Report Links Google, Yahoo to Internet Piracy Sites

Google and Yahoo, two internet companies that have long cultivated relationships in Hollywood, are nevertheless placing ads on sites that feature pirated movies, TV shows and music, a new report says. USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab ranked Google and Yahoo among the top 10 advertising networks that support major piracy sites around the world, based on the lab’s analysis of online ads that receive the most copyright infringement notices.

  • http://Louise Louise

    We’re in the news.

  • http://rezalangroudi reza langroudi

    qualified knowledge-finance-business structure-experience-tips and tricks-technological access and the operational&administrative assistance are all just the tools, that could be used. but the only factor that can make it all happen is the WILL and The Mean Attitude in person involved.

  • Anonymous

    I hope ECPA is not becoming a part of the Emerging Church movement, where we adapt to the "relevant culture" rather than promote what the Gopel of our Lord Jesus Christ really means—Salvation to the lost. This would be to deny everything for the reason ECPA was founded.

  • http://rezalangroudi reza langroudi

    possibly a positive impact in the short term,- and most probebly , negetive impact in the long run on the global printing and books trading industry.

  • http://WernerRebsamen Werner Rebsamen

    Print out an entire book? What about the cost of paper, those expensive ink cartridges. Then you only have loose sheets. Now you need custom binding, pay for shipping etc..

  • http://MarkHatch Mark Hatch

    When I was at large paper and label company we spent a lot of time thinking about paper, its functions and what would move electronic and when. We confirmed our results with some people at Bell Labs over the course of the research.

    The bottom line for books.

    You need a contrast ration in the 3000% to 5000% range and dpi at a minimum of 600, 1200 is better.

    Sony’s reader? 300% contrast? 75 dpi?
    DOA for novels, non-fiction books, childrens books etc.

    Now, it will work great for text books, bilbes, reference materials, etc.

    With the RSS feed news, articles etc.

    The four functions of paper are: Storage, presentation, transportation and functional (like cardboard, tissue etc.). An application involves differnet amounts of each function in diffent uses.

    Screen technology is still the limiter and it is not on a moores law like curve.

  • http://georgef.johnson george f. johnson

    I would like to sit on this pannel. How do I go about doing that? I own a small publishing company.

  • http://tb tb
  • http://Jon Jon

    Maybe one day you’ll be on the panel of the Quill Awards. I’m only half kidding.

    I love you,

  • http://GunterHansen Gunter Hansen

    Knowing the resourcefulness of people, I fear that the copyright issue is still not secure and with that the lost of revenues for the publishers
    Kinko has some bad experiences
    that I wish on no other.

  • http://AbelDelgado Abel Delgado

    Hi, liked your piece. One of the interesting factors often not mentioned with Spanish-language books is how bad the translations are. That and lack of publicity really hold things back. I’m in the business and am shocked by what I read lots of times. Too bad that you folks don’t seem to publish opinion pieces or I could give you one that would be quite interesting.


  • http://MichaelJahn Michael Jahn

    Why would anyone with an important announcemnt limit attendance to only 50 people ? Is this a typo ?

  • http://garywilson gary wilson

    Donnelleys has never done anything to heip the medium and smaller publishers. I feel this will not benefit the publishing business ie book

  • http://GeorgeDick George Dick

    Good luck to Donnelly in trying to coordinate sales and production between all the printing plants they own.

    No single salesman can fully understand or grasp all the capabilities of the myriad of Donnelly plants.

    No single customer wants 10 different Donnelly salesman knocking on his door.

    So how will Donnelly achieve economies of scale with this acquisition binge?

    To me, these acquisitions looks additional noggins to the multi-headed hydra already out of control from a customer service viewpoint.

    Despite the conglomeration, there’s still too much competition from other printers for Donnelly to exert pricing control.

    Sorry Chief RR, it’s still a buyer’s market. I predict the attempt at centralized management of all these different printing plants will be be about as effective as centralized planning in the defunct USSR.

    Donnelly shareholders — it’s not too late to unload now.

  • http://BillGraham Bill Graham

    Perhaps it may make them sit back and rethink their approach to the needs of their suppliers,and attempt to negotiate more equitable contracts.

  • http://CenterforThanatology Center for Thanatology

    Just discovered this site. It’s very valuable for our book store, since we are very unique and understaffed (only 3 of us in our specialty – Death & Bereavement).Thanks

  • http://MichaelLinder Michael Linder

    What are/were Religious publishing sales?

    Thanx for your work.

  • http://johnK john K

    Very helpful.

  • http://CarolvonRaesfeld Carol von Raesfeld

    Great article. Raab is very upbeat, forward-thinking, looks at changes in a positive way to "re-charge" and grow her company. Bravo!

  • http://GailCohen Gail Cohen

    What a thrill to read about the part you played in this transition. I still remember you from my first big article sale (Family Circle) back in 1984. You rock!

  • http://monicaVILLAVERDE monica VILLAVERDE

    Is this paper available in retail stores? Where can I find synthetic paper?

  • http://MichaelJahn Michael Jahn

    Do you scan old books and convert them to PDF for on demand printing or to you farm that out to a service provider ?

  • http://MorrisRosenthal Morris Rosenthal

    Would be a little cleared if the headline read, "AAP publisher members book sales remain steady…" B&N, Amazon and Borders alone (well that’s a big chunk) had North American media sales of $12 Billion in 2006, and the Census put the book sales number over $16 Billion, not including ElHi, religious, and sales though non-book retailers.

  • http://BarbaraYohnka Barbara Yohnka

    As a published author, will I be getting any money from the book or books I might have on or will pocket the money? If not, why not? What would give you the right to print my work without my permission and without compensation? I think that’s known as stealing, isn’t it?

  • http://DavidDunn David Dunn

    Did you intentionally omit the actual list of manufacturers from this article, or was it an oversight? It’s referenced in the article (p. 41) but I don’t see any way to view that page, rendering the article much less useful.

  • http://AaronSilverman Aaron Silverman

    This is all true and well presented. I’ve done these numbers myself over the years as co-owner and operator of SCB Distributors and the numbers you present in this report are right on. I’d like to add that on the lower echelon with publishers under $50k per year I believe the numbers reverse and it becomes more efficient for these thousands of small publishers to distribute their own titles and forgo working with a national distributor. Although this goes against much of the information put out by the national wholesalers and publishers marketing organizations, many if not most of these smaller publishers are able to handle the sales and fulfillment by themselves or with the help of friends and family members and can reach their markets more effectively and efficiently than a larger publisher or national distributor. Although they may find resistance from the wholesalers and bookstores at first, many of these accounts will buy their book(s) if the publishers/authors can show that they themselves will drive the demand and the sales–which is what they must do anyway with a national distributor. Yes it takes a lot of work, however, the reward is much more tangible and their books are more likely to be a moderate success as compared to placing it in a catalog with 300 or 3000 other titles and waiting for their check which in most all cases will never come.

  • http://PatrickWatson Patrick Watson

    You all know that this was done by the On Demand Machine Company of St. Louis and Harvey Ross in the late 90’s. Seems the names are very close.

  • http://MiltonBatalion Milton Batalion

    Not a very in depth article. Publisher’s name was spelled incorrectly.

  • http://Deirdre Deirdre

    Very interesting. Now tell us who is doing the buying

  • http://5PM 5PM

    This was great but too short. Looking for more suggestions. I have set up a page on MySpace for my book Historic Third Ward, by 5PM and it is going crazy. What did you mean by you looked up zip codes when you had a signing. I am going to have my first signing and am anxious to let as many people know as possible. I also have a website dedicated to my book – Please visit at your convenience. If anyone would like to do a book review I am more than happy to send them a free copy – part of my marketing plan.
    Thank you.

  • http://DamonLincourt Damon Lincourt

    Sounds like InSite.

  • http://SharifKhan Sharif Khan

    Excellent advice. I’d also like to add that when one gets into the habit of doing more than they’re paid every single day, that they will be rewarded in kind either by their employer or a competing company. <br />
    <br />
    I did an in-depth analysis on the success habits of over 500 of the world’s greatest achievers, and doing more than one is paid for was consistent throughout. You can read my three part educational series on my blog. <br />
    <br />
    Sharif Khan<br />
    Author, The Hero Soul

  • http://DavidKiihnl David Kiihnl

    I’ve been planning to turn in my notice to the Borders store in Memphis, TN that I currently work at. For a lot of reasons. This article cements it. <br />
    <br />
    I came up with this idea three months ago after trying to read the first book Borders published under their new publishing division. I couldn’t finish the book. It was that bad. <br />
    <br />
    I then came up with the idea that there is probably a Borders employee somewhere that could write a better book. And the idea of an "employee writing contest" judged by a panel could be like a literary American Idol. I went to my GM and told her the idea. I asked for the email address of anyone high up in the company. I believed in my idea and wanted to go to the top. She never got back with me on it. <br />
    <br />
    And, now, a few months later, here comes the big Borders press release. <br />
    <br />
    You’re welcome, Borders. See ya later…

  • http://Deirdre Deirdre

    If cell phone ebooks are so popular in Japan, why are SONY and Borders trying to sell a separate Ebook reader in the US? I know that I want to keep the number of gadgets I carry at a minimum

  • http://BarbaraWhitaker Barbara Whitaker

    This "news announcement" would be a lot more newsworthy if you actually included some information about the new product, and a photo. You say in the article that it has already been unveiled, so pull aside the veil already, and show it to us. Or, at least include a hotlink to product specs from Sony.

  • http://MarilynParker Marilyn Parker

    Why are books such as Mommie Dearest, and A Child Called ‘It’ important for the reading public?

  • http://chiayi chia yi

    cell phones are too small, hard on the eyes, and most annoyingly take up a lot of electricity to keep running. you obviously don’t know about the features of the reader that make it innovative and worth the research dollars put into it. for the record, a version of the reader is also being sold in japan.

  • http://MarjoryMunson Marjory Munson

    I think it is an exciting idea. Reading something online will certainly not cut down on my purchase of books (my personal library consists of more than 2250 titles). My children always wondered why I would go to the library and get a book, read it, and then go to the store and buy it. I told them is was because I found it worthwhile and wanted to do two things – (1) have it available whenever I wanted to refer to it, and (2) make sure the author received something for my appreciation of their work. So online away – I’ll be there!

  • http://MarjoryMunson Marjory Munson

    I may be 71 years old, but I watch for innovations in technology that can make my life more exciting and educational. This is one of them.

  • http://Deirdre Deirdre

    As a member of Sisters in Crime, an organization that promotes women mystery writers, I hope some of the authors in the 39 clues series will be women. <br />

  • http://david david

    It will be interesting to watch global trends in book publishing, to see if e-books ever steal the thunder from print books, the way e-music seems to be cutting into "printed" music on CD’s.<br />
    <br />
    There’s an interesting list of sources of statistics on book sales at Google Answers:<br />
    <br />
    <br /><br />
    <br />
    Global Book Sales<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    Worth a look.

  • http://ShirleyGach Shirley Gach

    GPI leads the way! Finally, what readers have been waiting for–why don’t they use more recycled paper!? Tell Oprah to promote THESE BOOKS!!

  • http://SandyBigando Sandy Bigando

    Superb article. This company is touching all the bases for employees. Go Random House!

  • http://M.Franck M. Franck

    I know I can count on quality content when I see a John Wiley & Sons book. I subscribe to their email letter for newly published SMT books. I also like how they are reaching out to readers with blogs by some of the editors. In particular. Mr. Joe Wikert at has gone the extra mile by making his blog’s archives downloadable as eBooks for offline reading. Wiley is in-tune with readers’ needs.

  • http://Ecommercesolutions Ecommerce solutions

    Ecommerce solutions can prove beneficial for ones staying far and across the world and yet benefit from the wonderful offers on ready provision form a counter part on other side of the world. Another path breaking innovation of IT in collaboration with the World Wide Web. Facilitating reach to a ?shopping fest? from the comfort of one?s home!<br />

  • http://DeborahCoons Deborah Coons

    What a stellar servce to provide… who doesn’t want their favorite book at their fingertips. Anyone who is submerged in the power of now, of being present, will find a day when their treo in hand offers solice and comfort as it delivers a meaningful book at just the right time. This concept is imagineering at its finest.

  • http://RobertDoscher Robert Doscher

    No doubt a winning play.<br />
    <br />
    The "Premium Bandits" will be out in force but the net result will be positive.<br />
    <br />
    Good marketing plan extension.

  • http://GurumantraKhalsa Gurumantra Khalsa

    I couldn’t agree more. We’re publishing a book called, "How To Buy Supplements". We’re going to do exactly the same thing. It’s going to be free. We’re playing for a million downloads the first day.<br />
    <br />

  • http://Barb Barb

    I’d be a lot more inclined to get excited about your book offers if the BooksOnBoard website actually showed the book titles in readable size; how much time do you think we’ve got to view those dinky thumbnails one by one by one by…??? I gotta say, if this is how those guys expect to actually SELL e-books, they’re riding for a fall.

  • http://Chris Chris

    Thanks for your feedback, Barb. I’m with BooksOnBoard. The Free and Green thumbnails are indeed difficult to read. We’ve asked the publisher to correct this. Our thumbnails are as received from the publishers. On our standard pages – not the no charge free and green – thumbnails are often larger than other websites. And we actually sell more than enough books to stay in business for a very long time, including payroll for a customer support team 7 days a week. Thank you again for your feedback.

  • http://Chris Chris

    Check out the video on YouTube (key word: thermotype) showing foil being applied to book covers.<br />
    Pretty neat.

  • http://JohnT.Cullen John T. Cullen

    I think that, with the vastly and rapidly growing ocean of titles out there, one of the next real challenges will be making the work of individual authors more findable. That would be idea driven or subject driven in some cloud seeding technology that’s probably already half out there. So if I search for a detecive novel about a female detective in a big city on a rainy night with a handsome journalist friend who has a faint limp and likes pizza, these (I’m sort of joking but serious) seedlets should go up in the rain cloud and make raindrops that fall back in the form of relevant search results. In fiction, the problem is that 95% of the shelf space goes to already bestselling authors. Take for example a forgotten and wonderful author like Mika Waltari (historical fiction)…

  • http://GeneLouis Gene Louis

    Google seems to own the generic book search utility. Amazon offers an excellent generic book search. Microsoft was offering a "me too" product. There was nothing new to distinguish them from the established products. That is why I like the MSN idea of an added dimension to searching. That is the only way to produce a product that has more utility than already exists.

  • http://TomStodola Tom Stodola

    I am assuming black ink only on uncoated paper?

  • http://ThomasvanderZijden Thomas van der Zijden

    Hi,<br />
    Interesting article! I believe that our soon to be launched Readius, the world’s first pocket-sized eReader with rollable display, comes close to your ePod dream. Have a look at our website for a demo. If you are interested to see the Readius then that is possible this week since I will be traveling to NY visiting a publishing conference on Wednesday. Regards Thomas

  • http://BobDanielsonJr Bob Danielson Jr

    Currently, printing on uncoated utilizing both process and pms colors is not problem. Do not get this confused with "newsprint" type ink, or ink loaded with solvent for uncoated/unsized papers.<br />
    <br />
    The print quality is as good, if not better than what most are accustom to from sheet fed presses.

  • http://HenkGianotten Henk Gianotten

    Any more details on the type of paper is needed to judge the advantages. Uncoated on sheet fed does not need curing too.

  • http://SergeLoubier Serge Loubier

    The comment of Mr.Gianotten is about the same as mine, can you confirm that we can use your new process on coated paper at 175 lpi ?

  • http://BeverlyLeavell Beverly Leavell

    It is so true that readers want a list of other books and I also want to know the books in order of when they were written. If I like a writer, I will buy all the books in the series and then read them in order.

  • http://AnnmarieScottson Annmarie Scottson

    I am thrilled to see an article like this being published. There are many easy ways to maximize cost-savings, and each of your contributors did a great job explaning how and the net result. As a former print buyer, and now a sales representative for a printer, I worked closely with my vendors in the past, and my clients of all sizes now, to find the most cost-effective way of printing and mailing/shipping my books, and now their books, catalogs, journals or magazines. It can be as simple as changing text and cover stocks to as complex as finding ways to gang run work or streamlining a trim size to a more effective size that will optimize press usage and stock. It is very important to find these options, yet many feel either threatened to make such a change as it is "not the way we do things" or this is the way to go and that’s it, or stuck because for whatever reason there is corporate inflexibility to look at other options whether it be materials or vendors. One may not be getting the best deal whether they think so or not. Look outside the box, keep everyone honest and look to this as education and benefit and not as a chore. Your bosses will thank you for it!

  • http://BillFarrell Bill Farrell

    Will the presses be able to run at the same speeds and were can I find more information on how the process works?

  • http://shredmann shredmann

    What assurance does a publisher have that after the books are sent overseas that the books are not sold on the market?

  • http://MelodyZavala Melody Zavala

    The Asia Foundation has staff on the ground in Asia who manage the program. Our staff inventories the books, records donations, oversees distribution, and visits recipient institutions to make sure the donations are being utilized as intended. Our staff even visit local markets to double check that materials donated by us are not ending up there. Furthermore, each book is marked "Donation – Not for Sale." While this system is not fool-proof, we have been very pleased with the results. <br />

  • http://AnthonyS.Policastro Anthony S. Policastro

    This is great news – another eReader. I was disappointed that the Sony unit did not have wireless capability as the Kindle does. With their joint venture with mobile phone manufacturer Ericsson, I would think they could have a wireless eBook reader on the market very quickly. And the wireless eBook reader would work in any country since they would use GSM technology. Kindle’s wireless feature only works in the US.

  • http://robertevans robert evans

    we had a whopping 67% increase over expected sales the first week alone of our first eBook release..Hedge Fund Trading Secrets Revealed by Robert the future of this channel is certainly bright

  • http://donorgard donorgard

    Due diligence & knowing your donee org. Chain of custody control is always a must.

  • http://MaryAnnMastrolia Mary Ann Mastrolia

    Fran, <br />
    We are so proud of all your accomplishments.<br />
    <br />
    Love,<br />
    Your Sisters

  • http://CarrieWhite Carrie White

    How amazing to see someone so successful on the West Coast. Kudos to Abe for sticking it out on this side of the globe! The award couldn’t be going to a more well-deserving man.

  • http://GLBPublishers GLB Publishers

    I do not find anywhere what e-book publishers need in order to to make e-books available for the Sony .epub application.

  • http://LisaR. Lisa R.

    This was such a great event last year! I’m counting down till the 2009 Awards. If you haven’t already voted, please do so!

  • http://H.CourtYoung H. Court Young

    As a small publisher, I see many opportunities in the days ahead. I am sorry for the jobs lost but this downturn is a plus for many new authors who do not have a chance with the large publishing houses. Small publishers are looking for talent and new material. They don’t have to have best sellers to make a profit. I think long term the large publishers will do well but during this downturn the smaller publishers may come to the forefront.<br />
    <br />
    Sincerely<br />
    H. Court Young<br />
    Author, speaker, publisher & geologist<br />
    Promoting awareness through the written word<br />

  • http://Anonymous Anonymous

    I agree with your comment. Things may be ugly for a while but Darwinism always prevails. Opportunities will abound and those of us who are able to see them, react to them and pursue them will be in position to come out ahead. <br />
    <br />
    The next several months are going to be trying — bloody even — but we will survive. We always do.

  • http://MonaLS MonaLS

    I think J.K. Rowling is being extremely short sighted in not allowing her books to be published in electronic format. It would be so much easier to read the tomes she produces in electronic format, I mean who wants to re-read these huge things? Personally I am boycotting her works until they are available in electronic format. I have no use for more DTB (dead tree books) in most cases.

  • http://indieguy indieguy

    Cader’s admonition is very true. In their daily job pressures (Editors, marketing executives etc) forget the basic fact: They are in this biz to serve the reader. I think those in publishing can use a healthy dose of ‘design thinking’ that is excellently explained by many article writers at IDEO. To paraphrase them, all publishing efforts should be done in reference to a reader perona(s). This will help every one to think from the angle of the reader. Yes those in publishing should ‘leverage the damn book’ (Format) and ultimately ‘think like a reader’ (purpose).

  • http://ShelHorowitz-EthicalMarketingExpert Shel Horowitz – Ethical Marketing Expert

    As usual, Chelsea Green is in the front of the pack. They consistently push the envelope on thought leadership and I’m not surprised to see them leading the industry on the troubling issue of returns.<br />
    <br />
    Full disclosure: Chelsea published by Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World, back in 2000.

  • http://MichelePaiva Michele Paiva

    This is both sad and good news all at once; bittersweet. Poetry is an art that needs to be revived. Fiction grows, but which type of fiction? Would love more info (the research did not provide as much detail as I had hoped)…. However, it is interesting how many people are reading online….

  • http://MarkRoyLong Mark Roy Long

    Well, I think POD is still kind of a double edged sword: sure, it allows for smaller print runs, but the per unit cost is still going to be relatively high (certainly compared to offset) with distributor discounts really eating into the profit margin. So, ultimately, for all the time/effort/money it takes to put a book together you’ll still–in many scenarios–looking at losing money on a title or at best breaking even. (I will qualify this by saying I’m referring to new titles . . . for backlist sales it is more viable.) <br />
    <br />
    As a small college textbook publisher we’ve learned this the hard way: by originally using POD exclusively we’ve had to produce exponentially more titles to get/keep our revenues up. Consequently, we’re having to make the transition to more trade-oriented titles in our list whose sales will justify offset print runs from the get go.

  • http://JayaKumar Jaya Kumar

    Hi Andrew,<br />
    <br />
    You wrote ""As elegant as the e-ink devices may be, they will be largely eclipsed by devices that can not only serve as e-book readers, but do other things as well."". I’m not sure why you say that because E-Ink is a display technology that is not limited to just e-book readers. In fact, I have been working on integrating E-Ink displays with a broader set of usage modes. For example, you mentioned the Android phone. I have ported Android to run on an E-Ink display. Details here ( . I have also posted videos of that as well as other applications like Fennec running quite reasonably on E-Ink displays ( ). To summarize, I’m saying that it is entirely feasible, and that in fact I expect the mobile industry to move to take E-Ink displays and use them in multipurpose devices rather than just E-book readers.

  • http://TheBookseller The Bookseller

    "So, media consumption will take place by people choosing from a wide variety of screen configurations… That is, you’ll pick up one kind of screen/device to read a memo you’re working on, another one to look at the work of your favorite photographer, and pull a rolled-up one out of your back pocket to read a book or newspaper on the subway or at the beach. And those don’t include the ones on your walls for a movie, or for a piece of art."<br />
    <br />
    Yes… or, for a fraction of the price I could have a stack of Post-Its, a photo, a book, an original artwork and a newspaper. How very 20th century of me.<br />
    <br />
    I think ‘screens’ theory is the new ‘food will be replaced by pills’ theory. Possible but not desirable.<br />
    <br />
    Books remain the best model for the distribution of book content. They are cheap, user-friendly and proven technologically. The data takes decades to corrode and can be freely redistributed or resold by the end user. They do not crash, require recharging or upgrading.<br />
    <br />
    POD has a big future, eBooks have a distinctly niche future.

  • http://bill bill

    It is truly amazing how long it takes for a good idea to take hold. In a previous life, circa 1985, my then company, Laser Resources, brought this concept to market…24 years to full adoption!

  • http://Jeff Jeff

    Overall, good insight. Books distributed by POD offers a lot of opportunities for small publishers. But e-books are a red herring.<br />
    <br />
    In 10 yrs we’ll have moved past thinking of e-books as anything like today’s e-books. An e-book with links & moving images is a Web site; ridiculous trying to shove that into the more limited container of an e-book. Think beyond the e-book and focus on what is already possible via Web-based content. Many tools now to support Web content rather than retreating to the pre-1990s-like systems represented in today’s e-book reading devices, e.g., the new Kindle has 16 shades of gray.

  • http://MichaelGold Michael Gold

    We are a non-profit that provides books in extra large print for the visually impaired and blind. (for the blind in ASCII) We think it’s a good idea to provide text to speech because it makes books more accessible. This feature may also inspire more sales to people who couldn’t comfortably read text or who may want some assistance.

  • http://PaulHarris Paul Harris

    Stephen King may be a gripping storyteller but a man of great analogies he’s not…comparing the Kindle and books to peanut butter and chocolate leaves me scratching my head…despite the fact that I don’t like peanut butter, who’s going to buy a book that they’ve downloaded onto their Kindle and will they perhaps find even more ways to isolate themselves from great meeting and social settings like bookstores?<br />
    <br />
    Amazon already presses small publishers for huge discounts on small orders; they are into maximizing profits (which is, according to recent politics, our god-given heritage and raison d’etre). Soon, Amazon, will be a publisher and produce further constrictions for truth to out. I pray I’m wrong.

  • http://ThadMcIlroy Thad McIlroy

    Jeff Bezos is a marketing master, having convinced so many people that the Kindle non-event is a momentous leap forward. Even those who are not inclined to buy one are starting to feel like wallflowers at the orgy.<br />
    <br />
    But talk about modest improvements offered for the same price!<br />
    <br />
    According to the Seybold Bulletin, "A poll of about 1,000 (TOC) attendees indicated that around 400 were current Kindle owners, but that only 15 of those were actually considering buying the new device, leaving open the question of how many new buyers the second generation device will have. The device does not offer existing users enough change to make it worthwhile to invest a second $359 in the device only a year after the introduction of the<br />
    first Kindle."<br />
    <br />
    Meanwhile an online survey on the Toronto Globe and Mail website last week asked: "World you ever switch from reading printed books to reading e-books with a digital device?" With over 11,000 responses, 75% said "No."<br />
    <br />
    Carry on Amazon!

  • http://DavidSchwalje David Schwalje

    Yawn.<br />
    Wait for Kindle 3 for $200 or Kindle 4 for $100 or Kindle 5 with two facing pages with a hinged spine and a selling price of $50. In the meantime, keep buying books at your local independent bookstore while enjoying several hundred dollars of Reese’s peanut butter cups.

  • http://DavidA.Cruz David A. Cruz

    I am a multitasker. I didn’t see much value in purchasing the the first Kindle to read from a little screen. I’ve been listening to books on CD while I drive and work for many years. Text to speech is the natural evolution of the Kindle. The failure of the RIAA to inhibit technical evolution should make it abundantly clear that the publishing industry should work to capitalize on technological development rather than be swamped by it.

  • http://JoeG Joe G

    Mike, baby, you’re not thinking big enough. Why stop at moving images and links? Why not spoken dialogue? A mood setting soundtrack? Perhaps using actual people and settings to help shortcut all those pesky words? Better yet, virtual reality helmets that project the "reader" directly into the action!<br />
    <br />
    Merely combining mediums won’t kill the book. There’s a reason people still pick them over similar means of acquiring info. I’m with the other two. In a decade, there will undoubtedly be a device that resembles the idea of the e-Book, and books will routinely be digitalized, but I don’t see the good old fashioned book ever really going away.

  • http://JLBooth J L Booth

    When the Kindle uses an OLED screen for full-color rendering, annotation and running on full Linux -then, I’ll lay down my shekels. Not until then. I don’t want 5 devices to so my digital work – only 1. We could do it. Like a lot of other innovative, smart, efficient – practical technological actions. However, instead of true breakthroughs, we seem doomed to be besieged by the unremarkable. When will someone step forward and in the interest of advancement of technology and the human race – instead of their own bank account – produce? What a breath of fresh air that would be.

  • http://Joyful Joyful

    Umm, Barnes & Noble has been selling used books for maybe 5 years now.

  • http://BG BG

    This is pathetic. This sounds like every website application, or every client/ server application in existence. Take a look at the patent and the drawings could refer to ANY system. If I would have turned something like that in to a client, they would have thrown me out of the room for being too obvious. I had such high regard for Discovery. I guess it’s time to filter those channels out on my TV.

  • http://DavidSchwalje David Schwalje

    Internal or through partners? If partners then who do you suggest?

  • http://MihaiPaunescu Mihai Paunescu

    Somebody who had already done that will be the most probable answer. You should first look at the books and evaluate the complexity. If you publish literature almost any supplier will fit the bill. If you have some scientific/educational titles you have to look for somebody who not only does the conversion but also maintains the structure (DTD/XSD) and is able to offer you the support you will need in this process. Do not take for granted the fact that they tell you they can. You have to check that, ask for references and so on.

  • http://Kmh Kmh

    Does anyone have a ballpark price range for the Espresso Book Machine 2.0

  • http://ColorwiseCommercialPrinting Colorwise Commercial Printing

    I regret that I did not find out about such an event until after the fact.

  • http://NoelleSkodzinski Noelle Skodzinski

    According to the February 09 Book Business article "The ‘Mr. Coffee’ of Bookmaking," the Espresso 2.0 retails for $88,750.<br />

  • http://BillRosenblatt Bill Rosenblatt

    Who told you that Google’s copyright filtering technology is "ever-effective?" <br />
    <br />
    No. It isn’t. Media companies spend millions of dollars a year playing whack-a-mole with YouTube and other UCG sites. They rely on finding their content posted online and issuing takedown notices, with which YouTube and others comply. The crux of Viacom’s litigation is whether YouTube is doing its legal duty in simply responding to takedown notices or whether it must take further or more proactive steps.<br />
    <br />
    The Google settlement with publishers is another matter entirely – it’s true opt-out, before the content is made available online. Not the same thing at all.

  • http://WernerRebsamen Werner Rebsamen

    For $ 1’000.-, I can purchase and enjoy many real books, and best of all, the batteries do not wear out!<br />
    No thanks!<br />
    <br />

  • http://Wickedsunny Wickedsunny

    If they bring the cost down, I am very interested in this new technology.

  • http://RT RT

    Werner I think you’re missing the point.<br />
    I receive lots of documentation and white papers, and reports that are 5 -50 pages long in pdf format. I’m not an environment freak, but it’s needless to print so much.<br />
    Plus I can load my documents in a e-book reader and have them available anywhere and don’t have to carry a book bag.<br />
    There are lots of sane practical reasons for technology like this.

  • http://Ricardo Ricardo

    The EBM cost one Canadian bookstore $144,000 and the other $150,000. The Instabook cost $33,000. late last year. From where is your data?

  • http://NoelleSkodzinski Noelle Skodzinski

    The data came directly from the companies. The prices included are for version 2.0 of the Espresso Book Machine and the InstaBook Maker III.

  • http://WaltShiel Walt Shiel

    Here’s a difference between Fields and AAP/Author’s Guild: Google is digitizing books that were NEVER posted online anywhere! Thus, no implied consent to copy.<br />
    <br />
    Besides, acceptance of Google’s flagrant copyright violation (by doing it without asking permission) drives one more nail in the coffin of copyright protection. Any such uses should require a prior opt-in, not an after-the-fact opt-out.<br />
    <br />
    Google just figures they’re too damn big for anyone to challenge them…and win.<br />
    <br />
    What’s chilling is that they may be right.<br />
    <br />
    Our micro-publishing company has opted out of this nasty settlement. Not that I have any illusions that doing so will stop Google from doing whatever they want to do anyway. That’s been their approach to copyright from the beginning.

  • http://MarkAllen Mark Allen

    I saw this machine at BEA. It had a lot of very precise moving parts. I have a hard time envisioning a part-time clerk in a bookstore clearing jams and keeping the thing running. It has to print a cover in color…print the pages in black and white…glue the pages to the cover and then trim the finished book and send it down a chute. <br />
    <br />
    Most of us are familiar with copy machines in our office that only have to print out black and white collated pages and how often they require a skilled technician hours to keep running. Waiting days for a part is commonplace.

  • http://Mohammed Mohammed

    – what kind of toner the m/c takes.?<br />
    -Does it print B/w & color?<br />
    – what is the max. weight of paper .<br />
    – do you have any DISTRIBUTER in Middle East?<br />
    _ what is the avg. price in US.?

  • http://PeterMurray Peter Murray

    Where is the report posted? I cannot find it on their website?

  • http://NickWalpert Nick Walpert

    Where can we buy the Espresso Book Machine?8

  • http://DavidBarker David Barker

    Who should I contact for information about the possibilities of becoming a company representative for mid-western US. What options are available for investment in your company?

  • http://WalterJones Walter Jones

    Every Amerikal product we have tried has far surpassed anything on the market today. They are the most sustainable products imaginable. They flat out work!!!

  • http://ThadMcIlroy Thad McIlroy

    Whatever happened to reporting that includes at least some consideration of critical commentary. Your headline on the link from your newsletter, "Amazon Proves Size Matters With Larger Kindle," only reminded me that Amazon proved absolutely nothing this week: they demoed a product that will ship some time this summer. As a black and white-only device, what makes it so ideal for "suitable for textbooks and other highly formatted books such as travel guides and cookbooks…" products that rely HEAVILY on color. Tech journalist eat hype with breakfast, and the public is left with a very one-sided story. Shame on you.

  • http://ThomSchumacher Thom Schumacher

    How can I find out more about this program…and submission requirements, timelines and so forth?<br />
    <br />
    Thanks,<br />
    Thom<br />
    <br />

  • http://Polly Polly

    Aside from the huge cost of the hardware for consumers, where is any mention of a business model for publishers of complex oversized expensively produced textbooks, photo, travel and cookbooks? What’s in it for us?!

  • http://JanetSpavlik Janet Spavlik

    Thom, <br />
    The Web site for the TV program, which should provide you with additional information, is

  • http://SteveCarlson Steve Carlson

    What an excellent selection of leaders of almost all levels of book publishing. I was particularly pleased to see the recognition of Florrie Binford Kichler’s leadership in keeping the independent publishing community vital during a difficult period.

  • http://ButchMaltby Butch Maltby

    There are too many poor religious books glutting the market and far too many authors who want to be a star.

  • http://SundayOliver Sunday Oliver

    Having recently read "The Business of Books" i was interested to see how this is in some ways a continuation of his ideas about publishing. He’s more trad oriented as to format, but his ideas about how publishing has become inaccessible are along the same lines. <br />
    <br />
    I think there will always be a place for experienced, knowledgeable people in the world of information, but new tech is definitely blowing a cyclone through the neighborhoods of form, so to speak. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

  • http://ColleenCoble Colleen Coble

    I so loved reading this article. It’s about time someone recognized the HUGE role editors play in a book’s creation. My editor at Thomas Nelson, Ami McConnell, and my freelance editor, Erin Healy, are fabulous. I’m always excited when I get their ideas for strengthening my book. Ami has insight to character that is incredible. Everyone needs a good editor. For example, when I talk about my favorite novel of all time, The Stand by Stephen King, I tell friends to read the 1st one that came out–the EDITED version. Even King needs an editor!<br />
    <br />
    Editors are worth every penny they’re paid. And more.

  • http://PW PW

    HI. I saw this on twitter today. I read it, and along with another article created a blog post, "Behind the scenes of the publishing world". Great article. <br />
    <br />
    I LOVE to read. On one of my blogs I write about this love, and review books. Thanks for the insider’s info.

  • http://JessicaFaust Jessica Faust

    As a non-anonymous blogger I couldn’t agree more. It’s sad how people discount the fabulous work editors and publishers do to make a book happen and that’s a whole lot more then printing it on paper and putting it in stores. Sure, there’s no doubt that do-it-yourself publishing is getting a lot of attention, but to assume editors aren’t necessary is insanity.<br />
    <br />
    I think one of the biggest reasons editors remain quiet is that at the end of the day they work for corporate America and those who have voiced knowingly have gotten into more then a little trouble.<br />
    <br />
    –Jessica Faust<br />
    Literary Agent, BookEnds

  • http://Brian Brian

    This is a simple, smart idea, nicely articulated. I’m not convinced most publishing houses are on board with losing control of messaging by having editors writing directly to the blogosphere, but I commend the concept. As someone who tries to find a balance between preservation and evolution in publishing, it’s nice to see a thoughtful response to the discussions happening inside and outside publishing houses.

  • http://GlennYeffeth Glenn Yeffeth

    Great article, although, as a publisher who tries to be very open in our blog, I can testify that it can be a little scary. <br />
    <br />
    Pittis is right that a huge amount of publishing value added lies in editorial, but, by mutual agreement, the degree of this value is discretely hidden, especially where the publisher’s support was most helpful. What author wants the public to know what a mess his or her initial submission was?<br />
    <br />
    On the other side are the authors (see e.g. Taleb Nassim, as described in his book The Black Swan, which Pittis references) who feel the editorial process has negative value. It’s tricky how much of this can be made public.<br />
    <br />
    Add to this the fear that the emperor is wearing no clothes. That, as ebooks come to dominate the marketplace (which may never happen, I know), publisher’s traditional value added – distribution and trade marketing – becomes less important than on-line marketing and brand building, something publishers are notoriously bad at. Maybe being too open will make these weaknesses more apparent than is desirable.

  • http://C C

    I was disappointed to see that not a single Creative Director was mentioned on here. Women like Carol Carson at Knopf or Susan Mitchell at FSG would have been nice to see on the list.

  • http://LindaDickey Linda Dickey

    I think you missed someone incredibly important: Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Book Clubs. Her leadership in finding unknown children’s authors and artists and making them household names by means of the amazing reach and power of Book Clubs (in just about every school in the USA) has created numerous best-selling trade books. Marc Brown’s Arthur series is just one example.

  • http://WriterChick Writer Chick

    Brilliant article. Ebooks are the wave of the future and if the traditional publishers don’t get on board as you suggest, then they will go the way of the dinosaur too.<br />

  • http://StephenTiano Stephen Tiano

    As a freelance book designer and layout artist, I’m not as optimistic that we shouldn’t worry about e-books cutting into the print book market.<br />
    <br />
    I’m also curious about what portion of the $5 wholesale cost is taken up by design & production costs.

