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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Marketing Books Today

I have discovered a new literary group: BISG (Book Industry Study Group)...and they have culled some new marketing savvy from their webcast last Wednesday where 80 publishing professionals tuned in.

Some (or all) of this marketing intelligentsia you may have discovered for yourself already, but there are gold nuggets in here for those that are still seeking and learning about book marketing in today's digital environment.

Lynn Andriani of Publisher's Weekly reports this:

It's All About the Social Network
BISG webcast covers marketing books in a digital world

Nearly 80 publishing professionals tuned in to a BISG-sponsored webcast, “Marketing ‘Books’ in a Digital World,” on Wednesday. The hour-long discussion covered a range of tactics publishers are taking to get their books into readers’ hands, but the topic that loomed largest was socia networking.

Rob Goodman, director of online marketing at Simon & Schuster, revealed a battery of impressive figures about how social networking influences consumer buying habits, among them: consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, 51% more likely to buy from a brand they fan on Facebook, and 79% more likely to recommend brands and products they follow on social media. The other speaker, Peter Milburn, digital products marketing manager at Wiley Global Finance, called Facebook (which has 500 million users), Twitter (125 million users), YouTube, and LinkedIn “the new retailers,” an idea moderator Jim Lichtenberg, president of the management consulting practice Lightspeed, confirmed when he noted, “You go to Facebook, hear about a book, then go to a retailer and buy it—so at that point the retailer’s just fulfilling your desire.”

Read and learn more

Friday, October 29, 2010

World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN)

WAN is the host of the World Newspaper Congress, which meets every year or bi-yearly (after some research I'm still confused on schedule for this event)...The purpose of the Newspaper Congress being to bring all worldwide news media members together to discuss present and foreseeable news production problems and solutions...resulting in a more free press.

WAN's vision is "to be the indispensable partner of newspapers and the entire news publishing industry worldwide, particularly our members, in the defense and promotion of press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses and technology."

WAN CEO, Christoph Riess, recently visited Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine, who is lobbying for the 2012 World Newspaper Congress to be held in the city of Kyiv.

If selected, the Newspaper Congress will coincide with the the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012, also being held in Kyiv.

But, beyond this tidbit of coincidence...and much more important...is the fact that the event could spell the solidification and recognition of a more democratic and free press state for the Ukraine.

This report from Yhiah Information Agency:

Yanukovych meets CEO of World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych met with Christoph Riess, Chief Executive Officer of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN), according to the Press office of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Welcoming the guest in Ukraine, the President reiterated his earlier invitation to the WAN to hold the World Newspaper Congress in Kyiv in 2012. "It is important that it was held in Kyiv," Viktor Yanukovych said. He reminded that in 2012 Ukraine will be hosting the finals of EURO 2012, therefore all the necessary hotel, transport and exhibition infrastructure will be ready.

"Conducting this very important forum in Kyiv will be the evidence that the state is attractive for free journalists and media,” he said.

Viktor Yanukovych stressed the importance of development of the information market for Ukraine. "It is also the path of democracy and freedom development. For Ukraine, it is its establishment as a democratic state," he said. The President said the Ukrainian side is interested in any investments in this direction.

Read and enjoy more

Thursday, October 28, 2010

CIA Tries to Screw Ex-Agent Publisher

More intrigue in the publishing realm!

Seems the CIA is upset with an ex-agent who published a critical book after they dragged their feet on it's approval.

So what's new here? I would guess that most ex-agents, who chose to write a book about their field experiences, would be critical of the agency. In fact they all would probably be critical.

Loy Johnson writes this for Melville House Publishing's weekly syndicated newspaper in his MobyLives column:

Ex-CIA agent gets his say

In a follow up to an earlier MobyLives post regarding the CIA lawsuit against former CIA agent Ishmael Jones for his book, The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, the New Yorker magazine has posted an interview by Gregory Levey with Jones on their blog.

