disputed technologies help reduce the size and cost of electronic gadgets. Apple has already responded with its own infringement claims against Nokia.

Apple has also sued the HTC Corporation of Taiwan, one of the leading producers of cellphones that run on Google’s Android software, a potential challenger to Apple’s popular iPhone. Apple says HTC’s Android phones violate iPhone patents.

Nokia’s latest lawsuit is aimed at the iPhone and the iPad 3G, the version of the device that can connect to the Web using cellphone networks. Nokia said the gadgets infringe five patents related to technology that makes voice and data communications more efficient, allowing the devices to be more compact.

An Apple spokesman, Steve Dowling, declined to comment on the new case but said the company had already filed a countersuit in December to earlier claims by Nokia. Apple claims Nokia is infringing on 13 of its patents, saying the company chose to “copy the iPhone” to recapture its share of the high-end phone market.

"Clear as mud, eh?" asks Sherlock.

"Huumph, I see what you mean, Ole Chap." mutters Watson.

This true life intrigue will be continued...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Discover Magazine Up for Sale!...A Good Discover for Lucky Buyer?

A ton of well-established magazines have been sold or ceased publication lately: Newsweek, National Geographic's Adventure, Metropolitan Home, Gourmet, Vibe, Southern Accents, Men's Vogue, Portfolio, etc, etc, to name just a few!

Is the handwriting on the wall? Do the sellers know something? Or are they just divesting to slim down to fighting weight for expansion into other media?

Could be the buyers will turn out just fine, too...They also may see something in the future and are willing to put up the investment to gain a following for future development (Discover has a circulation of 700,000).

Bill Mickey (pictured at left) of FOLIO magazine reports this:

Discover Magazine is on the block, FOLIO: has learned. The first round of bids are due Monday, May 17.

Discover Media LLC is backed by private equity firms WallerSutton and Sandler Capital Management. Andy Buchholtz, who currently runs A. Buchholtz & Company, is brokering the deal.

“The time is right to go out and look for new investment. We’re doing it because we think it’s a good time to go out,” Discover Media CEO Henry Donahue tells FOLIO:. The company is cashflow positive, he says, and a “range of options” are being considered—from an investment to expand the company’s digital platform to an outright sale.

Donahue says the prospect list is fairly extensive and that about two-dozen companies—a mix of financial and strategic—have expressed interest in seeing the offering memorandum.

Discover magazine was purchased in 2005 from Disney Publishing by Bob Guccione Jr. for an estimated $15 million. Guccione formed Discover Media LLC specifically for the deal, and had intended to make more acquisitions. Currently, the company consists of the magazine and an accompanying Web site. Guccione stepped down from his role as CEO in 2007 and was replaced at that point by Donahue.

Discover publishes monthly and has a 700,000 circulation.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Another Take on Newsweek...A Reason for Demise

After I posted yesterday that I was sorry to see Newsweek in trouble and up for sale AND how much I enjoyed the magazine, I read a NY Times article by David Carr (pictured at left) who gives a succinct analysis as to WHY, perhaps, the periodical has capsized.

I do not agree with EVERYTHING he postulates...especially the idea that it was better to start a new product than to upgrade the Newsweek brand...OR that NOTHING could resuscitate Newsweek...OR that Newsweek was your father's magazine and no amount of reinvention could fix that!...As if fathers were somehow less astute about ANYTHING than the "in-a-hurry-want-superficial-news-fast" crowd today!

Just because we have faster delivery systems today (many due to the work of our fathers) doesn't mean we don't want some in-depth and in-between-the-lines analysis of our news...And I think the news weeklies do this...How WELL they do this is another matter of internal managemant and editorial talent...as Mr Carr says, the Economist and the Week are successful...Why is that? Read what he has to say:

What do the Brits know that we don’t about publishing weeklies in America? The Week and The Economist, both owned by British publishing companies, continue to grow even as it was announced today that Newsweek is up for sale with very meager prospects.

American newsweeklies were built on original reporting of Large Events, helping readers make sense of a complicated world, but it is a costly endeavor with diminishing returns during an era of commodified and chewed-over news. Both The Economist and The Week were built, rather Web-like, to “borrow” the reporting and then spread analysis on top, thereby making a sundae without having to crank the ice cream maker.