  • http://tonyA tonyA

    Brilliant? Yikes, this is terrible. Made up numbers and "anaylsis," more dreck from pretend experts lining up to swing at the straw man. <br />
    <br />
    Most publishers are ahead of these recommendations, but the actual cost structure of producing ebooks looks nothing like the imaginary (albeit hypothetical) model cited above.<br />
    Printing costs (which are a very small percentage of a book’s total cost) disappear, but bandwidth costs dont, and neither do personnel costs, either for publishers or online retailers. Or do you think Amazon and Google don’t employ real people? The very real (and cool) interactive innovations that ebooks allow create marketing and distribution costs of their own, and the author’s hypothesis that "half" of publishing costs will disappear is, well…nebulous.

  • http://DreaS DreaS

    And what about other shifting and disappearing costs in a digital world. The retailer also does not have to pre-purchase and stock titles in warehouses or on bookshelves…. Why should their margin remain static?

  • http://JonhIngham Jonh Ingham

    The article also implies that physical books will pretty much disappear. While music may be shifting to largely digital, there is plenty of evidence that enhanced physical products have a committed audience. Book publishers who can produce ‘enhanced’ physical products will continue to prosper. In the UK Penguin books have released their first titles in the original covers. How a bout a limited run of Grove Press original editions? Or JM Barrie first edition reproduction – especially if it tied in to a new production of Peter Pan?

  • http://bowerbird bowerbird

    wow. a surprisingly insightful analysis from<br />
    a man who used to be in the dinosaur head.<br />
    <br />
    considering how far you went, it is perhaps<br />
    understandable you couldn’t go all the way.<br />
    <br />
    you’re trying to find a way for publishers to<br />
    continue to exist. except that they will not.<br />
    <br />
    > Lost in the doomsdayer debate <br />
    > about publishers’ future is that <br />
    > their unique role as intermediaries <br />
    > has always been about discovering <br />
    > and promoting talent and content<br />
    <br />
    the part about "discovering" talent is<br />
    outdated, because there’s no reason<br />
    that _everyone_ cannot be an author<br />
    — write what they want and put it out.<br />
    (yes, after having had someone edit it.)<br />
    there just are no gatekeepers any longer.<br />
    <br />
    and the part about "promoting" talent<br />
    is outdated, too, and you yourself have<br />
    told us why. specifically, you mention:<br />
    <br />
    > recommendations through <br />
    > enhanced regression analysis<br />
    <br />
    it’s usually called "collaborative filtering",<br />
    and it will be the magnet that extracts<br />
    the needles from the content haystack.<br />
    <br />
    the personal needles for each one of us,<br />
    customized to our individual preferences.<br />
    <br />
    now — given that system as the backdrop –<br />
    "promotion" will become fully unnecessary.<br />
    <br />
    indeed, anyone engaging in "marketing"<br />
    will have the stink of death upon them,<br />
    since if you have to advertise something,<br />
    it must mean that the system couldn’t<br />
    find anyone who would l

  • http://Kathy Kathy

    Publishers also need to rethink DRM. Just as there is a lively market in used printed books, there _could_ be a lively market in used ebooks. Without this market, I believe the price for an ebook will need to fall much further.

  • http://ZoeWinters Zoe Winters

    The reason you can’t resell ebooks is because you aren’t actually getting rid of your copy. It would be a copy you sold, and that’s worse than piracy as it already stands. (i.e. it would be ‘actual’ piracy, making profit off another’s work.)<br />
    <br />
    At least when a reader sells a physical copy used to someone else, they don’t get to keep that copy.<br />
    <br />
    You can’t resell used digital content for this reason.

  • http://Kathy Kathy

    Hi, Zoe – <br />
    <br />
    The article ignores the secondary market.<br />
    <br />
    As I said, if there is no secondary market for ebooks, then the price for ebooks *has* to drop more. <br />
    <br />
    If sales are linked to a device, then the resale would require re-linking (new authorization) which means also de-linking (de-authorization). I have to go through re-authorization with Adobe PDF ebooks when I get a new computer; the books only work on one computer. Apple iTunes had device authorization when it launched; recall that now record companies are selling songs without DRM.<br />
    <br />
    The kind of technology that facilitates a secondary market is also necessary if libraries are to be a player in society. It’s already possible for libraries (and private companies like O’Reilly and its Safari service) to "loan" ebooks that are web-based. Why not those that are device-based?<br />
    <br />
    So there is DRM and authorization technology in the ebook realm today that could be modified to allow for resale or lending. <br />
    <br />
    I don’t know why the Adobe Digital Editions software works with Sony ebooks and not with Amazon’s Kindle. <br />

  • http://David David

    I’ve been offering my novel, ‘Mankind’s Worst Fear’ on Kindle for several weeks now, but sales didn’t bump up until I dropped the price to $.99 and promoted it on Kindle threads, as recommended by those active on the threads.<br />
    Just like in p-books, how many readers are willing to pay a high or higher price for a novel by an unknown author as opposed to an established author?<br />
    And since the primary goal of a new author is to build a following to promote future sales, pricing incentives are a relevant tool. <br />
    Kindle readers rely on reader reviews as well, making it even tougher for a new author to get recognized until he’s established himself in a variety of online venues.<br />
    With newspapers, a third of their buyers still prefer paper. While I’ve checked out Kindle and another reader, I still prefer a hard back novel. Can’t get past the shopping experience of browsing a book store or dropping in at a used book fair. You can’t hold an electronic book, feel its texture, experience the thrill of fingers grazing across the upright bindings as you seek the special aura exuded by a book that is looking for you to take it home.

  • http://KarenCarter Karen Carter

    This article has been featured in a lengthy look at e-books on The Know Something Project at Thanks so much for this perspective regarding the potential impact of the Kindle on the publishing industry.

  • http://ShonCole Shon Cole

    im a former employee of this place and i can say that it is a good place to work the only problem is that some of the supervisors or a little uneducated on work ethics and been a leader in the workplace period once they get that under control it will be a great place to work for

  • http://MPB MPB

    As a publisher I find your financial model flawed. I don’t know of any publisher that gets a 10 to 1 markup from manufacturing costs.

  • http://Nimesh Nimesh

    Nice and useful tips.<br />
    Thanks<br />

  • http://HughC.Howey Hugh C. Howey

    Great story. I was skeptical of Twitter at first, then started meeting tons of writers, agents, and publishers as I was going through the querying process. I ended up meeting my current publisher and landing a book deal via Twitter and sample pages, rather than the usual method of query/agent/proposal/publisher.<br />
    <br />
    Combined with my blog, which gave samples of my writing, Twitter was the difference between struggling for many months and possibly giving into the subsidy/vanity temptation and signing a traditional publishing contract. It’s a game-changing tool.

  • http://JohnPrais John Prais

    Worzalla should be added to this list.<br />
    <br />
    Worzalla<br />
    Stevens Point, WI<br />
    800-442-2463<br /><br />
    <br />
    Eco-friendly books using 30-100% PCW paper and board. Triple-certified chain of custody (FSC, SFI, PEFC). Soy based ink, soft proofing systems, and we recycle paper and aluminum. ISO:14001 certified (Environmental Management System Standard).<br />

  • http://Al Al

    e-Books are not a revolution in reading, but an evolution. Those publishers who recognize an opportunity and evolve their business to incorporate e-books will still be in business down the line no matter what mix of e vs p exists in the future. I don’t see print books disappearing, any more than I see 5 year olds reading kiddie books on a Kindle. Those buggy whip manufacturers who switched to fishing poles are probably still in business, even though there is still a market for buggy whips, albeit a very small one. In the long run the decision on whether e-books will be more or less successful is up to the readers, not the publishers.

  • http://John John

    Just think, if he would have bought the paperback he could have just taped the thing back together or bought another one for 10 bucks.

  • http://RandallWilliams Randall Williams

    the moral of this story is that it is far cheaper to take care of legitimate customer complaints fully and promptly to begin with than it is to litigate them.

  • http://greg greg

    Amazon has exceedingly poor customer service. After having two bad experiences, I will not purchase from Amazon again.

  • http://Susan Susan

    I’m with John. Paperbacks don’t require batteries, don’t strain your eyes, can get wet, weigh less, and are easily passed on.

  • http://Bob Bob

    Susan’s and John’s comments are valid if you only read 1 or 2 books per year (or perhaps it takes them a year to read 1 or 2 books!)<br />
    <br />
    It’s good that Amazon was brought to heel on this issue but it doesn’t mean that Kindles are no good nor that they are just silly.

  • http://sandstone sandstone

    This makes me rather disappointed with Amazon. I bought the first Kindle and I had a very minor problem with the charger and they replaced it free of charge. I’ve had very few troubles with orders and when I did, they always shipped a replacement free of charge ASAP. I’d hate to see that change.

  • http://Cathei Cathei

    I am hearing impaired, so I thought this would be a great investment. Trips to the bookstore get expensive. <br />
    <br />
    I bought the protective cover, and have noticed that my Kindle 2 falls away from the cover. Mine is not cracking, but there is damage where the case connects.

  • http://WaltEddy Walt Eddy

    From any device? The Kindle?

  • http://AnnieMahoney Annie Mahoney

    was this before or after she got fired for falsifying amazon reviews?

  • http://ErikSherman Erik Sherman

    Interestingly, Amazon has already applied for a patent on a scheme that sounds exactly like this:

  • http://Alex_B Alex_B

    Here’s one independent bookstore’s take on Kindle vs. Book buying behaviors:<br />
    <br />

  • http://carolynhoward-johnson carolyn howard-johnson

    So where does that leave people who want a traditional hardcover or paperback? If Google plans to service them, too, I see this as a double danger.<br />
    Having said that, on some levels it seems to me that Amazon has been taking better care of its end customer better than bookstores have for a long time now. Just try to go special order a digitally published book at even an idnependent bookstore and watch the hoops they make that "customer who is always right" jump through.<br />
    Best,<br />
    Carolyn<br />
    Author: The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won’t

  • http://KrisIsaacson Kris Isaacson

    The major concern I have is that an end-user never truly "owns" the item. It is stored on Google’s servers and the user is completely dependent on accessing the Google server. If I pay for something, I want to own it, not just rent it in cyberspace. <br />
    <br />
    The end-user and the publisher both become overly dependent on what Google is doing with the files, where, when, and how they are distributed. Talk about the ultimate lock-in deal. <br />
    <br />
    I am very hesitant about this scheme.

  • http://DanZee DanZee

    Google would use digital publishing for people who want a hardcover or paperback. That’s what the article meant by coming up with a product a bookstore could sell. <br />
    <br />
    If I were a publisher, I would be worried. Google could cut out the publisher, and it has the money and power to put a digital printer in every bookstore in the country so you could have the book in your hands instantly, whereas Amazon ships you the book a week or two later.<br />
    <br />
    It would only be a matter of time when Google would start to act as a publisher of new books. Stephen King, for example, could sell his books through Google, and Google could easily market his books just by running a blurb on its homepage.

  • http://CraigLanders Craig Landers

    Taylor Specialty Book, the commercial division of Taylor Publishing Company is a Hard Cover book vendor to Thomas Nelson and we don’t have a finer group of folks we work with than them!<br />
    <br />
    Craig Landers<br />
    Taylor Specialty Books <br />
    Dept Manager

  • http://AnnBassett Ann Bassett

    Great interview! An informative look at the behind-the-scenes decisions that have to be made every day by small publishers, especially when top-quality is the goal. Vineyard Stories ALWAYS produces beautiful books, and Jan & John have raised the bar on showing our island to the rest of the world. We all miss John….and hope that Jan will continue the Vineyard Stories tradition of producing excellent books.

  • http://JimHartley Jim Hartley

    If I buy a book, I don’t want it stored on Google’s "cloud". I want it printed and sitting on my bookshelf, or else stored on **MY** computer. If I want to access it from somewhere else, let **ME** wory about moving it around. I don’t want my books doing a "1984" on me!

  • http://MihaiPaunescu Mihai Paunescu

    If you see that just as another channel to distribute your books the news does not sound that bad. What you would prefer … Amazon doing everything and some more or a Amazon, Google and Sony and some others in a war to give you as publisher or customer the best offer.<br />
    And by the way … I don’t think that anybody will stop you to host your files locally. Just that in the long run that might be the least secure solution. Sounds strange but it will happen some day.

  • http://JoannBreslin Joann Breslin

    You didn’t mention book clubs in your excellent article. How do they affect book sales? I know they have special rates, but don’t they sell a lot of books?<br />
    <br />
    Thank you!

  • http://DeborahTaylor-French Deborah Taylor-French

    Great information. I’d like to share this on Facebook for Redwood Writers and on my Twitter but I don’t see a share button. Could you add one>

  • http://IanThompson Ian Thompson

    Are these 2 million titles all public domain? If not, rather than donate the $1 to charity, Google should donate it to the publisher, author or their descendants …

  • http://Mark Mark

    Excellent article and great real-world tips! <br />
    <br />
    As an indie Author we too found it difficult to monitor our social media marketing efforts. As Jesse eluded to, there’s not a lot of real-time data available so one has to creatively use whatever is available. In Jesse’s case, he took snapshots of sales ranks before and after promotions to take the pulse of his promotional efforts.<br />
    <br />
    We did the same with the release of our books but learned that a surprising amount of information could be gleaned from Amazon Sales Ranks. Although Amazon does not publicly release actual sales information, we discovered that by recording sales ranks on an hourly-basis for books we were interested in tracking, we could determine when sales occurred. Since we were our own publisher we were able to fine-tune our estimations with real sales figure data which we received from Amazon the next day. <br />
    <br />
    Taking it another step further it became obvious that we could apply the same technique to track our competitors sales and subsequently determine our market share. <br />
    <br />
    This was an in-house tool that we believed many indie-authors could benefit from and decided to take public. In mid July of this year we did just that. It’s available, free to use at: <br />
    <br /><br />
    <br />

  • http://MarkMacKay Mark MacKay

    This is a fascinating article. But it also makes me a little nervous. As a book designer I want to lead the design choices, not be subject to decisions made by a group of people insensitive to design.<br />
    <br />
    This article valorizes streamlined production and cost cutting. These are goals I value as well, but I feel the keen edge of the accountant’s exacto blade at my throat. Will book design become a simple act of selecting template A, B or C?<br />
    <br />
    As a book designer I read the book. I study the content. I make choices that improve the reader’s experience and create a book that makes sense of its content.<br />
    <br />
    Thoughtful book design is becoming a boutique business. Dull book design is becoming affordable and efficient. Are these the only choices we can make? Are these the best choices for the future of the book?


    i HAVE ALWAYS ADMIRED SEN. KENNEDYAND APPRECIATED HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND LEADERSHIP. HE HAS led this country by his faith through many difficulties. We now must carry on with the strength and courage that he has taught.

  • http://BMae BMae

    <br />
    Congrats to Editors and Staff at Liguori.Content is exceptional and remains true to Redemptorist mission.<br />
    Noticeable ,favorable changes in<br />
    past couple years. Keep it coming!

  • http://MarianneCalilhanna Marianne Calilhanna

    As a former FAD employee, I couldn’t agree more! Though my work had its ups and downs (as all work does), I always admired and loved working for F.A. Davis Company Publishers. Congratulations!

  • http://ElinorThomas Elinor Thomas

    Best companies to work for ? Rmour has it that in Nov/2009 mroe than 25 full time employees in the IT department were let go to be replace by contract employees based in Index. A massive chopping of the work force due to outsourcing.

  • http://JohnN JohnN

    You need to do a little better research for your next list. Or ask different questions of your nominees. Liguori has been consistently cutting jobs to stay afloat over many years. And most of the time it is the people with the most seniority.

  • http://MikeOodarnik Mike Oodarnik

    Great usable info! Agree with Spiewak’s comments (35-41). We’ve seen Microsites work, and get bestseller status

  • http://SenseiJ.RichardKirkhamB.Sc. Sensei J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc.

    Excellent advice. Also much like forums offer good links to content and the occassional sales pitch<br />
    <br />

  • http://ChristopherHastings Christopher Hastings

    Interesting story, but it didn’t really give you any good meat on how they did it. How did you get bookstores to trust you? How did you reach the "connectors"? What did either of them do beforehand that made them the success they are today? <br />

  • http://Sheila Sheila

    Good info, but where’s the rest of it? Only 25 of the 36 tips are published.

  • http://Shocked Shocked

    This was truly surprising. Could it be that the current employees answered the questionnaire in this fashion because they are worried about their job security? I was told that they laid off 30% of their work force a couple of years ago by handing everyone a note, along with their paycheck, and that the note told them that there would be a meeting that day that they needed to attend. Only the employees weren’t told that there were two meetings being held. One meeting for the employees getting laid off and one meeting for the employees that were keeping their jobs. Talk about survivor’s guilt!

  • http://Bugzr Bugzr

    Is this some kind of a joke? Liguori? They have consistently, over the past 3 years, cut their staff, releasing some of the most dedicated employees who had given 20+ years of service. And the manner in which they did this was so callous that the remaining few were scared as rats. They have truely not been faithful to their mission.<br />

  • http://PamelaMiles Pamela Miles

    Great info! I’m also looking for points 26 – 36 – did I miss something?

  • http://Michael Michael

    As a lyric-writer rather than an author, and having experience promoting stuff on the web, I can sy that this is phenomenal information. some of the advice might be a bit contradictory, but that’s because you have to adapt to different circumstances.

  • http://Noelle Noelle

    Sheila, <br />
    The main article contains 25 tips, plus there are 11 tips in the two sidebars. <br />

  • http://DonnaSwanson Donna Swanson

    I would very much like to know more about this! I have self published six books with iUniverse but there was no promotion of course. Also, since they will publish for anyone who has $100, there is no brick and mortar marketplace for them. I edited for two different authors. ONe, a retired Yale professor, had the basics of grammar down and all he needed was some direction in composition and character enhancement. The other, a young minister, had a great mystery story but atrocious grammar. I worked quite hard on his book and had it in the best shape I could. Then our son was struck by colon cancer and I had to stop. He decided to rewrite the book, published with iUniverse, and sent me a copy. There were at least a half dozen typos and misspellings per page. But it was published. Mine had fewer than a half dozen per book.<br />
    The better epubs like Xlibris, charge too high a fee for struggling authors. I would like to hear a discussion on this. Thanks.

  • http://RonPramschufer Ron Pramschufer

    Self Publishing has never been a dirty work… Vanity Publishing has been. The old vanity model of deceiving hundreds of people out of thousands of dollars has been replaced with the new one of deceiving thousands of people out of hundreds of dollars. Nothing else has changed.

  • http://WaltShiel Walt Shiel

    No matter how Author Solutions or the big publishers who now send them business try to disguise it, what they are offering NOT self-publishing. It is just a modern Internet incarnation of the old subsidy/vanity model.<br />
    <br />
    As Ron Pramschufer noted, the specifics may have changed but the result remains the same. The only people making money this are the "publishing mills" (like Author Solutions) who make money selling books and services to authors rather than books to retailers or consumers.<br />
    <br />
    Please get your terminology straight and do not call these outfits "self-publishing: companies. The only way to self-publish is the, well, publish it yourself. If Author Solutions, iUniverse, Xlibris, ad nauseum publish it, they are the publisher, not the author.<br />
    <br />
    Thomas Nelson and Harlequin are just trying to make extra money off the hard work of wannabe authors.<br />
    <br />
    Caveat emptor applies here, folks.

  • http://JTC JTC

    A great many of the best authors have been forced to self-publish, for various reasons, from Shakespeare to James Joyce, from DH Lawrence to Anais Nin, and many more. Very little has changed, indeed.

  • http://DorisBaker Doris Baker

    Let’s call a spade a spade and vanity publishing vanity publishing. Nothing wrong or devious in the vanity press business model that has been so successful for companies such as ASI, but such companies are not self publishers. And, they are not traditional publishers…no risk, no editing, no vetting of material, no expectation or thought of selling except to the author. I cringe when an author tells me his/her book was ‘published’ by an online packager.

  • http://aaron aaron

    The publishing world has to change or it will die.

  • http://JohnHafnor John Hafnor

    Here’s another one: my company Lone Pine Productions is giving away our books, shipping also paid by us, to anyone making a donation to a Colorado non-profit called Mercy and Sharing that has worked for many years with Haiti’s abandoned and orphaned children. They are in crisis mode now as their wards, hundreds of babies and young children, have been without food and water for nearly three days.<br />
    <br />
    No paperwork. No verification. Just make a donation of any size at and email me at and I’ll promptly ship your book from active titles. (alternately one may see a better description of the titles at <br />

  • http://DianeEble Diane Eble

    I’ve been in publishing for 32 years as an author, editor, marketer, and now, book publishing coach ( I agree that publishing has to change, and the publishing services model is not necessarily a bad one. What I want authors to look carefully at is what exactly they’re getting for their money when they sign on for publishing services. Most notably lacking is distribution and marketing support. Ask yourself, Is the publisher profiting more than I am?<br />
    <br />
    What I also fear is that the "screening" of good books that traditional publishing offered will disappear. The reason "self-publishing" has always had a bad name is, anyone who can pay gets published, whether the books are good or not. Taking a risk on an author meant the publisher deemed that author worthy of being published.<br />
    The real problem has always been razor-thin profit margins for publishers, such that they could not afford enough marketing, and authors not knowing how to market/promote books. That?s what I try to help them do as a publishing coach. Now that this form of publishing is becoming a ?proving ground? for traditional publishers to take a risk, as Mark Weiss says, it?s all the more important for authors to know how to market their own books.

  • http://DonnaSwanson Donna Swanson

    The great thing about Kindle was the opportunity to upload book content directly to Kindle, have it evaluated, then included in Kindle’s bookstore. For authors, that is still a big incentive to use Kindle. I wonder if this will be the same.

  • http://JerryDean Jerry Dean

    This is going to be interesting to watch, the publishers just don’t get it. If they embrace this the market should take off. If they don’t they will be left in the dust. Think Napster, in the end the consumer finally drove the music industry to embrace electronic media. Jeff Bezos at Amazon says Kindle readers read and read a lot.

    In the long run this has the potential to expand the market, you have to buy the ebook if you want to read it, even at $9.99 you can only loan it once. A treeBook often times gets passed from reader to reader, royalty free each time. Come on Pub’s lets go green, and watch the market explode.

  • http://chris chris

    Interesting read…and from a WK guy no less

  • http://Ellen Ellen

    Yes, here we go again with the hype and the misinformation. The latest print issue of BB published some astounding stats on ebooks, which it attribured to a well-known research outfit. One such: 20% (one in five) of all adult Americans has read (not necessarily bought) an e-book. I wonder what methodology led to this conclusion. I don’t know anyone who has read an e-book or owns a reader. And I don’t live in a bubble.

  • http://PatHoll Pat Holl

    What a fantastic business model for traditional publishers! When a traditional publisher picks up a “vanity” published book with a decent sales history, that indicates the book already has worthy content, and has been well-designed & edited. The publisher has relieved itself of the tedious vetting & editing process and can swoop in when all the hard work has been done and profits are more likely. Why would a publisher invest time & money developing a book if the author has already done all the investing? I guess the new publisher can offer marketing and distribution, however, publishers expect the author to participate in marketing, too. That leaves the possiblity of enhanced distribution as the only advantage to the author. Obviously this is very important. The ethical thing for the publisher to do, then, is to pay for all the expenses the author incurred up to the point of his work being ‘acquired.’
    Here’s an idea: Why don’t the publishers hire back the editors they laid off? Many publishers have removed the engines from their cars, and are now reduced to hitch-hiking.

  • http://CarolVanKlompenburg Carol Van Klompenburg

    Look again at this sentence:
    And in many ways, their rational makes sense to me.

    Did you mean “rationale”?

    Rationale is a noun meaning underlying cause.

    Rational does not, I believe, have that specific meaning and is more commonly used as an adjective. (Although dictionaries do also list it as a noun.

    Picky, picky, I know.

    Thanks for your insights!

  • http://joesixpak joe sixpak

    self publishing was never a dirty word
    big biz publishers tried to make it so as part of their power grab to control publishing
    self publishing existed before any commercial publisher
    self publishing is coming back as the net allows people to take back teh power
    the article above describes more of the current vanity press style of operation that has also morphed with the net
    it is a shame that thomas nelson bought into this model
    i would expect the others to do it because it means more profit and at least their imprints dont get dirtied by publishing pure garbage

  • http://ElizabethBurton Elizabeth Burton

    Why is it that whenever this subject comes up people focus on the very, very small community of those who, being utterly clueless about business in general and publishing in particular, rant on about ebooks costing nothing to produce?

    Having sold ebooks for going on 10 years, I know that the majority of ebook readers don’t expect a free ride. They do, however, and in my opinion rightfully so, object to print publishers trying to subsidize said print versions by charging the same price for print and ebook.

    And please don’t tell me that’s not what they’re doing because 5-6 years ago someone at one of the major houses said that was precisely what they were doing.

    Our ebooks sell for the price of a small mmp, no matter what the print book goes for. We consider ebooks a separate channel from the print, and if the mainstreamers have any sense they’ll start doing the same.

  • http://CandaceC.Davenport Candace C. Davenport

    As the publishing industry is morphing over the years, and distinctions between companies get blurred when different companies pick up different pieces of the pie, it is starting to all come down to semantics. Who really cares what it is called?

    the bottom line is that authors want to have their books published. They need good editorial/design services if they want a good product. They need a company that will print their book nicely. They need marketing and promotion. There are companies that provide one or all of these services and the author has to take the responsibility to find one that does what they want.

    There will always be companies that will take advantage of people. Again, the author needs to take the responsibility to find one that won’t and provides the services that they need. It doesn’t matter the name of what they have done, just as long as the work is good.

    If you are not directly in the publishing business, when was the last time you picked up a new book and looked at the publisher and chose the book based on the publisher? Most readers just don[t care as long as the book is what they are looking for.

  • http://EvangeliaBiddy Evangelia Biddy

    Janet Spavlik in Flawless Campaign is so right here! The whole industry needs to embrace a new energy and a fresh marketing spirit. Those of us you love books are not going away, but we might need to be marketed to in exciting new ways to get us talking about the next new thing too. Nothing but good things will come to publishers who continue to think beyond the box to peak the interest of new consumers and markets. Evangelia Biddy is the editor-in-chief of Junior Magazine, the publication about bringing up successful boys.

  • http://zorkfork zorkfork

    Sorry…but this nonsense about all of poor book publishers,the poor record publishers,the poor writers,actors,and other artists whose pockets alledgedly are being picked just does not cut it..Working stiffs they are not..I don’t have an office on park avenue like these book publishers..Sure,it’s”illegal” but so is a million other things,most of which are so not because there is anything”wrong” but only because greed is involved..Corporate profitibility can always buy the sort of laws that make democratic sharing “illegal”…As for this claptrap about how there would be no”incentives” for writers to write or singers to sing,PLEASE…Before the internet there were other ways to copy books,movies,music,anf,gee,the creative process didn’t grind to a halt…So when we want to be honest and say that it’s all about greed maybe I can agree,but as for this ruling and the corporate motivations involved take a hike….

  • http://@jmartinlibrary @jmartinlibrary

    I hope this spreads the word about FLAWLESS. I just finished reading it, and it is fabulous! It’s been a long time since I’ve read such an engaging non-fiction narrative.

  • http://fuzzy fuzzy

    hello we do live in capitalistic economy where innovation and creation is motivated by financial success. Take that away and you have stagnation. publishers, authors don’t invest months and possibly years of their time for free. Not every publisher or author has an office on park avenue. These publisher are actually made up of many working stiffs trying to create value for dopes like you and earn a living i’m sure their time is worth more than the stupid argument that you’ve laid out…..

    sorry sir, I just pick pocketed you but really theft is ok, because everyone is doing it……

  • http://Erik Erik

    I think a big part of this will be educating people. There are also areas where consumers don’t realize everything that can be done with an eBook and that eBooks for different markets require different tools and functions, thus increase in price.

    I’ve always believed that you get what you pay for. Now sometimes the cost is high and you aren’t getting quality, other times you pay less and that’s what you get, less. In general many people want to share the eBook, tweet it, use other social tools, problem is, you need the software or hardware or both depending on format to make it work.

    That all takes time and energy on someone’s behalf, it’d be like asking an electrician to wire a house for a few hundred dollars and it normally costs thousands. They can do it, but your lights are going to flicker a lot and the work will be bad. What happened to paying for quality and for people’s work.

    We can get into the quality of what’s published another time, but maybe that is why people want to pay less. But as many have stated, the general consumer just doesn’t understand, but they probably don’t care either, they just want it cheap.

  • http://MaryShafer Mary Shafer

    Is anyone else besides me alarmed at the fact that this article discusses books and libraries and such literary issues beneath a headline stating that the GERMANS bombed Pearl Harbor? HELLOOOOO!!!??? It was the JAPANESE, flying off an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean, that bombed Pearl Harbor. I’m not so worried about the immature burned-down library joke as I am about this one. I kept looking for evidence that the headline was a joke. But, to my horror, it appears it’s intended seriously. For shame.

  • http://JabinWhite Jabin White

    Hi Mary:

    Your suspicions of it being a joke were correct, and I guess I should have made it more clear. This is stolen from the movie “Animal House,” and my mistake was that I thought this expression had entered popular culture to the point where people would get the reference. My bad.

    Rest assured that, as a history major, I am quite aware that it was the Japanese, not the Germans, who bombed Pearl Harbor. Sorry this joke missed.

    But now to the real issue: you really didn’t like the “burned-down library” joke? I thought that was gold!

  • http://GrantAzdell Grant Azdell

    I did not miss the joke. It is a fine reference to another art form…Animal House and John Belushi. Good stuff. I got it…

  • http://brittanybanks brittany banks

    im also interested in writing my own book and i jes need some guidence in what to do and how to do it im a young writer and im goint to write a book but i need to know who is the best person to send my book to i just need to know everything.

  • http://swingbada swingbada

    you’re right on. author signing on to this deal are simply dumb….why limit your reach. and amazon will go the way of the palm and handspring pdas….artifacts

  • http://MaryShafer Mary Shafer

    Well, the burned-down library joke just got old during the whole Dubya administration, and even though I laughed at it then, I still thought is was immature. What does that say about me? :) I suppose it’s likely I lost my sense of humor over the whole Germans thing. No harm done.

  • http://AlanBlyveis Alan Blyveis

    I would like to view the webinar

  • http://BruceBatchelor Bruce Batchelor

    Wow! It is impressive how the book industry (normally moving at geological pace) is changing so rapidly on the matter of sales terms for ebooks. Unbelievable really.
    What this means is that there is hope the industry can actually make a similar change – very quickly and across the industry worldwide – to stop selling books on a returnable basis.
    We know that over one billion books are overprinted and wasted every year — resulting in shocking environmental and economic cost. One argument against fixing this stupid situation has been, “it would be too hard to get everyone to change.”
    That argument just got refuted by the quick action on ebooks/agency pricing.

  • http://ClydeSmith Clyde Smith

    I think the title is pretty obviously a joke but I stopped making tongue in cheek references online because it was incredibly difficult for some people to recognize such humor.

    More importantly, I do agree with you that the claimed generational differences are generally overstated. Young people as a whole don’t know or do as much as certain kind of folks who benefit from those misrepresentations claim and many old people, like me, know and do a heck of a lot online.

    It’s a much more complicated situation and that makes it much less likely to be represented accurately in any public forum.

  • http://KarenHolt Karen Holt

    My husband’s much-awaited
    3-G enabled iPad finally arrived last week and for the first time in our long marriage, I have real competition for his affection.
    I admit, it’s a pretty cool device for looking up restaurants and showing off vacation photos. But for reading books? I’m still a skeptic.

  • http://RoyWalter Roy Walter

    I have a Kindle and an iPad. The Kindle (and your Nook) is an awesome ereader for pure text books. And its capabilities for being a comfortable one-handed device in bright sunlight are not over exaggerated. It’s brilliant.

    But for any titles that might have graphics, tables or photos, it sucks. It also can’t read PDFs without distorting them terribly. So, for me, the iPad is the best of all worlds. A great ereader (ePub, Kindle and PDF support) and … all those other things it is.

  • http://JanetSpavlik Janet Spavlik

    Thanks for your comments, Karen and Roy. I agree that it’s difficult to argue with the iPad’s color screen for graphics- and/or photo-heavy books. And I’m sure it’s also ideal for reading magazines.

  • http://ThadMcIlroy Thad McIlroy

    I’m a big supporter of the many things that XML enables, and think you’ve highlight perhaps the two most important. As someone who works frequently with smaller publishers, lacking the resources to bring on staff someone with your credentials, XML appears beguiling but overwhelming.

    What do you advise your colleagues in smaller publishing companies who wish to fully embrace XML and its associated technological challenges?

  • http://JabinWhite Jabin White


    This is a terrific question. So good, in fact, that I think it deserves its own follow-up blog post, and I am working on that now. Stay tuned, and thanks for such a great question.

  • http://Todd Todd

    You took all the time to research a Nook and you didn’t hear about the iPad prior to the Nook shipping? There had been rumors for months that the iPad was going to hit the market long before the Nook was even a thought in B+N’s short sited mind. Sorry to hear that you have had your head in the sand for the last year. The Nook was antiquated before it even hit the shelves.

  • http://Todd Todd

    Some people just can’t understand a good joke…..Others move on with understanding and can laugh while seeing the meaning behind it.

  • http://SusanTordella Susan Tordella

    The publishing industry is changing as fast as the newspaper industry — which is a sinking ship.

    With the advent of self-publishing and online marketing, big publishers must< ahref=””>adapt.

  • http://Todd Todd

    Having known you during my days at Pearson I can identify and also sympathize with you. I now work as a vendor in a journal publications printer/publisher and I have seen the publishing world change dramatically in the last 20 + years. There are no standards to live by anymore, no definites in the direction of the future and no end to the changes we are going to see in the next 5 years. I am still employed but I constantly look at the next year or month as possibly the last one in my position. I read in a post on another blog somewhere that the best thing that can happen to a middle management professional in publishing right now is to get fired. It offers up a new beginning in a publishing world that is currently in need of being reinvented. I am not hoping to be layed off anytime soon but I sometimes wonder if it might not be a good thing in the long run…….maybe not.
    A new beginning, a new venture, a new direction in a publishing world that needs it to happen to survive. I went to a book convention in NYC a couple months ago and the one thing that struck me was how many middle management Directors and VP were starting new companies and ventures in the industry. I would like to challenge you Michael to look to this as a new venture and build publishing the way a middle manager knows it should be. I applaud your new venture in this blog. Good luck with it and keep all the middle managers in mind if you get something new started and you need some good quality help.

  • http://MarciaMing Marcia Ming

    I bought a tablet PC in 2003. It was a lot more expensive and required a stylus. It was lighter than a laptop but had the full capability of a regular computer. However, the general public wasn’t ready for such a device.

    What changed? Why are people so ready for tablets today? Is it the lower price or the current fascination with anything made by “Apple?”

  • http://MichaelWeinstein Michael Weinstein

    Thanks, Todd.
    You make a real good point about the Directors and VP’s starting new ventures. The good news about a bit of chaos and lack of confidence in leaders is that it opens the door for direction to come from elsewhere. In political terms, this might be called a revolution. In publishing industry terms….well, maybe it’s the same :-)

  • http://NathanTeegarden Nathan Teegarden

    Good blog Michael!

  • http://MarvDunkiel Marv Dunkiel

    Right on target. The problem with most readers is that they are good for only specific types of content. If a reader is to do content any justice it should be compatible to all content.

  • http://BillKasdorf Bill Kasdorf

    Great post, Jabin! This is excellent advice. I plan to steal–uh, I mean cite–it often.–Bill Kasdorf

  • http://Todd Todd

    Right there with you….Each day we get closer and closer to 6 months since the iPad came out. …

    I think the worst part is trying to determine which output formats are going to be needed every six months. HTML 5, Flash, XML, ePub etc.
    I have some things to say about that on my blog at

  • http://JohnPatrickGrace John Patrick Grace

    Pleasure reading off a screen – after all the stuff on read on screens all day long–does not appeal to me. Plus screens can never make up for the sensual feel of paper between the fingers – and don’t we all love the smell of a new book when it’s first cracked open?
    (Can one “crack open” a screen? Are they going to add an aroma?)
    I have no “need” to have dozens or hundreds of books at my beck and call
    on a trip. One or two books are plenty – and no, they don’t “take up too much room” in my bag. And believe it or not, I’m still strong enough to carry them.
    So what are all those advantages of ebooks again?
    John Patrick Grace
    Huntington, West Virginia

  • http://sandra sandra

    The wonderful little One Story sends you a short story a month–a fun little package of 40 pages or so. They send it snail mail, the way I prefer for the birthday present efffect, or digitally which I believe has almost tripled their sales. It a great idea whose time has come–the price of Unbridled seems a little high to me, but its a experiment.

  • http://ThadMcIlroy Thad McIlroy

    Thank you for the thoughful and well-written response, Jabin. I see that my colleague (and sometime editor) Bill Kasdorf enjoyed it also. You point out that you’ve ” tried to stay pretty general.” No doubt the best approach. But let’s try to get more specific.

    Your initial advice is pragmatic: “start small.” I agree in principle. But as you correctly note, starting small with XML entails “start(ing) with one title or a family of like titles.”

    To take that small step, a small publisher must first take the VERY LARGE STEP of getting a handle on XML, DTDs, DocBook, ePub and more.