The CIA’s statement claims, “Although Jones submitted his manuscript to the Agency’s Publications Review Board (PRB) as his secrecy agreement requires, he did not let that review process run its course and instead published in defiance of the Board’s initial disapproval.” Jones tells Levey:

"I sent the book to C.I.A. censors and repeatedly asked them, over the course of a year, to tell me what they wanted taken out or rewritten, but they just sat on it. They finally sent it back to me as a stack of blank pages. There is no classified information in this book, but it is highly critical. I had approached my entire chain of command beforehand. In addition, I had also confronted the Agency’s Inspector General. Writing the book was a last resort."

Read and enjoy more

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

E-Media Revenue Numbers - A Reality Check for Mags

Since the intro and explosion of digital media and publishing, how are the e-media revenues shaping up?

How are the profit margins changing?

What are the current realized earnings for small to large publishing firms now riding on the digital pony in the internet rodeo?

Well, for those who like charts and numbers (and interesting they are), I am presenting a great layout by Matt Kinsman, Executive Editor, at FOLIO magazine:

Digital is the priority for most publishers, yet many executives have had to re-adjust their e-media forecasts just as they did with more traditional revenue streams such as print and events. Online ad spending in the U.S. dropped 5 percent to $5.5 billion in the first quarter of 2009 and 7 percent to $6.2 billion in the second quarter, according to market analyst IDC.

Digital revenue remains relatively small, despite massive percentage growth in recent years (and massive slumps in traditional revenue streams). “Those who have been aggressively pursuing digital will likely see it between 8 percent and 15 percent of the overall revenue mix,” Deborah Esayian, co-president of Emmis Interactive told FOLIO: recently.

Read and enjoy more

Monday, October 25, 2010

Self-Publishing a Printed Book--A New Niche?

When you hear of self-publishing today you mostly think of "digital"...Even though most self-publishers offer both digital and POD (print on demand).

However, Blurb, a popular self-publisher in San Francisco who delivers first-quality printed products, has set up a "pop-up" store in SoHo, New York to teach the process of developing a first-class printed book for those who want a physical product...a product allowing them to print their own books easily and relatively cheaply, without the help of a literary agent or trade publisher.

Julie Bosman, New York Times, reports:

Self-Publisher Comes to SoHo

To make a book using an online publishing service, you create the design, add text or images, pay the fee, and in a few days or a week, the finished product is delivered to your door.

But there is the nagging question: Will it look homemade?

Blurb, a popular self-publishing company based in San Francisco, has tried to assuage that fear by planting a pop-up store, its first, in the middle of SoHo in New York. It will be there until the end of the month, complete with displays of finished books created by real customers.

Read and enjoy more http://alturl.com/utw2n

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Making of a Viral Book Promotion

Here's a thought: Engaging with a story character in advance of the book publication date!

Why? To create and churn buzz and interest about the book. Now, let's also make this book character interactive by creating web videos featuring the character (via casting and an actor), a Facebook fanpage and a blog of his/her own...Talk about "digital extension" of a book and it's characters!

This is great stuff!...And, I must admit, humbles my imaginative prowess (such as it is) to no end. Why can't I think up ideas like this?

Writing for Publishers Weekly, Sally Lodge, paints the details of such an innovative and interactive book marketing campaign:

'Nightshade' Viral Promotion Campaign Snags Fans

To build a fan base for first-time author Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade well before it went on sale this week, Penguin Young Readers Group sought out potential YA readers where they were sure to be: online. The publisher enlisted the aid of Cremer and marketing agency Campfire to create a multi-platform viral campaign to build early buzz for this first installment of a paranormal romance trilogy, released by Philomel with an announced 200,000-copy first printing.

The promotional strategy involved a crafty meshing of fiction and fact by bringing one of Nightshade’s main characters to life—sort of. Shay Doran, human love interest of werewolf narrator Calla, was given a Facebook page and a blog, which enabled him (i.e. Cremer) to interact with fans. In addition, eight webisodes, videos allegedly created by Shay shortly before the plot of Nightshade kicks in, fashioned a back story for this character and invited viewer participation to help Shay solve some mysteries. The webisodes can be viewed on the Nightshade Web site and are also posted on YouTube.