And in this instance, the foreignness of the brands gives the reader an intellectual sheen that once Olympian domestic brands can’t. The Economist and The Week not only make you smarter at cocktail parties by giving you a brief on the week events, but name-checking them will make you sound in the know. Mention Newsweek and people will wonder whether you’ve been going to the dentist a lot lately.

Not much need be said about how the news cycle overtook Newsweek, but suffice to say that daily journalism began to fold in real-time analytics and then the Web came along and annotated every event before it was hours old, let alone a week. At $5.95 per issue, Newsweek is hardly a bargain. The current issue with an embattled soldier on the front — we will skip the jokey metaphor — has some great writing, including an adaptation from Sebastian Junger’s new book “War,” but at 56 pages, it seems thin and not very much of the moment.

Newsweek is your father’s magazine, and no amount of reinvention could fix that. The brand still has recognition, but beyond helping its editor, Jon Meacham, get on television and sell some books, it hard to tell what the brand is really worth at this point. The people at the magazine had been told that they had until the end of 2010 to figure it out, but with loses of more than $500,000 a week, the alarm clock rang on the early side.

In fact, no amount of time or reimagination would have changed the eventual outcome: The economics of weekly publishing are horrible any which way you look – Entertainment Weekly is attenuating into a brochure – and the high cost of acquiring and servicing subscribers is not being offset by very weak ad sales. In the weekly space, apart from celebrity magazines, only two other major magazines – New York and The New Yorker – seem to be getting by, in part because they work in niches and in part because they each have remarkable editorial leadership. But it’s a rough road no matter who is doing the driving.

Newsweek is up against the tyranny of big numbers. One of the magazine’s assets – with almost 2 million subscribers, it has great reach into the culture – is a disadvantage at a time when a general interest read of the news has become a niche activity. Part of the reason that The Economist (813,240) and The Week (517,037) have done well is that both titles have smaller circulation bases and more manageable costs. (An executive at Time who did not speak for attribution because he is not allowed to comment on profits said, “We are not in the Newsweek business. Time is a magazine that makes, not loses, tens of millions of dollars a year.” He said that staff cuts and a cut in rate base to 3.25 million from 4 million had created a business that is steadily profitable and in no danger of being sold or closed.)

In retrospect the ownership of The Washington Post Company, which bought Slate in 2004, could see the writing on the wall. In a very practical way, Slate is what Newsweek used to be, with an insouciant, knowing voice and a take worth reading. Slate is also a reminder that building or buying a relatively new business to meet a changing market is usually a better route to success than trying to walk back the cat on a legacy businesses. Newsweek may have had a fine Web site, but it was stapled to a huge costs of print infrastructure built up over decades. As needs and opportunities have arisen, Slate has been able to build out additional sites including The Root, The Big Money and DoubleX without huge initial investment.

Mr. Meacham, who has said that he would like to lead a purchase of the magazine, tried to stem the decline with a redesign that made it scan as a kind of bigger, mass market New Republic, a Beltway magazine of ideas in opinion. Wags might suggest that he succeeded all too well, creating a weekly that lost money that not many people talked about.

American newsweeklies have been compared to the automotive industry, but it is also important to remember that they are far more reliant on Detroit as well. When the American auto industry was going good, so were Time and Newsweek, with their broad footprint and underlying narrative of chronicling the American dream. At the beginning of the current downturn, an executive at one of the weeklies said to me, “There is nothing wrong with these magazines that a healthy Detroit couldn’t fix.” After defaults and bankruptcies, we all know how that turned out.

Mr. Meacham said he had already had voice-mails from “two billionaires” about the magazine, but when someone named Donald E. Graham says, “We don’t see a sustained path to profitability for Newsweek,” you have to hope they are rich guys in the habit of losing money. Most of them aren’t — that’s how they got rich in the first place.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Newsweek Put on the Block!

I enjoy the hell out of Newsweek consistently. I will miss this great news mag! AND their website, as well! Tell me, where are the people going to read good, in-depth stories sprinkled with humor when the need arises? Where will Howard Fineman go? I LIKE HOWARD!

Anyway, the Washington Post Company is searching for buyers for Newsweek and IF I had the moolah I would buy it myself...

Jason Fell of FOLIO Magazine reported this:

The Washington Post Company has put Newsweek magazine on the block. The newspaper publisher said today that it has retained Allen & Company to explore a potential sale.