    In my experience many technologists who are well-conversed in XML workflows lose sight of just how large a step that is for most smaller publishers who dropped out of class when they learned that PDFs don’t always print properly.

    I like your quotable quote: “Rome wasn’t tagged in a day.” I wish it meant that there was a path to derive a portion of XML’s benefits with only a portion of the requisite knowledge. Then more small publishers could join the XML conga line.

    I agree that the XML community is a great resource for implementation assistance. But there are not many who enjoy receiving the question: “I don’t know the first thing about XML but I’m told that I should embrace it. Can you help?”

    I tried to address the question last December in a presentation to the Association of Canadian Publishers ( I’m not sure I succeeded, which is why I was seeking your advice.


  • http://MichaelWeinstein Michael Weinstein

    Todd– Agree with you that HTML5 offers interesting possibilities.
    Question– do you think that iPad will mean the death of Flash?

    John– you make a terrific point. Ereaders are just one way of getting the content we want or need. I still love the smell of ink on paper, AND feel obliged to keep independent bookstores in business. We all need to pick and choose what works best, in various situations.

  • http://JabinWhite Jabin White


    You correctly shine a light on a very significant “barrier to entry” for XML, which is enough understanding to just get started, even with an existing standard such as DocBook or ePub. This, I think, will be helped greatly by the BISG Content Standards committee that I mentioned in the article. Think “Publishers Starter Kit” for XML.
    But you are also correct to point out that this initial understanding is often underestimated, or underappreciated, in terms of how big a step this is. I think it is also often underestimated as a cultural shift, but I think that is true of most things in digital publishing. We need to do a better job, as a niche of the industry, in narrowing the gap between the XML “haves” (meaning knowledge) and the XML “have nots.” These two groups have traditionally been VERY far apart, dating back to the days of SGML, and even though they have gotten somewhat closer together, there is a LOT of work to do on this front. As you say, onward!

    P.S. Fantastic presentation! I encourage everyone to click through Thad’s link above and view his slides.

  • http://Todd Todd

    Do I think the iPad will mean the death of Flash?
    I think that Apple will put Adobe in a position where Adobe applications will need to support HTML5 creation. Apps like Adobe Dreamweaver, InDesign and maybe even Flash Builder will allow for an export out to HTML5. Flash is so embedded in the web world that I think it will be around for a long time. I do believe we will see many web designers and iPad content designers making a serious move to HTML5. Maybe in the next 5 years Flash will diminish greatly but I think it will take a while.

  • http://billsawyers bill sawyers

    Here’s my link as so you could try out for your self. From a children author of some fun books for your children.

    Bookrix user william2233

  • http://ThadMcIlroy,TheFutureofPublishing Thad McIlroy, The Future of Publishing

    “Grandmothers will soon be carrying them around”?!?

    My mother didn’t even want a cellphone. We did manage to get her on email at home, although with some reluctance. Towards the end she wrote to a friend: “I do appreciate that you pray for me often, but could you stop emailing the prayers to me?”

  • http://DavidMarshall David Marshall

    Great article! We have been thinking about this as well. But here’s a question for Greg Michalson of Unbridled Books: How do you handle requests from customers to take their subscription choices via e-readers such as Amazon Kindle and Apple’s iBookstore (and soon Google Editions)? We could offer our PDF e-books as part of this subscription, but we find many of our customers are reading our books on dedicated e-readers or tablets these days, and these sales come directly from Amazon or Apple.

  • http://Michael Michael

    I completely agree, but your (and much of the industry’s) focus is on the revolutionizing of distribution and consumption devices. While the numbers have burst on that end, so as Shirky points out, there’s an over-supply of content making the readers choices endless and unnavigable. The same problem is happening at the editorial and curator nodes with the submissions. It’s not sexy, but reempowering those editors and curators is ripe for technological innovation as well.

    Shameless plug, but my company, Submishmash, will be a leader in this area.

    We’ve writing about Shirky a bit here:

  • http://JR JR

    Amen! xml tagging of content as well as its related taxonomy is the way to go… so just how do publishers get all those assets tagged???
    Great blogs, Michael! Keep ’em coming!

  • http://Marv Marv

    JR, the answer is planning ahead. What is the content being used for? How granular do you need the content to be? What are the uses.


  • http://Jessica Jessica

    Great article!

    I too am a Twitter contest addict!

  • http://Michael Michael

    Thank, JR. I agree with Marv’s comment, and would add a couple of thoughts:
    1. The type of content will drive the granularity needed. For example, I would tell a medical publisher to tag the hell out of their content
    2. I would also suggest that when thinking about tagging, think about deliveries and business models that don’t exist yet. A little extra work now doing, what feels like, excess tagging may set you up in the long run to be prepared to deliver content that your competitors can’t

  • http://Sally Sally

    Yeah right! Hardly!

  • http://Todd Todd

    Working in journal and book publications over the last 20 years and having experience in SGML/XML tagging I can attest to every word in your blog. I think content granularity for the future comes down to one question; at what level of granularity does the content become unusable as a tagged element all by itself? Tag to the level above that in XML and you should be fine for any future need. Otherwise, I would tell all publishers of any kind of content that if they are not tagging then their content will be useless for future searching ad selection….what a waste that would be. In addition, the publishers should not be thinking about text only content but also any supplemental video, audio, 3D rendering as well should be tagged extraneously with metadata. Tag on!
    I Love the blog!

  • http://MarianMcCain Marian McCain

    “…grandmothers will soon be carrying them around”
    Why do I, as a 74-year old, fairly tech-savvy grandmother of six and author of several ebooks feel patronised, condescended to and slightly insulted by that sentence?
    Perhaps because there seems to be an implied ‘even’ in front of ‘grandmothers’.
    Anyway, why ‘grandmothers’ rather than ‘grandfathers?’
    Why not make it ‘black grandmothers’? That way you’ll score the hat trick – racism, sexism and ageism all in one sentence!

  • http://BillSmith Bill Smith

    Better than a morning coffee, thanks Michael– I’ll be working out a cell phone budget for my kids soon…

  • http://MarvDunkiel Marv Dunkiel

    Isn’t technology great? It offers options that we did not have before. It forces us to learn and change. But, I still love reading a book (yes, paper).

    As we move deeper in the various options of content, we will need the e-book to be more dynamic and readable.

    Michael keep on doing this. It gets the mind juices flowing.

  • http://DamonLincourt Damon Lincourt

    The majority of products in the commercial marketplace have to make evident to the consumer–in some way–the compelling value of the product. If that is evident, they don’t buy it.

    Clearly, the *academic* marketplace operates by somewhat different rules. There is a certain advantage of a “captive market” when a professor says you must use this text or that one.

    Nevertheless, it might benefit publishers of these texts to make somewhat more effort to convince the end user (instead of the gatekeeper) of the inherent value they’re getting for a not-inconsiderable expense.

  • http://MichaelWeinstein Michael Weinstein

    Great point, Damon. It IS a different consumer dynamic. The teach, or committee, chooses a text that the student (supposedly) has to buy. We all know that’s not true– students buy used books, share books, use the one in the library. Publishers do have to offer students something they don’t get from a used book, or something that will get them a better grade, or just get thru the class with less pain.

  • http://Mark Mark

    OK so the NYT which costs $800 a year or so to read in paper form is criticizing the cost of another information form which actually improves a person’s life and enables that person to do things like get a job? Question for NYT, if someone applied to you with resume saying “I read NYT”, and someone else applied with “I have a BA,” whom would you hire?

  • http://Todd Todd

    I just took my 17 year old to visit a college that wants me to pay them $54,000 per year to get his degree…….During the tour the guide told my son, don’t ever buy a new book unless you have to…….

  • http://Michael Michael

    I’m not sure of the most up-to-date stats, but it used to be that–even IF the publisher got the adoption for a class– only 50-60% of the students bought the new book. I’m guessing that number is even lower now.

  • http://DonnaSwanson Donna Swanson

    How are these books found and added to the list of those subject to preview? Are these merely from the mainline book publishers?

  • http://MattBernius Matt Bernius


    Thanks for quoting me. I think you’re asking all of the correct questions.

    In particular, this passage particularly resonated with me:

    “Other than possibly graphic novelists, how many are thinking of—or are able to bring “books” into being who can synthesize their narratives or elements with the audio, video, animation and other media effects now being employed in “enhanced” e-books?”

    Two comments:

    1. Great use of synthesis. That’s a critical component of developing these new modes. Currently the “e” enabled components (music, video, interactivity, GPS, etc) components in most eBooks as supplemental to the text. Remove any of “e”-lements from the ebook and the whole remains largely unaffected, as you’ve simply transformed an “eBook” into a “Book”.

    The beauty of Gray’s “The Elements” app is, with the possible exception of the song, removing any media component weakens — if not out-and-out ruins — the overall experience.

    Whatever these new book forms are, we need to seriously consider how we make the media elements as important as the typographic elements.

    2. I have been meaning to write about what this new category can learn from Graphic Novelists/Comics people. One unique aspect of the (monthly) comic business is that the norm is collaborative authoring. While there have been individuals who have done it all (Jack Kirby, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Frank Miller), the dominant paradigm has been writer + artist (and more often than not the art function was also split into penciler, inker, letterer & colorist). The net result (in theory), multiple subject matter experts combining to create a product, seems to have parallels with app creation.

  • http://EugeneG.Schwartz Eugene G. Schwartz

    Thanks for your feedback, Matt. Your point about collaborative authoring as practiced in graphic novels/coimics is doubtless the way to go — currently we bring in the media side sequentially in the “enhanced” book world. It will be interesting to see if/when we get to synthesis.


  • http://TedRicks Ted Ricks

    Very well stated, Michael. As a former educational publisher (editor in chief and COO), I agree with the points that you made. In addition, no one mentions that a student can sell the new textbook (not the ancillaries) at the end of the semester if they want and depending on the condition of the book, get up to 50% back on his initial expense. How many times does that happen with a product that you buy?

  • http://Todd Todd

    The experiment continues. Books, newspapers, magazines and journals are all pushing the e-publication model to see how far it will get before someone screams for a print version. POD is the answer to this and should be the future direction for a purchase button for any electonic version offered. To your point….I think you should be running Little Brown Publishing.

  • http://JimFallone Jim Fallone

    I think a unique eISBN is a good idea but not for each individual file format. Tracking whether a book is ePub, Mobi, or some other version should work just like you name a file .jpg, .tiff, or .pdf. You just need to make the distinction of being print of digital as some formatting and editorial differences may occur to optimize the digital experience. An enhanced eBook would be a new format that would need a new ISBN much like hardcover to paperback however.

    Once a book has gone through the looking glass to becoming a digital product its distribution and tracking fall under internet protocols. Forcing print industry standards on product living by web standards will ultimately lead the center to collapse.

  • http://RobinMizell Robin Mizell

    Thank you for this summary. Maureen McMahon’s observation, which you’ve distilled to “[a] house is either author-focused or reader-focused, depending who owns that relationship” with the reader clarifies an important distinction that I’d found difficult to define. The relationship with the reader is cultivated, and it’s not a simple matter to acquire it.

  • http://DerwynRavello Derwyn Ravello


    I am glad to see this story.

    Hello, My name is Derwyn Ravello. As a child in middle school I was required to read a certain amount of books for our class.

    All of the books I chose to read for my requirement were by Ruth Chew.

    When I read her books, it felt like I disappeared from reality for a bit to the setting in the book.

    I recently bought a good amount of her books from ebay to re-read the joys that I read in middle school.

    Thank you for writing this story, I am sure there is alot more Ruth Chew fans out there!

    -Derwyn Ravello

  • http://RickSchworer Rick Schworer

    It’s amazing how quickly things are changing! I don’t think that print versions of books will completly go the way of the dinosaur, but who knows?

    Full digital download of computer software has been available for several years, and yet people still pay to buy it in the store. Same thing with video games on computers and consoles, they are fully purchasable and downloadable on the internet, yet hard copies still remain.

    However, on the flip side, the big difference ebooks have over DD software downloads is price. Prices on ebooks are many times 1/3 of the price of the print counterpart.

    Only time will tell.

  • http://JacquelineStJohn Jacqueline StJohn

    I sell books on Amazon. I am a micro seller of less than 2500 individual book titles. I finally clicked on the BISAC code when listing to see what if anything uselful this added tag could provide. Seems like nothing at all. Software that allows users to have a tool to access internet information when trying to find books should be free. Free versions of this type of software are commonplace. Selling the BISAC code to book sellers while never making it available to book shoppers renders it useless.

  • http://ThadMcIlroy,TheFutureofPublishing Thad McIlroy, The Future of Publishing

    Excellent point: “Unless of course you have a full XML-first workflow, from which you can compose pages, render ePub files, etc. But how many of us are there yet, where ePub is just another output of your normal workflow?”

    Speaking to some publishers this week I see that there’s now near 100% XML awareness but still a problem because of the cost of a robust XML workflow infrastructure.

    It can be easier to stomach the per-title cost of late-stage conversions unless the book is a sure-fire hit.

    In these challenging times, there’s not a lot of money available to publishers to remap entire workflow systems.

  • http://JerryBalan Jerry Balan

    Nice Blog…good points. practical, honest fun to read too!

  • http://DaveMontalvo Dave Montalvo

    Unfortunately, the Kindle doesn’t read ePub files, which makes things more complicated. You’d have to add MOBI or AZW to your output stream to accommodate the Kindle.

  • http://karenharris karen harris

    I feel that it is important for booksellers to read as many books as they can so that they can sell them to the customer. Do you realize that many (most?) booksellers would have to give up eating for awhile to be able to afford one of those reading gadgets?

  • http://Bhuvana Bhuvana

    Open and true – “Unless of course you have a full XML-first workflow, from which you can compose pages, render ePub files, etc. But how many of us are there yet, where ePub is just another output of your normal workflow?”

    This is the real translation of “Depth and desire” of our industry in words!

  • http://JabinWhite Jabin White

    @Thad: You make an excellent point about the money available (or not available) to remap workflow systems. In the absence of budget, I think we need to ask for a healthy dose of reality where this stuff is concerned. Thinking short-term without concern for the consequences is a strategy, as long as you understand that you may be giving up long-term benefits, or cost savings. But you can’t do both. I think that applies to any publisher, regardless of budget.

    @Dave: Look at you getting your content format geek on (Dave and I know each other, so I’m allowed to bust his chops). You are technically correct, but Amazon *will* accept ePub files and convert them for publishers. My apologies, but trying to keep things as simple as possible in this always-changing world.

  • http://Naomi Naomi

    zorkfork, yes, they are POOR. they’re BROKE. Most authors get paid pennies for lots of hard work. Just because you don’t agree that it’s wrong doesn’t mean it’s ok. It’s still illegal. and it is stealing.

    As far as the ruling, thank you God! we’re acutally getting somewhere!….maybe eventually they’ll cut out putting google books up in their near entirety.

  • http://JoelFriedlander Joel Friedlander


    Thanks for the interesting look at PubIt. Barnes & Noble has vast experience dealing with real live book buyers, a kind of experience that until very recently most publishers lacked. As you point out, their customers are primarily the bookstores. So in a way it’s natural for booksellers to step into this space since technology has eliminated much of the risk of publication. Historically we’ve relied on large publishing companies to absorb that risk. Also, it’s very common to hear authors complain about the treatment they get from publishers. It may be that now, given an alternative, more authors will be interested in trying self-publishing out. Maybe there will be a Grisham (or a Godin) in the next batch of self-publishers.

  • http://Michael Michael

    Thanks, Joel. I think the point you make about direct customer contact is an important one. Combined with the author complaints, i think it points back to the music industry. An industry that tries to arrest it’s customers (as they did) had clearly lost touch with their customers. Publishers are scrambling and doing a lot of guessing at what customers want and certainly seem a step or two behind their customers at this point.

  • http://EugeneGSchwartz Eugene G> Schwartz

    Thanks for you comments Jacqueline and Robin.

    Jacqueline, I am in sympathy with your comments re the BISAC Codes. For reasons I cannot understand, altho possession of the entire code book requires a purchase, anyone can access the code lists on their site at no charge and download and copy them.

    Like ONIX, this kind of standard should be easilty accessible.

  • http://BookstoreNut BookstoreNut

    A great location for this would have been in Crown Center in Kansas City, MO.

  • http://marty marty

    hi, name is marty and i have question for ya .Can a person who enjoys writing science fiction stories for recreation be a very successful book writer because i lack grammar skills i just writer stories for fun but my friends and family say some of my stories are really engrossing,reviting,and interesting .Please reply and be raw and honest i can take it .

  • http://BillSmith Bill Smith

    thanks Michael— production is the grail that connects us all– and project management is what makes it all work. Continue to keep that sky from falling!

  • http://GloriaFontana Gloria Fontana

    Thank you, Michael. Sure wish I could have been there. I was thinking as I read your report that a book is like a bus, the people on the bus are the content, but the bus goes nowhere without the driver–that’s us! Production! And we need the “drivers” to keep the bus on schedule and get to the correct destination whether it is print or e-product. Our experience in print makes us the best people to drive the e-bus. We know where the pot holes are and how to avoid them! Keep on truckin’.


  • http://muthuraja muthuraja


  • http://HelenMcLean Helen McLean

    To Michael Weinstein: I have written four novels in the past five years and had them “self-published…giving them only to friends and relatives. Now, I’m being urged more and more to get an agent, but I have been told “self-publishing” is the “kiss of death” for a writer. I have to admit, I am not young, so I’m totally clueless. Is this Domino Affect the way to go, and if so, whom do I contact? I would truly appreciate your help. I am 86. Thank you!!!

  • http://BookPublisher Book Publisher

    Good article. Publishers hope prices will eventually even out, but it remains to be seen just how much consumers are prepared to pay for e-books. The effect of the iPad and other tablets is still unknown, and publishers are largely guessing on how big this new market will become.

  • http://HowardG.Cornett Howard G. Cornett

    This positive perspective toward DRM adopts the same mindset that made life difficult for the music industry. They, too, started with DRM with a view to preventing the sharing of music files. This completely failed, and the industry has in large part abandoned DRM in MP3s. To me, this history begs the question, “When will DRM go away for ebooks?” Amazon has already moved in that direction with music and Google’s business is in search and sharing, so both have a long-term incentive to move away from DRM and the physical, atom-driven perspective of marketing books.

    Perhaps we need to take a more broad view of profitability for books. Instead of looking at each book in each medium separately (hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook, etc.) to make money on its own, we need to look at the text as a whole regardless of the media it is distributed on. Then perhaps, as an example, sharing of the ebook can drive sales in other media. But the data is not yet available to make such a decision. What we need is more open and broad-based thinking in the publishing industry that is willing to gather the kind of data that will determine such things (see

  • http://EdieTschorn Edie Tschorn

    I just forwarded this article on to a bunch of people! Very well written and easy to understand even for those of us who pre-date the era of websites!

  • http://JoyceWeston Joyce Weston

    Michael, Interesting thoughts, but the article left me wanting more. . . the use of the word “conservative” is as unclear in design as it is in politics. Hope you can follow up with concrete examples. I’d love to expand this discussion.

  • http://Michael Michael

    Helen– Just saw your comment. Sorry for the delay. Email me at and we can talk more.

  • http://TheresaM.Moore Theresa M. Moore

    This is cool. This means I can publish a short story without having to worry that it does not meet the minimum number of words for a novel, and make some money from my work while assembling a collection. Way to go, Amazon!

  • http://FloraMBrown,Ph.D. Flora M Brown, Ph.D.

    What great news for aspiring writers who bumped against the rejection wall of traditional publishing for so long.

  • http://LeanderJackieGrogan Leander Jackie Grogan

    This is very good information. One of the things I’ve noticed is many writers leaving the daily rejection circle from agents and moving to self publishng because the mainstream is overcrowded and really turning into a lockout situation.

    Leander Jackie Grogan
    Exorcism At Midnight

  • http://TylerReed Tyler Reed

    This is great! There does seem to be a little more cart-before-the-horse these days, now that Twitter and Facebook have made marketing to large groups of people relatively easy.

  • http://MitchellWeisberg Mitchell Weisberg

    As the final Keynote speaker at the conference, I related this research to the actual experience in the classroom at Sawyer Business School, Suffolk University. There were some differences and some subtleties that are seen in actual practice by faculty and students that are not captured in the statistics. Mitchell Weisberg,

  • http://Lauri Lauri

    I find this sort of reporting sensational and irresponsible. The brick-and-mortar stores are not dying or dead, they are merely in transition. Yes, ebooks are growing but the sky is not falling.

    I think what everyone forgets about Borders, is that the company started failing when it was bought by K-Mart; when all the top people were replaced by people from grocery stores; when category management was brought in and the talents of Borders buyers were minimized. People have forgetten that when Waldenbooks and Borders were reshuffled into one organization that it brought chaos to the organization. A one size fits all mentality brought on by people outside the industry did not work.

    This was a long time coming and was not because of kindles, nooks and ebooks, but because of bad management and bad decisions made by non-book people.

  • http://Mary Mary

    Brick and mortar stores are not dead. There are always going to be people who want the experience of wandering through shelves full of books, touching books, opening and browsing them, interacting with other book lovers face-to-face, and maybe drinking espressos or lattes while checking out books. Being in a bookstore can be an incredible experience by oneself or with others. So no, the traditional store won’t go away. However, there will be fewer of them (duh) and the ones that survive I expect will figure out a way to make being in a physical bookstore an even more rewarding (and rare) experience.

  • http://SandyThatcher Sandy Thatcher

    While ebook sales have been growing rapidly, it is misleading to talk just about this growth without indicating what percentage of total revenue ebook sales constitute for most publishers. It is still quite small overall. The challenge for publishers is to make the transition to digital, which brings in only a small amount of income still, while maintaining all the cost structures for print publishing, whose sales are in decline more rapidly than the new ebook sales substitute for.

  • http://Anna Anna

    Hi Jabin and Thad, thanks to you both for the interesting discussion.

    I come from an editorial and production background and have a great interest in technology and workflow and am interested in non-DTP workflows for print and digital products for the tradtional book publishing industry.

    You mention using ePub as a standard that can be used for introducing xml to a publishing company. However, couldn’t that be seen to be a product of a digital workflow, rather than the workflow itself? Do you think it is a valid way ‘in’ to xml?

    I worked at a large publisher that had a very well developed Word-based xml system (concordance between Word styles and proprietary xml tags), but that is not viable for smaller publishers. What precise tools would you suggest? I would prefer to know of tools to purchase (relatively cheaply). I feel it is very important for publishers to have these tools in house if at all possible rather than outsource this work to external companies.

    Also, if you can bear one more question, I am keen on using xthml(5) as the basis for xml in all digital publishing, rather than the various established DTDs and wonder what your views are on this?


  • http://SandyThatcher Sandy Thatcher

    It’s hard to see how any of this applies to publishing scholarly books.

  • http://janehague jane hague

    Ocean House Media have done some fine work on the iphone apps and 160 apps on itunes is awasome. Some of the small players can also match the quality of the big boys also. I am a new author and in frustration with the difficulty of breaking into the book industry I launched my own digital books on itunes. I have employed freelancers to keep the cost down but have still managed to match the content and graphics quality from the big publishing houses.

    The Great Snail Race is my first digital book on itunes and has already made it into whats hot!

    Please have a look as if your discouraged by the cost and effort of producing a iphone app you might be interested to know in this case the programming only cost $1000 USD. If you do your research itunes can be a level playing field! My second book is currently in the review process on the app store and the third book is just about to be submitted. ( Local app developers in the Melbourne Australia region quoted us $20,000 before they even new the specification of our app. ) I plane to have 10 books on itunes by the end of 2011.

  • http://M.E.Anders M.E. Anders

    This event looks to be informational and educational for those involved in the publishing sector. Thanks for sharing the details of the event.

  • http://BernhardSchmidt Bernhard Schmidt

    An excellent article! I think there is another major impact that e-book publishing can have on the bottom line: the cost of money that is tied up in physical inventory. Usually this is reported as Interest Expense or under “Other Income/Expenses” below the Operating Income line, and with many publishers, this is a substantial expense, lowering Net Profit by up to several percentage points. Most of publishers capital needs (other then for acquisitions of other firms) is related to up-front printing costs for building up inventory, which is not necessary for e-books.

    This may be partially offset by an increase in capital requirements for Plant cost (since Plant cost are up-front cost that are usually capitalized, there is an interest expense associated with this as well). True, the production process for e-books may be similar to the traditional pre-press process, but I fear that because of the novelty of the processes and the multitude of e-book formats that a publisher can choose to support, cost will be (at least for the near future) be higher then we are used to. This may also be true for IT expenditures.

  • http://Richard Richard

    Brian, thank you for the info.

  • http://M.E.Anders M.E. Anders

    Thanks for sharing this publishing news for us female writers and readers. I’m heading over to check out BlogHer right now.

  • http://MitchellWeisberg Mitchell Weisberg

    Definitely a business model to watch with a great disruptive impact on the industry. Brings the company closer to the ultimate customers than traditional models.

  • http://JackWPerry Jack W Perry

    I tweeted from the front row of Richard’s presentation. He made a lot of great points and pulled in more pop culture references than Dennis Miller (when he was young and funny ~ not the angry old man he is now).

    Richard has a way to break down this confusing digital world and make it easier to understand — or more confusing. Either way, he makes you think.

  • http://RoyWalter Roy Walter

    Curious numbers considering how easy it is to read on the iPad. But I do hear people still prefer print books and the idea of physical ownership. Or maybe they have enough printed to hold them over for now and we’ll see these numbers change significantly as the market and device formats mature. It is still relatively early on.

    I read so much more now that I carry an e-Reader. My Kindle was nice, but with the iPad I carry hundreds of reference books as PDFs, plus free and purchased books in iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google and Bluefire reader apps. I also borrow books from the library in the OverDrive app. I also have the complete Shakespeare app and have read 5 plays in the last two months.

    I think one thing is that most people are not aware of what’s available for free. CK12 FlexBooks (, the complete Shakespeare app, public library books online (via the OverDrive app), and of course Google Books has thousands of quality books for free.

    Technical books and textbooks in PDF form can be fully searched across all titles. This alone makes the iPad (tablets in general) an amazing e-reader for business and school.

    So perhaps we wait another year and see where these numbers stand.

  • http://StephanieChandler Stephanie Chandler

    I have an iPad and a Kindle and prefer reading books on the Kindle because it’s lighter and it doesn’t have a glare. I love my iPad for reading news sites, watching movies on airplanes, and online shopping! The iPad is also great for kids. My 4-year old reads ebooks with it, and also plays games and watches movies–makes road trips a breeze!

  • http://M.E.Anders M.E. Anders

    Practical method to determining my PAR statement. I’m bookmarking this post for future reference for my marketing strategy. Thanks!

  • http://DonnaSwanson Donna Swanson

    The biggest problem I’m having with pods is there extravagant pricing. And, even if you take the least expensive you can manage, they keep after you to but promotions and marketing tools which cost as much and many times more than you spent on the original publishing package.
    Mainline publishers don’t want to take a chance, so authors are left to the pod hounds.

  • http://StephenGoldberg Stephen Goldberg

    eBooks would sell much better if amazon offered better terms for publishers. Presently amazon is providing publishers only a 35% royalty for books priced more than $10. Amazon will provide the publisher a higher royalty if the books are priced less than $10. This makes it difficult for publishers of more expensive books, such as professional textbooks to enter into an agreement with amazon. Supposedly, the publisher would profit from low priced eBooks since there would be greater distribution around the world, but until there are real statistics as to the degree eBooks will sell around the world, it will be difficult for many publishers to enter the eBook market.

  • http://LuAnnZettle LuAnn Zettle

    Not only does Amazon need to restructure their royalty scale, Amazon and the rest of the ebook world (Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc) all need to get on the same page as to the format used for ebook distribution. Right now different distribution venues are using different formats for electronic devices and it’s a nightmare– Kindle, Nook and Sony readers should all be the same format for publishing to.

  • http://TheresaM.Moore Theresa M. Moore

    Essentially what this means is that Amazon is now in direct competition with me to sell my own books. It also means that in the long run Amazon will most likely begin edging out other publishers in favor of its own imprints instead of allowing others to sell through its bookstores. I am now glad I just removed all Amazon links from my site because I can’t sell books as long as Amazon dominates the book market. Maybe now readers will begin exploring other sites like mine. If Amazon is going to enter the publishing field it had better do better at selling than hyping. Their constant changes to their selling model for selling books is driving us authors and publishers crazy.

  • http://DavidDalka David Dalka

    What exactly defines a “Kindle book” anyway? (i.e. Does it include 2 page articles for 99 cents?) If so, is comparing this to real books from Random House, Basic Books, Hyperion, Harvard University Press or Wiley a fair comparison or is it more of an apple to oranges comparison?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  • http://JohnPatrickGrace John Patrick Grace

    Amazon’s aggressive bid to “take over publishing” has not at all been welcomed by existing publishers,
    of whatever size, from what I’ve been able to see. The publishing world has descended into a wholly new level of chaos from the traditional zoo described in that classic New Yorker piece years ago by Ken Auletta, entitled “The Impossible Business.”
    I expect to see serious pushback from the industry, including agents, authors and bricks and mortar booksellers, as well as publishers. New models are definitely needed — models that will protect books from the current takeover onslaught from Amazon.

  • http://Ryan Ryan

    I understand that, while iPad adoption skew’s male, actual ebook sales and ebook reading on the iPad skews female. Is that true (if so, this chart may be misleading)?

  • http://LyndaWilliams Lynda Williams

    Exciting to see evidence of rising readership. Always found it hard to believe reading was going to become extinct. At SOME point people have to get their fill of quick and visual and want to work with other parts of their brains. The huge interest in writing, too, suggests we do have those other brain parts. :-)

  • http://TheresaM.Moore Theresa M. Moore

    It is not so much a matter of publishing companies becoming irrelevent as publishing companies being unwilling to take the kind of risks which would quicken their catalogs and keep them relevent; like being willing to accept new and veteran authors for consideration based on the worth of the work, not by subjective criteria like future revenues and guaranteed sales. The fact is that many classic authors self-published because they had already run the gamut of publishers and were frustrated by the results. It was only when these same authors began to show meaningful sales that the major publishers wanted to reprint their books. This backward approach to finding new content is exactly why authors don’t feel confident that their work will be seen by the public if they rely on the old system, which is both time consuming and fruitless for a majority of them.

    Years ago, I tried it myself with one novel. Today, 35 years later, I have published 13 books myself over the course of 5 years, and yet I am looked at as an “amateur” by those who can’t see past the inkwell. I make every effort to prepare and print my fully edited galleys in as professional a manner as possible. I do not regret my decision to self-publish but don’t see myself in competition with the big six. I see myself as an entrepreneur with a product to sell.

  • http://MarvDunkiel Marv Dunkiel

    Well done. Marv

  • http://ChrisBoyer Chris Boyer

    Michael, thanks for another informative blog. I was actually glad to hear some of these statistics. As an avid reader and publishing type of many years, I’m open to all forms of making the written word available to as many people as possible.

  • http://JimLichtenberg Jim Lichtenberg

    Michael, very interesting look at Amazon statistics and problems for major booksellers. One point, there seems to be a bit of new wind in the sales for independent bookstores, who can really target their customer niche, whether geographic, or genre,…or both. The sky is falling… sort of, I guess is you bottom line.

  • http://GregMiller Greg Miller

    I think you meant that Palin claimed that Revere warned the British “also,” your article seems to suggest she claimed Revere warned the Bristish and not the colonists.

    Back to the BEA – The other interesting thing at the BEA was the Harvard prof’s study that showed that students were predominantly reading books on their laptops and PCs and a large segment still purchased the hard copy book because they could resell it. That study was only 6 months old and could get interesting if they update it each year. I was amazed at the number of students who took their course book out of the library for the semester.

    One thing I noticed this year, though, was the anxious panic at the beginning of the eBook inroads last year being replaced this year by a more calm acceptance. Michael, do you think that is either the anxiousness dissipating or a fatalistic resignation to doom?

    PS: I’ve heard 4th graders who think we won our independence in Vietnam and a teenager who was happy when MASH had its final episode so those poor people could come back from Korea. [they thought the war was still raging in 1983]

    By the way, is our current president still planing to visit all 57 states as he promised or was it only after the troops returned from Afghanistan by that August 2008?

  • http://DavidAubrey David Aubrey

    Good article Michael

  • http://DonnaSciacca Donna Sciacca

    Bravo Michael and thank you. I always enjoy your honesty and your wonderful sense of humor.

    In the famous words of Bowie, “Cha…Cha…Cha…Changes!”

  • http://KittyAxelson-Berry Kitty Axelson-Berry

    Do you think the tension between e-publishing and book publishing might eventually find similar equilibirum to big banks/small banks, big-box stores/mom-and-pop stores?

    Where I live (Amherst, MA), a lot of people thrive on direct communication and tactile experiences. Our downtown mom-and-pop banks and stores are doing relatively well — no worse than here-now, gone-tomorrow chain stores in the nearby malls.

    It took about 15 years for the tension between the malls/big-box stores and downtowns/small stores to resolve.

  • http://MichaelWeinstein Michael Weinstein

    Thanks for clarifying Palin’s comment, and if you could EVER clarify Obama’s 57 states comment that would be REALLY impressive. And do explain to the families of those 5 Americans that died in Iraq last week that we’re done there…. As for ebooks, I guess it’s up to each of us whether it’s acceptance or resignation. I read print books and ebooks. I see benefits to ebooks, but am judging the Gold Ink Awards next week. I think it’s great that there are more choices, more ways all of us to get the content. My biggest concerns remain with publishing, printing, etc industries figuring out (more quickly) how to adapt.

  • http://Michael Michael

    Thanks for your comment. I guess the frustration that I keep harping on is that, as an industry, we’re allowing these major changes to make us feel like the sky is falling…when it doesn’t have to be that way. Why aren’t the collective “we” making a better shift?

  • http://Michael Michael

    That’s a real good question. I think we see the pendulum swinging in several ways– among them are self-publishing vs large publishers and independent stores vs chains/Amazon. I suspect that self-publishing will continue to fill a niche and the big publishers may become more and more dependent on blockbusters. I feell like a broken record, but I keep thinking that publishers haven’t figured out that new business model.
    I think the last couple of years have sent some people scurrying back to smaller banks. I seem to recall Arianna Huffington even starting a campaign to push that. I think there will be a balance achieved between independent stores and the mall stores. The independents still offer so much more.


  • http://DedeCummings Dede Cummings

    Great article, Michael. I, too, was at BEA and was thrilled to get Kay Ryan’s autograph for her new poetry book from Grove Atlantic (you should have been in my line and not Florence Henderson’s!).

    I am with Kitty when she writes about the localvore shopping down in the flatland state of Mass. I live in Vermont, Brattleboro, specifically, where there are like 4 bookstores in a one block radius–astounding! (One bookstore, The Book Cellar, just burned down, sadly, but they are reorganizing and have another store, Bartelby’s in another town nearby at least.) Here, in our bucolic hamlet, small-artsy town, we thrive on shopping local and buying local, etc.This a major tenet of the farm-to-plate and slow money/slow food movement, which I whole heartedly endorse with many of my fellow citizens, not only in Southern Vermont, but in all areas of our country–pockets of change are surely sprouting up along with a plethora of farmers’ markets…..

    I am glad to get the stats from you, Michael–I don’t see that many people with Kindles and Nooks–I mostly see dog-eared and coffee-stained books with folded pages and pages buckling from getting wet in canoes and stuff. i also would love to see the audio book market stats–I love listening to a good book on my iPhone when I walk 5 miles a day (really, which my dogs!). That is the way to go! I am listening to The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao lately having just finished The “Guernsey” Book–all well-read and wonderful if you get a good actor/actress to listen to. This market is a good one in my opinion!

    Don’t forget the self-publishing market. While I have lost some bigger clients, like McGraw-Hill, Wisdom, and Houghton-Mifflin, I have gained some great independent publishers who are making what i can only call “books made with mindfulness.” Take, for example, the book I produced last year, The Meditative Gardener. it won not only the Ben Franklin Award, but the Nautilus Award, the Indie Book Award, and the Eric Hoffer. The book was self-published, and used only post-consumer waste paper made using WIND POWER (caps my emphasis, sorry!), and printed by a local, family-owned Vermont printer. We used some iStock photos, but most were from three area photographers–all editing, proofing, etc. done in Vermont and Mass….. so, you see, there is a small, locallvore movement going on with books, too. I wonder how Chelsea Green is doing? They declined the BEA (a mistake I think, but I can see why as the Javits doesn’t’ seem to be leading the “green” charge when it comes to conventions)—I think, but not necessary to turn one’s back on the book publishing industry. I think working together is the way to go, and encourage the Indie booksellers, the NEIBA-like groups around the country, etc. to buy local and read local …. I also designed and produced regional mystery writer, Archer Mayor’s new and successful self-publishing venture for his Joe Gunther Mystery books…. again, all a local affair, and he has a very loyal customer/reader base and continues to sell books. . . . Look at David Godine, another client of mine: The guys sells book out of his station wagon, and publishes quality books, and had a recent Nobel prize-winner. in my humble opinion, people love good quality books that are properly sourced. You should feel how great The Meditative Gardener feels in your hands (how can I send you a copy?)—people WANT to pick it up and read it. Kindle just isn’t there and until I find a program the emulates the feel of the pages and the colors (LED display is not yet accurate and even the iPad and Nook are hard to read out-of-doors, I am sticking with sustainably-produced books of the highest standards including writing and editing and indexing …. things a computer just cannot do, I might add.