And there’s yet another dimension to this digital extension of Cremer’s book. The author used the plots she wrote for the webisodes to create an e-book prequel to Nightshade. Entitled Shadow Days, this 80-page novella is available on Amazon for free download and as of November 1 will also be available on Nightshade's Web site. To give fans extra incentive to maintain contact with Shay through Facebook and his blog, Cremer wrote a handful of his most engaged and enthusiastic friends into Shadow Days.

All of this has kept Cremer extremely busy for the past few months. “My publisher asked if I would be willing to create the Facebook and blog’s real-time content as the backbone of this campaign, and I was very excited to do it,” she says. “It gave me an opportunity to write part of the story from a different character’s perspective. I do love the character of Shay, and it was fun to spend time in his life and get into the depth of his back story.”

Read and enjoy more http://alturl.com/jikxg

Friday, October 22, 2010

Murdoch's "Digital Newsstand" is Belly-Up

Due to his wanting to control all the subscribers' list data demographics, and not even sharing this info with those newspaper publishers participating in his digital newsstand, he has not been able to generate any interest from other publishers in joining his online newsstand! Duh, I wonder why?

David Zax , of FastCompany.com, reports more intriguing details:

Project Alesia, one year and $30 million in the making, would have bundled online subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, but publishers weren't interested.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is ditching an idea one year and $31.5 million in the making: an online newsstand that would have bundled online subscriptions to newspapers and magazine. "Project Alesia," as it was called, is being abandoned for lack of interest among the publishers News Corp. had pitched.

Reuters' source says that Alesia is just on hold, but MediaWeek claims the decision is absolute: "an entire, dedicated News Corp U.K. operation being dismantled just days before a product was due to go on market." Over a hundred people were working on the project; most have been reassigned elsewhere.

Read & enjoy more http://alturl.com/mvusx

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Staying Relevant in a “Print Is Dead” World

This post is about a very interesting upcoming event in New York: The MarkLogic Digital Publishing Summit scheduled for Oct. 28, 2010 at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

Oh boy, would I ever like to go to the Plaza in New York! But, with the chump change I have at my disposal right now, that is out of the question for me...But, I can dream, can't I?

This conference will discuss solutions in a transforming-into-digital era for the academic, professional, and library markets worldwide...Applying purpose-based databases for unstructured information, among many other applications.

More info is included in this press release from BusinessWire.com:

Contrary to what some believe, publishers are not just sitting around waiting to die. Instead they are transforming the way they do business so they can be at the forefront of the next generation of publishing. Several leading customers of MarkLogic® Corporation, the company revolutionizing the way organizations leverage unstructured information, will share how they are driving innovation with MarkLogic technology in a world where future readers will likely pick up a Kindle before a book or magazine. These customers will tell their stories of success at the upcoming MarkLogic Digital Publishing Summit scheduled for Oct. 28, 2010 at the Plaza Hotel in New York. For more information or to register please visit http://www.marklogic.com/dps10/.

“MarkLogic customers are doing some of the most innovative applications on the market today,” said Matt Turner, principal technologist, MarkLogic. “I look forward to our customers showcasing what they have accomplished with MarkLogic. The interest in attending the MarkLogic Digital Publishing Summit has accelerated this year – with more and more organizations following the dynamic digital innovation that is taking place in the publishing industry and discovering how they can be part of the solution.”

Dennis Flanagan, CEO, MBS Direct and a MarkLogic customer, will talk about creating and deploying disruptive technology within a traditional print based business. The method and forms of learning delivery have remained unchanged for decades. While schools, institutions and publishers have promoted various solutions, Flanagan charges it is the students who ultimately lead learning technology adoption. In his presentation, Flanagan will examine how Xplana’s new student based social media site was conceived and discuss how the growth of learning communities for students and faculty transitions them into active content creators and publishers.

In addition, David Worlock, co-chair, Outsell Leadership Programs, will host a media panel at the event featuring the following MarkLogic customers:

Read & enjoy more http://alturl.com/uwueg

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls to be Translated and Published Online

I just get swept up and carried away in total intrigue by archaeological discoveries and ancient history! I guess I'm searching to see if our ancestors were as stupid as we are in present day...or if it has been a gradual decline.

