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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Discrimination in the Publishing Industry? You Bet!

Discrimination has always existed. In the past, to heavy degrees; currently, to a little less than heavy degrees and in the future, hopefully, to much lighter degrees.

What am I saying here? That discrimination will never go away? I guess I am. Because as soon as one 'type' of discrimination goes away (actually becomes minimal - I don't think they will ever go away completely), another 'type' will take its place. The dark side of human nature will see to that.

Discrimination is something we all have to fight against constantly to improve our world as well as ourselves. Sort of like a built-in sharpening stone we have to hone ourselves against everyday to stay sharper (more intelligent and humane).  

Now, there are all types of discrimination, but we will be addressing racial discrimination tonight - in the publishing industry.

Just look on Amazon - you will find over two million books, both legacy and self-published. Of these, only about 15,000 are from African American authors. And don't OVERSIMPLIFY and say 'African Americans' just don't read and write as much!

We are going to get into that with tonight's source article written by  on Good E reader.com:

Does the Publishing Industry Discriminate?

A quick search of the Amazon Kindle store reveals over two million titles, both legacy and self-published. But a search for books tagged “African American” reveals only slightly more than 15,000 titles combined. Add to the lack of dedicated reading material, stores that focus on demographic-specific titles are facing hardship as well.
An article by Judith Rosen for Publisher’s Weekly this week indicates that African American bookstores are suffering, even during this month that is so typically a high point for sales due to the attention given the Black History Month. According to the article, the number of black bookstores who were members of the American Booksellers Association has resulted in more than 200 store closings in the last twelve years alone, down to 100 member stores from over 300 in 2002.
Rosen pointed to certain economic factors, such as the destruction of major metro neighborhoods that at one time played host to bookstores who stocked black literature. That has been compounded by the loss of platforms like key magazines that at one time promoted black authors’ titles.
But while it is the physical bookstores that are suffering, what is the correlation between that and the unequally low number of titles available on Kindle? Are publishers and self-published authors simply not writing and releasing books that speak to a specific market of readers? And if not, why not?
One source in the article quite openly stated that black consumers simply don’t read as much, but that is too easy a statement to oversimplify, one that could quite easily be the result of a chicken-and-egg situation. Do publishers not produce as many African American titles because they, too, believe this? Or is the lack of titles that speak to the consumer the reason for this generalization?
Recent news from a number of successful authors has made it quite obvious that self-publishing is the great equalizer in the book industry, one that is presumably open to authors from all walks of life. During this month of historical awareness, hopefully more concerted efforts will be made to open the doors of self-publishing to a far underserved group of readers.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Spotlighting 'Print on Demand'

What's happening with print on demand? What's the latest? What's the future of print on demand?

While new publishers are focusing almost exclusively on digital publishing processes to capture the growing tablet and other mobile audience, some innovative publishers, with perhaps a longer vision, have been employing, tweaking and improving the POD (print on demand) technology to enter into the print marketplace for the first time, and connect a new generation of readers to print books through personalization.  

So, just how are these new POD applications being exploited? And by whom?

Hoffman Media and Sourcebooks are two publishers that are increasingly using POD technology - and tonight we will delve into how and at what costs and savings and success levels they are doing it.

But first, for those who might need a little refresher on the details of POD:

"Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process in which new copies of a book (or other document) are not printed until an order has been received, which means books can be printed one at a time. While build to order has been an established business model in many other industries, "print on demand" developed only after digital printing began,[1] because it was not economical to print single copies using traditional printing technology such as letterpress and offset printing.
Many traditional small presses have replaced their traditional printing equipment with POD equipment or contract their printing out to POD service providers. Many academic publishers, including university presses, use POD services to maintain a large backlist; some even use POD for all of their publications.[2] Larger publishers may use POD in special circumstances, such as reprinting older titles that are out of print or for performing test marketing.[3]"  
--- Wikipedia

Now, this by Erin L. Cox as published in Publishing Perspectives:

The Future of Print --- On Demand

This article is a part of a series on print-on-demand, sponsored by Ingram Content Group.

For the last five years, while many publishers have been focusing on digital innovation in order to capture the attention of what appeared to be a growing audience of tablet owners, some innovative publishers have been finding new ways to use print on demand services from Ingram Content Group to repackage content, enter into the print marketplace for the first time, and connect a new generation of readers to print books through personalization.
Because print on demand eliminates a number of costs by allowing publishers to print with a relatively short turn-around or through a small print-run, it has allowed some publishers to rethink their print business, offer new opportunities they previously had not explored, and even take bestselling ebooks and create print versions of those titles.
Lifestyle magazine publisher, Hoffman Media, known for Victoria and Cooking with Paula Deen, had never previously published books of their content in quite this way before. Greg Baugh, Vice President, Manufacturing saw that he could create the same premium product that they create with their magazines through hardcover books. But, he wasn’t sure whether the marketplace was ready for such a product, so he opted for print on demand to test their audience. “Though the publishing of books using print on demand is not entirely risk-free, there is very little labor involved and, though we have only just begun by publishing 6 titles so far, we are seeing sales that pleased us,” said Baugh.
Because Hoffman publishes magazines, they already had edited work with rich photography ready. So, the work they needed to do to make the content ready for a book was take the ads out, change the trim size, fix pagination flow, and alter the Table of Contents — about four hours work, all told. Though they have started with only six titles, Baugh said that they are expanding to further titles in the future.
Sourcebooks, whose CEO Dominique Raccah was named FutureBook’s Most Inspiring Digital Publishing Person of 2013, offers both the digital and print versions of their “Put Me in the Story” program which allows readers to personalize their favorite bestselling books. Partnering with such classic children’s brands as “Sesame Street,” The Berenstein Bears, and Hello Kitty, Sourcebooks offers the opportunity for parents to download the app to create an ebook or have a book printed using print on demand.
In an article in The New York Times when the program was announced, Raccah said, “We started with two very distinct challenges: How do we create a more meaningful bedtime reading experience for parents and their children? And, as a publisher, how do we build a digital future for children’s book authors and illustrators?” By allowing both ebook and printed personalized books for children, they are doing just that.