    As far as literacy in concerned, this is an awful fact! Maybe these publishers should fund the book mobiles instead and Head Start literacy programs!

    Sorry, I wrote for so long, but I feel passionate about this and am a member of Bookbuilders of Boston, where I saw this post! Keep up your great writing, Michael and thanks.

  • http://PeggyNewmark Peggy Newmark

    I love spending hours at Borders or Barnes and Noble reading first chapters of novels to see if I should invest in them and then sharing the books I enjoy with my friends…..I love going to our local library where I see my friends browsing the smell of the newly printed pages and eventually donating them to my library because they have run out of funds to buy books. It is a sad time for the book store and for the people who have had so much enjoyment of visiting them and for those who never will.

  • http://M.E.Anders M.E. Anders

    Thanks for sharing this news with us writers. How does one pitch story ideas to the Fiction Express?

  • http://kerimiksza keri miksza

    Great article.

    Inkling is another Bookish investment project. And I also question the logic of investing in a site like that. But printed books seem to be treated as loss leaders by Walmart and Amazon (much like how Best Buy treats CDs and DVDs). Maybe investing in these type of sites is a better approach to keep some sort of value in books for publishers. It should be interesting to see how it shakes out.

    The stats you presented are great, though a quick snapshot that will change month to month now (we’ve been waiting for this to happen for over a decade now, right?). Here’s my barometer – my mother. My mom, the classic early majority adopter, asked for an iPad for Mother’s Day so that she can read books and carry around photos of her grandchildren and check her email. However, she is an avid library person. She hardly ever purchases books. Though, I still think she is a good personal barometer on the state of paper vs electronic.

    And now, at the coffee shop out here in Lafayette, Colorado, (my office away from my home office), I don’t see people reading paper books anymore. Printed newspapers, yes. iPads for the books while they drink their sustainably grown, fair trade, organic coffee. The gals in my book club (aka wine club) share their Kindle books. In my husband’s undergrad and grad classes, no one takes notes on paper anymore. All of his readings are in PDF format. He just purged 5 filing drawers of articles since they’re all online now and grad students have tagged them so that they are properly searchable making the content even more valuable than when it was in print.

    I would like for the big players in the publishing industry to push ebooks on the consumers (certain titles only available in ebook form – especially college textbooks since the youngsters are most comfortable with reading on screen) and bring the books, cards, wrapping paper and other paper products sold in the U.S. but printed in China and elsewhere back to the U.S. presses. And have them printed responsibly (lead free ink, recycled paper, alternative power). Wouldn’t that be nice?

  • http://RoseRummel-Eury Rose Rummel-Eury

    Hi Michael. You can probably imagine that vendors like MPS are eagerly anticipating the actual release of the toolkit!


  • http://TimMcGuire Tim McGuire


    Could you coment on an aspect of Epub3 that has been described as the ability to embed the print book text fonts for those eBook users who want to maintain the print book layout for books with rich typography ?

    How is this compatible with the ability to reflow the text to fit various screen sizes ranging from smart phones thru tablets ?

    And will Amazon simply strip all that out when they convert EPub3 to Mobi ?

    I heard on a webinar today that EPub3 will be ready for use by late Summer 2011, yet many basic questions remain .


  • http://Michael Michael

    Thanks, Tim. I went straight to the source (Bill Kasdorf) for the response: Yes, embedding fonts is encouraged for creators of EPUBs, and EPUB 3 compliant reading systems are required to use them. (The two font formats _mandated_ by EPUB 3 are Open Type and WOFF—only those two formats are required to be supported.) Kindle obviously is not an EPUB 3 compliant reading system, and they will not use the embedded fonts. As for reflowing, that’s a separate question entirely. The font is where you get the glyphs that render the Unicode, but they don’t have anything to do with the layout, and of course fonts do have the ability to resize. The basic answer, then, is when those various smart phones and tablets become EPUB 3 compatible, they’ll use the embedded fonts, but just as with the Kindle, if they’re not representing themselves as EPUB 3 compatible they won’t.

  • http://PamC Pam C

    And could you tell us if you’ve heard any possibility of Adobe including this in the next version of Adobe CS5.5 (like 5.5.5?)

  • http://LindaHachfeld Linda Hachfeld

    This commentary was a wonderful summary of what needs to happen when first approaching a client. It’s important to understand the effort and attitude we need to be in to set the stage.You teased out a number of “how tos” to stay on course to help resolve the client’s problems while solving our own.

  • http://TheresaM.Moore Theresa M. Moore

    My problem is that right now I have 12 books published with a raft of formats of ebooks, all of which are NOT selling at all because Amazon casts a glare on the whole industry. I would like people to visit my site and buy directly, because if I don’t sell anything from my own site by the end of the year I am going to stop publishing printed books altogether. It costs money to print them. I could go completely digital and do better, but since Amazon has sucked away all my customers I can’t get any traction. My ebooks are on Kindle and Nook, but apparently nobody is buying ebooks, either, because I suspect everyone is waiting on the debt ceiling issue being resolved. If you can prove to me that people really want to read books I’ll keep going. But it costs me to operate the web site, too. I don’t pity Borders for its failed selling program. I have tried everything and I am in the same boat.

  • http://MichaelN.Marcus Michael N. Marcus

    As long as the self-publishing companies are willing to publish anything that’s not libelous or obscene, and as long as editing is an option in self-publishing packages, all of the bosses’ lofty comments are bulls**t.

    These companies make most of their money by selling services and trinkets to author-customers, not by selling books to readers. Therefore, they make more money if they keep publishing crap.

    Lulu’s boss Bob Young said, “We publish a huge number of really bad books.” He doesn’t have to publish bad books. He chooses to.

  • http://Brittany Brittany

    I believe Createspace is one of the best, because what they have done with Author RAYMOND STURGIS books is phenomenal.

  • http://TQ TQ

    Or just post it all on a blog? It’s a digital desert it’s true – but then again, that’s life. Literature has no extrinsic value in any case. Keep living, keep reading, keep working at putting it all in writing – and wait for death, that’s all we can do. Cheers!

  • http://BrendanCoyne Brendan Coyne

    Why is this ill-informed colum in a publication aimed at people in the book industry? While e-books may not have all of the same specific “cost factors” as a printed book, the expense to publishing houses of producing e-books is close enough to that of bound books as to render the difference meaningless. Professor Romano’s claim to the contrary is a disservice to book publishers and is the sort of comment that leads consumers to think that e-books should be drastically cheaper than, say, a paperback version of the same book. It, in fact, contributes directly to his true statement in the last sentence of that same paragraph that “Consumers balk at paying a high price for an e-book that cannot be shared or read on different readers.”

    I’ll cede that a cloth-bound book is expensive to produce and that the cost of creating an electronic version with the same content is lower, though not by as much as Professor Romano implies. Paperbacks, on the other hand, are much cheaper to create and the plant cost of making paperbacks and the production cost of the electronic version are virtually indistinguishable, save for storage costs and the taxes charged to the physical object.

    As to the “cost factors,” professionally produced e-books still must be acquired, copyedited, designed, typeset, marketed, and sold. The professionals who do this work need to be compensated and the offices in which they work, the computers and other equipment they use, and a whole host of other physical things have to be paid for. This all happens long before any given book is published and those expenses exist not matter what the format of the final product that reaches the consumer.

    As to Professor Romano’s complaint about people being unable to share or transfer e-books to a different device, well that is misleading as well. I can read any of my Kindle books on any device that is able to connect to the internet and download Amazon’s app. Additionally, Amazon allows one to lend Kindle books to anyone else who has a Kindle or is able to download the app []. B & N has the LendME service and websites such as allow one to share e-books from different platforms. People have been able to get e-books through public libraries for some time now and even Amazon is finally making their proprietary format available to library users.

    The more I think about it, the more I wonder why on earth this piece was published by a magazine called Book Business. It certainly makes me question the worth of any of the other articles I read here.

  • http://CarolynO'Brien Carolyn O’Brien

    Schedules and fees associated with the acquisition, development, copyediting, art creation, design, composition, countless rounds of review for accuracy are all major players in the cost factors of a book — print or electronic.
    The authors statement ” it is disingenuous for publishers to price e-books near print book prices” because delivery costs factors may not be the same is, at best, misinformed.

  • http://Shevi Shevi

    Thank you for your interesting–and even funny–post. I’ve shared it on my Scoop.It page: “the ebook experiment.”

    While publishers have acted as gatekeepers over the last century, they haven’t always made the best choices. The writer of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, committed suicide over the despair he felt because he simply couldn’t find a publisher who would accept his work. A survey by Science Fiction writer Jim C. Hines found it took the average published writer ten years to get a first book published, and there’s no doubt in my mind that many great writers give up before they even get that far. Yet publishers pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for awful books by celebrities who can’t write worth a dime.

    Now thanks to e-books, the tables have turned. Great writers don’t need to wait ten years for a publisher to tell them their work is worth something. Unfortunately, this also means the floodgates have opened to everyone, untalented writers included. But it also means readers have a great choice than ever before, and that’s a wonderful thing.

  • http://LexiRevellian Lexi Revellian

    Hmm…so publishers have noticed that some self-publishers are doing rather well, have they? And their response is to muscle in and tell us how they can help – so they can ‘make new revenue’.

    Do you know, I’m not that interested in the advice of people who turned down my novel that has gone on to sell 29,000 copies in under a year. I’ve actually had enough of being patronized and turned down. I’m not interested in Barton’s tools (what IS he talking about?) Nor do I see it as a ‘digital desert’ out there – it’s lush and green and full of possibilities after the arid wastes of agents’ slush piles. Nor do I want to play in Penguin’s Book Country; not when I can be doing the real thing, out in the real world, on Amazon.

    Make me a serious offer which will get my novels into book stores before they disappear, and you might interest me. Otherwise, I’ll pass.

    Lexi Revellian

  • http://DianeMancher Diane Mancher

    Published & aspiring authors should check out The Self-Publishing Book Expo (, which will be held in NYC on Saturday, October 22nd. Self-published authors can exhibit & sell books, check out services provided by some of the leading self-publishing companies & attend a series of panels & lectures on topics vital to all authors & writers on a variety of topics. Some of this year’s panels include “What’s Your Story?” where writers will have the opportunity to pitch book ideas to agents & editors, One-on-One manuscript evaluations, social networking, website design, legal issues & much, much more!

  • http://WP WP

    Wow, if anyone needs to be sued, it should be Amazon who is a bully and doing pricing shenanigans.

  • http://Tracy Tracy

    This is crazy, shouldn’t the publisher have the right to price their product at what they feel is the fair market value. If someone doesn’t want to pay the price they can still find good reads in the bargain aisle.

  • http://SandyThatcher Sandy Thatcher

    In both music and book publishing, the empowerment of the author by technology that enables direct contact with the consumer potentially affects how businesses operate, from being content owners (via transfer of copyright) under the old model to being suppliers of services (editing, design, marketing, distribution, etc.) under the new model. Some creators will opt for buying all the services, while others will opt for only some. The new model will put more pressure on publishers to be competitive across the board in what they can offer authors, potentially raising the level of quality of these services or at least offering a range of service levels at different price points.

  • http://FrancisHamit Francis Hamit

    This suit overlooks a basic fact: Amazon does not set those prices. They give an incentive for publishers such as myself to observe them for the e-books we upload to their system. However, we can set any price we want up to $200.00 per copy (appropriate for some technical titles wiht very low demand). Therefore it is the publishers who control the price and the suit has no merit.

  • http://BarbaraKittle Barbara Kittle

    A fitting tribute to Paul and the Guild and all that you and others have done. Also a very good reminder of what still needs to be done–and what we can do about it!

  • http://jamescrumley james crumley

    hey michael . . . well done! for the humor, the clear and sobering statistics, and the refreshing dismissal of questions such as “the death of print” when juxtaposed with so many people still unable to read even an old-fashioned eye-exam chart, thank you. . . . as they say: if you want to stop digging yourself deeper into a hole, throw away the shovel. sounds like the Guild is working to do exactly that with respect to illiteracy.

  • http://PaulStanley Paul Stanley

    Thank you Michael – what a lovely surprise to open this article and see your comments. You have been a strong supporter too and I really wanted to acknowledge that to everyone – with you around it was always easy to be motivated and honestly once one physically sees the difference we make in people’s lives through our grass roots efforts one gets hooked! In a good way…

    I would also like to add Greg Fagan to the list of ‘honorees” as such – he too has been there through thick and thin without him there would be no players out there each year for our wonderful softball extravaganza. Greg left NY a few years ago and still makes the sojourn each year from Washington DC to continue his undying support.

    Please folks if you can help in anyway there is so much to do as Michael rightly states – funding just gets harder and harder to find in the support of all the wonderful programs and outreach of the LAC. If you think your company would like an affiialtion to literacy – call Elyse Rudolph at the LAC – 212 803 3300. We need all the support we can get!

    Just a little correction to Michael’s message – I am still with Courier until the end of September and wish to thank them too for their support of my involvement over the years!

  • http://PamelaSchubert Pamela Schubert

    I have had the same problem, even with a protective covering, I have had to go through 3 (yes 3) kindles, all because of the screen freezing. I have decided to leave kindle alone, and just fork over the money for an IPAD 2. At least they now have an app for Kindle, and all my books are stored on my pc, so I will not lose them, but it is still a sad fact of the corporate world, when a company cannot provide you with a reliable product. None of my kindles lasted more than 3 mos before the screen cracked. I am now $600 in the “hole” so to speak, when I could have just bought a decent IPAD 2 for the same price…lesson learned

  • http://PaulJGardner Paul J Gardner

    Thanks Brian! I’m headed to read the rest of your posts on this now, as large quantity sales will likely be a challenge for my young startup in the near future!

  • http://J. J.

    It really helped me to come across your posting about Ruth Chew. Her works are absolutely delightful, and are very dear to my heart. I devoured every book I could find as a grade schooler. I am quite saddened to read that these books remain out of print. They are gems and should be readily available.

  • http://MarvDunkiel Marv Dunkiel

    Great article. Recently, I was with our daughter and her 3 1/2 year old son. Our daughter ( a stay at home teacher for now, also has 2 Master Degrees in Education) has an iPhone and numerous apps. The 3 1/2 year old picked up the phone and picked out a app he liked and started reading a picture book. Yes, he does like the printed book also, but, he is becoming familiar with the delivery of content and will have no fear to adapt to whatever content delivery system comes down the road in his life.

  • http://BarbaraKittle Barbara Kittle

    Thanks, Michael–as always–you have a way with words. Another term we need to rethink–“prepress” vendor–. It ties in with what you say–its not only about getting content ready to “go to press” is it? Maybe we need to start calling them “content management” vendors or something like that….

  • http://TomPlain Tom Plain

    The book’s legacy of ink on paper notwithstanding, I once heard someone define a book as a collection of material with a point too great or complex to make in a shorter work such as an article, short story, or essay. I wish I had the exact wording.

    A book is more than just a collection of facts and information. We can get that from a Google search. A book as an intellectual work pulls together the relevant information, filters out the irrelevant, documents its sources, and makes its conclusion. A good book presents the author’s concept, endorsed by the authority of the publisher, with an editor protecting the reader’s viewpoint. Eliminate one of those three and the book is less “good.”

    This may not answer “What is a book?”, but I think it speaks to the value of what a book is and why it is a favored means of education.

  • http://VictorCurran Victor Curran

    The physical book, with its sturdy binding, was created to preserve content for generations. We have traditionally chosen that format to deliver ideas and stories we think of as timeless. Ephemeral media (newspapers, magazines) were the vehicle for content that we wanted to get right away (weather, football scores, what the candidates said at last night’s debate) but might have no use for next week.
    We still call certain types of content “books” even though we might read them on the same device we use to get weather and football scores. We do that because we recognize documents that we want to have at hand next week, next year, next century.
    Will publishers redefine books this way? What are the implications for how we deliver book content, and how readers pay for and use book content?

  • http://Prema Prema

    Michael, I totally agree with you, book in today’s context, its just another delivery format. Since the context of book is just another deliverable then design for all deliverables becomes important. Recently we did a session for the editors and production controllers from a trade publisher on design for eBook and book. Publishers need to transform the publishing production process to map the production process for the new devices. I think the hardest transition is going to be for for the content production teams at the publishing houses. I am excited to be part of this new phase and be part of this transition.

  • http://SandyThatcher Sandy Thatcher

    So, one wonders what the functional difference between buying and borrowing a Kindle book is, if one can save notes, etc., and re-borrow a book multiple times. Why would anyone, given these circumstances, EVER buy a book? For all practical purposes, a borrowed book is as good as a purchased book, no? — Sandy Thatcher(former university press director)

  • http://RichardHollick Richard Hollick

    I like your blog — always interesting.
    I did a post on this topic myself: less in-depth as you can see if you visit
    I hope the link works.

  • http://Dee Dee

    As a little girl I loved reading all the witch books. I always wanted to find a magic button or to be friends with a witch like the characters in her stories. I teach second grade and read her books to my class. They all love them. Even the boys ! They are all sad to hear that they can no longer purchase these books. I would love for them to come back into print so my the children in my class could keep reading .

  • Blaser

    rent textbooks? that could be a lifesaver!

  • Philip

    Libraries — the original form of cloud computing.

  • John Grøtting

    Digital cookbooks will gain tremendous popularity. The whole non-fiction space where there is some learning aspect is better suited to digital than print. However, the existing option of producing a cookbook in eBook format or as an app is just a stop-gap solution. The most important aspect of having a cookbook in a digital format is the ability to search across books. This requires a new kind of thinking.

  • Anne-Le French Book

    I wonder when people will stop thinking less of e-books than they do of p-books. The most interesting part of just about any book is the content, not the format it comes in. I agree with Ian Hudson, and the goal of any publisher should be "to provide readers as much choice as possible by making … books available wherever they want, and in whatever format they choose."

  • Dave Bricker

    Thank you so much for writing an article that goes beyond the typical hardware shootouts and lists of technical options. The dangers of vendor lock-in are important but rarely considered. Consumers are blinded by the neon glow of must-be-paid-for apps that distract from the free, crippled content available in mobile browsers.

    If you’ll permit me to share some relevant content with your readers, I wrote an article about the iPad and the new Kindle Fire that considers that same perspective at

    Of related interest is Adobe’s strategy of rolling the technology of Flash Player directly into HTML5 and webkit. The world stopped reading after Adobe said it would discontinue mobile Flash Player and paid no attention to the rest of the announcement. With their proprietary technologies blocked by apple, Adobe is contributing them directly to standards-based technologies and by reference, to ePub3. See The possibilities for remarkable flash-like experiences within eBooks will be of particular value to educational texts where interactive "sidebars" can facilitate faster and learning.

    As a designer, I have long been frustrated with ePub’s limitations, but I am enthusiastic about the possibilities for better layout and typography in ePub3. I am already planning new books around the format’s capabilities. But as a small publisher, I am greatly interested in preserving the freedoms of speech and expression that the Internet has brought to the common writer. Gone are the days when writers required the blessings of a New York publishing conglomerate to push their work into the stream. Even with all the shoddy stuff that comes off the self-publishing presses, the newfound opportunity for the common writer to produce excellent works that inspire, engage, inform and entertain must be guarded carefully.

    Dave Bricker

  • Mike Williams

    Well Said, Michael!

  • HatticusFinch

    Same browsing behavior with newspapers: when I read news online, I go right to the item I want to read about. When I open the NY Times on Sunday morning, I read all kinds of things I wasn’t looking for and get lots of good ideas. Afterwards, I line my cage with it.

  • Todd Ware

    Books may offer a slick embossed, diecut, spot varnished cover but new ePub 3 versions will counter with video, audio, social interaction and 3D rendering to sell the buyer. If I want to feel the cover of a book I can always go to Barnes and Nobles to get my fix……for now.

  • caslon

    Way wrong, there is about to be a surge of sub $100 Android tablets this size that are not tied to any vendor.
    Besides, the main use for these tablets will be for video content and all kinds of people will get in that game.
    People don’t buy these things to shop.

  • Milton

    and then people discovered that they are in bondage with Amazon or Barnes and Noble and that they don’t really own their ebooks but are chained to a station to read them on one device and not share them and not copy them. When the newest shiny electronic thingy shows up and asks them to buy all their books again in another format because their format will now be a "dead" and unsupportable format. They’ll cry like the eight-track, zip-disk, Beta-max loving suckers of yesteryear. A grumpy old person will turn to them and smugly say. Do you want to borrow my copy of the book? Ebooks reminds me of what happened to cars when they invented car leases. Why buy something when you can "subscribe" to it and keep paying for it forever?

  • Jim_Sturdivant

    Given the last comment, I have to wonder what percentage of the four- and five-star reviewers are Amazon Prime customers.

  • Gary

    I did a quick survey of book stores and found that *every book* on the New York Times Bestseller list was in stock and available for purchase! If a sellout (understocking) is the measure of success, books must be a lost cause.

  • Hershl

    Dream on.

    Real books, as opposed to the digital fast food imitations, will be here long after you and your ilk are six feet under.

    E books and their iterations are here to stay but will never take the place of real books.

  • Lauri

    It isn’t always about greener. Paper mills don’t use trees. that is the lumber business. Most paper mills use the scrap from trees that can’t be used for lumber. Do you have any idea how many paper mills have gone out of business in the last two years? With ebooks, ezines, enewspapers, the demand for paper is shrinking. Printers can no longer get specialty papers. Some towns in the US HAD an economy totally supported by paper mills. No printing, no paper no employment. I don’t think any of us are going to be living in ehouses or sitting on efurniture. It is just part of a larger industry.

    I really wish ebook people would do some research and get off the save the trees platform.

  • Wise one

    Don’t these idiots realize that trees are a sustainable and renewable resource??? Save 8500 trees, what a feel good initiative that has no substance to helping man or nature that lives in our forests. Harvesting trees is one of the best things man can do for forest wildlife. Young/new growth forests support a far more diverse group of animals than old growth forest. Old growth forests are very sterile and do not provide much food or habitat for many animals. They are also a huge risk for wildfires that constantly decimate areas in west. Harvesting trees for paper protects against wildfires and encourages young new growth that the majority of forest dwellers need to survive. Yes, we do need some old growth forest since it does provide some niche habitats for a few creatures but we already have huges tracts of old growth forest that are protected. It is far more beneficial to nature to harvest trees and replace them with new growth on a regular basis.

  • Todd

    Love this post. I think you could be famous if you come up with a name that sticks……… I’m still thinking.

  • cvc

    I’m a physical book lover; call me what you like. Just like you, I couldn’t wait to go on press checks just to get a fix of the smells and sounds; nothing like it. Added to that, the excitement in holding in your hands the initial books coming off the binder. EBooks, how about FakeBooks.

  • Krislee

    Great blog as usual, Michael. If anyone has been at the forefront of the development of new ways to read the written word, it’s you. SO . . . I defer to you to come up with a new term. hehe.

  • Brian Howard

    New commentary from publishing vet/Book Business blogger Michael Weinstein. We need a new name for books. Ideas?

  • ProPodder

    No need to come up with a new word. The public has already proclaimed their new generic term for an ebook… they just call it a Kindle.

    Move over Harley, Kleenex, Xerox and Aspirin

  • Art

    McGraw-Hill posted 5 textbooks on the opening day. Pearson, two and HMH, zero.

  • Boston Bound

    Great read as usual. I am guessing we will keep the old word to discribe the new format. A film is still a film and musicians still cut a record so we will still read books no mater the format.

  • Julie Hoey

    Wow, nice move, Houghton…!

  • TeriHeyer

    Thanks for a very informative post. As a reader and an indie author, I’m excited about the anticipated growth in the ebook industry.

  • Theodore Savas

    My gut instinct is that this will not be good for publishers. Amazon will suck in authors, sell their material, publish traditionally (my guess) some books in the future, etc. That giant sucking sound you hear, to paraphrase Ross Perot from 1992, is the piece by piece methodical destruction of traditional publishing. That can’t be good because Amazon is becoming a major gatekeeper and pricing powerhouse that eventually will mean the loss of choice for both authors and consumers. If the others chains were thriving, I would say fine. But they are not, and I am not enthusiastic about Barnes and Noble’s ability to weather the coming storm. And for Borders . . . oh that’s right. There is no Borders.

  • Theodore Savas

    These are two good companies. But for my money as a publisher, McNaugton and Gunn still produce the best hardcover books with wonderful customer service. While we print on occasion with others, we have been with M&G for 20 years and other than on one occasion (which M&G made good immediately), we have always been satisfied.

  • Susannah Greenberg PR

    Great article and historical research and the Moneyball analogy to book publishing seems right up unto a point. Facts are good. Algorithms are good. Data is good. They provide sound guidance and indeed the book industry has in the past suffered from a lack of real hard data on book sales to evaluate itself. And it is true that companies like Amazon are rocking the book world with their data driven approach, sometimes disproving old assumptions about readership and book buying. However, with regard to books, ideas, and culture: what about the emergence of new ideas, forms, and voices? Aren’t algorithms and data based on stats from what is past? Then I think there won’t be an algorithm to support writing that is daring, provocative, controversial, unpopular, shocking or just new. To support the new, there would have to be editorial vision to support it, to nurture it, to grow it until there is a following and that audience may only extend in time and not be immediate. Have there not been so many artists and writers who were not appreciated in their own lifetimes but only much later? Isn’t it important to publish them even if they don’t sell well right away or maybe ever? With all due respect to the usefulness of data and algorithm, let’s not throw away the baby with the bathwater. Editorial vision, looking ahead of current or recent trends to the future, is not analogous to a baseball scouts favoring ballplayers based on how they looked or moved or whether they had ugly girlfriends.

  • Maryan Pelland

    I was one of Amazon’s very first customers – in fact, they sent me a ballpoint pen for Christmas one of their first years in business. I loved them. Shopped Amazon for almost everything for years. Now, I find they don’t listen to readers, customers, or authors. Their pricing on many items in Prime, which is supposed to give free shipping, is higher than the same items non-Prime. It’s concealed shipping. The company appears not only to hold a lot of the market share, they’ve ceased to remember or care how they got there. Am about done with Amazon, I fear.

  • Jill Little

    Excellent viewpoint, Michael. Thank you for putting it out there. JL

  • Heather Savage

    I do order from Amazon purely out of laziness. I like the one step purchase. However, as a publisher I find that they are late with their payments and tax forms, demand exclusivity in their lending that once entered cannot be changed and have other such demands. It is a delicate balance and one to be considered carefully. Sometimes the exposure they provide makes the limitations worthwhile. Other times, they just make me crazy. Whenever I can, I go to my local bookstore, Reading Frenzy. They order anything I want and have it free of shipping costs within a week. Beats Amazon plus it’s greener (share packaging/shipping with the other orders). Go indie bookstores and publishers! –Heather Savage, Staccato Publishing

  • Tom Plain

    Cheapest is not always best.

  • TeXer

    I still can’t believe I am reading an article online that tells it like it is, almost everything you read on this topic is written by an apologist. I work for a small non-profit and we also suffer from an inability to get rid of the leeches. Thank you so much for calling people out on their theft.

  • Laura Hulscher

    Thanks for this readable, information-packed overview – I’ll be coming back to it as a reference.

  • James Chitakunye

    Comprehensive oversight of trends and market stats. I enjoyed analysis by Dr. Bror Saxberg (Kaplan). Very insightful – it’s not the devices or technology users are after, but intuitive processes. Similar to the workplace environment, businesses are begining to introduce Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) policies, simply because the devices used by employees tend to be more intuitive than the office machines.

  • James Chitakunye

    Dr. Bror Saxberg (Kaplan). Very insightful – it’s not the devices or technology users are after, but intuitive processes. Similar to the workplace environment, businesses are begining to introduce Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) policies, simply because the devices used by employees tend to be more intuitive than the office machines.

  • Michael Jahn

    it is Amazons store.

    If you do not like the terms, you are always free to set up you own store.

  • Tom Plain

    This is a big deal, no?

  • djm1966

    So now the questions are, 1) will Amazon change their terms with their KDP clients? and 2) will they cave to the censorship imposed by the credit card customers and their indignant moralization?

  • djm1966

    Sorry. Autocorrect got me. That should read "credit card companies".

  • Mark MacKay

    Should writer’s be able to earn a living wage? Do readers forget the people write what they’re reading on their Kindle? An e-book isn’t created by an e-person. It’s written by someone who needs to eat, stay warm and feed cats or kids.

  • justawriter

    This is an excellent article. I have published my frst MG novel both in print and e-book format and have sold more e-books than hard copy. I was seriously considering e-publishing the second book to ‘see how it goes.’ This article has convinced me it’s a good move.

  • Uva_Be

    Do authors have a choice? I didn’t sign the exclusive contract, and other e-book retailers don’t seem to sell books. Also most readers of e-books depend on reviews generated by Amazon. So? what do we do now?

  • Mindsinger

    I just read this article and was pleasantly surprised by the overall approval of digital publishing. I just began the process of publishing with Create Space and find it quite simple to do. My ms had been edited, proofed and was print ready, so the only service I’m paying for is the Cover art. Thanks for the info.

  • Carmen Webster Buxton

    I would argue that the big advantage to XML is being able to run easily-available, off-the-shelf tools on XML files. If you’re relying on Word files that merely have a "structure," you are still in danger of the word processing software changing in a way that messes you up. Garbage in, garbage out, and too often when it comes to conversion, Word files are all too often full of garbage. The strength of XML is that you can define rules for the document, like saying every chapter must have a title, and then make sure those rules are followed.

    p.s. The Kindle Touch is still e-ink. The LCD Kindle is the Kindle Fire.

  • jeff

    But did SEO ever really "live" in the first place? If not, then it can’t be dead, and both its life and demise are an illusion, and an expensive one for many. My point being that it didn’t really work for many except for when it seemed to. Scientific studies have shown that apes are decent stock market pickers even though they don’t keep any of the money. What’s cool about the Internet is we can pay ourselves to make a lot of mistakes and learn how to win along the way. Jeff Herman,

  • Kate Olsen

    Hi Gilles,
    Nice post. I was browsing on internet for information on growing trends in digital printing. This post serves as complete guide and discusses ample of helpful information at one place. Some relevant information like difference in figures of self-published and micro-niche books compared to conventional books in 2010 was not in my notice. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

  • Basu Racaja
  • CHECKProz

    The emphasis on quality is encouraging.

  • Davorado

    Yea for Quality! Also making sure people can find that quality content by properly promoting the content in digital formats and offering the premium print channel for those that want it.

  • Katmeis

    Excellent post. Great to hear the industry saying "involve the author in marketing their book; they know their readers." Spot on. This post makes me bummed I could not attend this year’s Publishing Business Conference. Sounds like they are starting the right conversations.

  • Celia Westberry

    Great honest information authors should understand.

  • Theodore Savas

    "With all the entertainement options out there qulaity will lead to success. A lot of frtee content on the web and if consumers are going to pay for content quality will be a deciding factor."

    With spelling like that, one hopes the writer is not in the editing department..


  • patlrob

    Michael, I like and appreciate your optimism. I agree that the sky is not falling. It’s just change isn’t always easy, and in the past three years we’ve experienced more change than ever. The strong and flexible will survive.

  • Marv Dunkiel

    How true, how true this blog is.

  • Winston Porter

    Overall a solid article, but what I find frustrating in discussions about Amazon and anti-trust and bullying is no on ever mentions Amazon’s squeeze on eBooks for independent authors and publishers. That is, they pay out 70% IF your book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, but only 35% if over $9.99. Now, for many books that is fine, but some books have a small audience and take incredible amounts of research. Why shouldn’t you be able charge $19.99 or $29.99 for some books, if that is appropriate. Anyone who answers, "well you don’t have to sell on Amazon if it’s not a good deal," is missing the point of the dangers of a monopolistic-dominant force such as Amazon. I wish more people who discuss this–especially as eBooks become more popular.

  • Tom Hicks

    Thoughtfully written.

  • Tom Hicks

    Thoughtfully written

  • Chris

    Bravo, Michael! A wonderful reminder of what has always been so great about the publishing industry — books! No matter what form they take. You have given me some well-spoken words to share with those who ask me doom-and- dismay questions about the industry. Thanks.

  • Bill P

    Best to date Micheal. Monty Python reference was brilliant!!!!

  • Akfreak

    I am so scared to crack my Kindle I rarely use it. It is like holding a 1/32" thin piece of candy glass. I wish there was some sort of hard case that could protect this dam thing. I have had 3 of them.

  • Fahmeed Hussain

    Publishing is a rapidly changing business, and this comprehensive reference is right in step—covering operations, finances, and personnel management as well as product development, production, and marketing. Written for the practicing professional just starting out or looking to learn new tricks of the trade, this revised and expanded fourth edition ,editing , typing ,publishing , of hebrew books if you need it so i requesetto you kindly you contact for our use or sale contact on this link

  • Michael Wettstein

    Michael Weinstein’s last blog was DEAD ON! We are making more beautiful books than ever and it is wonderful to be part of making them beautiful.

  • Marilyn Mower

    Can you share Marcus Leaver’s comments as promised?

  • Frank

    Great perspective – I come from the technology and equipment side of this, and as this author states much of the electronic ink is sensationalized. And since there are no sensational police around, posting like that does help the poster score revenue by attracting a large(r) reader base.

    Being outside the publishing arena, it is very interesting watching how some of these new verticals are changing your industry (will some future B-Schooler write a case study on "disruptive technology and the publishing industry"?) – as a power iPad user, my input is that I have had it since Christmas and have now bought over a dozen books. Without the device, I probably would have only purchased 1 (Vince Flynn’s new thriller).

    The argument that there are distractions from content – my counter to that could be – Compelling content beats the distraction…so be compelling – and that it is much easier to get back to the content after the distraction is satisfied.

  • Marilyn Mower

    Interesting thoughts about magazines and books

  • ThadMcIlroy

    I like Quittner’s “People want what we do. The audience is immeasurably large.” It’s easy to fall into "zero sum thinking" — just because Facebook is growing doesn’t mean that our opportunity has disappeared — there’s still lots to go around. We need to recalibrate our businesses and move forward.

  • Gene Citrone

    Great work. Keep the trust alive.
    No one needs or wants to be scammed or cheated.

  • fmillmd

    As a new author, I have decided to work with an independent digital publisher distributor who exports to Amazon as well as others. With Amazon I like them for what they do, participate in their avenues that suit me, i.e., do reviews, but I keep them at arms’ length and am not their exclusive property and advise others to do the same.

  • Kinh doanh Sách

    From Book Business

  • eBookNoir

    Oh geez, if Bezos is now tech’s leading philospher and ceo, were in for a world of hurt… Well, it was good while it lasted then….

  • Gary

    The Kindle Fire is a nice tablet but the e-ink models still hold a significant edge as readers. This lighting technology will solve one of the few shortcomings of e-ink — the ability to read in a darkened room without lighting a lamp.

  • Robin Turner

    This is one of the few times that I agree with the goverments actions. . .

  • Robin Turner

    Apple is full of worms and are still on my ‘DO NOT BUY’ list. Not their stock, or their products.

  • Robin Turner

    It’s amazing how many, ‘never heard of them’ indies are great writers. The major’s have always sought to block them from view. Too bad.

  • Eric H. Roth

    "In the long run, we need enduring solutions. Libraries obviously want publishers to thrive. Publishers must want libraries to succeed, too, if they want a "marketing" location for publications (print and digital) in communities all across the country. Libraries contribute to literacy, technology training and marketing, all important elements to success for publishers. For those who cannot afford to buy books, libraries also provide the only access to information, an essential element for an informed democratic society." – Absolutely!

    I’d also suggest that libraries remain centers of authentic communication and sanctuaries for reflection and contemplation. The best libraries also create public spaces where individuals can gather, discuss books, and share their lives in book clubs, author events, and public events. It’s hard to imagine public libraries or publishing companies surviving – let alone thriving – without helping each other in this turbulent era of technological innovation and social change.

    Finally, as a micro-publisher of an English language learner’s conversation textbook, I’ve been pleased that so many libraries have adopted Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics for their conversation clubs for immigrants and non-native English speakers. Helping immigrants feel welcome and join the broader American society seems like a natural extension for public libraries as they continue to evolve and change.

  • JosephRatliff

    Why not ditch the hardcover and just publish the paperback?

    The digital revolution eliminates the need for a "middleman" unless that entity can provide SERIOUS value to both sides. So, the publishing industry needs to adapt, and trying to take a "slice of the pie" isn’t the answer.

  • Serafima Bogomolova

    It’s a great idea and a good start, would be amazing to have more of such e-book subscription sites centered around hobbies and different genres…

  • Tim

    Kind of funny that the Dept. of Justice has still not done much about the housing market crash and Wall Street’s culpability, nor about the oil industry gouging ordinary folks. Transportation, heat ,and housing being just under food in importance to our physical lives.
    But in just a single year’s time, the DOJ has brought and nearly finalized a case against which industry of a size and importance to impact all our lives and bring the nation’s economy to a halt ?
    Ummm…book publishing ?
    Kind of makes you wonder about Obama and Holder’s priorities.

  • Chattanooga Writer

    All of this being said the question remains: Is what they did against the law? Once that is answered then everyone can look at problems that exist — but everything must be done legally.

  • Sherry Shea Jubelirer

    Hi. I was wondering whomever I can contact regarding my first two books, my husband’s book also on and where that person can help us get paid royalities due us for our books when publishers, Xlibris and AuthorHouse don’t keep records of books sold. And we bought more than two copies of our books recently and our publishers don’t show records for that. There is an agency somewhere that
    can help us, I would imagine. I was reading Money Magazine, they mentioned a consumer agency and I will be contacting that agency. We are due royalities! Someone, please advise us. Thank you so much
    and buy our books, they were very fine! Thanks! Jeffrey David Jubelirer and Shea Jubelirer
    Google us, you would love our books!