From what I can deduce from reading some of the classic philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Euclid, Virgil, Aquinas, Bacon and Newton, to name a few), we have been in a constant state of decline! I mean ass-over-brain downward tumbling. Their wisdom and insight outshines anything that masquerades as intelligencia today...AND their stuff was written years and years ago, as we mortals measure time.

It will be of great interest to read the Dead Sea Scrolls when they are published to the internet early next year. I just hope they are translated accurately and completely so we can truthfully envision that particular portion of our vast history.

Matthew Kalman, of MailOnline.com, reports the following details:

Sixty years after they were discovered in a cave by a Bedouin shepherd in the West Bank, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been given a new lease of life and will be put online in a new digitized format by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google.
The scrolls, counted among the most important archeological finds of the modern era, consist of 30,000 separate fragments making up 900 manuscripts of biblical texts and religious writings from the time of Jesus.

Using new infra-red and multi-spectral multi-wavelength imaging, created by the U.S
company MegaVision, previously hidden words and passages not visible in natural light have been discovered during the digitising process, allowing scholars to interpret the texts afresh.

Read more http://alturl.com/ircam

Monday, October 18, 2010

Amazon Should Lose the $9.99 Ebook Price War

Publishers have engaged in a battle with Amazon on pricing all eBooks at $9.99...and they are winning.

I think they should win! Why? Simply because the value of a book (a creation, if you will, from intellectual capital) has never been just about the manufacturing process...It has, more importantly, been about the "content" from the writers mind and imagination.

Traditional publishing has always tried to minimize content (as evidenced by the chump-change percentages offered to writers)...But, in fact, it has always been the true gold.

Faith Merino, writing for Vator.tv, reports on this issue (not always with my point of view) with a key timeline history of the publishers vs Amazon fight and future probabilities:

Why are publishers fighting Amazon's e-books?

A breakdown of traditional book publishers' uphill battle against cheap, digitized books.

Amazon’s war with publishers heated up last week with a passive-aggressive letter to customers posted on Amazon.co.uk informing them that the high prices of e-books have been set by publishers and Amazon will continue to fight them. Personally, I go back and forth on this issue. On the one hand, charging the same price (or more) for an e-book as a hardcover seems ludicrous, but at the same time, the publishing industry has long struggled to survive, as there is little if any money in books these days. So what is the real story?

Amazon’s letter to customers reads:

“Dear Customers, recently, you may have heard that a small group of UK publishers will require booksellers to adopt an ‘agency model’ for selling e-books. Under this model, publishers set the consumer price for each e-book and require any bookseller to sell at that price… We believe they will raise prices on e-books for consumers almost across the board. For a number of reasons, we think this is a damaging approach for readers, authors, booksellers and publishers alike.”

The letter ends with a simple statement about Amazon’s confidence in its customers’ buying power: “In any case, we expect UK customers to enjoy low prices on the vast majority of titles we sell, and if faced with a small group of higher-priced agency titles, they will then decide for themselves how much they are willing to pay for e-books, and vote with their purchases.”

The agency model that Amazon refers to was first proposed by Macmillan, which threatened to pull its books from Amazon if the online bookseller didn’t raise the prices of its $9.99 e-books. Amazon responded by pulling Macmillan’s books itself, but as other publishers rallied behind Macmillan (Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin), Amazon has been left no other choice but to capitulate and let publishers set their own prices.

How it all started

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More on Self-Publishing with Smashwords

I have mentioned Smashwords before. It is one of the first, if not the first, to offer indie authors a self-publishing portal with premium distribution deals to multi-eBook platforms such as Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and others.

Well, Joanna Penn...a British author, blogger, writing and book-marketing mentor...based in Australia (and one to whom I've been subscribed and followed for some time now), met with Mark Coker, the creator of Smashwords, last week and shared an insightful post (with videos) about their meeting on her website The Creative Penn.