“The losses at Newsweek in 2007 to 2009 are a matter of record. Despite heroic efforts on the part of Newsweek’s management and staff, we expect it to still lose money in 2010,” Washington Post Co. chairman Donald E. Graham says in a statement. “We are exploring all options to fix that problem. Newsweek is a lively, important magazine and website, and in the current climate, it might be a better fit elsewhere.”

Advertising pages at Newsweek declined 20.4 percent through the first quarter of 2010according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. Through 2009, pages were down 25.9 percent.

Last year, Newsweek’s overall paid and verified circulation fell 27 percent, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Newsstand sales plummeted more than 40percent to 62,257 copies.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Google eBook Service "Google Editions" Coming This Summer

Good ole Google is entering into the eBook market with a program that will be available through ANY computing device! How about that??...

Here is a report by Sarah Lai Stirland (pictured at left), Assistant Managing Editor of BroadbandBreakfast dot com:

Google plans on launching its open eBook service Google Editions by June or July, according to a Tuesday report in the Wall Street Journal.

Google Wants To Open Up the Market For Digital Books
Google’s manager for strategic partner development Chris Palma disclosed the company’s plans during a Tuesday morning panel discussion sponsored by the Book Industry Study Group in New York City. The panel discussion focused on cloud computing and the business of publishing.
Unlike Apple and Amazon’s eBook services, Google’s will be available through any computing device. The launch of the service appears to have been delayed by the negotiations over the different visions between Google and the publishing industry over how its service should function.

The Journal story says that the service will allow readers to both buy digital books directly from Google as well as from book retailers’ web sites. The pricing of the books will be closely watched as the publishing industry has fought Amazon’s push to sell books for a flat $9.99 on its electronic book device the Kindle.

Consumers have already downloaded more then 1.5 million eBooks through Apple’s new iBookstore, according to a company statement issued Monday. Apple sold its millionth iPad on Friday after just a month of its launch, according to the statement. TechCrunch reports that Amazon has sold around three million Kindles as of this January. The company first released the product in late 2007.

The future of digital book licensing and the separate issue of the impact of the Google’s book search settlement will be discussed at the inaugural Intellectual Property Breakfast Club meeting May 11 in Washington, DC. The panelists include: Jonathan Band, counsel for the Library Copyright Alliance, Michael Capobianco, vice president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and Sherwin Siy, Public Knowledge’s deputy legal director.

Now if they’ll only make a water-resistant book device that can brought to the beach. Perhaps they could charge a premium.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Are Dirty Books Rescuing Publishing?

Don't tell me that sex has come to the rescue again? It seems sex saves EVERYTHING...even the human race through it's natural multiplying by-product of more little humans that have a pre-destined date with sex in the future.

And people wonder why sex sells!...Probably our strongest emotion outside of survival.

Here is a nice little ditty about sex and publishing from M.B. Quirk of the Consumerist Blog:

If any industry needs a little help to get business to be booming, it's publishing. And aid is coming from an unlikely source -- erotic books could be the savior of the swiftly sinking business of book publishing, MSNBC's Brian Alexander reports.

We're not talking your mama's Harlequin romance novels anymore either, they of the heaving bosoms and ripped bodices. More like Candy Licker, Thong on Fire, and G-Spot, to name just a few. Authors like Noire, a popular novelist who has sold hundreds of thousands of urban erotic fiction books, have become hot names in publishing, where others struggle to get their tomes off the shelves and into the hands of consumers.

Sure, the lifting of the obscenity ban on James Joyce's Ulysses might've started the ball rolling, but these days its kept going with modern erotica. Or really, porn on a page, aimed at women.

As book sales in general decline or stay stagnant, Karen Auerbach of Kensington publishing says of erotica, “we saw it as a growing opportunity; it has exploded." )No pun intended, we're sure!) Cleis Press, a San Francisco Bay area publisher of erotica has seen its sales rise by more than 56 percent over the past three years.

The popularity of dirty, naughty, bad but so good books is also seeing a surge due to book clubs where readers get together and dish on every last sigh, embrace and ah, happy ending.

Pardon me, there's something I need to read now. With the door closed.

For the comments of M.B. Quirks post: http://alturl.com/7i7h