  • Moe Satriani

    I love this format! I think that it is so easy. I really appreciate the eBooks that you can make yourself online. There are even ones that will let you print it out and choose the perfect binding printing that you want. My children print them out all of the time for themselves and for their grandparents for birthdays and anniversaries.

  • ThadMcIlroy

    This is very helpful: looking forward to part 2.

  • JosephRatliff

    It’s hilarious how companies are focusing on "stopping Amazon"… even when they are using a physical location as a "showroom" (they aren’t — their "showroom" is everywhere in the digital age). Meanwhile, Amazon is continuing on by innovating and improving their business.

  • USAmanufacturing

    The print book industry is primarily a renewable resource. Trees are forested using best practices, and because of Paper Publishing vast tracks of wilderness have not been developed into strip malls. Most Printing facilities recycle everything, and many turn their waste into power.

    Economically, Printed Books are Made in the USA. Paper comes from CANADA and the USA. Not ONE E-Reader or TABLET is made in the USA. They are all made in China. So if you like people in Virginia, Ohio,
    Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan and Indiana working and paying taxes….then it is probably best to read an ink on paper book.

    Finally, when you throw a book away its biodegradable. E-readers not so much.

  • ThadMcIlroy

    Great coverage — I wasn’t able to attend…this certainly makes up for it. Thanks for the link to the slides.

  • http://StanislavFritiz Stanislav Fritiz

    Good article. I cited it in my blog today (, focusing on the fact that one does not SELL, but keeps the focus on information that the end user/reader finds pertinent. Anything else is SPAM. If you flood social media with information nobody wants, then you are noise that gets filtered out.

  • Dave Fessenden

    Making the choice not to include a book in a library’s collection is hardly a ban. The book is still available for sale in those Florida counties, and I would venture to guess that it is even available through inter-library loan. Under this definition, every public library is banning millions of books, because not every book ever published is available.

    Many libraries annually celebrate "Banned Books Week," with displays of books that have been banned by someone at one time or another. During "Banned Books Week" one year, I mentioned to a library worker that the most-banned book in history — the Bible — was not included, but my comment was dismissed. Meanwhile there are people rotting in North Korean jail cells for possession of a Bible.

  • michael cook

    I wanted to go to this event but couldn’t. Great to have your summary.
    Seems to me that in the context of "Big Data" the role of critic should be escalated to "Big Critic".

  • James Moriarty

    I have 15 short stories ready to be published. PROFESSOR MORIARTY’S SHORT STORIES.

  • H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

    Plan / Do / Check / Act!
    Best article I’ve read on publication marketing. Click on it. Read it. DO IT!!
    PS: I’m fix’in to take my own advice on the do it part.

  • Chaittya


    Almost every publisher is trying to build a strategy around digital content management and delivery. From a technology perspective, the development of EPUB standard has helped publishers move quickly into digital publishing. We have recently published blog post on Digital Content Management, do check it out and let us know how you find it:

    Looking forward to read more interesting stuff.

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    This is awesome advice. It’s amazing how we know some things, but having that knowledge reinforced can be inspiring. Your article certainly inspired me. Thanks Brian. Kevin Zimmerman

    Kevin Zimmerman
    A Time For Everything; The Kevin Zimmerman Story, 2nd Edition

  • steveko

    which EPUB? "Based on … HTML5" suggests EPUB3, but since it’s not explicit, one has to wonder. The sample looks good, but doesn’t show enough to be sure

  • Louise Roys

    Maybe if the physical book stores like Barnes and Noble and Borders were actually civil and attentative to customers I’d still be shopping there! I got tired on not only not being able to find the books I wanted on the shelf. but getting obnxious, rude and lazy staff when I asked them to order it for me. I love sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal romance. I got treated like I had the plague or worse. I also buy books in the business, computer and photography catagories. The lack of stock paired with the lack of customer service drove me to an dI am staying. I am a small business owner so I understand the mechanisms of great customer service and the Borders and Barnes and Noble didn’t make the grade.

  • akcoyote

    Regarding your 30,000 cookbook fans, you are dead on if you just send them a notice about your gardening book expecting them to buy it. BUT!

    If you consider them as people who liked your cookbook and therefore you can assume some credibility with them as a book author/publisher it WOULD be profitable to send them a suggestion reading something like this:

    I hope you loved our (name of cookbook here). We loved creating it and now we have a great gardening book that might just be the perfect book for the gardeners in you life. Christmas, birthday, graduation, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day (Hey, it is bound to go over better than a mop or vacuum cleaner, trust me.) or even to just tuck under their pillow if they happen to be living with you.

    Just a thought and as a buyer of our (cooking book) we are going to give you 20% off every copy you buy before (date here). We’ll even gift wrap it and deliver it to their doorstep (the USPS does still deliver to doorsteps).

    This acknowledges their existing relationship with you, doesn’t expect them to want it for themselves, can be ‘cute’ and rewards them for being your customer. In 99% of the cases it will be accepted more as a compliment (we’re assuming they have friends and that is good) even if they don’t buy. Plus if they open this one they will be more likely to open the next one you send announcing Dave Berry’s book on how to BBQ fish.

    This is the voice of experience from a successful guerrilla marketing guru. And worth every penny….

  • lenfeldman

    Eugene, I wish you well on your move back to the West Coast and your new business! I agree with your wrap-up of BEA and the Ben Franklin awards (the latter of which I attended for the first time.) However, I disagree with your contention that book publishing is a "growth" industry again–at least, not yet. Major publishers are treading water–trading lower-margin print book sales for higher-margin eBook sales to make more money on less revenues. The growth is coming from smaller, digital-focused publishers, online retailers (most of which provide self-publishing services,) and some independent service providers.

  • dgruetter

    Great article. I completely agree.

  • Dennis

    Great article

  • http://stanislavfritz stanislav fritz

    I find the comments on POD misleading (or way too vague).

    POD is a business process leveraging digital technology. However, it is also, fundamentally, a printing process in the sense that in a stream of books coming out of a printer there could be ten different titles with ten different books, with no setup inbetween. Digital printing per se is not POD. But, similarly, POD is used too loosely (and I think you use it too loosely). It is BOTH a business model and a printing PROCESS model.

    Simon and Schuster and other large publishers use POD as a technology/process. The issue is that authors and self-publishing confuse POD the process with POD-do it yourself-the business model.

    If you have a PUBLISHER who uses POD, don’t get scared off because of people like the author of this column who use the term POD too loosely.

    National Public Radio (Marketplace I believe) had a reasonable story on this, as have other places. With Simon and Schuster, Random House, and others using POD, don’t get turned off if your publisher uses POD, the technology/printing PROCESS.

    If you SELF PUBLISH and POD, you simply need to understand that the company you deal with for self publishing is most likely using digital printing and can fullfill you needs “on demand.”

    Most bookstores know that your book is using POD because the quantitiy showing up as “available” never changes. Generally speaking, the prejudice against that is fading. What the bookstore really wants to know is what is the wholesale price. This is where you need to be careful. Figure out your costs with POD the business/process and decide if you can drop the wholesale price far enough to accomadate the bookstore.

  • Fiorella DeLima

    Intertaining article and best of luck in your new endeavors. I think the publishing industry is more about survival and resourcefulness rather than "a start-up" or & ‘growth’ industry. I’ve been doing production work now for about 27 years and I find it’s an ever changing landscape, or more like a wild roller coaster ride. Once comfortable with a new technology it immediately becomes absolete and we find ourselves running to catch up to the next. Publishing has been adventurous to say the least.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Uh, haven’t they heard of the Public Knowledge Project’s open-source software for journal publishing? Why pay a company like Scholastica when you can get the software free?

  • Ellen Bilofsky

    Is any of this software accessible? Many of our authors and peer reviewers are blind or visually impaired and can’t use most such systems.

  • Penumbra Publishing

    Since when did this fiasco turn into a lawsuit filed by President Obama? I seriously doubt he said, "Boys, let’s blow the lid off publishing and give my friend Jeff B. another boost." The justice arm of the government does not ask the President’s permission to file a suit of this nature. That’s the attorney general at work.

  • Tom Plain

    This is a succinct summary of this huge problem for the publishing industry. Thanks, Michael.

  • Bufo Calvin

    This statement of yours would seem to be one of the biggest arguments in favor of the DoJ action: "Eliminating competition does not tend to lower prices, does it?" Under the Agency Model, there is no price competition on the same item at different sellers, because there is only one seller (the publisher). That was one of the red flags for the Connecticut Attorney General: the prices were the same at all of the four outlets checked for some New York Times bestsellers. The Agency Model eliminated pricing competition between former retailers, and as you suggest, the prices did go up on some books (notably, the NYT bestsellers).

  • http://stanislavfritz stanislav fritz

    I completely agree with the spirit of this blog/commentary, but unfortunately U.S. says nothing about monopolies being bad per se, only about them abusing their power as a monopoly. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t say anything about consumers getting screwed, the law doesn’t care, unless you get screwed through the action of a monopoly.

    I don’t agree with the DOJ’s conclusions, but I also don’t think that our current monopoly (or patent) laws are up to date. They are hugely antiquated. Look at Amazon’s patenting “one click” or “hiding the last digits of a credit card.” Really, patentable? Unfortunately, yes.

    The free ride for Amazon also includes the tax free havens that it artificially maintained for so long.

    The laws need fixing. The interpretation of the laws may be technically correct, but certainly the decision to enforce them is misguided. Again, I generally agree with the spirit of the commentary. Unfortunately, I believe that we (the industry and the consumer) will end up with the Amazon monopoly and the maximization of profit at all costs at that point. Remember, Amazon’s model is to GROW really fast at the cost of short term profit, but once it slows down on volume growth it will need to start making a significant profit per $ of revenue.

  • http://HHD HHD

    Sounds like a shill for the publishing industry on a rant based upon what he thinks Amazon MIGHT do in the future. I see no factual information here to back up his claims.

  • Michael Wettstein

    Thank you! This is a clear and concise summary. Thank you also for reminding us of the court date. We need to continue to voice concern about this until that date.

  • Judy Paolini

    This article is inaccurate. Interventions is absolutely available online at and most other online booksellers. It will not be available as an e-book.
    Judy Paolini
    Book Publicist

  • Jurgen Wolff

    This shows how far ebooks have come. The first big-name author to publish an ebook was news. Now the first big-name author to refuse to publish an ebook is news.

  • curious

    Where’s the rest of the story? I thought it was going to tell us the hilarioius story of what the friend did.

  • DAD

    Uh…hmmm, where did that story go? That must have been one heck of an angle, because I seem to have missed the turn…

  • Jane Searle

    Thanks for the insights and helpful summary and links, Michael. Very helpful to have it all in one place.

    As far as the question of what Amazon, as a monopoly, MIGHT do in the future, I think that’s a naive point to make, HHD. Considering they have lost money on books thus far, to draw shoppers on their site, they may decide to continue to do that if competition exists. But if they become a monopoly, do we really think they won’t choose to raise pricing and make money on them at some point. Amazon? Really?

  • ThadMcIlroy

    Well, yes, as a matter of face you do call it metametadata, or sometimes as the hyphenated meta-metadata:

  • http://StanislavFritz Stanislav Fritz

    Unfortunately, for the author of FICTION these sorts of adjunct sources of revenue are limited. This is why so many fiction authors end up teaching part time, or even full time. The poet has an even bigger hill to climb.

  • seamus

    Hilarious? Not exactly.

    Insecure? Yes.

  • Regina Thomas

    Here’s another Shades … story. I was doing a book signing at a Barnes & Noble store and saw two women laden with books approaching my table. They fit within my demographic (65+) and I thought, "Aha! Let’s see if they’ll buy my book (Love & Successful Aging When You’re 70+ and Single) since they seem to be buyers, not just lookers. It took the two of them to carry the 3 editions (plus one or two other books). They were totally disinterested in my book, but at least we got to talking. Neither of them was trying to "hide" the books, but wanted to know what all the noise was about. I guess noise and not content is queen!

  • Sanford Thatcher

    I think Mr. Heat-Moon is dead wrong to suggest that the proposal for outsourcing noneditorial functions to the University of Nebraska Press would create only a "faux press," not deserving of membership in the AAUP. He obviously is not familiar with the University of Rochester Press, a full-fledged AAUP member that operates by precisely such a model (using the British academic commercial publisher Boydell & Brewer as its service vendor) or the number of presses (New England, Florida, Colorado, etc.) that operate on a consortium basis, serving multiple universities in their states or regions through a shared-service model. While it is admirable for him to have offered a generous grant if Missouri will keep its press open as it exists today, he shows lack of imagination in thinking that university presses can legitimately operate only according to one business model.

  • SeeleyJamesAuth

    The first of many controversies to come, but in the end, university presses will change or die off. As long as they print paper books that serve a small market, they will be targets for budget cuts. Sooner or later, the staid literary community will embrace ebooks and POD. Costs drop, literary departments thrive.

  • Bob Andelman

    If you only have time to watch one video interview with Kurt Andersen this year, make it this one. Funny and more than a little revealing, the author of ‘True Believers,’ host of NPR’s ‘Studio 360’ and co-founder of Spy magazine easily makes for one of the best Mr. Media shows of 2012. And get a load of what he says about Dave Eggers, Donald Trump and Anderson Cooper!

  • Theodore Savas

    I have purchased a number of self-published titles. Guess what? It is obvious from the first page they are . . . self-published. Usually there is a good reason why, too,

  • Joseph Bottrill

    Thanks. It will be fascinating to see this in action. It seems too that the reverse is true of the vendors and third parties currently supporting publishers. They are well placed now to make use of new platforms and efficiencies to publish direct to consumers, in effect to become publishers themselves.

  • Ms T

    I saved myself the drama and bought the trilogy as a kindle book! Spared myself the grief from my 22 year old!

  • Chris Boyer

    Thanks, Michael, for the optimism, in which I believe. But then I have always been a glass-half-full kind of gal and so from you, this is reason to smile for sure.

  • Lise Raev

    Interesting. I’m just waiting for people to start sporting promotional products for Titanic-related phenomena: books, films, music, whatever. I wonder where our society’s obsession with the Titanic comes from? What does it mean to us, that we keep coming back to it?

  • Thomas Hicks

    Not surprised your fondness for blowing up things has roots in blues&vinyl. Great posting and insight on repositioning.

  • ThadMcIlroy

    Re "I’d say that ebooks aren’t growing, rather they’re reallocating consumers and dollars from the print side." For the larger publishers with the more expensive ebooks, what you write makes sense.

    When ebooks are sold at $0.99-$2.99 many people who would never pay $20 will buy on spec, often not even reading what they purchase. This is an augmentation of the market, although its value to conventional publishers is questionable. Ereaders and tablets have brought new purchasers into the book market and increased the number of titles bought by traditional book readers and purchasers. But as you also note, the substitution value in total dollars spent may not favor the publisher.

  • 30 year publisher guy

    This is in response to the Michael Norris article. During 2011 our ebook sales in dollars grew over 300%. That is not flat ebook sales. Consumer surveys like this survey and similar Bowker surveys seem to be missing a huge percentages of ebook readers. I would agree that the revenue from ebooks did not replace the loss of revenue from print sales in 2011 but there wer huge amounts of remainder books on the market from the Border’s bankruptcy. That by itself accounted for a drop in our print sales. Now that the flood of remainder inventory has largely sold through, our print and ebook sales have been solid and we are growing our sales in both print and ebooks this year 2012. In my opinion there are more overall readers of books since the dawn of the Kindle as there are a lot of free and self published books being read that don’t get reported very well.

    As a print book buyer for decades and now an ebook esclusive buyer for two years, I discover books in a similar way. I get recommendations from friends, I hear author interviews on radio and television, I read reviews online and in book rags like BookPage. I also do a lot of browseing on line. I’ve not bought a book from browsing in a bookstore first – so far.

    Do we need print bookstores to survive? Absolutely. Most people still want to read and handle a printed book. For many people the ebook is just another format. They move back and forth between a hardcover book, a paper back book and ebook and a mass market book. The reader is going to use whatever format fits their individual situation at the time and bookstore need to provide every format to their customers – print or ebook. About 20% of my ebooks have been purchased by a local store with a web site that sells ebooks. I plan to increase that percentage this year. Retailers shun ebooks at their own peril. There are over 1,000 independent book retailers (counting religious stores and ABA stores) that are capable of selling ebooks on their store web sites. Let’s support them buy buying both print and ebooks from these stores.

  • Andrew Linick

    Congrats on the new column. Love the idea. I think it will fly well with the lunch dates and roundtables. You’ll get some cuisine copy, photos of fine dining and chatter (part gossip/part inside info) from us. Besides being a direct response copywriter (since 1968 I’m known in the field as The Copyologist®) and publisher of consumer and trade mags/e-zines, owner of three books clubs–I am a Restaurant Critic and Travel/Entertainment Editor for The Practical Gourmet™ (Print mag.- Cir. 235K by subscription only.) I was a contributing editor with your publication many moons ago along with a competitor named Direct Marketing Mag. and wrote for several others. For more information visit: and for fun, google Grandmaster Andrew Linick for the other side of me:-) Best of Luck Ms. Rosen and Publishing Business Today team!—ASL (Ancient Student of Life™)

  • scottabel

    As an Ebook reader who is dazzled by books (in print and in digital) I am buying more than I ever did and experiencing more new types of content than I ever did in the print-only world. I think proclamations by book publishing industry gurus often lack an understanding of the possibilities eBooks provide publishers to assist users in discovering new content. As such, most eBooks today suck — they are little more than digital photocopies. But the ones that take advantage of functionality of devices and provide additional value do indeed engender loyalty and make readers want more of the same.

    Let’s see what Norris has to say in three years. Then, it might actually mean something.

  • MaryG

    I think Frank’s article leaves out one important element: offset printers are also retooling to keep up with short run demands. As a production coordinator for a small publishing company, I have been printing shortrun one color books with our printer in Illinois for several years now for quite affordable prices for runs as low as 1000 for first printings and 300 for reprints. This allows us to keep our inventory low, gives us more choice of format and paper stock, while maintaining high quality and paying much smaller freight costs than would be the case with companies like Lightening Source. We are always eager to save money, and have thoroughly checked out many options. It is rare that we find that it serves us better to go the digital print route rather than low-run offset. Might be worth asking offset printers if they would consider these short runs.

  • H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

    We design and format both print and ebooks and we always tell our clients that it is their marketing skills rather then the content and quality of their publications that will sell their publications. This is such good advice, I sending the link to all our clients.

  • rayf

    "Most backlist titles are now printed on-demand…" writes the author. Really? I’d like to see hard data on this from publishers. POD still is not competitive with offset — even in 2012 — for reprinting backlist titles that need to be sold to wholesalers, distributors, and even sold at normal trade discounts to retailers. Unless the publisher is retailing direct to the consumer, either the book must be sold at or close to cost, or the retail price must be set too high to generate meaningful sales — neither is a realistic scenario for anything other than a specialty title. POD works today for self-publishing, when the author/publisher sells directly, but there is no margin for distribution or wholesale. I wish this was not so! I struggle to keep backlist titles in print, look at POD options every year, but still end up printing more books than I need, and warehousing them, simply because the economics to print offset makes the most sense. Someday, I have no doubt, the expense/revenue curves will be more favorable – but it better happen fast because, with e-books, this discussion is fast becoming moot.

  • Bill Rosenblatt

    While I appreciate being called an "expert" in this article, I have to point out several statements in it that are misleading or just plain wrong. Here are the main ones:

    The fact is that the effect of DRM on copyright infringement (I dislike the "p word") is unknown, as therefore is any assessment of whether it’s worth the cost and bother. The academic study cited here — one of many that I have read — is dubious. It contains not a shred of actual data. It is just a mathematical model, based on a shaky foundation of assumptions, that *could* show a certain result if certain actual data were plugged in. The study author’s statement that "the [music] labels that are removing DRM are seeing higher sales" is just incorrect. I suggest you look at a "meta-study" that the Government Accountability Office put out in 2010, at, which suggests that the effect is unmeasurable.

    In order to get at the actual effects of DRM on infringement, you have to look at specific behaviors that it might be intended to prevent and see how it affects those behaviors. For example, there is a difference between what the IDPF calls "oversharing" and looking on torrent sites for copies of e-books. It’s quite possible — though, again, this has not been measured — that a large number of e-book readers who have never heard of "torrents" might email e-books to their thousand best friends if they were DRM-free. You have to look at many different use cases, for different types of e-books and users. No one has done this. As I’m not a market researcher, consumer behavior expert, or statistician, I can’t say for sure whether this kind of measurement can be done with confidence, but I wish it would and it hasn’t been so far.

    Next: the assertions about Pottermore e-books are also just incorrect. The truth is that Pottermore sells e-books in three formats: Kindle, Nook, and EPUB. The first two of these have DRM — even though Pottermore could have chosen to go without it. Only the EPUB files are "watermarked." Charlie Redmayne didn’t say what percent of e-books sold on Pottermore were the DRM-free EPUB versions, but I suspect the number is quite low given how easy it is to stay within the Amazon/Kindle and B&N/Nook ecosystems. If fewer Harry Potter titles have been "pirated" since the launch of Pottermore, I’d venture to say it’s more likely because Pottermore is an engaging site that attracts users with a smooth e-book buying experience and added value.

    Next: this entire article focuses only on trade publishing. You’ll find that people in other publishing industry segments, such as higher ed and professional, have different use cases and thus different views on DRM.

    Finally, I can’t resist commenting on the words you put in Joe Wikert of O’Reilly’s mouth: that there "should [not] be any difference between what you can do with an e­book and what you can do with its physical forebear." Let’s see: with physical books, it’s an expensive pain in the neck to copy them, and if you lend one to a friend, you don’t have access to it while the friend does." Sounds like Wikert wants DRM after all! (Disclosure: I’m an O’Reilly book author and believe that they are a fantastic publisher.)

    Those are the

  • tammy

    ine using real sources.

  • Bruce Batchelor

    I wonder if in this scheme there is any credit given for companies ending their participation in the practice of selling on "returnable" terms? To me, this is the single biggest factor in the unnecessarily large carbon footprint generated by the book industry.

  • Dianne Ochiltree

    I think he meant to say, "our counTRY’S youth", not "our countRIES youth" as written above.

  • GCA

    countries??? Shouldn’t that be country’s

  • Sam Kuraishi

    Wild Bull of heaven is the strongest creature ever faced Gligamesh in "The Epic of Gilgamesh". He destroyed everything except Giolgamesh who captured him and save the people of Uruk. The Bull Of heaven was sent by father of the gods Anu upon the wish of Ishtar, the goddes of love in the Sumerian legend,to destroy the city of Uruk–Erik in the book of Genesis– and to kill Gilgamesh who refused her advancement.

  • Werner Rebsamen

    Thanks Frank, great article. Despite of all the electronic endeavors, we print and bind more books than ever.
    Most "experts" writing about trends forget the so-called "Non-Traditional" titles, 3 million in the U.S.! Those are only the title registered with the Library of Congress. Add to that photo books etc.
    Keepsakes need to be printed and bound. These days, computers and clever software make it so easy to put together a book. I’m in a committee, were we specify paper, ink and bindings to last 100 years.
    Remember the floppy disks? Books will be around forever.

  • Edward Smith

    Good advice Brian, thanks, Edward Smith

  • Allen Gresham

    When did nook start making tables?

  • kaitnolan

    Now that’s a competitive screen size!

  • rana

    fairly empty article with minimal practical or helpful content from someone positioning him/herself as a consultant. 50% (not a research-based number, my opinion) of the challenge of this "digital revolution" in publishing – as with the last three I have lived through – is consultant sharks or honest consultants who don’t know much about publishing realities. another 25% (see above for disclaimer) is the media who believe/inflate/broadcast them. so that would include this magazine, I guess…

  • Serena Agusto-Cox

    It amazes me how authors like Beth, who are clearly so talented and have great stories to tell, are mostly unknown to the general public…but as a blogger, I’m happy to introduce her to new readers…and get her more recognition…recognition she rightly deserves for all of those sleepless nights and hard work…and faith.

  • Brian Howard

    Well, they are in business with Microsoft now, makers of the Surface-now-PixelSense table computer :)
    But you’re, leaving off last "t" in tablet was an oversight. We’d dotted all our i’s and crossed all our t’s—we just forgot to check that all the t’s were present and accounted for.

  • anu

    That is pretty obvious. None of the software will yield a perfect epub output. There are so many vendors all around the world providing epub conversion services. One such is I use them to convert my ebook to epub, mobi, kindle to publish them in Amazon and other ebook stores. You can try them out

  • lucky

    This article lists Macmillan Publishing Solutions under the companies mentioned head. I would like to point out that this article talks about macmillan publishing and not Macmillan Publishing Solutions which is now adi-mps. Correct me if I am wrong. Thanks.

  • Naomi Rose

    I find this a very perceptive and human take from the writer’s perspective on what’s really going on with the "institution" of literary agents–and what it’s like from their perspective. While this essay doesn’t change the situation, in a way it does by letting us in through their lens (as good writers do) and broadening our awareness and sometimes, hearts. In any case, I thought this was a very well-written and even compassionate take on the situation.The opening paragraph/anxiety dream itself is gripping and illuminating. Thanks to the author!

  • Kitty Axelson-Berry

    I love this and find it not only cute but inspirational — am hoping our designer will too! Thanks.

  • Bob Bello

    So true! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the fellow authors/publishers and Godspeed!

  • Naked_Christian


    I love these guys. I would expect this book taking off internationally everywhere but Cuba. This book gains popularity suddenly, in one night, like some kind of creepy Santa!

    I followed the creation of this "book" from the beginning, (tho I didn’t get to write anything for it, as I was having technical difficulties at the time). I bought it and am expecting to consume it like some Meth Cow!


  • TuckerAuthor

    Terrific article! I’ve known Karen for a few months and she’s done an excellent job with her brand. Self-publishing often gets a bad rap, sometimes deserved, but there is a lot of good stuff out there for readers of all kinds these days. It really is a new age of publishing.

  • Gary

    The entire world is, and must be, our market today!

  • Lady_D

    Todd Rutherford should be ashamed of himself. Charging money for reviews is unethical. I review most books that I read, and ALWAYS give my honest opinion in those reviews. I do not always buy the books; some are given to me by the author or publisher, in exchange for review. Some I obtain free by trading for books I’ve already finished reading. In promising to review books, I NEVER promise what my review will say.

    When I do post a 5 star review, which I am not afraid to do, the rating is my honest opinion on the quality of that book. I’m just as willing to post a 1 star review if that’s what I feel the book deserves. Those who read my reviews might think I’m biased, because I post so few 1 star reviews, but the simple fact is this: As long as I choose what I want to read, there won’t be a lot of 1 or 2 star reviews written by me because I usually try to choose books that I think I will like. That factor generally helps me avoid books that are less than 3 stars… so, let’s be honest here… I read for pleasure, and don’t want to spend my time reading a book that I hate. I do make mistakes in my choices sometimes, hence the 1 and 2 star reviews posted on my blog.

  • Eric G

    While everybody wants to sell in Wal-Mart under dreams of unquenchable sales demand, the reality is even the world’s largest retailer has limited shelf space. Key metrics for selling into Wal-Mart are inventory turn and GMROII (Gross Margin Return on Inventory Investment). Companies that don’t satisfy those basic metrics will find the big sale for initial stocking orders will come back to haunt them — literary — as returns. The best way to launch new authors and titles continues to be the independent and small-chain bookstores. Consumer research reports consumers still first learn about titles there and good stores have sales associates who can connect readers to these titles. Wal-Mart and other giants only skim top sellers with proven sales records or sales potential for stocking. A promotional and marketing plan to put a new title into Wal-Mart would have to be significant, plus would have to be cheap at retail (put publisher margin here). While Wal-Mart and Amazon look like gold mines, digging out the ore requires much more than a cool promotional plan and the boldness of submitting a proposal. Publishers should be wary of putting all their eggs in one big Wal-Mart or Amazon basket and look to sustain a market ecosystem of sales outlets. Once the indie booksellers go, the whole publishing industry will contract much more quickly than it has, and long-term sales will be controlled by only a few behemoth retailers.

  • jim_devitt

    That’s great, but it says directly on their Books and Media supplier portion of their website.
    "Walmart does not pursue self-published books."

    So you can be an Indie that has self published and won’t get beyond hello.

  • MyTwoCents

    I don’t mean to sound critical, but isn’t this sort of a statement of the obvious? (And why is it taking publishers so long to realize this?) The more publishers outsourced every department and function they could think of, all in the name of ever-greater profit (even at the expense of quality), the more control they gave up until they were little more than an acquirer. Every part outsourced put them one step farther from the art (for once it WAS an art) of publishing. That valuable link between author and publisher was slowly being chipped away until they were linked by the most tenuous of bonds. I wonder how many publishers know what their authors *really* feel about all this outsourcing, how many authors feel that their publishers don’t care at all beyond how much revenue can book X add to the bottom line? Assembly-line publishing is what we have today, depending on whether it is a trade publisher, educational publisher, STM publisher, computer/technology publisher, etc. And as more and more pieces of the process are outsourced overseas to a new form of book "sweat" shop, in which American publishers demand their foreign vendors do twice as much work for half as much profit, and quality is an afterthought. You can almost instantly tell books that are mostly fully outsourced. Typos abound, as do grammar errors, syntax errors; text doesn’t flow logically from one paragraph to another; continuity errors are completely mixed. You can spot them instantly, whether a printed book or an e-book. Myself, I now buy one-tenth the books I used to, choosing instead to first get them from the library. Why spend my hard-earned money on a book that a publisher so obviously published with as little capital outlay as they could get away with? So I read it from the library first, and if it’s a good book, well edited, and well made, THEN I will buy a copy for my Kindle or my bookshelf. Otherwise, it goes back to the library and I never think on it again. In fact, there are some books I don’t read now based solely on who the publisher is, because certain publishers haven’t just outsourced what SHOULD be important functions–like the actual editing, both substantive and mechanical, and the proofreading, but have taken out of the equation entirely. A few do not even bother WITH proofreading, or they perform an "editorial proofread." That’s a publisher’s prerogative. Just as it’s MY prerogative to take MY money elsewhere, to a competitor publisher that does still care about the craft of publishing.

    And yet you have some publishers in a mild state of panic because authors are self-publishing. Can you blame them? If you, the publisher, are providing little to zero service to your author aside from signing them and doing MAYBE a little marketing along the way, why should an author feel any loyalty? If you the publisher are going to leave the editing and proofreading, the indexing, the cover and interior design to someone in another country making $1.00/hour, the author can advertise on a half-dozen different social networking sites for a quality copyeditor or proofreader, indexer. Everyone wants to feel special, that someone cares about their concerns, their expectations. If they cannot get that from their publisher, then they’ll find it from someone else.

    I don’t think publishing per se is at a crossroads, but I think publishERS are. And if they want to be known as more than just the company that signed a person to write book X about topic Z, they are going to have to start caring again, about not JUST profits but about their authors, the quality of what they produce, and the quality of the content therein. Consumers have endless choices today; publishers would do well to keep that in mind. Don’t you think?

  • Gene Schwartrz

    Well taken points, Michael.

    What is unique in the example you cite is that it appears Macmillan has carved out an independent skunworks" for acquision within its midst.
    Historically it has been difficult to manage new product development and marketing within existing structures because existing personnel see their bread being buttered by what sells now. When IBM sent a team off to develop the PC they cvreated a revoution by removing the process from its core operation.

    If other publishers are followig the Macmillan example – the industry wkll weather the storm creatively.

  • Donald Lavan

    Vickie i am a self publish author of a book called " Pimp Reflections Of My Life " by me Donald Ray Lavan aka Noble Dee. My book reflect my life as a pimp for forthy years. It will be in stores come Dec. perhaps I can do some thing with your publishing company. Check me out on ‘face book’ Donald Ray Lavan or go to the web-site http://www.jumpinterstate or you can check me out on ‘you tube’ ‘pimp’ Noble Dee. I can be contacted at 2O9- 538-6436 or 2O9- 99645O4 or email me at Noble
    Thank You
    Respectfully Donald Ray Lavan aka Noble Dee

  • Cat

    Hi, I am a published author of two books interested in getting into the Indian market. This revised book that is ready is non fiction, A Taste Of Afghanistan. I lived there for many years and wrote a book of stories, recipes, poems, interviews, sayings of Muhammad the Prophet and others on nutrition etc. The first version resides in the Smithsonian Library in Washington, D.C. The second book: Afghanistan: Blood and Honor is an intense romantic journey that I am completing. Please see Thanks!

  • jfitzagency

    Why even post this?

  • Tibi

    This list is kind of old… You should update it. Here is another software productivity suite that should be added:

  • Gary

    Wonderful concept — textbooks funded by a bankrupt state government.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Of course there is one sector of publishing–academic publishing–where branding has been distinctly successful. Indeed, university tenure and promotion committees are perhaps overly mesmerized by brands like Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and Chicago and Princeton and Yale, etc.

  • tohm

    I haven’t transitioned my workflow to "accommodate the myriad digital products the marketing is demanding." I offer my publications in print or PDF and if the reader doesn’t want them in either of those two formats, then to hell with them. If your content is unique, people will find a way to read it. It’s no wonder publishers are going broke all the time trying to accommodate everybody’s e-whims. They’re worse than politicians.

    By the way, in the first paragraph of the article, "Publiching Business Virtual Conference & Expo…" Publishing is spelled with an "s".

  • Jurgen Wolff

    It’s a nice story but here’s the bit that caught my attention: “The publishers immediately acquired world rights from Movellas, who have since removed the story.”

    Wait a minute. The site had world rights?

    Here’s what I found in the site’s terms and conditions:

    9.2.2 By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Website, you grant Movellas a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, transferable and fully sublicensable, non-exclusive, irrevocable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, incorporate into other works, distribute, perform, display, and otherwise exploit such Content, in whole or in part in any form, media or technology now known or later developed on the Website for the purpose of displaying and distributing the Service. You hereby waive any moral rights you may have in any Content submitted by you and you hereby grant each user of the Website a non-exclusive license to access the Content submitted by you through the Website. You understand and agree, however, that Movellas may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of Content submitted by you that have been removed or deleted.

    Let’s break this down. Let’s say you post a novella on the site.

    Movella can license it to publishers, including for foreign editions.

    Movella can treat it as the first part of a series and have other writers create the additional books.

    Movella can incorporate it into an anthology.

    What are the moral rights you are waiving? Wikipedia says “The protection of the moral rights of an author is based on the view that a creative work is in some way an expression of the author’s personality: the moral rights are therefore personal to the author, and cannot be transferred to another person except by testament when the author dies.[2] The moral rights regime differs greatly between countries, but typically includes the right to be identified as the author of the work and the right to object to any distortion or mutilation of the work which would be prejudicial to his or her honour or reputation (Article 6bis, Berne Convention). In many countries, the moral rights of an author are perpetual.”

    In other words, Movella can change your story any way it wants. It could perhaps even not identify you as the author.

    Did you spot what’s missing?…

    Compensation to the author.

    It’s true that these rights are non-exclusive. In other words, could go to a different publisher and sell them the material, too. Whether or not they’d want it if it’s already being published by someone who made a deal with Movella is another matter.

    In fact, Emily wasn’t cut out of the deal. Penguin commissioned her to rewrite the story, she worked closely with a Penguin editor and she’s happy. And I’m not suggesting that Movella has taken unfair advantage of the young author. Just that the terms and conditions to which you agree when you post on the site would let them do so if they wanted to.

    I’m not suggesting that Movella is taking advantage of this young writer. I’m just pointing out that agreeing to these terms and conditions would allow them to do so if they wanted.

  • John Harnish

    So very true and well expressed observations, Andrew, and I’d like to add that I saw some of these same transition challenges occur more than a half a century ago when the centuries old letterpresses were replaced by more cost-effective offset presses. There was fear with all the make-ready employees and letterpress operators regarding the loss of jobs. There was greed with publishers seeing increased profits from lower printing costs—but alas, except within the industry, it went unnoticed that the retail price to the consumer remained the same.

    Digial printing also caused transitional problems at the start of this century. Printed books that once took months to produce via offset could be printed and put into the distribution channels in less than a week. I dare say the offset make-ready process benefitted from digital methodologies, so there doesn’t appear to be as much strife as there was when letterpresses were pushed out the door.

    All of my recently published work is only available as ebooks. Yes, I could easily do pbook versions, but frankly “born-digital” is faster, less hassle, and more cost-effective. Yes, with ebooks some of the design nuances are gone, and I admit it took a bit of an effort to break my habit of shamelessly killing off “widows and orphans.”

    Perhaps the greatest transition is the role-reversal between the authors and publishers. Much of the infrastructure controlled by publishers is slowly crumbling away, but the newly empowered author’s control over the content is omnipotent. Without fresh content there’s nothing for publishers to publish. Authors are discovering they don’t need a publisher to publish ebooks through direct publishing programs.

    Sadly greedy “big six” publishers are pricing their ebooks higher than what the market will bear. Ebook consumers are well aware of the production cost difference between pbooks and ebooks. Indeed there’s a rightful reluctance by consumers to pay an inflated price to support a decaying empire. Evolving new authors, with wordsmithing talents to write outside of the box, are giving the stables of famous, established name authors a run for the ebook money.