This is a must view. You will enjoy and learn...Rush over to The Creative Penn while it's fresh in your mind! You won't regret it, pilgrims...

Friday, October 15, 2010

BookBrewer: Borders New E-Book Publishing Platform

The e-pub world is getting crowded! Here comes Borders bookstore's version of an e-publishing platform called BookBrewer.

Borders has teamed with an electronic e-publisher and distributor from Colorado called FeedBrewer to create BookBrewer.

The Borders publishing system is an alternative to formatting content for the Amazon Kindle.

Rachel King, in an article for ZDNet.com, gives more details:

It’s getting even easier for aspiring and independent authors to get their work to the masses these days. Borders has now launched an e-book publishing platform of its own.

Powered by BookBrewer, a multi-platform digital publishing solution, writers should be able to format and publish their titles within a few days. There aren’t any limitations when it comes to content or length, and participants of this program can set their own prices (as long as they are within reasonable bounds as determined by the retailers, of course.)

Authors have two options when it comes to pricing:

•Basic Publishing Package ($89.99): BookBrewer assigns the book an ISBN and makes it available to all major eBook stores at a price set by the writer. Royalties are based on sales and vary among each online retailer.
•Advanced Publishing Package ($199.99): Authors receive a full version of their ePub file. This means they own the product entirely, and the author can distribute it to e-book stores and friends as he or she sees fit.

Read more http://alturl.com/yt3ct

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ebook Sales Soar!

Ebook sales are continuing to gain in strength and market share. And why shouldn't they? Digital products are obviously the new, faster, convenient, neat-gadget-provided medium, right? Of course.

Due to digital publishing, more consumers have ready access to more and varied content than ever before; and this includes content deemed unworthy by old print model faux judges...Content that is now selling very well and being enjoyed by many, thank you very much! We never did need "I-know-what's-quality-and-best-for-you" gods in the first place.

On to this report RE eBook (and total book) sales for August by Matthew Flamm in Crain's New York Business:

The latest sales figures from the Association of American Publishers show the book industry to be limping along for the month of August. But one area stands out: e-books, which surged 172% over the same period a year ago to $39 million.

For the January to August period, e-book sales spiked 55% to $263 million, or 9% of the total book market, according to the report, which was released Thursday. A year ago, e-books represented just 3.3% of the market.

Overall, however, the consumer book industry appears to be suffering from the weak economy, along with other retail sectors. Total book sales were up 3.4% for the month, to $1.6 billion, and were up 6.9% for the January through August period to $2.9 billion, but virtually all of that growth was driven by increases in sales for educational and professional publishing.

Meanwhile, sales of adult hardcover books plunged 24.4% in August, to $83.8 million. And though the category was up 5.2% year-to-date, the comparison was against a period in 2009 when hardcover sales fell 12%.

Read more http://alturl.com/tnik2

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Great Writers Born Out of Exile

Todays post is a spot from Lindsay Samuels, writer and owner of the resourceful website http://librarysciencedegree.org/. Lindsay's site gives good programs and insights into the Library Science fields and discusses the rewards and benefits of pursuing a degree in this intriguing business.

I'll tell you, if you are a young person (or even a not-so-young person) pondering a career choice or change, the Library Science Degree is an excellent choice.

The blog on her website contains awesome posts on writing and publishing along with great books and authors.

From Lindsay Samuels:

5 Famous Writers That Lived in Exile

The writers listed here are among the best and the brightest who created works that would go on to inspire and influence fellow writers and students for ages. Sure, maybe you’ve heard of Tolstoy and the Marquis de Sade, but do you know where they were as they skyrocketed to fame? Probably not. Here’s the stories behind five famous writers that lived in exile.