    Once it was said, “The medium is the message” or was it “the message is the medium”??? In the born-digital age of publishing both are true. The new breed of digitally-born authors enjoys a greater expanse of creativity because they produce the message and control the delivery medium. Gone are the editorial lines drawn in the sand defining the flavor, size and shape of the box, and gone too are the influences of the biased gatekeepers and foretelling bean-counter who frequently foretold wrongly.

    The publishing industry is in a transitional turmoil, and we do indeed publish in interesting digital times.

    Enjoy often… John

  • Madhu Thota

    Great article – agree with most…except "Laziness" and "Greed" as the impediments. The arguments are true; having said that, industriousness and steering away from short term gains is necessary but not sufficient for a successful transition. How do you make this happen in an environment of "Everyone is already working at full capacity".

    Leadership, Planning and Prioritization are just as critical for a successful execution.

  • Jeff Kagan

    Great column, Brian. Just the info I’ve been seeking!

    Quick question: I have 3 natural science-based kids’ music albums and would like to submit all three for consideration. Is it wise to send 3 titles at once or preferable to make 3 separate submissions?

  • Vel

    Right, we have to invest more in education and less in industrial deserts.

  • Dave Fessenden

    Amazon is having trouble selling its own books? Oh, boo-hoo! Maybe they’ll have to admit that publishing is a lot harder than it looks, and "traditional" publishers really know what they’re doing.

  • Doug Turner

    Sorry, but you don’t have a right to whatever you want just because you want it. If she wasn’t following the rules she agreed to, she has nothing to complain about.

  • Jim_Sturdivant

    I nominate Newsweek’s proposed subscription-only tablet product. Have they not learned anything from Murdoch’s The Daily?

  • Jeremiah Zeiset

    Publishing’s 11′ 8" bridge is ad supported ebooks which are being offered for free, paid for by ads. It’s incredible to believe that one person reading one book will click enough ads to replace, say, $4.99 paid for an ebook.

    Jeremiah Zeiset
    LIFE SENTENCE Publishing

  • Bruce Miller

    Glad i could facilitate the conversation between you both.

  • DaveFessenden

    So Jeff Bezos is Steve Jobs’ heir — so what? If you’ve been "beating the drum" about this for a while, maybe you should get a hobby.

  • Barbara Ford

    One of your new books is about learning Pinterest, but when I attempted to pin it, I couldn’t.

  • Wade Hylton

    All books are bound to go digital sooner or later. Let’s see who’ll follow Macmillan by digitizing their dictionaries.

  • Bobby Bentz

    Sounds awesome. Im going to checkout your website,, right now. Thanks for sharing. Doing events have been resting on my mind lately.
    Bobby Bentz, author at

  • Chris

    Hey, Michael, I couldn’t agree more. In anticipation of the storm wreaking havoc on our coastal town, I left my iPad and iPhone charging while I went to the library to pick up a couple of readers with bindings. The result: uninterrupted storm reading and the self permission to ignore any "vote for me" phone calls. Another plus– I often download free sample chapters to read on my iPad before I commit to reading the full book, whether it’s digital or print. Like you, there’s definitely room for both on my reading list. Thanks for the blog. Chris

  • Matt Nicholson

    Isn’t this partly to do with the weather? My wife has both an iPad and a Kindle, and I notice she is using the iPad much more now that the nights are long and the days overcast. She will probably go back to using the Kindle in the summer when the sun is shining and the world is in general a lot brighter.

  • Carrie

    Great post. I’m not a writer, but the thought of putting my scattered tale on paper for others to view decades after I’m gone is a fun one. I’m unexpectedly witty at times, and relish the thought of reading my own novel once I slow down and have time to read again…

  • squashed

    Great way to encourage that latent creativity lurking in us all!

  • Publisher, Content+Technology

    Apple are destined to have a hard time enforcing this. Aside from the aforementioned turning of actual paper and Disney animations, the video world is full of page-turn simulating ‘wipes’ which, like fades, etc., are a transitioning ‘device’ from one scene in a programme to another.
    Often in the form of plug-ins for video editing programs, including Apple’s Final Cut Pro, they are available from numerous manufacturers. In short, this is such a commonplace ‘device’ that they would be hard pressed to prove originality in either utility or design. Another ridiculous use of the U.S. patent system.

  • Thad McIlroy

    Great interview. Thanks.

  • John

    Hi, Brian,

    Great article. I’m wondering, though, precisely who is the ideal person to approach either the airport bookstore chains or the distribution partners. Can the author do this, or do these organizations only work with the publisher?

  • BHPanimalwatch

    Part of the issue for those of us you describe so tactfully as "of a certain age" is that we came out of college or wherever into an industry that like others prior to the 80s and 90s expected to train whoever they hired. We were not expected to have a degree in publishing. We were expected to be exceptionally literate and have a passion for books and the selling of books. We did not call ourselves Publishers until we reached a certain level of achievement. It was an aim and an ambition. Being a Publisher implied independent judgment and originality of approach – the kind of being who could not only build a list for a conglomerate but with the ability, for example, to found a publishing house. So many independent publishing houses from the 60s and 70s are now no more than brand names in a conglomerate so that role models must now be more difficult to find than in our day. Publishing houses were more diverse and more open to pluralistic and non-conformist thinking and less obsessed with the bottom line than today. Employers were looking for talent rather than any immediately usable skill or training. A parallel problem exists in teaching where too much emphasis has been on training rather than education. You have to be on top of any subject you teach or publish. While the Pace course sounds excellent and focused as basic training (and more than that) it should be an add-on to an education (by life experience or college) that can sustain a love for books and their content over the long haul. That we have to notionally explain the nature of Bunker Hill Publishing by using the term "old fashioned trade publisher" may speak volumes.

  • Phil Whitmarsh

    Hi Kara – Why not truly self publish it? You’ve done great so far, going it alone. Check out to see how easily you can confidently hold the reins and be your own publisher. – Phil

  • Thad McIlroy

    Jakob Nielsen’s ‘Ten Usability Heuristics’ aka "ten general principles for user interface design" can be found here:

  • Don Schmidt

    I just went through the Pace program and graduated in May 2012, and I have been in publishing for 28 years. I wanted to set myself apart and learn about the new technologies that are driving the industry. I highly recommend the MS in Publishing Science Course of study at Pace. You can teach old dogs new tricks! Nice to see you on the board, Mike! Best of luck and if you ever need a hand, please don’t hesitate to let me know… Don Schmidt

  • MichelleSybert

    An interesting article with some good points, but here are some details that you didn’t mention that make it even more difficult for those my age to start a publishing career (apologies for the length):

    1. These degrees are quite expensive, ranging from around $35,000 for the entire degree from Pace to about $31,000 per year at New York University (2 year program). And then there are living expenses on top of that. Even summer long programs cost between $6-9,000.

    2. After all that, entry level positions around the country pay roughly $33,000 per year, and many are located in cities like Boston, New York, and San Francisco, where rent alone is likely to be over $1,000 per month.

    3. Many publishing professionals aren’t even aware that these programs exist. I spoke with quite a few, and they had never heard of the Master’s program–and said they would prefer two years of work experience over a Master’s in publishing.

    4. And it gets worse: these same professionals mentioned that they had over 200 applicants for entry level positions–and this number in particular came from a small Chicago based publisher. One professional in Indianapolis mentioned that they had several applicants for UNPAID internships who already had a Master’s degree. Many entry level positions at the big 6 now require one to two years of previous experience.

    5. To add insult to injury, thanks to stricter rules (or more adherence to these rules), most interns must receive either pay or college credit for the experience required to get a job. Obviously, publishers would rather require that interns receive credit than pay them, which means that the interns must be enrolled at a college, and the universities are happy to collect on that enrollment. For my three credit hour undergraduate unpaid summer internship, I had to pay $600, plus several hundred in fees. If I had chased after the New York internship that would have earned me more valuable connections, I would have paid an extra $3000+ in living expenses.

    So how do kids get into publishing? Commitment. To publishing, poverty, and rejection. And they need luck. Lots of luck. Are there some of us out here crazy enough to keep trying? Yes. But is a $35,000 program really a step in the right direction to help us?

  • E B

    Good to hear, Sheridan Books is a great printer to work with. I get my print books and eBooks done all in one place. Quality and service is excellent!

  • Randy Attwood

    Very hope you might check out "One More Victim," which when offered free has reached #1 ranking for free Kindle downloads for Jewish LIterature because the Holocaust is a critical element of its plot. As a paid download it has, a couple of times, broken through the #100 ranking level. It’s now also available as a paperback POD as the title story of a collection of shorter works.

  • Thad McIlroy

    It says on your web site that "At 5pm on May 31st, 2012, Catalyst Webworks closed its doors."

  • Dave Bricker

    What you suggest is that all content will move to proprietary channels that require content developers to pay 30% to app stores. Actually, the browser is evolving at a fantastic pace. Adobe is rapidly contributing large chunks of the flash player code base to webkit, the basis for mobile browsers; the user interface gap is closing. Mobile web browsers can already deliver a better reading experience than eReaders. Apple bought themselves a few years of market leadership by blocking flash, but the back door is wide open to innovators. As for casually dismissing the web as "full of advertising," some sites are and some aren’t. Plenty of apps are just as cluttered. As a forward-thinking designer and developer, I’ll be betting on the browser. The argument that app stores and eBookstores are at risk of irrelevancy is just as compelling. When content publishers can deliver rich, interactive content without having to pay a gatekeeper, I can’t believe they’ll continue to bend over.

  • Barbara

    Nice writing! good luck

  • squashed

    What a great experience for you,

  • Sandy Thatcher

    University presses are generally not ready to think too seriously about open access as an alternative approach yet, not surprisingly because there is no pressure from university administrations yet to do so. But the recent announcement by Amherst that it will establish a press on a fully open-access basis, combined with the successes that some presses in Australia, Canada, and Europe are having with this approach, provide the kind of momentum to this movement in monograph publishing that it already has achieved in journal publishing. I give it ten years to reach a tipping point.

  • http://JackSocha Jack Socha

    I own an iPad2 and an iPad Touch. Growing tired of the “gated community” structure of iTunes, I bought a 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and found it a delight. I have an excellent ebook reader and the best audiobook player I have ever seen…it actually returns to where you left off!

    Plus, I can pop movies and music, books and audiobooks on to a micro SD card and just play them.

    Price: about $180.

    THAT’s why Apple stock is dropping.

  • Kamendra Verma

    I also have two self published books which has not been reviewed by Indian media or Indian readers/reviewers. I shall be grateful if somebody can let me know how to reach to these guys.

    My book is on a great idea called unlearning which we need to understand for betterment of humanity.

    I shall wait if somebody can intimate me at or call me at +919811560341


  • Winfred Cook

    My name is Winfred Cook, and I’m an self-published author. My novel, UNCLE OTTO has garnered a finalist in THE INDIE EXCELLENCE BOOK AWARDS, and it is doing okay but it needs more explosure. A New Times review could possibly bring UNCLE OTTO to the attention of a vast reading audience. My email:, and my website:

  • Richard Lindemann

    Seem’s like it’s mighty easy to have a 500% increases when you are comparing it to nothing any time a new product market comes out and I see these kinds of comparisons I have to laugh.

  • guest

    should be illegal

  • toha2947

    are you know why we like best book-

  • toha2947
  • Manoj Kumar

    You will find us very valuable provider.

  • East Coast Guy

    Interesting history from the West Coast – congratulations on your move, and keep the updates coming!

  • Gene Schwartz

    Congratulations, Brian. SPAN couldnt have done better.

  • Smart_Rhino

    We’re certainly not seeing this in our sales. Smart Rhino Publications books are selling 10-to-1 e-book over print.

  • Blue Harvest Creative

    I don’t see this happening anytime soon but one way publishers could sweeten the pot is to do what is big in Video currently and that is buy the book and get a code to download the eBook version for free, thereby getting a 2 fer deal. Like when you buy a lot of Blu-Rays now you can get the Blu-Ray, DVD plus a digital copy.

    This kind of concept could also help bookstores immensely. This way people could have the best of both worlds.

  • Doug Turner

    Look at how comiXology has changed the comic book publishing space and you’ll see where books are going.

  • Doug Turner


    "…purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets…"

    …which are being used to read e-books on.

  • Wyofriend

    While on vacation over the holidays – I kept an eye out to see who was reading books and who was reading e versions. Amazing …. most all folks were using the old fashioned print version pre-teens, teens, young adults, everyone.; at the airports, at the pool, many different places. Print is not lost!

  • 1106Design

    Great advice, Brian!

  • Charlene Costanzo

    Thanks for all these great reminders, Brian. Wishing you all the best in the new year!

  • BooksandAuthor

    nice article — can I tweet it? I don’t see a Tweet button


  • Dana Smith

    Excellent summary of the trends in print vs. ebooks. I agree that the demise of B&N would hurt many communities that don’t have indie bookstores.

  • Patrick Grace

    As a small regional book publisher I too am rooting for printed & bound–and bricks&mortar stores, whether chains or indies. We are now doing ebooks along with printed books and will continue to do so. But an overwhelming majority of our readers want a printed book. I expect that will continue to be so.
    John Patrick Grace
    Publishers Place
    Huntington, West Virginia

  • Publerati

    When you look across the retail landscape of all goods sold, do you know of any other category that devotes so much square footage to the sale of one type of product? The answer I believe will be "no." Store-within-a-store concepts exploded in the 1990s and continue to this day. Supermarkets are in fact the best places to try and sell flowers and greeting cards and photo services and drugs because the average consumer is in a supermarket several times a week. So this is why B&N will not survive in the brick and mortar category. It should not be so difficult to see this when one looks across the past twenty years of retail trends. As for the Nook, it is the Palm Pilot of its day, as are most single-purpose pieces of technology. The tech people have learned this lesson well over the years whether it be cameras, GPS or contact managers. Book industry analysts should also pay close attention to Samsung as a non-traditional competitor. Thanks for the article. — Caleb from Publerati.

  • Authorandeditor

    Excellent advice

  • Robin Alexander

    Once again, a very thought provoking piece. Having lived in the Bay Area during the advent of computers and the Internet, I’ve had a love affair with technology going way back. That being said, nothing, absolutely nothing (in my opinion) will compare to the printed page. The look, and feel of a beautifully bound volume. The sense of discovery in a used book store when finding brilliant notes in the margins of a well loved, dog-eared novel. Call it the artist in me, but a 1st edition T.S. Eliot vs an electronic version is like comparing an original Van Gogh to a digital image on a screen. That doesn’t mean that a "Kindle" does not come in handy perhaps when traveling or in need of remote access to one’s library. Cheers Michael for walking that delicate line between the two point of views.

  • Chris Boyer

    Another good article. Thanks, Michael, from someone who often tends to agree with you! (Must be that Gemini thing we’ve got going.) As for me personally? Just this week I went online to two library sources that I borrow from and ordered two different book in both print and digital. In one case, the digital was available first so I read part of it before the one week ran out, and by that time my print reserve copy was in. Viola! No downtime in finishing the book, just switching from one format to another. Easy.

  • Rio Spooner

    A sobering and true assessment. What if anti-abortion groups start targeting Amazon reviews of health books which mention abortion? We could be starting down a slippy path.

  • Paul Mackintosh

    Here’s a related piece of news: Time has come, alas, when vigilante or just fanatic flashmobs can gang up on anything they don’t like. Time has also come for Amazon etc. to start policing the platforms they provide and protect free speech by preventing people from shouting others down.

  • Michael Weinstein

    I’m curious to see what happens with reviews on the new book about Scientology…

  • Thad McIlroy

    Since this article went to press I’ve been doing some work on metadata ROIs with Michael McGill, a student in the Masters of Publishing program at Pace. We also looked at the staffing issues that are getting in the way of metadata practice. I reported the results here:

  • Rick Gallagher

    Hey Brian, I am going to have to take you to task on your first point. Having been a retailer and now with a wholesaler, all we DO is sell books. Or come up with ways to market a book to sell it. This is especially so for a retailer in an independent bookstore. We take the term ‘Bookseller’ seriously.
    Returns do nothing for our bottom lines either. We lose percentage costs, plus the cost of shipping, plus the time it takes to pack and inventory the titles

  • Larry Ahleman

    I would truly appreciate a subscription to Book Business. Our Graphic and Printing Science program students need internships (summer) and jobs in the industry. We try to give our students the most current information to prep them for their future careers.
    Can someone help me obtain a script and my students to find jobs in publication management.
    Larry Ahleman
    Master Faculty Specialist
    Western Michigan University

  • DVA

    Amazon (and other) ‘book reviews’ would be of more value if restricted to ‘verified buyers. Possibly even making them worth considering……

  • docpotter

    I wonder if Prof Wind realizes that book selling is moving OUT of the bookstore and into regular retailers – as justa nudder product in a display?

  • Channing Smith

    Milestone Publishing House would be an exception…they are very clear that they publish books for executives, entrepreneurs, celebrities and faith-based leaders.

    Channing Smith

  • Krishna Kant Pandey

    Agree with Dr. Jerry…..You have mention issue which is relevant for all publishing markets!

  • Publerati

    Thinking outside the narrow confines of the book publishing lens: how about HP and Compaq? Konica and Minolta? Fiat and Chrysler (in the news lately as Fiat’s expertise in small cars is not yet working at Chrysler); AOL and Time Warner? Help me here — I’m trying to think of examples of large companies combining that worked well. Usually the corporate culture meld and C-suite infighting, not to mention time spent in endless, soul-crushing HR meetings, just weighs the ship down.

  • Loren Barnett

    DK has done a great job branding their imprint, and they are one of my favorites!

  • Joe Reynolds

    While Eink is the "best screen format for black and white, it’s not the only one. I’m sure that they will work out a settlement. If not, then Amazon will have to use another screen maker. This is not an accurate prediction in the short article. It’s not a question of either they will have a screen or not. They will have one. Eink will consider what the lost revenue will be and will settle. Amazon is the big Gorilla in the room.

  • David Fessenden

    Lynn, over the years, that kind of branding gradually slipped out of publishers’ hands (if they ever really had it in their possession) and into the open arms of authors. That’s why "big-name" authors sell — they have a certain "brand," and readers know what to expect from them (or think they do, anyhow). It’s also why authors are constantly encouraged to "brand" themselves. I’d have to say, much as I appreciate what publishers are attempting to do in creating a brand, that it’s a battle they lost decades ago.

  • Patrick Grace

    It’s a do-able thing. Standardizing trim sizes and harmonizing cover designs can help a lot–though it also limits creativity.
    Not sure we’d want Madison Av ad agencies taking over book biz – even though they would relish taking a shot.
    John Patrick Grace
    Publishers Place – Huntington

  • Caleb Mason

    Lynn, ask anyone who works in a bookstore and not only do an alarming number of readers not know who the publisher is but they cannot recall the title or author of the book they are currently reading! No one cares about any of us as much as we like to think. Humbling. I am trying to establish a brand for Publerati (who you wrote about, thank you) with a coherent identity across all novels and also with the concept of socially responsible reading, where we donate to literacy charities. Will readers care? Too soon to tell.

  • Cook & Taylor

    Great! Helpful overview!

  • Eric Butler

    Very good. I always enjoy finding blog articles that are level-headed about the trend in e-reading. Yes, more people are reading e-books, but still nowhere near the levels of print books. Yes, e-book "sales" have eclipsed sales of print books, but only because those stats include free downloads, 99-cent downloads, etc., and do not count their print equivalents: non-bookstore clearance bins, estate sales, garage sales, Goodwill/Salvation Army sales, free-shelves, etc.

    Re: e-readers vs. tablets, I wouldn’t count out the significance of the e-ink readers’s non-LED display, offering less eye strain, using less electricity, emitting less heat, and less weight. Those are big benefits to me.

    Finally, re: BN vs. Amazon, an anecdote. I recently bought my first title from (I’m more accustomed to physical store purchases) and was delighted to find that not only matched Amazon in their price discount, but also offered free shipping and got it to me faster and in better packaging than orders I’ve gotten from Amazon. Looks like BN’s finally ready to fight. I wish them good luck!

  • Trisha

    I totally agree about the e-reader being better for the more mature; you can increase the print size and also read in sunlight without sunglasses, how fabulous this that! I have just written my 1st novel “Soulmate” available on Kindle, which is about love, lust and psychology; The book which gets into the mind of the main character as she details the highs and lows of her life, when trying to find her "Soulmate" and all that this teaches us; Lessons on false flattery, betrayal, injustice, deceit and the hardest lesson of all, the lesson of love; Was Pluto right do we only ever have one “Soulmate”? The older generation may be interested in that too as I am sure that they have experienced many ‘live lessons’!

  • Jane Searle

    Michael, interesting as always, especially for the many avenues you explore.

    I must correct something, however. Norton is definitely not "primarily…print." As the article points out, the only thing we are not yet offering as ebooks are the literary anthologies. Everything else we publish is offered in ebook format, and for the College list, we offer in-depth and rich emedia packages to go along with the parent print title. And most of this emedia content is free.

    I don’t mean to take umbrage, but to say Norton is primarily print and to point out only one of our many emedia packages is to make us sound antiquated and well behind the curve. It is true that the vast majority of our parent titles are still bought as print, which I love (!), but we do not have our heads in the sand.

    Yours in comradery,

  • Gloria Bonnell

    I think you are right on target when you report that authenticity is key to branding success. Consumers develop strong ideas about brands regarding quality, etc. On the other hand, chasing the market should not be overlooked. Consumers will follow quality writing regardless of the publisher.

  • Patty Stephan

    Hi Michael! Interesting article. I have to say I am surprised by a recent experience of my own. In polling my own 20-year-old son and his college friends, they all preferred print books to anything else. I think this generation spends so much time online pursuing other pleasures that there is some level of comfort in simply holding and reading a book. I was really surprised. My offer to purchase eBooks for him was immediately shot down!

  • Bob Bello

    Now I know that I didn’t waste 20 years of my life perfecting the art of short stories, which I had to convert to radio drama and animation scripts because no one wanted to publish shorts even in anthologies 😉 THX

  • SuSu

    How disgusting. Kate doesn’t deserve such vulgarity.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Knowledge unlatched is an interesting extension of a hybrid open access/print model in scholarly published that was pioneered by the National Academies Press in the 1990s for the sciences and then adapted by some other presses (like the one I headed at Penn State) for the humanities. These efforts attempted to be sustainable by using the sales of POD editions to cover publishing costs and met with mixed success. Knowledge Unlatched’s innovation is to spread the burden of supporting this hybrid model more widely by having libraries buy into it by covering fixed costs, allowing the publishers to cover variable costs through sales of POD editions. It will be interesting to see how many libraries step up to the plate to support OA monograph publishing as they have OA journal publishing.

  • steveglines

    Only in NYC.

  • Doug Turner

    Pass. At least it’s not "50 Shades of The Vatican" or "The Pope: Breaking Dawn" but still… no.

  • Anne Gerth

    Wow, worth pondering…

  • Richard Truesdell

    I see this as a good thing for Nook. With Microsoft having a substantial stake in the Nook business, and with it now being in the hardware business with the various versions of the Surface tablet, I see the next generation Nook moving from Android to a Windows OS. The nook could be re-branded and repositioned as a lower-priced Microsoft Surface device (Nook Surface?) in 7-, 8-, and 10-inch versions to do battle with Kindle.

    As far as taking the B&N bookstores private, that to me seems to be a fools errand with no long-term future except as a real estate play. But with so many former big-box stores vacant (can you say Borders, Circuit City, Linens and Things), can a real estate play make any sense? As Amazon and other Internet retailers put more pressure on big box stores, more will close diminishing the value of all the big-box store real estate built from the early 1990s all the way up to the 2007 economic downturn.

    Just one man’s opinion.

  • Stanislav Fritz

    I’m afraid I have similar feelings as you do. I prefer the Nook over iPad and Kindle for reading books. I liked the glow version. I especially liked the sideloading (although there are some significant bugs in the way Nook handles side loaded books).

    Unfortunately, I feel B&N cut their own throat on this one. I am co-founder of a small (micro) press. B&N is no better than Amazon (perhaps worse) in the way it deals with small publishers (not just self publishers). It focused exclusively on large publishers. With a little foresight, it could have gotten the small publishers to REALLY embrace them and perhaps make a difference in content for readers.

    I had the tiniest of hope when Microsoft invested in them, but as a former Microsoftie I also knew that this is a double edged sword and Microsoft drops the ball all too often in IMPLEMENTING innovation.

    So, ultimately, I am rather pessimistic and it saddens me as an Amazon without real competition is a dangerous thing. By carving off the digital part the founder of B&N may be focusing on the most profitable aspect, but as a former Amazonian also, I know the power of synergies and "spinning the flywheel." B&N is losing more than first meets the eye by breaking apart.

    I hope I am wrong, but I am not buying any stock in either portion of B&N at this point!

  • Michael Jahn

    What would become of an independent Nook?

    A slow and painful death spiral, that is what will become of the independent Nook.

  • Small Timer

    We began a home-based business over thirty years ago, but I held jobs outside the home. We sold our other business just over two years ago. I now work at home with my husband at our home-based business. I in my office in the house, he in his out there in a cabin in the yard. My enviable workplace finds me at this computer in my little office, sunlight streaming in, the kitchen down the hall, the garden outside these walls. We live in the country with vegetable garden, fruit trees, a small pond, wildlife and changing seasons. So much is possible for a small business with the Internet at your side!

    Yet, I am socially deprived and disconnected from my local community, it’s needs, its rhythms. It is difficult to discipline myself to the work at hand: dust accumulates on the dresser in the next room, the bathroom could use a little cleaning, my neighbor drops by with her dog.

    Yes, there is something idyllic about it: lunch is relaxed, the cat is friendly, I can change the laundry from the washer to the dryer in a minute and that’s all done by 5:00. And, even though we are productive here—good work is accomplished, products are made and shipped all over the world–I do not benefit from an enviable synergy. I am diminished working at home. If there is a balance, I have yet to dial my workday to that good tune.

  • Alexis Ashcraft

    I truly hope that this doesn’t go. I LOVE my Nook, as do my mother and grandmother. My bff hates the way the Kindle is laid out (as do I), and I do as well. Everything is extra $ on that thing, too. If only they’d compare and show how great the Nook really is, like set up a site where Nook lovers can post why they love the Nook. Do a huge campaign about it! I have so many ideas that could help them appeal to all…

  • MarkWWhite

    And what would become of an independent Barnes & Noble? What if it didn’t have to devote so much space in its stores to Nook? Or what if it could also be a showroom for Kindles and other e-reading devices as well?

  • Brian Howard

    Thanks for all the great feedback. This morning’s news about Nook’s $6.06 million Q3 loss certainly casts an even darker pall over the situation.

  • Valentina

    Growing up, my favorite Dr. Seuss book was "Scrambled Eggs Super." Other favorites: "And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street" and "The Cat in the Hat." My favorite time management book is also by Dr. Seuss: "The King’s Stilts."
    –Valentina Sgro, author of the Patience Oaktree organizing adventures

  • John Rimel

    Happy 99th Birthday Dr. Seuss! (tomorrow) It was refreshing to hear from someone else who’s favorite Dr. Seuss book was If I Ran the Circus. While I also had a deep attachment to Horton Hears a Who!, as I’ve gone through life I sometimes find myself reflecting on Morris McGurk and his dream of a circus in a vacant lot and found encouragement to go for it!

  • Doug Turner

    The main problem facing the Nook is the ecosystem. By using a proprietary UI and locking out the Google play store, what could’ve been a nice little table is instead a project for those who know how to root it, and not much more than an overpowered e-reader to the rest. My kids both have Nook Colors and my wife has a Nook Tablet. All 3 were rooted (nooted) out of the box and turned into nice tablets. The Kindle UI and ecosystem is just a bit better, but because it’s easier to root and upgrade (Jellybean FTW!) it’s a much nicer proposition. Untethering the Nook and allowing it to become a true Android device might be the thing that saves it.

  • Small Timer

    You get to hope yourself silly!

    Although hope springs eternal it is probably too late for that salve because indie deserts do exist right now and will until the Amazon runs dry. Even if that were to ever happened, the desert may just cover the earth anyway, as in catastrophic climate change. Bookstore pangea, that network that was held together by passion for books, idiosyncratic and spectacular buying, community spirit…I could go on, has met its tectonic shift.

    This is not to say you cannot purchase an e-book at your local indie because you can, difficult as it has been for indies to get this accomplished. Waiting until your daughter’s favorite author (good for both of them) comes to your neighborhood indie to find hope just means you waited too long. Those authors were represented on those and other indie bookstore shelves all along, doing everything they could to get your attention.

    Indies all over the country have shriveled up and blown away because their demographics couldn’t hold them there. And, yes, there are millions of children who now grow up in that desert without a bookstore for them to find and to hold them safe and help them love reading, or to become writers themselves. You can grieve and write all about your grief and concern on a blog. Or, you can be hopeful that the world for these kids will will suddenly be populated by corner bookshops, all that while you check your calendar for the next author event at Children’s Book World.

    The truth is that big box stores and Amazon ascended and grabbed much of this country’s short attention span, and the need for instant gratification as it clicked to fill its online shopping cart. Local merchants dying of thirst the whole while.

    In 2010 home values over one million dollars averaged 1.84% in the United States. In Montgomery County, the county in Pennsylvania where Haverford is located, home values over one million dollars averaged 1.85%, not much over but definitely over the country’s average. The median home value in 2010 was $177,046. Montgomery county’s? $240,165! In 2010 the U.S. employment statistics by job type for the civilian population for white collar jobs was 74.72% and 25.28 for blue collar jobs. In Montgomery County, white collar jobs encompassed 83.33% of the population while blue collar jobs encompassed 16.67%; that’s 8.61% fewer blue collar jobs and 49.44% more white collar jobs in your area.

    Household income averaged $74,974 in this country while Montgomery County’s averaged $111,801; that’s almost $37,000 more income per household! In the United States in 2010, the highest education level attained in the population aged 25 and over was at 9.84%. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania boasted a graduate school attainment level of 16.95%.

    Where 100 is the national score for what is called the Education Index (a complex of socio-demographic factors), Montgomery County’s education index score was 185. 185!

    Achievement in school is hinged to the level of education of a mother and at what age she gave birth to her first child (i.e. waiting until she finishes school correlates to age of 1st pregnancy), as well as having books in the home. Achievement is related to reading.

    Now, you tell me which neighborhoods have the most hope of keeping the doors open at their local indie bookshop? Which areas in this country are most likely to have kept bookstores open throughout the sea change in publishing, the crisis in our economy, and the rise of Amazon and its blatant use of books as its gateway giveaway to becoming the monolithic online retailer in the last bunch of years?

    Now what do you think these smaller, less heeled communities are doing with with their libraries, childrens books librarians, new book purchases, hours open, etc.? Raise donations from your amazing Montgomery County and put your money where your hope is.

  • Brian Howard

    Happy to hear you’re also a Morris McGurk fan, John! And glad to hear that you’re a Scrambled Eggs Super fan, Valentina. Those two books delighted me as a child (and probably drove my parents crazy given how often I wanted to read them).

  • tomf

    Much of what you can see will depend on where you are staying. This is not an easy town to get around in even for those of us that have lived here for many years. For safety, don’t tell me the hotel, but if you can give me the general location, e.g. downtown, which is from Riverside to the south and 11th street to the north, I may be able to help you decide which events you can make.

  • Kelly

    I’ve been trying to find out how a publisher can participate but I can’t get a response from anyone at Bookish. How are they adding titles/publishers? Maybe it’s a secret club!

  • terry andrews

    That is the way the game is to steel the buyers away from the other you just have to be 1 step ahead.

  • Devorah Winegarten

    I’d love to have you over for dinner when you’re here next year, some good ol’ Texas hospitality, and you can get an insider’s perspective on the book biz in Austin from someone who’s been around the block a time or two.

  • Lady_D

    >>>If you had a pile of 300 books in your house waiting to be read, what would you do?

    I have way more than that… approximately 1500 real books. And yes, I DO read them… but I buy more faster than I can read those which are already here.

    >>>>>Would you go out and buy any more books?

    Of course I would, and do buy more. That’s what bibliophiles do. I buy lots of books that are not just novels, they are more in the line of reference books, which most people do not read from cover to cover, but will dip into from time to time and read a few chapters – one here and now, another somewhere else at a later time.

    I honestly can’t tell you how many ebooks I have, but I can say this: One Kindle device can’t hold them all. My two Kindle devices do hold the majority of them – those I am most likely to read. And yes, I do read them from time to time; but realistically, will I ever get around to reading them all? Probably not. Just as I may never read or even dip into all of the myriad of printed books I own. I could stop buying books right this instant, and never run out of things to read for the remainder of my life…. but bibliophiles don’ think about stopping… I am a book magpie… attracted to shiny new books. I’ll probably never stop buying them.

  • York Somerville

    This thinking outside the box concept, is exactly what is needed. Personally with zero education in teaching, but 10 years as a Toastmaster and a life time as a entrepreneur has created my new ideas. If we don’t teach our young adults, the importance of public speaking and reading, our future will be lost to the video game world!

  • Bob Bello

    Any links to the new publisher’s website?

  • bbeer

    Most public libraries for the same thing with a set monthly price of $0.

  • Aptak

    This seems more of a bindery error than a proofreading one. How do only "six issues get an erroneous signature" in them?

  • Nick

    Hey "Journalist"… First, all warehouse jobs are bad. ALL OF THEM. People get heatstroke, they pass out on the line, they get injured. That’s what working in a warehouse is all about. Second, you realize the computer you typed this headline on was built in an actual sweatshop by truly abused workers, right?

  • Sanford Thatcher

    The losers here are students, both overseas and at home. With protection for cheaper editions produced abroad gone, there is no business logic that could justify continuing to supply those editions to foreign students. Without those sales to help cover "first copy" costs, the prices of textbooks in the U.S. will go up. It boggles the mind that librarians are crowing about this as a victory since the result of this decision will be a net decrease in the dissemination of knowledge, which librarians are supposed to be advocating.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Why libraries felt threatened I’ll never understand. What publisher in his right mind would ever sue a library for buying a few copies from abroad? It would cost a publisher far more to bring such a suit than it could ever recover from damages. So, who loses here? All those students abroad who will cease to have access to cheaper editions of U.S. textbooks, and all those other consumers who might want to buy cheaper editions of books licensed by U.S. publishers (including university presses like the one I used to head) to publishers in their own countries. Librarians consider this a victory? What twisted logic they are using to make themselves feel good!

  • http://jrhmobile jrhmobile

    I’m all for the Supreme Court ruling reaffirming the concept of First Sale. This is a deserved victory for consumers based on solid legal precedent. It’s only a loss for publishers more interested in subverting legal ownership rather than providing quality work.

    If Wiley & Sons wants to enhance the value of its published products, it’ll simply have to improve them to entice consumers to buy, rather than attempt to revoke the ownership of products it’s already sold.

  • Randy Attwood

    I have not yet tried this approach but have been contemplating searching for events where I could set up a small table and display of my books and see what happens.

  • Robert Fletcher

    The sooner we all accept the global nature of business and let supply and demand settle without legal and governmental intervention, the faster the marketplace will take care of itself. To think they would try to stop resell, yikes. Hey, what about my car?

  • Sanford Thatcher

    This has been standard practice for years for university presses that publish regional titles. Of course, all academic publishers sell books offsite at scholarly conventions where they exhibit.

  • Mada Artsclub

    Chinua Achebe was a man of great stature and profundity. Rest in peace, wise man.

  • Melinda Lanigan

    That was harder than I though it would be, but fun!

  • Peter DeHaan

    I tend to manually copy the URL of an article and email that to my friends. I don’t think I’ve copied and sent text and I seldom use the share button.

  • Publerati

    I think this really depends on what piece of technology you are using at the time of wanting to share and also how well the social media pass-along tools actually work. On a tablet I find using the share tools on the article page easy to use. On the old desktop or laptop cut and paste is still the learned behavior. The tools themselves change both what we build and how we interact.

  • Richard Polese

    Congratulations to Cinco Puntos, a superb and enduring small press, and to Ben Saenz for this well-deserved recognition!

    Richard Polese, for

  • herrmannfan

    Great article–thanks, John!

  • Muhammad Abd al-Hameed

    The article was interesting but the words in the heading, "Bringing Muhammad to the Mountain" made me very unhappy. This reference does not relate to any real incident. Some Muslim-hater created the story. Hurting the feelings of Muslims was not necessary to attract attention to the article.

  • Doug Turner

    Windows made great tablets for years that were fully functional. Today’s Android offerings are open, powerful, and much cheaper than iPads. We support real tablets, not Apple’s toys.

  • Brittany Publications, Ltd.

    Brittany Publications, Ltd. is proud to be one of Chicago’s independent publishers since 1981 – specializing in literary fiction, nonfiction related to women’s advocacy, and marketing communications. NEW: SHOSHANA’S SONG by JERRY MARCUS. In Shoshana’s Song, Marcus created a perceptive and unforgettable story of how a young woman faces the clashes between her faith, freedom of thought, and observing the traditions she loves. Marcus portrays Shoshana’s difficult choices with charm, humor, understanding, and dignity – all contributing to her spiritual growth, and the power of the story. Please visit us at

  • Eve Dallas

    I agree w Publerati. It depends on my device. A laptop has a huge screen and copy/paste is easier. On my iPad, the screen is still of good size, but what I usually do is copy/paste the URL and then also copy/paste–and put in quotes– a particular few sentences or a paragraph, and then below that add my opinion/comment, as usually I am sharing something I read that struck a chord with me and I am interested in other people’s opinions on what I highlighted. When you get down to the smartphone "level," however, your options are more limited. Both because of the smaller screen and because not all apps nor devices are created equal. Copy/paste can be a big pain in the virtual keyboard because many apps stink–they freeze up, copy more text than you wanted so you have to go back and delete the extraneous material. Annoying. Usually in that scenario I just Share the link, comment on a portion in a later post. A rather clunky way, IMO.