1. Dante Alighieri. Dante Alighieri is usually known as Dante and his most famous work is Divine Comedy. It consists of three parts and arguable Inferno is the work that resonates most with readers. Dante went to battle with the Florentine Guelphs against the Ghibellines in 1289. The Guelphs won and from there divided into two sects – the White Guelphs and the Black Guelphs. Dante belonged to the White Guelphs, which was ruled by Vieri de Cerchi. The Whites wanted more freedom for the citizens in Rome, while the Blacks supported rule by the Pope. The Pope asked Dante to remain in Rome, which later led to being condemned to exile for two years, along with a fine. Though Dante refused to pay the fine because he felt he did nothing wrong, the Black Guelphs had already seized his funds. It is while in exile that Dante creates Divine Comedy. Dante was granted amnesty in 1315 after the fall of the Black Guelphs. A fine and public penance were required and again, Dante refused, choosing instead to stay in exile.

2. Aristotle. There isn’t a subject Aristotle didn’t cover with his immense work. Whether it was art, philosophy, nature or logic, Aristotle had an opinion on everything and wasn’t afraid to share it. At the young age of 17, Aristotle went on to study at the Academy in Athens. He later became a tutor for Amyntas’ grandson – the future Alexander the Great (you might have heard of him). Alexander’s father was killed and later Alexander died, prompting the Assembly in Athens to rise against Antipon. Due to his background and connection to Alexander the Great, Aristotle was labeled pro-Macedonian and sentenced to exile, where he died at the age of 63.

Read more http://librarysciencedegree.org/5-famous-writers-that-lived-in-exile/

Monday, October 11, 2010

Update on B&N's Self-Publishing Portal 'Pubit!'

An update giving publishing time-frames and author royalties for the Barnes and Noble self-publishing platform Pubit!

For background on Pubit! please refer to my previous posts RE Pubit! : Barnes and Noble Jumping into Self-Publishing! and Barnes & Noble Trumps Amazon with 'Pubit' Self-Publishing Platform

TechShout.com reports these Pubit! updates:

The broadly expanding e-reader arena has opened doors for a string of
innovations. Barnes & Noble further extends it by launching the PubIt!, a self
publishing portal that enables independent writers and publishers to distribute
their content. This self-service Web portal comes with no hidden costs, allowing
qualified content owners to deliver their work across millions of new readers.

Barnes & Noble now adds tens of thousands of titles from numerous independent
publishers and self-publishing writers who have pre-registered for the service.
The titles have been incorporated into Barnes & Noble’s expansive eBookstore.
The PubIt! content that is newly submitted will be put up for sale within 24 to
72 hours after upload.

“We’re delighted at the enthusiastic response we’ve received from thousands of
independent writers and publishers who are eager to introduce their exciting
works to a broader audience of readers,” said Theresa Horner, director, digital
products, Barnes & Noble. “The launch of our PubIt! platform further reinforces
our long-standing commitment to authors and writers, and offers a significant
opportunity to provide an even greater selection of reading material to our
millions of customers.”

Read more http://alturl.com/ydd6y

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Archie Comics to Host Video Game Legend, Mega Man!

A little fun on the post today.

But, before I get started, I have a question: Whatever happened to Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead?? I used to really enjoy them way back when.

Anyway, onward to the video hero, Mega Man. This press release from Newsarama.com:

Archie Comics—home to Sonic the Hedgehog comics—is about to become the base of operations for a comic series featuring Capcom’s heroic video game legend, Mega Man!

The Mega Man® franchise is hotter than ever and in the spring of 2011, Archie Comics will take his heroic adventures to new heights with a brand new monthly comic!

With the aid of his mighty Mega Buster blaster arm and a killer creative team including renowned artist Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante and infamous Archie action/adventure writer Ian Flynn, Mega Man is equipped to blast his way back into the comic book world in his own monthly action. Arriving Spring 2011, the new Mega Man™ comic from Archie Comics promises to build a faithful legacy while exploring a vast universe of heroes, villains, and robots.

“Since 1987, the enormously successful Mega Man franchise has conquered media from video games to television to manga. Archie Comics is ready to carry on this tradition of success, holding true to the spirit of the old school with a fresh eye on Mega Man’s strong potential in the world of American comics,” promised Archie Comics editor of Sonic and now the Mega Man franchise, Paul Kaminski.

Read more http://alturl.com/wref5

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Create Professional Ebooks Using Free Internet Tools!

There are neat, FREE, downloadable programs on the net that will allow you to create a professional ebook with an outstanding cover, assign an ISBN, AND format it for all the e-readers (Calibre is one open-source, free, software program that does this auto formating).

Jean-Baptiste Piggin (no decent link found for this writer) wrote this exciting article for Monsters and Critics dot com about the self-publishing guru Michiaki Tanaka speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair:

Create your own e-books for free, urges guru

Self-publishers who want to sell advice, poetry or their favourite recipes direct to their readers can create e-books without spending a cent, a Japanese expert said Wednesday at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Michiaki Tanaka sells books he has written about feng shui, a set of oriental esoteric beliefs, via Amazon.com and online shops on Japan's smartphone web, i-Mode.

Anybody can convert a collection of text files and photos into a professional-looking e-book using free tools on the web, he said.

'Don't spend money to create the book. It's more important to devote your resources to selling the book,' he told a seminar at the annual five-day book fair which is running until Sunday.

Tanaka said he uses Calibre, an open-source software
program which can be downloaded free from the web, to convert files to the formats used on e-readers such as Amazon's Kindle, the Sony Reader and the Apple iPhone.

The idea of cutting traditional book publishers completely out of the book producing process might seem subversive at the world's biggest book-publishing congress. But authors selling books direct to readers are a growing segment of the book business, at least by volume.

Nielsen Book, the company which issues the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) in Britain, says it provided 800,000 ISBNs last year for books that sold fewer than 10 copies.

In 2004, the tally of these micro-published titles in Britain was just 300,000, meaning the segment has grown 167 per cent in just five years.

A book with a circulation of less than 10 is obviously not profitable, but there may be money to be made with sales of 1,000 and above. Nielsen Book says 18 per cent of book sales in Britain comprises titles selling just 1,000 to 10,000 copies.

Read more http://alturl.com/tyghv

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Digital Publisher Hires "Harry Potter" Publisher

Open Road, a year-old digital publisher, is entering the children's eBook market...and for starters they have acquired Barbara Marcus, the former children's book publisher at Scholastic publishing...The one who secured the Harry Potter books!

Quite a coup.

Matthew Flamm reports this for Crain's New York Business:

Digital publisher Open Road hires Barbara Marcus, the former Scholastic children's book president who brought the Hero of Hogwarts to the world, as an adviser.

Open Road, the year-old digital publishing startup founded by Jane Friedman to focus primarily on backlist titles, has hired Harry Potter's former publisher in an effort to break into children's books.

Barbara Marcus, who was president of children's book publishing and distribution at Scholastic until 2005, has been named an advisor for children's publishing to Open Road Integrated Media. The announcement was made Wednesday at the Frankfurt Book Fair by Ms. Friedman, the onetime HarperCollins boss who is co-founder and chief executive of the New York City-based startup.

Ms. Marcus oversaw Scholastic's acquisition of the first title in J. K. Rowling's wildly popular series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which came out in 1998. She stayed on through the publication of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, No. 6 in the series.

Read more http://alturl.com/qcj2w

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

E-Books are Selling for More than Hardcovers!

And when I say "selling" I mean selling! People are buying $19.99 eBooks...

Ken Follett's Fall of Giants sold 20,000 eBooks in the last 7 days.

I have mixed feelings about this news, but can't help feeling excited if it means more money for the authors...But, I don't want to see buyers' expectations dashed either.

I guess when the dust settles the market will determine the price. But, 20,000 eBook copies sold in 7 days points to a vibrant eBook market developing.

Julie Bosman writes this fine account for the New York Times:

2 E-Books Cost More Than Amazon Hardcovers

Readers of e-books may not be able to turn paper pages, lend their copies to friends or file them away on living room bookshelves. But they do have the comfort of knowing that they paid less for them than for hardcovers.

Unless they bought “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett, which was published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, last week. On Amazon.com, the price for the e-book was $19.99; the hardcover edition was $19.39.

Or “Don’t Blink,” by James Patterson and Howard Roughan, whose publisher, Little, Brown & Company, charged $14.99 for the e-book. Amazon priced the hardcover at $14.