    But there is a secondary issue with Sharing content–when you first have to sign in to some random website by FIRST signing into your FB or other account, I notice the unsolicited junk and spam mail increases 10-fold. I have a different email address I use solely for sites that demand an FB sign in, so all the spam is in one place and easier to wholesale delete (an then block those addresses). BUT we should not have to create dummy accounts to stop the deluge of unwanted mail. (and using an address like doesn’t always weed them out.)

    site using your FB

  • Barbara Meyers Ford

    If you enjoy Stilkey’s work, you might check out the "book craft" of others such as Jodi Harvey Brown, Jonathan Wolstenholme, Su Blackwell, Brian Dettner, Casey Curran, Noriko Ambe, Susan Hoerth, Cecelia Levy,…….the list is long of these incredibly talented people who have created a truly unique art form using books.

  • David Cutting

    Makes me want to read – I would say that’s a successful article

  • David Cutting

    Don’t do what they do – do as they do – nice article.

  • F Frank

    There is software out there that will assist when you grow larger for your inventory – it is often good to get involved with a system when expecting growth anticipating the inventory demand and preventing any overwhelming organization requirements. A team of individuals I found to be helpful were these guys – . They offer a light version of their software which can assist greatly in times of growth. There are also other companies you can find by simple ‘googling’ for an inventory management system. Hope this helps!

  • Howard Rauch

    This was an excellent article, but for clarification purposes, what is the future for freelance writers serving the magazine field. I currently chair the Ethics Committee of the American Society of Business Publication Editors. My committee has just embarked on a review of our existing code. Simultaneously, I’ve heard from freelance sources bent on having more assignments covered by written contract. The "rights" issue is a major component in negotiations. Does a legal basis still exist for editors & writers negotating "all rights" as well as related options??

  • Bill Blue

    Man, I wish I had a dollar for every anti-Amazon article published by this "magazine."

  • Jay Walsh

    With due respect, the idea that publishers have a claim on after-market sales is ludicrous. Do they own the copyright to create reproductions from an original piece of art – yes. But that’s where it ends. To try and demand re-payment for something they were already paid for has no basis.

    Imagine repaying General Motors when you sell your used Chevy in a private sale. Someone designed that car, its components and created a way to build it. But once the car is sold, the originators are out of the picture.

    And if you want to get technical, the complaint is primarily from the publishers trying to squeak more profit out of a dying industry. The originators (or artists) that created the works of art will most likely have never seen a dime from any extra monies these vultures would have extracted.

  • David EH

    I frequently hear a little bit of a song in a TV commercial, and iTunes makes it fairly easy to locate and buy the full song. The creators of that song probably include a composer, a lyricist, the performers, the recording company, and others. So when I pay 99 cents, does everyone involved get a share? If I want to use a piece of it in a YouTube video, where do I seek permissions? From everyone? If I paid for the song on a CD, I’m free to resell it to someone who also may resell it, ad infinitum? So if it’s on a free YouTube video, anyone can download it — also ad infinitum. I would think the original creators rely on the initial sale for compensation, and everything else is too incidental to worry about. Can someone clarify this confusion?

  • David Moore

    A good read and adding to the debate on the back of yesterday’s (16 April) Charles Clark Lecture at the London Book Fair given by Richard Hooper and his definition in the post talk q & a of the end user as the "rights user" and the imminent launch of the Copyright Hub:
    Interesting times, never anything less.

  • Saucer Tennis

    The Supreme Court does not have the authority to litigate beyond the United States borders, that is the jurisdiction of the World Court and the US Department of State via trade agreements & treaties.

    Since the US Supreme Court overreached in the decision, violating the sovereign authority of foreign nations, a FELONY in many countries. The decision should be treated as a bad contract.

    It is like saying the US supreme Court will allow your friend to drive your car in Canada without a valid operators license, but not in the US where it would be illegal. They as much as they wish they could have, do not have universal power in dictating laws beyond US borders.

    The decision on face value seems fair,
    But legal?
    No Wat,

  • Sanford Thatcher

    There are a number of mistakes here about copyright law. First of all, it is the "first sale" doctrine, not "first use," and it is defined by Sec. 109 of the 1976 Act. But the Wiley suit did not challenge this provision of the law, but rather the section defining what is legal to import from abroad. Second, copyright does not revert to authors automatically after 35 years; authors have to take specific action to invoke this right of termination. Third, contra what one of the commenters says, it is not possible to define a work as a "work made for hire" at any time. There are two ways that a work can become a work made for hire: 1) automatically, if it is a work done within the scope of employment of the person who created it; or 2) if it falls within the set of types of works defined in the law that qualify to be designated as such, but have to be so designated before they are created in a formal written agreement between the person creating this type of supplementary work and the entity that has commissioned it.

  • jilltomich

    Thanks Lynn! It was great talking with you. An intriguing and fascinating discussion. I look forward to more.

  • Barbara K

    Nice summary of a wonderful night–loved the venue, and I agree I am always inspired by what I see, and proud to be a part of it

  • Sanford Thatcher

    It would be interesting to know what Epstein thinks of the Jeffrey MacDonald case. If you believe, as I do, that MacDonald (my freshman roommate in college) is innocent, then this is an unsolved crime too.

  • Randy Attwood

    James Patterson is a brand, not a writer. If an author doesn’t pen every word in the original manuscript he is not a writer.

  • WileyBiz

    Thank you for offering our books!

  • Doug Turner

    It may seem sexist to call her a dumb bitch, but her inappropriate response to an inane question shows it to be true.

  • michelleprice

    I don’t think this is a coincidence that I’m seeing this information two days in a row.

    Jan Phillips wrote a Huffington Post article that went even further into this. It both saddened and inspired me. Especially poignant were the stats she shared about the San Francisco Art Institute and the differences between men and women in how women perceive their artistic abilities.
    "In a recent study of male and female art students at the San Francisco Art Institute, the question was asked: Do you think of yourself as an artist? 67 percent of the women said no and 60 percent of the men said yes. When asked the question, in comparison to the work of others at the Institute, is your work particularly unique or good? 40 percent of the men and 17 percent of the women answered yes. And when asked In comparison to the work of others at the Institute, is your work inferior? the percentages were reversed: 40 percent of the women felt their work was inferior and 14 percent of the men agreed."

    She also mentions a study by a group called FAIR, who examined every politically-themed book that The New York Times Book Review critiqued. FAIR reported that 95 percent of US authors reviewed in the publication were white, and 87 percent were male.

    Time for a change and we are the ones. Thanks for a good reminder.

  • Luisa

    Is it possible to archive the conversation so those who could not make the chat may listen later?

  • Gene Schwartz

    Belated kudos on heading up BIGNY and mounting the book show..Great column. Getting eBooks into a show is a must – I think finding sponsors among the eBook converters and digital asset managers may be the gateway.

  • Fred Dow

    If only I could get my hands on these hackers.

  • Bill Rosenblatt

    The reason why O’Reilly cut TOC is simple: it was too much resources spent on too little financial gain. Small potatoes compared to O’Reilly’s other conferences, such as Web 2.0, which are an order of magnitude larger in terms of paid attendees. It’s unfortunately typical for the publishing community – anyone remember Seybold?

  • Sanford Thatcher

    " . . . as a confirmed believer in the marketplace as the arbiter of business success or failure in our industry…" Guess you don’t believe in university press publishing, eh, Eugene?

  • Luisa

    Will you start archiving the video chats for later?

  • Juliana Aldous

    Good business reason or no–I’ve witnessed O’Reilly jump in and out of businesses quickly over the years so I’m not surprised at all when they quickly and awkwardly pull the plug on something. Having seen some of their dealings from the sidelines, I sometimes view their "agileness" as simple sloppiness. Unfortunately, my list of contacts grows with the badge of honor–"I have been laid off or fired from O’Reilly." My regards to Joe Wikert whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with and consider a personal mentor and an industry thought leader as well as Kat Meyer.

  • Publerati

    I predict many large and small bookstores will close as this category is very similar to others that went "store-within-a-store" in the past. (Drugs, flowers, fish, meat, greeting cards, photo, magazines, post offices, liquor stores moved into one-stop-shopping supermarkets.) This way they have lower overheads and more frequent traffic. If you look at those classes of goods, you will see there are still standalone stores scattered out there but much of the volumes moved into supermarkets. I do think a small bookstore in supermarkets with an inexpensive Espresso machine (yet to be made) will be a great solution for books, same as it was for photo prints. I would love to know why I am wrong when it comes to books with this thinking so let me know. Thanks!

  • AdLab

    Exellent article. Bookstore of the future? It has to have a higher level of engagement–poetry readings, dramatic (theatrical/concert) readings, guest lectures…yeah, and free cofee, too!

  • Patrick Grace

    See my article on this subject in the former PMA (now IBPA) newsletter. Just google my name and it will come up.
    John Patrick Grace
    Publishers Place, Inc.

  • M.E.

    Both the Borders & the B&N in my town had communities. Every chair was filled at the Starbucks and anyplace else there was a place to sit. Lots of students were there with their textbooks and laptops, and they still closed. I think bookstores have tried almost everything, adding coffee, pastries, games, readings, storybook hours, etc. University and affluent urban communities will still have bookstores, but I’m not sure about the rest of us. A small bricks & mortar store can’t have much stock, and that’s a problem. I’m still pining for the old Scribner’s store on Fifth Ave. with its breathtaking, beautiful facade.

  • Chris

    Hey Michael, thanks for another thoughtful article. I too have always loved bookstores and on a recent trip to Bermuda I was able to wander into the real deal just off of Front Street, where I spent nearly an hour on a beautifully sunny day! To me that’s more than looking for a book, that’s entertainment. I don’t mind that perhaps owners will decide what other products to put in their stores. An independent bookstore near us on the Cape was going to have to go out of business and instead it wound up as a section of a gift store that moved into its physical place. Flexibility is the key, I guess, as it is with so many things in today’s marketplace.

  • Wide Reader

    There is no one independent bookstore. They’re all different and as knowledgable and useful and exciting as their owners are or aren’t. They all make money in different ways. People like me have a good one for sci fi, a good one for literature, a good one for my profession, a good one for Canadian kids books, a good one for cookbooks…….. I like to visit university bookstores. I only use Amazon or an online order service if I can’t get it any other way or can’t get it fast enough. The Amazon blurbs say NOTHING reliable about the books… and the "people who chose this book also chose…" option is just ridiculous for solid and wide readers.

  • Wide Reader

    This will result in Follett having too much influence when texts are chosen. It will NOT result in fairer prices for students. It will make Follett rich. It will not enrich university bookstores.

  • Fiction Nut

    One of the first jobs I ever had back in the late ’60s was at a small, independent bookstore near my home. Going to work each day was a joy for me…shelves and shelves of beautiful books and a stockroom to die for. I loved unpacking the newly shipped books…the smell and feel of the old ones…and the fun of searching for a title for a customer. I still could spend hours in a bookstore and love every moment. I pray they never disappear.

  • calmvoice

    One of my favorite things to do is visit the local Barnes & Noble to browse and have a coffee and a slice of great cheesecake. I don’t always buy a book, but often enough. Now I could browse online, but I just can’t order a hot coffee and cheesecake through the internet.

  • Elaine Miller

    I have always loved bookstores and libraries – places, like my own home, replete with books, books, books. I, too, have spent happy hours wandering the aisles, pulling down books and reading the blurbs, finding new favorite authors because of a great cover or a store display, sipping coffee while working my way through a stack of potential purchases. Yet, having spent a year as a barista in a B&N Cafe, I recognize some of the problems posed by the "community" aspects for the stores. For example, within thirty minutes of dismissal time at the nearby high school, our Cafe tables were filled with tutors tutoring and students studying. (Having been a student and a teacher, I understand this, but….) Some of them would at least buy a cup of tea; some brought in their own food from the nearby fast food places. Customers who may have made a significant purchase in the cafe would take one look at the crowd and leave. At the end of such days, our AT’s (average ticket amount) and total sales would always be down. That affects the store’s bottomline and the cafe employees’ stats. Then there’s the mess left behind to clean up, along with the rest of the closing checklist of tasks. I know this is not really on topic for your post, but I pass it along for all the friends-of-bookstores to keep in mind when they are communing in their favorite store. I know that, after my year at that job, I never take up a table in a bookstore or coffee shop without making a purchase, and I always leave my area clean. My little bit to help their bottomline.

  • Randall Wood

    I wrote this post last August but your article here brought it back to mind. The post was picked up by The Passive Voice, Digital Book World and The Book Designer and the discussion was interesting. Some of the ideas are antiquated already and there are still a few technological hurdles to overcome, but overall the proposal is sound.

  • MarkWWhite

    Everyone thinks of McDonald’s as a hamburger joint, but its profits mostly come from fries and drinks. So maybe bookstores are headed in the same direction, using books to get people into the store, but to other products and services for most of their profit. People who buy books are an attractive demographic for many non-book products.

  • La Casa Azul Bookstore

    La Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem celebrates ONE year on June 1st- is it the only indie bookshop above 96th Street in Manhattan.
    With the support of 500+ contributors to the "40K in 40 days" campaign, La Casa Azul Bookstore opened on June 1, 2012. Since then we have become East Harlem’s literary hub, featuring books on Latino history, the Latino immigrant experience, bilingual books for children, and carrying books by over 75 local writers.

    Highlights of year one:
    – 200+ events & programs since we opened on June 1, 2012 (- Book readings, poetry nights, film screenings, book clubs, writers conferences, art exhibits, live music performances among the events and programs in 2012/2013.)
    – Visits by renowned authors like Junot Diaz, Esmeralda Santiago, Sandra Cisneros, R.J. Palacio, Sonia Manzano, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Daisy Martinez, Meg Medina (just to name a few)

  • brianoleary

    Maybe the proceedings will shed some light on how Apple convinced publishers that charging higher prices and obtaining minimal sales was a better option that charging moderate prices and maximizing digital revenue.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    I wish we had more kids like this in the Dallas area. The Real Bookstore, the last indie in the area that was oriented toward children, had to close down a month ago.

  • Alan Tucker

    Good for Xander! Love to see kids read, especially boys. Contacting him right now :-)

  • Bigdan Kariuki

    Xander is on the right path.Keep on reading more books and
    encourage more of your peers to do like wise!!! It will be hard
    but a good course worth trying!!

  • LesYUDU

    Interesting decision, reminds me of the early days of the music industry when music publishers said they would not release downloads and mp3’s – the along came Napster and the big battle, of course the rest became history as iTunes made it safe, easy and inexpensive to "buy" tracks and albums – people were discouraged from illegal pirate sites and encouraged to use official safe channels – either way you can’t stop the market getting what it wants, be interesting to see how long it takes before someone scans and distributes it, or the might, size and force of digital readers and their purchasing power proves just to tempting ? 😉

  • Christoph Paul

    That’s really cool Xander! When you are few years older I will send you my book to read and review.

  • Sharon Woodhouse

    Good move! Congratulations and best wishes.

  • Jim_Sturdivant

    Well, the beer price rise is in line with CPI, so it’s gone up in tandem with stuff like milk and shoes. I’m actually surprised the increase in the price of beer is not higher. (It sure feels like it compared to when I was in college, but I was drinking a lot more swill then.)

    I’m no economist either, but for book prices to basically stagnate—it seems to point to the extraordinary price pressure from digital media. I’d be curious to know if the percent change stayed in line with CPI up to a point and then fell back, and when that occurred.

  • Craig Triplett

    When Amazon starts selling beer and bricks and mortar retailers have to start competing, the price of beer will drop, too.

  • Kimberly Erwin

    I’m excited about ‘Shindig.’ Along with book blogs, such sites for the authors who are en masse entering self-publishing and along with that self-marketing and publicity are vital to separate those who publish ‘because they can, and why not?" and those who expect to be well-received and have industry knowledge. Kudos!

  • Thad McIlroy

    An interesting puzzle: it sent me scurrying first to check Harper’s source for the data, and then to the data maestro, Albert Greco, who discusses book pricing at length in his (co-authored) "Culture and Commerce of Publishing in the 21st Century."

    Harper’s is apparently quoting the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, not the first place you’d turn to to investigate book retail pricing from the last few decades.

    Greco looks at book pricing against the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 1945 to 2005. 1960 is the first decade where annual data is consistently available. Book pricing in that decade exceeded CPI by 24%. In subsequent decades the pricing generally remained more in line with the CPI.

    Greco’s last data is for the years 2000-2005. History and fiction declined by 2-8%, while the CPI rose by nearly 20%. Which throws off much of the earlier data.

    As with most statistics if you can choose the time period under consideration (or another key variable) you can usually find numbers that will prove your point.

    The Harper’s number don’t reflect personal earnings in that 25-year period. According to a 2010 article in the UK Telegraph "Relative to what we earn, a pint costs exactly the same as it did 19 years ago."

  • PeterPrasadSF

    Mr. Depp on the cover. Smart move. I’m crushing….

  • DrDooDah

    Even bigger news: 3 in 4 AREN’T buying print titles.

  • Victoria

    I’m glad your feet recovered enough to make it another day, or we might have missed seeing you at ForeWord Reviews booth. Thanks for the nice plug posting our press release and looking "foreword" to collaborating soon.

  • Laura Williams

    Why can’t people just leave the big dog publishers on the East Coast alone? They’re more eccentric than me and my type, but they took a gift that comes to them naturally and have made their way work for them. Change isn’t always a good thing; Random House and Penguin have been in existence for how long? I don’t think they need that kind of help. Let them do what they do best.

  • John Wicker

    I am confused by the numbers…how can total attendance be lower than industry professionals?…is this a test?…could it be that industry losers (professional or otherwise) are deducted from the attendance totals?

  • jszunko

    We were able to get much accomplished at BEA 2013 due to our pre-planning. Like any trade show–it is what you make it.

  • Gary

    The numbers as presented are a bit confusing. What might be more meaningful would be a breakout by attendee type…ie number of Publishing Representatives, number of Authors, number of Booksellers, etc. This would give a clearer picture as to the makeup of the attendee base.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    This analysis is right on the mark. ironically, the Supreme Court’s decision ended up putting both foreign and U.S. students at a disadvantage relative to the practice prevailing theretofore. Textbook prices will rise for both sets of students, for foreign students because of the arbitrage problem and for domestic students because the loss of sales overseas will mean that there will be less money available for publishers to develop new textbooks. So, who did the SC think it was helping by its decision, except Mr. Kirtsaeng himself? As this article suggests, all the SC has done is to force textbook publishers to adopt a new model that will eliminate the problems and ensure publisher profits long into the future.

  • PhoenixRising87

    I agree with Gary. I thought there were not as many indie publishers present as in the past. The increase in global publishers and publishing services was refreshing. I think by adding a day for public caused a shift in exhibitor focus.

  • Robert Fletcher

    At least you disclaim you weren’t there… smile… and so we get regurgitation of the Cader / Shatzkin future-speak (and I know and respect them very much). Let’s next look at this comment of yours … explains this shift of energy by noting that the industry is no longer driven by publishers — ”it is driven by technology.” I suggest that we all be more accurate. The industry is driven by the consumers and buyers and readers who use the most efficient and cost effective technology to read the content they prefer. Publishers are going to shift from pushers of content they build, to packagers of content that the buyer wants. We see it already.. when a best selling author can reach the world, the only reason they need a Big Six is to reach markets like hard covers, that they can’t easily get to. Publishers are on the way to becoming glorified value-add distributors, and that is a scary place to be. Interesting times indeed!

  • AuthorDavidEH

    As I reached the second page of this article, I realized it was written in an outer-space language that made no sense to me. It uses the word "semantics" but fails to apply its principle. Keeping in mind that end-users of these formats are writers and readers accustomed to everyday conversational language, I wish this type of article could be written as if speaking to a cocktail waitress. Unfortunately, too much of modern communications consists of language I suspect is deliberately invented to confuse — medical language, legal language, geek speak. It creates an illusion that the author has valuable expertise. But it’s also the 21st century Tower of Babel, and it runs counter to social harmony.

  • Bob Bello

    Don’t be so surprised, because once everyone becomes a writer, the great storytellers will drawn in the ocean of FREE publications and would be very difficult to find. The same way if everyone’s a musician no one will listen to radio anymore 😉

  • Ajay Singh

    With greatest respect Dear Mary Ann,

    I am seeking your creative insight to represent a new method in form of literature, that’s now
    essential for the world community to perpetuate the path to peace.

    I am the author of a book that designed to secure the safety and morality of our future
    generation. It is an experiment with English literature, that creating shortcut of story

    Would you be interested in reviewing and representing my creation. I believe, it would emerge
    as an interesting subject to bring science and theology together for the public and leadership
    in ministry, seeking safety and peace behind the shadows of NUCLEAR WEAPONS. This book would
    definitely help the readership and the world community to raise new hopes in working towards a
    common citizenship of the world of all peoples and faiths based on global social
    responsibility and solidarity.

    The expected outputs includes…….

    (a) An aspect of literature designed for academic purpose for character
    development within a "New Spiritual Information", without disgracing the
    belief of any mankind. It approaches all the theological definitions in one idea,
    following the basis of ethnology, scientific insight and the history of mankind on
    Earth. Our scientific achievements are not potential than theological insights to
    reveal the basis of sins hidden behind the fame of God that seduces our morality.

    (b) A method that develops a humble approach in theology, which encourages
    research and engages with science to purify our inherited system of thoughts
    according to the needs of this current period.

    (c) Worldwide invitation for all the leadership in ministry, mainstream religious
    thinkers, scientist, philosopher, theologians and atheists as well, to build up a
    platform for an unanimous conclusion that might solve the religious conflicts at
    this period, when we are seeking safety under the shadows of NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

    Expected outcomes includes……

    (a) A significant utility of literature, an only way to unify all the religious
    teachings in one idea, following the scientific and theological insight, for peace
    and generosity throughout in world.

    (b) An extensive proposal for the world community, to bring science and theology
    together, for the essential amendments in our inherited system of thoughts, to
    secure the morality safety of our future generation.

    (c) An identification of new spiritual information, that innovates a method for
    all research scholars engaged in field of theology and philosophy, following
    scientific insight.

    (d) A method for the world leadership in ministry that would reduce the
    causalities and cost of the "war on terrorism". It is especially designed
    targeting the religious conflicts of mid-east that engages many countries of the
    world to suffer in the mazes of premeditated theories, at this period of the rise
    of science beyond the fall of spirituality

    Profile and intention mentioned within the links as follows……

    Profile at…..

    Intentions at

    Recommendations for my book at

    Thanks for reviewing. Looking forward for your permission to submit.


    Ajay Singh

  • Doug Turner

    Barnes and Noble committed suicide when they decided to make an Android ereader instead of a Nook branded tablet in the first place. No one wants to be stuck in B&N’s walled garden. Adding the Play store was a step in the right direction, but it was too little too late. If the Nook HD and Nook HD+ had launched with full Play Store access at the $199/$149 price points, they would’ve cleaned house.

  • Jeremy Greenfield

    The WSJ and BBG stories point out (as did we at DBW) the silver lining to this dark cloud.

    While it might be the best option B&N has right now, this is not a shrewd move in a series of shrewd moves. It’s an emergency over there. If you talk to the people who work there and manage the business, that much is very clear.

    That said, there are two converging trends that do not make the move look nearly as shrewd:

    1. E-reader sales in the U.S. slowed for the first time last year. This trend will continue, which doesn’t bode well for a company that gets most of its content distribution through the devices. Are they picking up internationally? Well, doesn’t matter, because….

    2. B&N has virtually no international presence and it’s not changing that very quickly, as opposed to Kobo, Amazon and Apple.

    If you want to get a sense of how e-readers are doing internationally, probably talk to Kobo, which has made a similar move as B&N, tho not in response to a complete implosion of the business, and Kobo has a real international presence.

    This opinion also ignores the outlook of investors who are incredibly important to the company right now for a variety of reasons. Investors don’t want to see their investment utterly fail at the biggest booming tech business right now (tablets) and then give up — even if it is the best option available right now (which it most certainly is).

    I wrote about what I think B&N should do now here:

  • Joe Reynolds

    B&N should take a couple of pages from the Kobo and Amazon playbooks. Kobo started out by co-branding someone else’s ereader, selling it under license and not incurring the development costs and worrying about boards, processors, and such. Amazon made their content ubiquitous on any device. I own an Android tablet and buy my content from Amazon because I buy everything else from Amazon. B&N should copy that strategy. They should focus on selling their content on all other ereaders and tablets, and start thinking internationally. I remember asking them that question about five years ago at a Frankfurt Book Fair and was underwhelmed by the answer. This is a smart move by B&N but it was the only move they had left. They now need to capitalize on it and copy the success of KOBO on a worldwide basis, and build easy to use apps for their content platform so anyone can buy their content. And a little marketing and branding is sorely needed. Good luck, William and Leo. Learn from your competitors and go forward.

  • teri

    Stupid move on the retailers part….it will sell, big!!! Go Paula!

  • Hoa Truong

    Many thank CEO Robert Fletcher and a global publisher SBPRA brought my dream came true with 3 books published: The dark journey, Good Evening Vietnam & from Laborer to author. I am Grateful SBPRA helped me to accomplish a promise myself while living into the reeducation camp:" If survival, I will write story". Now the world could have the genuine document about Vietnam war that I spent more than 30 years to hunt.
    Robert Fletcher and SBPRA are the pioneers and revolutionist in the the publishing industry, I wrote it into my book number 3:" from laborer to author".
    I am so proud to be author from SBPRA.

  • Тодор Бомбов

    An enormous thanks to Mr. Fletcher! SBPRA is the greatest publisher in the world! My book "Of Rats and Men" became a fact and at that a world fact because of SBPRA! And I would say to all SBPRA and BSBRA teams:
    Thank you for your care of my book! It is so amazingly that my title is going into China, Taiwan, Korea and other market places in the world! It is a real pleasure to work with you. Now I’m looking forward to very good results soon! I’m looking forward to publish my next book too!
    As all other coleagues, I’m so proud to be an author of SBPRA!
    Todor Bombov, Bulgaria

  • Business Zero To Superhero

    Digital publishing is the future, however good specialist book shops will survive in much the same way as record shops.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Please explain in what way the Kirtsaeng decision confirmed "what has been going on for over fifty years." What the decision did was upset the applecart of differential pricing, which was the model textbook and other publishers had been using for, well, fifty years at least.

    Self-published authors should also be hopeful that the Copyright Office’s effort to get a small claims procedure for dealing with copyright infringement in place soon. Otherwise, very few of them will ever be able to afford to go to court to confront infringers.

  • ric

    A "stint" at a job seems like 1 or 2 years. A "20-year" ‘stint’.?? Twenty years seems more aptly described as a "career," or just…."After 20 years at ……" Perhaps Webster’s puts no actual time limits on what a "stint" is, but 20-years is a long, admirable haul. A "stint" is something you do for a bit when you actually hate it and then you quickly find some place to hang your hat for 5 or 10 or 15 years. Overall: a finely crafted little profile and I enjoyed reading it; thank you. — ric

  • Pam Price

    This is an interesting and timely article. Regarding self-published books, I see three significant drawbacks. As co-owner of an independent bookstore, I see a lot of self-published material. In a majority of cases, it’s clear thatthe books have never been reviewed by an editor. Cover art on self-published books is often inferior, making it difficult for these books to compete in the marketplace. Finally, distribution and marketing seem to pose a formidable obstacle for self-published authors. A number of these folks haven’t figured in a discount for the bookstore. When I broach this topic and mention the standard bookseller discount schedule, I often hear, "But I need to recoup the investment I made in the printing process." The bookstore has expenses too. It can be a disheartening conversation. It’s a discussion that takes place more and more frequently these days.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Don’t forget the city’s three university presses, at Penn, St. Joseph’s, and Temple.

  • DAN

    Ha! You can rest assured that Amazon’s behavior is predatory. I have seen it first hand from my perspective as an employee within a book publishing organization. I certainly purchase product from Amazon as does most of the population. The customer service is great if you are a "customer". If you are a supplier to Amazon, the climate could be described as Saber-Tooth-Predator-istic. Depart from Amazon’s rigid supplier requirements in any form or fashion and you will find yourself bouncing to the curb. Amazon has no problem "dumping" low retail items at a loss(e-books or books), if it brings traffic to their site for purchases with margin opportunities. Amazon will not rest until it is the only option for us all to exercise our rampant consumerism.

  • FlorrieK

    Kudos to Roy Carlisle of the Independent Institute for his insightful and unique view of the ALA Annual Conference.—Florrie Binford Kichler, past Executive Director, Independent Book Publishers Association

  • Thad McIlroy

    "…three out of four Kindle Fire owners USE e-books." Use them to do what?

  • Doug Turner

    This column is despicable trash. We should never learn from the mistakes of the past, eh? As long as a dirtbag has been on a magazine cover, it’s ok for all magazines to put dirtbags on the cover?
    "…because many people out there understandably do not know that Rolling Stone is also a hard-news publication" Rolling Stone is NOT a hard news publication. At best, it’s whiny opinion rag wrapped in pop culture.

  • ELLE

    "Couldn’t Rolling Stone have had the decency to edit the photo so that Tsarnaev didn’t look so much like one of us?"

    Get out of your comfort zone….this is what the guy looks like when he takes off that "turban" at home – a normal person. That maybe the reason they blended so well in the Boston crowd and were not suspect. They understand what its like to be stereotyped!

  • Sophia Petrillo

    Yikes! For being the source of publishing intelligence, I fear your attempt at humor will fall flat on this subject.

  • P.A.

    As members of the media today we have a responsibility to not glorify these killers by using their photos or names in the chance that it may add fuel to the mind and actions of the next prospective mass murderer who’s looking for notoriety. It’s certainly not the only thing that may contribute to these heinous crimes but we have a responsibility to do our part — just as parents, families, teachers, school administrators, mental health systems, lawmakers, violent video game makers, community members, and others must do theirs — to help prevent this from happening again if there’s even a chance that we are part of the problem.

  • Smith Johnson

    Nice information above here.I admire your information you offered in this post.

  • Bill Kasdorf

    I normally don’t comment on these things, but reading these comments, I feel compelled to. This post is the best commentary I’ve read on this situation. Though it was obviously written Swiftly, it is brilliant. I have a Modest Proposal: read it again.–Bill Kasdorf

  • Thaddeus B Kubis

    I was not with Print, Old Print when he/she/it died, i was busy at the birth of New Print, that was fun! New Print’s middle name is "integrator".

  • Reader

    Probably one of the more immature and uninformed posts I have ever seen.

  • Paul Lukas

    Yes there are many new and exciting media options available to marketing professionals and publishers. We are all wise to learn them and use them…..But a quick look at where businesses and consumers spend their money…. reveals that print is definitely not dead.

    Print generates over 4.5 times more revenue than social media.
    Social Media Industry 2012 Revenue: $17 billion (includes Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
    Print Industry 2012 Revenue: $78 billion (wholesale print services)

    And printed books still account for 80% of book publishing revenues
    eBooks Publishing Industry 2012 Revenue: $ 3 billion
    Printed Books Publishing Industry 2012 Revenue $ 12 billion

    The truth is the print industry is a long way from dead, and professionals who choose to ignore that reality risk missing out on up to 80% of the marketplace. Wise professionals will continue to use all the media options available, and learn to integrate them for a more relevant, satisfying and meaningful reader experience.

    PS: I realize that the Onion is a joke, but after 20 years in marketing communications, this particular joke is getting pretty old. Let’s get past the jokes and down to the real discussion.

  • Lawrence Welch

    I do not feel that NAPCO should have run this article as their "lead" story. It simply isn’t worthy. Being from the Boston area and having been in NYC during 9/11, I’m truly biased and I know it, however this mocking of those who have criticized the Rolling Stone portrayal is, in my estimation, "over the line".
    The fact that this writer chooses to remain anonymous is further proof that he or she really does believe in what he says but rather seeks to provoke and in this case he or she has succeeded.
    Larry Welch

  • Richard Truesdell

    Having a tablet, the 16 GB Nook HD+, now at $149 with comparable specs as the $499 iPad (can’t compare it to the still available iPad 2 with its low-res 1024-pixel-wide display), hasn’t turned the tables in the right direction for B&N, what makes Kobo think that they can make a dent in the tablet space without the kind of retail footprint that B&N currently enjoys? I think that the train has left that station a long time ago. The opportunity to take on Apple vanished years ago, especially with its huge lead with apps, especially "all you can eat for 9.95/month magazine apps" like Next Issue Media and the Readr app from PixelMags.

  • mike

    astounding format for those who do cumbersome research. now you don’t have to read every book in the library
    to find the specific information your looking for. great for doctors,lawyers, and all kinds of scientists.

  • Publerati

    For me, it’s about when content becomes digital, it becomes always available to everyone (with Internet access) and capable of being easily shared. I think these are the two unique advantages of ebooks that will reshape the future of books and of human literature. Imagine in the future people trying to grasp the notion that they could not read a book because it was "out of stock." How many authors have walked into their local bookstore only to be told the book is out of stock and not being reordered because it is has just been declared out-of-print to prevent further returns? The packaged goods software publishing industry was forced to go consignment in the late 1990s, which was the best thing that could have happened in that regard. Saved publisher and store returns processing and accounting distraction and expense, while building up inventories on-hand to increase sell-thru.

    This debate reminds me so much of the print photo versus digital image debate of the 1990s, which centered on quality concerns that most people simply did not care about or feel were true. And we know what happened there. Photos actually became better quality for most consumers, who could now preview and edit them as well as share and print all on their own. And not throw away 32 prints from a roll of film producing 36 because they could not preview them and they came out lousy. That was amazing waste in hindsight across an industry that processed 50,000 prints on one busy summer night alone in one regional processing lab (so multiply that by 50 labs a night just for Kodak), yet I wonder how many pallets of returned or over-reprinted books are carted off to be destroyed every year?

    Enjoyed the discussion, thanks. We live in interesting times as did those who came before us and those yet to come.

  • success

    true talk. what you said in this article is true.
    thanks for the ideas. I am seriously thinking now.
    Thanks once again Brian.
    You are doing a very good Job in this book business.

  • Freedom Lover

    Who needs a "justice department" that attacts great American companies like IBM, Microsoft and Apple? What’s next, great American states?

  • supports the e-book publishing in the libraries but also allow them to create content.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    A good overview of the field may be found in An Introduction to Book History by David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery, recently issued in a second edition by Routledge. My review of it appears in the July 2013 issue of Learned Publishing.

  • @bobmjelde

    Thank you Frank for bringing into light this very useful tool now available as POD. As a prior employee of Scitex & Indigo and follower of Book Business I appreciate and relate to your interest in the viability of print media and an individuals opportunity to be a publisher.

  • T Moore

    I agree with Publerati. The fact is that an e-book is almost identical to a printed book, but only alters in terms of format. They are the same words and the same intent, however. The only difference is the cost to produce an e-book, which can still be pricey because they are produced on a computer, which costs more than $2,000. Then you have to factor in the cost to place the e-book on sale, and also the amount of royalties trickling down to the author after the publisher has had a go at siphoning up all the profit.

    A print book can now be kept shelf-worthy almost indefinitely, yet book stores are cutting their own throats by returning the books after a month. This is the distinct advantage of selling them online. And yet, they never learn to keep the book around, because someone may come in three months later looking for it. My books are not out of print until I say they are, and not when the bookseller says they are. If they won’t stock the book past a certain point, it’s not my problem, it’s theirs. I make them print on demand to save trees and they conduct business the same way? After a time I may be tempted to cut them out of the equation altogether.

  • Laura Williams

    Good news? Bad news? Go big or go extinct? No disrespect, Mr. Weinstein, but Regis Philbin was mostly a game show host; and this is no game. Penguin and Random House should never have merged; they should have continued to compete against one another for up and coming authors for monopoly purposes. I don’t see anybody throwing that concept out there. In the second place, guess who’s going to lose if those up and coming authors have to search out more alternative means to publication, and actually find them. Third, midsized companies eventually become the big dog companies with influence and major impact on the entire industry. Fourth, bankruptcy may sound like a bad word, but it has its pros and cons. Fifth, perhaps this is just a personal opinion (I know there are other old-fashioned eccentrics like me out there), but authors do pose more than one threat; I’ll give you that. Regardless of Amazon, Random House, Penguin, or anything technology throws at us, it’ll be us authors who wins in the end when pen and paper and everything sacred sticks it out, fights back, and is the last man standing when everything else goes down the pooper and "all the king’s horses and all the king’s men" can’t put it all back together again. I’m also known as published authors Jaime Lindsay and Leigh-Anne Ames; one of the many who will do whatever it takes to keep our dreams alive and the world sane. Just an opinion, though.

  • Laura Williams

    An End of Books? I have three words for you: "Knock it off." Instead of getting people worked up and upset, why don’t you try writing something a little more ‘print’worthy? Just an idea.

  • Robert Fletcher

    In Denial Laura?

  • Alex

    Nothing new said here, just opinions and a lack of understanding, repeats from what everybody is saying.

  • SLOnative

    After the mega bookstores drove the independent bookstores out of business, what will we be left with…Amazon?

  • Robert Fletcher

    Publish On Demand Global is at the Beijing Book Fair now and we see the same thing. There are 200 million plus English speakers in China and more every year. They need English language books to read in all genres. We have learned the hurdles for censor import and we are now seeking Business & Management books for import along with Children’s books and most trade genres.