Customers, unaccustomed to seeing a digital edition more expensive than the hardcover, howled at the price discrepancy, and promptly voiced their outrage with negative comments and one-star reviews on Amazon.

“Really, James Patterson?” wrote one reader from Elgin, Ill. “Why would it possibly cost more for a digital download than printed and bound ink on paper?”

Read more http://alturl.com/brbfu

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Translating: How to Protect the Original Language Emotion in Words

I am always thunder-struck by people who can speak and write in more than one language...but, especially translators who transform books from one language into another for the enjoyment of readers in another country!

Imagine, if you will, the awesome responsibility of translating, not just the direct words, but the emotion conveyed in the words of the original language! In some cases a direct, cold translation into another language would not convey the intended emotion; so the translator HAS to understand the underpinnings of each of the languages s/he is dealing with and make necessary adjustments to give the reader the truest intended emotion...make sense?

Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours and By Nightfall, wrote "Found in Translation" for the New York Times:

As the author of “Las Horas,” “Die Stunden” and “De Uren” — ostensibly the Spanish, German and Dutch translations of my book “The Hours," but actually unique works in their own right — I’ve come to understand that all literature is a product of translation. That is, translation is not merely a job assigned to a translator expert in a foreign language, but a long, complex and even profound series of transformations that involve the writer and reader as well. “Translation” as a human act is, like so many human acts, a far more complicated proposition than it may initially seem to be.

Let’s take as an example one of the most famous lines in literature: “Call me Ishmael.” That, as I suspect you know, is the opening sentence of Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.” We still recognize that line, after more than 150 years.

Still. “Call me Ishmael.” Three simple words. What’s the big deal?

For one thing, they possess that most fundamental but elusive of all writerly qualities: authority. As writers we must, from our very opening sentence, speak with authority to our readers.

It’s a little like waltzing with a new partner for the first time. Anyone who is able to waltz, or fox-trot, or tango, or perform any sort of dance that requires physical contact with a responsive partner, knows that there is a first moment, on the dance floor, when you assess, automatically, whether the new partner in question can dance at all — and if he or she can in fact dance, how well. You know almost instantly whether you have a novice on your hands, and that if you do, you’ll have to do a fair amount of work just to keep things moving.

Read more http://alturl.com/fv5ao

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Association of Magazine Media

The main (and probably the oldest - est. 1919) professional association for magazine publishers is the Magazine Publishers of American (MPA).

Well, they have just changed their name to The Association of Magazine Media...which they still abbreviate or accronym as MPA?!

Why don't they just use AMM for Association of Magazine Media?

The reasoning for the new name, they say, is to get away from the words "print" and "publishing" which they figure are dead to the younger generation.

What a cluster muck of thinking! For one, they are still publishers regardless of the media format and secondly, print is not going away (changing yes, but not dying); on the contrary new print tech is here and more surprises are coming in print media.

This report from Reuters by Robert MacMillan:

They’ll always be the Magazine Publishers of America to me

The Magazine Publishers of America said on Friday that it is renaming itself the MPA — The Association of Magazine Media. The notable difference is the omission of the word publishers. Why?

“MPA is underscoring the fact that magazine media content engages consumers globally across multiple platforms, including websites, tablets, smartphones, books, live events and more.”

“More” presumably means “printed magazines,” but nobody in media is all that hot on associating themselves with words like “publish” and “print” because to young people (or young “consumers” in the parlance that people use when their sole desire is to make money from you) and investors those words smell like death.

When magazine publishers like Conde Nast and newspaper publishers like Advance Publications (like Conde Nast, owned by the Newhouses) have been forced to cut hundreds if not thousands of jobs and stop publishing some of their products, it doesn’t do much good in the public relations department to accentuate the part of your business that is fading, even if it still produces 80 to 90 percent of your revenue. Fortunately, Time Inc CEO and incoming MPA Chairman Jack Griffin manages to refer in passing to “print” one time in the press release quote.

Read more http://alturl.com/d6zrd