  • The Write Beat

    Thank you.

  • jimbo

    Great article, but headline is somewhat misleading, as Arion Press is the only press that is discussed. It seemed like this portrayed a slightly wider field.

  • itso

    Oyster model is similar to that of Netflix, but I prefer that of that lets you pay as you read, with no monthly subscription.
    Actually, you buy pages in books rather THE book.

  • Caleb Mason

    Excellent point of view from the recent Publishing Business Conference and happy to see Publerati included in the mentions.

  • LesYUDU

    Exciting (and changing times) times, McGraw Hill recently had a subscription model generate 8,000 subs from 11,000 print copy book sales – creating a $1Million+ dollar business – from 1 book 😉

  • StoryShedLLC

    Curious if there’s a video of Wasserman’s keynote available on your site. Was very impressed and would like to catch it again. Thanks.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Kudos to Alyssa for following her dream and for providing such a well-written testimony to the industry’s need for fresh new talent like hers–and that of the authors she writes about here. It’s encouraging that there are still young people like her interested in entering our profession, even during such tumultuous times, and I wish her well in achieving her ambition.

  • David Reiter

    Hi Adam
    I agree entirely. From my first project, The Gallery, way back in 1999, I was using many of these elements delivered in an Acrobat 3 (!) package. Most recently, my transmedia project My Planets Reunion Memoir incorporates these elements, plus a chat room facility to engage viewers. It won the Western Australian Premier’s Award, so I should be on the right track.

  • Toby Leith

    Adam, I do agree with the premise of your article. However, and with a particular nod to works of fiction, I offer that words on a page can be far from lifeless. They engage our imagination and we enter a world, framed by the author, but with the details of that world created by our own unique experiences and expectations.

    In this view, the use of multimedia gives less room to individual imagination and spoonfeeds a canned multidimensional, multimedia experience into the mind of the reader. Stephen King, in his book "On Writing", talks about the need for authors to manage the development of characters and scenes – to hold back on details – and give readers the ability to enter the world of the book on their own terms.

  • Publerati

    I am so happy it is YOU doing all this legwork for US. Look forward to hearing what you learn while out and about. Beware of all the acronyms likely to assault you on the West Coast.

  • kenyi

    SBPRA, thanks for putting the professional touch to my latest novel: Twisted Gift. It just looks impressive. Judging by the cover alone my customers are smitten, although they would prefer buying hard copies in Africa. The online sale is not catching up as Africa still lacks Credit card facilities. The book sales will definitely pick up the moment wholesalers deliver to the African book outlets.

    Thanks further for the open Asian market you are opening to many English language authors. Note that as SBPRA grows we grow along. Let the SBPRA fag fly!

    Kenyi A. Spencer

  • Sanford Thatcher

    It’s not as though Kindle singles are a new idea on the scene. Back in 1969, in the very first issue of the Journal of Scholarly Publishing, William McClung (then an editor at Princeton U.P., later at the Univ. of Calif. Press and founder of the University Press Books store in Berkeley), wrote an article about "The Short Book" making the intellectual and economic case for it, and he later put it into practice at Cal in the Quantum Book series. It is, of course, easier than ever to do short books digitally, as the economic constraints of print publishing that posed some challenges to doing short books because of high fixed costs and the need for low prices have mostly disappeared.

  • T Moore

    First, I am insulted by the author’s lack of experience with self-publishing, such that she should advance the notion that only traditionally published books are of any quality to read. There are plenty of titles of traditionally published novels and romances of the last century which did not even pass the basic standards of authorship. Second, she has painted the entire publishing world with a broader brush than one would expect, in pointing out the flood of porn as solely supported through self-publishing. We self-published authors who produce quality books have been subject to a great deal of disrespect thanks to a genre which we neither support nor really care for, because they represent the worst, from poorly written to badly edited manuscripts which are nothing more than scenarios. I challenge her to find among us anything which is any different from traditionally published standards, and a great many self-published books are already on the best seller list. So how does she justify her opinion. Once again, she demonstrates the power of the publishers’ pocketbooks as a shill for their agenda.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    I’m with your parents. Although i have access to the digital edition of the Dallas Morning News, I read very little online and depend on the print version, about 90% of which I read or at least scan (excluding ad inserts). This is the only way to get a comprehensive overview of what is happening in the metropolitan area. TV news is a pale shadow of the print news, covering very little in depth.

    As a retired publisher (former university press director), I am all for digital publishing and have been a proponent of open access for scholarly publishing. Yet I never have read a whole book in digital form yet, nor do I expect to do so.

    As for granularity, photocopying brought that to academic books way back beginning in the 1960s, and print coursepacks became very popular by the 1980s. But these are suitable just for teaching; scholars themselves usually need to read the entire book, especially if it is in their own field of specialization.

  • Danielle Simmons

    Thank you! Wonderful article. Actionable specifics.

  • Jane Tabachnick

    Great article Brian. I think this speaks to the need for cross-disciplinary teams and including and facilitating input from all stakeholders, not just the C Suite or ones who were traditionally expected to come up with and dictate ‘the answers’.

    Looking forward to your talk at The Self Publishing Conference

  • Theodore Savas

    Brilliantly stated and I know most people can relate to this from their own lives.

  • Bob

    Ebook technology that permits collecting "every commentary on Dante’s Inferno … in one, accessible place" will be useless if good indexing does not accompany it. Right now, indexing by human minds, not the mass inundation of "search," is inadequately presented in ebooks and largely impossible in the Kindle variant.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Well, for sure, there will be no rare book market for ebooks. By definition, ebooks are not rare and can never become rare; they are infinitely reproducible, if not by choice by their original publishers, then by pirates. And the "copies" are indistinguishable from the original, so there can be no second or third printings, or books with different bindings, or books with inscriptions or marginalia of various kinds that can add to their market value.Those of us who are rare book collectors lament the passing of this tradition.

  • Colin Dunbar

    Hi Ellen
    I really enjoyed your post – brought back so many memories… Ebooks replace real books… ummm, doubt it :o)
    Thanks for your great post.

  • Wyofriend

    I own two kindles, an ipad and I still love my books… there is something so much more comforting curling up with a book instead of the cold structure of an e-book. The feel, the cover, and I don’t cringe when I fall asleep and the book falls to the floor. I love my e’s but I love my books more. Many of the books I get are local authors and are not available on the e any way.

  • Roy M Carlisle

    For publishing people like Lynn, like me, like many others in my tribe, this is all really fun. And it creates new opportunities for communicating information. But it fails (and I do understand why since this was not a conference on the art or craft of writing) to track with artists/writers who have visions for a novel/book that would be desecrated or diminished by any electronic interactivity. We all know this but once in awhile I want to say it aloud on behalf of people like my daughter, Vanessa, who is a highly accomplished artist/writer and who even self published her first novel (see trailer at: Okay, so I have said it. Onward, R

  • jmaxsfu

    That quote is typographer Beatrice Warde:

    This is a Printing Office
    Crossroads of civilization
    Refuge of all the arts against the ravages of time…


  • Dan

    I am fortunate enough to work with the man who is described here. He lost the battle with modesty and bragged about his dear child.
    I surely agree on the superiority of real books, although I use a Nook. I saw a car commercial the other night that said the interior dispensed scents. Maybe the e-book people will learn how to dispense an old book scent. They should start by going in attics. Nicely done, your Dad is justifiably proud.

  • Jana

    Enjoyed this post. Just ordered a copy of Tortens Christmas Secret to read to my new grandson. What other Christmas books do you remember fondly?

  • Theodore Savas

    Then these publishers did (and many, apparently continue) to do something wrong. Perhaps they moved into the digital space to late, did not thread this aspect into their print program properly, and are not publishing what consumers want to read. We jumped on e-books early at Savas Beatie, have incorporated them into our print program and keep a tight pulse on what our customers want and will purchase. We are finding that e-books are at worst not affecting the same book in print (re sales) and in many cases are increasing print sales for the same title.

  • GDC

    Thanks so much for the synopsis. Very enlightening, and I enjoyed reading it.

  • Lynne Jeter

    Wonderful insight! Thank you for sharing info in such a fun way!

  • Deidra Stierle

    I agree with your parents as well. I think both formats have a place and can be part of the whole picture, but I enjoy a hardcover book. And, honestly, my late-elementary-age son still prefers to read from a book… although he enjoys all the interactive games and videos on his tablet.

  • Theresa M. Moore

    The whole reason I do not like programs like Kindle First is that it grabs the limelight away from the premieres of the printed versions. I mean, why buy the printed book when you can get it for free on a Kindle? No, that way lies bankruptcy for anyone entertaining the notion that Amazon has our best interests at heart. In fact, I have just closed my KDP account, thanks to their lack of restraint with selective censorship on the community forums, and lack of sales of ebooks on Amazon. Why should I encourage them to take liberties with advances of my titles, when I can market them on my own site myself and sell the books elsewhere, free of the oppression of the Amazon business model? I publish with others who are less prone to judge my books as "worthy" of Amazon’s interest. I already have ebooks ready to sell on my own site, DRM-free. . I post text samples directly on my site for people to read. I see no reason to bring Amazon into the mix anymore, since they don’t sell the books.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    To nitpick, I wish to point out that "whence" means "from where," so saying "from whence" is equivalent to saying "from from where."

  • Skip

    Could be right about all this. If so, the old publishers will all be out of business and the new ones are already here…Google Yahoo etc. And there won’t be ‘books’ just bites or snacks. Also seems unlikely that start ups can deliver such bites while creating a new revenue model and competing with Google etc.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Advertising is not likely to work as a revenue source for most scholarly books, except perhaps in the medical field. As usual, generalizations are made here about publishing, as though all sectors could use the same business model successfully. Never was true and won’t be true in the future either.

  • Les Csonge

    Very interesting contributions, thoughts and event, although not the only viable alternatives for publishers, especially the smaller to mid size or those with more limited budgets or requiring quicker scaleable deployment, this recent whitepaper (free) adds and contributes extra context and feedback I think –

  • Theresa M. Moore

    It is too bad the article contains so much misinformation about the reading habits of others. The author points out that he only reads a snippet at a time, instead of reading the whole book to get the story. He does not represent the entire book reading world. I can break up my books into segments at will if I choose; but to date I don’t see any advantage to it. Sales are just as depressed in the segment market as in the whole book market. I am not in this business to give away my work for free, so it would be silly to give away bitsof it.

  • Theresa M. Moore

    Thanks to many major booksellers refusal to adopt such practices, my branding of my books makes little difference to me; and the bookstores would not have room for products aside from the books. I would prefer that they stop discriminating against self-published books, which are rapidly taking over in production, and start working to promote them as equal to traditionally published books. The production costs and standards are the same, so judging a book by publishing process alone will go a long way to supporting the suppliers of content, which are the AUTHORS.

  • Theresa M. Moore

    I meant "Not" judging a book by process of publishing alone. As and addendum, it makes little difference if a book is published by a major or a self publisher if the book consists of prurient drivel.

  • Theresa M. Moore

    Gee. It’s too bad Amazon is so crappy at selling books.

  • richard lang

    The biggest issue the publishers have is not that the market is moving to "snack" reading. It’s that the publishers still largely see e-books as direct digital translations of print books, instead of as digital files that could be rendering a much richer reading experience than currently. Publishers see themselves as subject to the whims of Amazon’s Kindle functionality, instead of partnering with other tech companies to proactively re-define what an eBook is and what the reading experience is. Perhaps the greatest problem facing traditional publishers, IMHO, is that they are like deer frozen in the headlights, afraid to take action because it might upset Amazon or in some way signal weakness. They are simply moving too slowly and in the end, the Amazons of the world are poised to grab all of the great opportunity that publishers currently have because the publishers are asleep at the wheel, despite loud protests to the contrary.

  • jimbo99

    I’m curious about the comment you made about archival paper:

    "All the paper is archival quality, similar to how the photo machines in mass retail now provide long-life paper you cannot get off your home printer."

    I’ve been printing fine-art photos since the mid-90s on a variety of archival papers that anyone can buy. Epson, Hahnemühle, Moab, Ilford (to name a few) all produce wide ranges of archival papers certified by Wilhelm Imaging Research; as you point out, using archival inks is the other necessary part of the equation. So, could you please be more specific about this long-life paper in the mass market that can’t be gotten for the home? I’m just curious.

  • Jen

    How does one get their magazine on the Google Newsstand?

  • Theresa M. Moore

    Naturally, all these things discussed have always been on my mind as both an independent author and a self-publisher, whose works have been turned away from bookstores because of the stigma attached to the quality of self-published works. So bookstores are going to become self-appointed censors, too? I have no problem with printing and distribution. I use the best services. The problem I have is with the bookstore owners who paint all self-published authors with such a broad brush that one cannot see the quality for the paint. I use the standard discount schedule. I get good reviews. Yet I am discriminated against because my fellow author can’t be bothered to cross his Ts and dot his Is. All the book business savvy in the world cannot overcome the perception that all self-published books are not edited or published in the same manner as those of traditionally published books. I don’t know what inferior cover art is, since I see many books published by the majors with terribly designed and childish art. And yet they are accepted because of the source. When bookstores start recognizing the real difference is when I will applaud; but right now what I fear is that my investment has already gone to waste knocking myself out to meet bookstores’ rigid and unreasonable criteria. My books already conform. It is bookstore owners who need to step up to the plate.

  • Bridget Whelan

    I sympathise with the problem but don’t share it as my name, although not unusual in itself, appears to be decidedly old fashioned. Google Bridget Whelan and usually you either find me or a 19th century ancestor on a family tree. However, although I live in south east England, I know that there is a BW in Melbourne with a similar email address who sometimes receives my students’ short stories and their apologies for missing a class. Over the last year I have also become aware of a young journalist in a north western state of America trying to make her mark in journalism. So far she seems to be sticking to serious worthwhile subjects which is fine – but there will be problems if she turns to fiction….

  • Deb

    I have ADD and love print–because I get less distracted. Of course, there are various flavors of ADD. . . .

  • David Warren

    Seriously? I read about a book a week, and haven’t bought a physical book in at least three years. I love being able to to take ebooks with me anywhere and pick back up wherever I left off on any of my devices. Plus, being able to increase font size really helps with eye strain.

  • Bill Kasdorf

    It won’t surprise you, Thad, that I feel compelled to point out that this is what the recently approved ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) is for. Yep, it’s real, and there are already millions of them. These are unique identifiers, associated with a person’s _public identity_. (They’re also used for the names of organizations.) So our new favorite James McBride gets one, and a different James McBride gets a different one, and the system knows they’re different guys. Mark Twain gets one, and Samuel Clemens gets a different one, and the system knows they’re the same guy. Once publishers and distributors and retailers and all the rest start using these, life is going to be a lot easier for them–and for the rest of us! Thanks for the good post.

  • gobeneaththeink

    How ironic that it is harder to immerse ourselves in eBooks, even though they run on devices that could theoretically offer almost unlimited immersion into the content and story… As of now, there aren’t many reasons to buy eBooks, and I have to agree with what you are saying here!

    Great post, thank you!

  • Jean

    I love both platforms. I buy classics (or what I predict will soon be classics) in print so that I can keep them for generations, long after my iPad or Nook is considered "vintage." But I buy current best sellers in ebook format because I can read it five minutes after a conversation with my co-worker, who has been raving about the book for the last hour.

  • TWoll

    While you may take a rest, Gene, I can’t imaging it’ll be for very long. I’ve long admired your words and stamina and appreciated both as publisher and consultant. Your columns have always been cogent and coherent – with your own viewpoint and perspective expressed loudly and clearly. More columnists should emulate your courage and your insights. Thanks too, for remembering H. Wolff, where my grandfather was the Chairman and my uncle on the H. Wolff Board when it sold to American Book Stratford. That was a long time ago….. In any case, my best for giving your best over these many years. It’s been a privilege.

  • Eddie

    You need to try a REAL book reader. The iPad (any version) is so much better than any other reader simply by giving you the reader control over the page styling. You can control the font type and size of the text, as well as the look of the page. Yes, iPads do cost more. BUT, you always get what you pay for. Additionally, the iPad provides you with so much more in terms of available content and capabilities. The iPad is the best ubiquitous digital tool in the market place.

  • Michele DeFilippo

    Score one for book designers who have believed in the power of fine typography all along. :-)

  • Thad McIlroy

    Great post, Ellen.

    You already see in the comments the sort of observations that usually accompany a post such as this: "I read about a book a week, and haven’t bought a physical book in at least three years." I used to think of these commenters as some sort of infidels. Now I realize: to each their own.

    What resonated for me in your post was: "Simply put, I can’t lose myself in ebooks." And then "Tied to page length, I loathe the infinite feel of the ebook." I’m in 100% agreement with you.

    It behooves the publishing industry to recognize that readers exist on a spectrum, from the plain ASCII of early Project Gutenberg volumes to the connoisseurs of beautiful short-run editions of a major new work.

    In a strong phrase offered under very different circumstances I often think of the ebook vs. physical book debate: "Can’t we all just get along?"

  • Don Bates

    So, the moral of the story is check and double check those old books and manuscripts in your storage boxes, bookshelves, attics and elsewhere. You may be sitting on real wealth or some rainy day money of more modest measure. I found two books, each of which are worth maybe $2,000, but I’m keeping them until I get tired of looking at them and sneaking peeks at their pages. One is by Wm. Saroyan, the other is by Lady Gregory. I’ve found other books worth hundreds, but only if someone really wants them and can’t find them on the Internet. I’m gong to have a Happy Thanksgiving just thinking about what books have meant to my life and writing. Today, I’m reading "The Lambs" by Peter Ackroyd, one of my favorite authors of literary fiction that always has mystery, death and deception in the plots.

  • HeatherVilla1

    A truely multidimensional mapping system!

  • Sanford Thatcher

    As a rare book collector, ebooks are a nonstarter because (1) they are physically indistinguishable from each other, (2) they are not really physical at all, (3) by definition they can never be "rare," and (4) there is no possibility for "association copies" bearing inscriptions, marginalia, and the like that often make certain copies more valuable than others, even if otherwise in relatively "perfect" condition.

  • Helleren Gregory

    I have a closet, garage and house full of books. I bought a kindle years ago and have never looked back. I don’t like the backlighting from reading on an iPad. I love books, or just reading in general. I still read the newspaper though, that I can’t seem to get into a digital version of.
    I’m old enough to remember when 8-tracks went out. Things change, I’m on board with it as long as the content is still good.

  • Corey Pressman

    Now THAT is what digital is for!

  • Jody Dyer

    Thanks for the encouraging post. As an Indie Author with a similar budget, your article gave me an attitudinal boost. Your co-author and I may be kindred spirits (not in lifestyle but in writing style). I think I made a mistake with subtitle and it may be costing me sales. I didn’t realize I’m a humorist until a reader pointed it out. Actually, I didn’t realize I sound "Southern" in writing. Again, until MANY readers pointed it out. I am Southern, but I used no dialect in the dialogue. I’d love your advice, if you have time. The book is titled The Eye of Adoption: The True Story of My Turbulent Wait for a Baby. While it is doing well for a non-fiction, niche topic, I think it could do much better. Reviews are fantastic (55 5-star among 58 reviews). What am I missing? Any advice from you or your followers would be much appreciated! Thanks!

    Jody Dyer

  • Edna White

    This is an amazing article and totally informative! This was my direction for my book as I woke this morning! Thank you and keep up the great work. I cant wait to read the next article…… empower me :)

  • booksincali

    Oh… I hate these sorts of things. Some kitchen remodeling show drilled holes into a home owner’s cookbook collection to "cover up" table legs. bluuuch.

  • Judith Fein

    this is very helpful and i will pass it on. thank you.

  • Ted

    Great article. Very useful in helping to nail down a complicated and somewhat amorphous topic.

  • DMed

    I agree! Although early cars were modeled to look like "horse-less" carriages. Overall, I love the reflection, but how about some ideas/examples of what this might look like?!

  • Tracie B

    Hi Joe, check out new Turnstyle apps from GTxcel, formerly Texterity. Instead of print replica editions inside of a magazine app, publishers can leverage responsive design for displaying their articles across screens.

  • John Thompson

    Does the list include children’s books. If so, is it too late to submit books for your consideration?

  • Kirkby Editorial

    Here’s an idea I’ll offer to the publishers free of charge: include a QR code on each chapbook with links to the publishers site for digital downloads of additional books that can be read on a smartphone, book/story excerpts, or a list of locations of other vending machines. Hope this helps your business!

  • 147

    They had book vending machines in Paris years ago selling books for 2 euros.

  • Valinda Miller

    Mr. Weinstein: For the last 3 years I have been working two jobs to get out of debt (Dave Ramsey), I’m almost there. I quit the second job when things got better and got lost. What to do since I’m no longer working 7 days a week. So I started looking for my dream, a bookstore. Yes, I have research, drove thousands of miles, visited, in person and on line, many independent bookstores and I must agree with you 100 percent. Yes, things are changing, but community is not. The store I decided to invest my hard worked retirement is in a small town in South Carolina. No, they are not rich and have suffered as ever where else with set backs and they are still going strong. Why, their community. As close at 15 minutes to as far as 100 miles. That couple kept up with technology while keeping the community thriving and I plan on doing the same thing. Keeping the "community" close and keeping physical books in their reach. Bookstores are not dead, they are just more beautiful than every before because they reach a "community". Thanks for the article. I gave me more hope than you will ever know.

  • nicoleva

    How about a geolocation check-in that also tells them where to find other vending machines and maybe gives them short stories that use the businesses as the setting? It will them promote foot traffic to the small businesses while giving the readers a fun take on immersion fiction within the cafe.

  • MarkWWhite

    As for ads in e-books, contrary to popular belief, there are no rules prohibiting that. Here’s an example of one with plenty of ads, But I should note that Best Colleges 2014’s print counterpart is a "bookazine" (book-like product sold via the newsstand system). Selling ads into typical e-books is not as easy as it sounds for a traditional book publisher that has no expertise or relationships in the advertising world. Periodical publishers like Hearst, Rodale, and the New York Times that know ad sales but also have strong book-publishing arms are more likely to succeed.

  • Les Csonge

    Nice article Joe 😉

  • Thomas R Troland

    Terrific article, excellent insight. BUT… when I go to the links with Google Trends, there is NOTHING there to see. I’d love to get a look at those charts.

  • Nathan Coppedge

    Readers and publishers may be interested in my recently-published titles, which are not yet widely known. Some of these are available, or soon to be available, from academic catalogs: *The Dimensional Psychologist’s Toolkit (pending review), *Masterful Zen and Sufi Koans, *How to Write Aphorisms, *The Ninesquare Notebook (philosophy), The Tractatus of Dualities (philosophy), as well as earlier titles available online such as The Dimensional Philosopher’s Toolkit (2013), soon to be re-printed in a trade paperback edition, and the 1-Page-Classics (2012), likewise.

  • Debra

    I believe the author also pointed out that her findings are not easily extrapolated to other media such as books because they are consumed differently. I don’t think this study can be uniformly layered onto the book landscape.

    There is certainly food for thought here, but one must also be wary of grabbing data from two such different products and assuming all things are analogous.

  • Lady_D

    If I say no to a sales person, that’s EXACTLY what I meant, and I DO NOT change my mind – ever. When saying no, I am not rejecting just one format, I am rejecting all formats of that same content. After the unequivocal no, a sales person should approach me with caution or not at all, as I will most likely display some anger and irritation if I am asked again to buy a product I previously rejected. Persisting with me is only going to kill the potential future sale of a different product. After I have said no, the sales person would do best to let the subject rest. If I want to buy something later, I will approach a known sales representative for that product. Persistance can do as much harm with some prospects as it does good with others; sales persons should keep that in mind.

  • DEL

    I agree with Debra: All this tells us is that DRM doesn’t work if you’re at the low end of the music business. Listening to music is much different than reading a book. With music, I may listen to a song many, many times over many years (or even decades). Being able to play it on more than one system is a big plus. With books… Generally I only read it once on one device. How about a study that compares ebook sales for DRM and non-DRM — along with the losses incurred by piracy with each group (the latter being easily determined by noting the often alarming nosedive in sales when a title hits the torrents).

  • Scott Abel

    The biggest challenge publishers face is not discoverability, per se. It’s changing the way they work, the way they are organized, the processes, tools, and standards they use, and more importantly, their business models. The coming years will be full of change alright…change that isn’t going to be much fun nor easy.

  • Susan

    Millions of people "discover" books, especially midlist titles in libraries. We have foot traffic on the weekends as high as 5,000 in a 4-7 hr time period. We display, Tweet, blog and Facebook your titles. We introduce children to reading and parents who buy books in all formats. Our ebooks checkouts show a desire to find out about new authors and yes, buy, as well as, borrow. Once ALL publishers decide to let libraries purchase, discoverability will increase even more. Just sayin’

  • Sanford Thatcher

    People, as here, are always talking about "book publishing" as if it were just one business, rather than a collective name for a multiplicity of businesses each with its own type of business plan and its own challenges. What is said here may apply to trade publishing, but if it applies to scholarly publishing, it does so in rather different ways. The central role played by groups of scholars in scholarly societies is a major factor in how discovery plays out in this market, for instance. I also wish people like Ellen, with a B.A. in English, would not treat "media" as a singular noun!

  • Stanislav Fritz

    While interesting, O’Reilly is way off the mark if the question is about eBooks. He is talking about essentially an application. Additionally, this model primarily works for NON-fiction (which is O’Reilly’s forte of course).

    So, I would call this the future of non-fiction content publishing, not the future of eBooks.

    Of course various subscription services, ala Oyster, are occurring for fiction and eBooks. This may indeed be the future of ebooks (not sure I like it, but it may be the future). Still, it is imitating the music industry arc and that may not apply to content that is generally used only once (for fiction). Music tends to get used over and over.

  • Sarah Hulbert

    The point covered by articles such as this worries me a little – that we’re getting towards communication overload. Authors who want to sell books have to ‘communicate’… People who want to get to get on in certain professions have to ‘communicate.’ I think we’re getting to a point where it’s more important to have a profile and be saying something, anything, than actually getting on with good old fashioned work. (The irony is that I’m ‘communicating’ my thoughts on this).

  • Mark

    Big difference between your headline reads "What’s the Most Profitable Price for an Ebook?" and what the article actually states, "measuring the point at which readers are willing to buy ebooks (whose prices are variable) and the volumes generated at each price-point".

    Selling the maximum number of units at a given (low) price will not usually maximize the total revenue and therefore not ususlly maximize profit. If I sell 1,000 units at $9.99 I’ve generated revenue of $9,990. To generate the same level of revenue at $1.99 I’ve got to sell 5 times as many units, or 5,000. That’s the study I would like to see. The data I’ve been able to examine indicates that on average unit sales go up less than 100% when the price is lowered to $1.99 and yes that looks great but the end result is a decline in revenue of almost 60% and a corresponding decline in profits.

    Botton Line–What is your product worth? If it’s worth $1.99 then sell it for that and you will maximize your profits. If it’s worth $9.99, $19.99 or $199.99 sell it for that. Matchsticks are commodities–books, whether physical or digital are not.

  • Duane Mark

    Intersting consept. It is similar to the old dime novels of four decades ago, with a modern twist. I love it. I have dozens of short stories I would like to vend. Sounds like a winner. Good luck in the future.
    Duane Mark – Author,

  • Donna Esposito

    Well that certainly is forward thinking

  • Cristina Sousa

    Please, feed us with fine examples of the editorial industry… why wouldn’t people buy a book: lack of time to read, may not like it, rather use my money for something else, many other forms of entertainment… then, shall we sell better, or shall books change (in content, distribution and interactivity) to meet these concerns?

  • Jane

    Do you really mean 1903 or 1993?

  • Theresa M. Moore

    Gee, it’s too bad no one wants to compensate an author for the work done. It’s all the middlemen deciding what a book is worth and how much profit is expected for the host, not the author. The author gets nothing out of subscription services, which means I will never offer my books to Oyster. Same with Scribd, or any other site which is focused on killing the goose who lays the golden eggs.

  • Brian Stocker

    An interesting idea – I subscribe to the NYtimes, for $30/month and several blogs so I don’t want to pay any further expense – i.e I’m not going to pay for the WSJ on top of that.

  • didyouknow

    Did you realize that this timeline and its post is exactly three years old?

  • Andy Vyas

    I like the idea of a single paywall. I have been a proponent of this idea for a long time, and for companies who have multiple newspapers this is great way to expand customer base and cross-leverage content. This in turn will help create better content and fuel innovation in different consumption/subsription models.

    This could be one of the models but not the only model. Companies will have to experiment with multiple models and eventually a handfull of them will emerge as effective.

  • AndySoloman

    I disagree with this approach. I fear that competition as expressed in a variety of views or approaches could suffer. Under this approach, surely the safest commercial structure would be for the less ethical among us to simply carve up different areas among themselves in order to safeguard revenue? This also assumes that all content is created equal. It’s not about keeping 100% of the revenue, that’s the wrong question. It is all about finding ways to engage, building trust and leaving the reader wanting to visit and consume.

  • Bill Rosenblatt

    If I remember correctly, what you describe was the original business model of Press+, the heavily backed startup co-founded by former WSJ publisher Gordon Crovitz. Publishers weren’t interested.

    As I see it, newspapers are finding that they can monetize their local audiences differently than they can monetize non-local audiences. With local audiences you can use a subscription paywall and build customer relationships that go beyond just making content available on a website (or mobile app). For others you can possibly get by on advertising. In that context, your model probably makes the most sense for researchers who need to take short-term deep dives into local content — i.e. exactly the way old services like Dialog used to work (and perhaps still do?).

    In other words I think the NY Times has gotten it more or less right…

  • Paul Coyne

    I proposed something similar a few years back for the STM publishing industry but the analogue I used was the airline industry. Publisher and content alliances similar to Oneworld and Star Alliance could easily provide ‘routes’ through content with revenue pro-rated to the members. Only surprised it hasn’t happened yet.

  • GLee

    Interesting and very clear. Good basic information well done.

  • question mark

    The CCC is NOT a non-profit, as erroneously stated in the first paragraph. The key phrase is in the About CCC section, above: "Founded in 1978 as a not-for-profit organization…" The CCC is no longer a non-profit but continues to present itself as though it is. The IRS stripped CCC of its not-for-profit status in 1982, though it does retain non-profit status in New York State, where the company was incorporated. It currently operates out of Massachusetts.

  • DaveB

    Link seems to be broken.

  • Anna

    Whaa…. this is a creative approach to writing business books that people will wish to read and creative ways of marketing them.
    One of the approaches we also recommend – a shortcut for busy professionals – are webinars on this subject, like this one:

  • Werner Rebsamen

    Digital text books? Yes for some, most likely not for the majority. In a most recent discussion on that subject,
    my sources in India informed me, the text book business in that part of the world did grow 12 percent.
    When you travel the world and see all the poor people, who most often do not even have electricity,
    a printed book is their only hope for a better future.

  • Warren Shuman

    Wonderful opportunity for Indie authors. Thank you Morgan Davies and Big Bang Press. I will contact you. .

    Wishing you and your authors success… Warren.

  • Anonymous

    What has troubled me most when looking at Thema is that it at first appears to be a "grammar" for building up a code. On the contrary, there is still a fixed list of pre-defined codes (quite extensive) so the utility and value of the "code" and "qualifier" distinction is irrelevant in practice. What at first glance appears to be a new and deceptively flexible means of building up a classifier for a product is just another list.

    From a systems perspective, we still need to store a huge code list and rely upon users to navigate through and select what they require. Additionally, most publishers produce their own internal taxonomy(ies) which would then need to be mapped.

    At this point in time, the effort and the costs do not outweigh any benefits that may or may not exist. In our internal look at this, we’ve not found any benefits.

  • Deborah Smith

    I hate what has happened to musicians and fear a similar fate for writers and publishers. The difference being that musicians can, at least, still salvage a living from touring. Few authors have an audience that will sit for ten hours and listen to them read their books aloud.

  • DashBook

    I am curious about the royalty side of this. Do you know how this is handled?

    I imagine they track which books are downloaded, so they can apply the appropriate royalty. Would these get the same royalty rate as a sale? So they divide the $9.95 by the titles read that month to allocate the amount received for each title, then apply their standard royalty rate to that?

    Inquiring minds, especially those of us developing royalty software, would like to know.


  • Stanislav Fritz

    I posted a response to this in my own blog ( which I will repeat here:

    This article has some very interesting facts, but suffers from a number of fallacies. It is a conflagration of data and facts that destroys any semblance of a conclusion. This may be rooted in the article that the blog cites, by Tom Davenport, but I would have hoped that there would have been some analysis included in the blog entry.

    Data, by its nature, is the past, yet there is a blast against big publishers for making bets on books based on what succeeded in the past. A retailer (such as Amazon) can use REAL TIME data, or near real time data to adjust certain things, such as pricing and what people might be interested in from a VIRTUAL inventory. A publisher has a lag time. The data will be old, even with technology, and the time to market—even rushed—will create a lag between the recognition of the data and action on it.

    Now, this does not preclude the importance of data, I am a data person from way back. But, there is data and there is information. Data tends to be raw and needs interpretation. It also tends to be badly interpreted. I can demonstrate a statistical correlation between eating tomatoes and (for instance) the number of orgasms per year a person has. Yet, the correlation is probably nothing but a statistical artifact. Still, I am sure someone would then market tomatoes as the next cure for your sex life if I came up with a study with that data.

    What Amazon is doing (disclaimer, I used to work there) is not just data, but using the business concept of “spinning the flywheel.” (The concept of the flywheel effect was popularized by Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great.”) The root of this is not just data, but synergies. Because of technology, Amazon is becoming a both vertically integrated and horizontally integrated, where ever it spins the flywheel. The examples Ms. Harvey cites of positive actions by publishers are really more of the vertical integration. Combining two, or more, businesses that are in different stages of production of similar products (e.g. a farm combined with a food manufacturer combined with a supermarket). By doing this, they are indeed capturing data. But, they are more importantly in control of multiple stages and able to respond separately to each stage as they see fit. Amazon does this incredibly well and it is all part of the flywheel.

    Unfortunately, for the publisher, they do not have the horizontal integration that Amazon has. This is what really spins the flywheel. While Amazon uses some data on trends and what customers wanted, it too has the issue of lag time when producing its own video, or book imprints. What it has is the ability to largely ignore the need to guess and interpret the data by letting the market (or rather its market) determine the winners and losers and then automatically the system responds. If you pay your authors (largely) by only a percentage, the authors self-select out of the system. This is not so much data, but self-correcting systems that are possible when you control a large share and are both vertically and horizontally integrated.

    To Ms. Harvey’s credit, the final section of her post captures the essence of this. Workflow. When you have a vertically integrated system, with a strong flywheel, you create a workflow that always provides additional momentum to the flywheel, rather than spin against it. Amazon is fantastic at this sort of thinking and internal development. In no other company that I have observed is this flywheel effect and workflow to mesh with it better implemented. It has its flaws, including stifling innovation that goes against the flywheel, but it is massively successful in creating growth (which Amazon does for revenue and customers, if not for profits).

  • Marshall Glickman

    I think publishers have to be insane to follow this model. It’s bad enough for music, which are fast to listen to and can be "consumed" quickly. The slower cycle for books and tiny payouts make it an financially suicidal rush to the bottom.

  • ahoving

    Great piece! Thanks for including our Tantor Studios turnkey production solution in the sidebar:

  • DashBook

    I was just thinking that this section was growing well. In addition to personally listening to a lot of library books via OverDrive, our royalty software seems to be getting more attention from audiobook publishers lately.

  • FilmFan

    ^Just like I choose to own the DVD for "Gone with the Wind."

    I was with you until this. Not because I’m not a fan of physical media for films (I am, esp. if you own a digital projector and don’t live close enough to a large city with a good independent movie house), but because the DVD format was superseded and made passe years ago now. No self-respecting film fan would ever choose to own a film on DVD instead of Blu-ray (a fraction of the file size, fraction of the bit rate, compression artifacts, rampant edge enhancement, excessive scrubbing of accurate film grain, I could go on). If you’re going to try to use your love of another physical media to give context for this one, you might want to get out of 1996 first.

  • Stephanie Bludau Tor

    Good article. Similar thoughts come from back (way back) when hot metal was the gold standard for type and then along came photocomposition then desktop publishing, and "good enough" was seeping into standards. I guess print into e-books is going through some of the same struggles. Thanks for your insight.

  • Joe

    This could be the point where you consider that it took over two hundred years after its introduction for the codex to reach parity with the popularity of the scroll, and about six hundred years before it had largely replaced it–so, yeah, not a hard transition at all.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent advice. We format once for all device platforms and keep user features uncluttered, simple, and meaningful, including image insertion and useable links. Extra bells and whistles on or around the screen are distracting when one just wants to read. Personalization is supported by a virtual customer bookshelf that shows the titles and graphic spines and covers of the e-books they own.

    Richard Preti, Publisher

  • Max Myers

    So it begs the question, who has control over authorship of additional content? Is it the author, or the publisher or both?

  • Max Myers


    Great article and 100% on point, mate. We’re offering anyone that signs up with us, a free eBook of their choice. Our intent is to constantly engage our site visitors and turn them into customers, plus interact directly with them via forums on each author page. We’re very small and not a blip on anyone’s screen, but as we sign more authors, in the very competitive world of indiepub, we all have to be innovative in finding new ways to engage and retain customers.

  • BoSacks

    This is nothing short of a brilliant essay. Clear, honest and correct. I applaud Adam. As Adan say "legacy publishing isn’t broken. It’s just no longer the most efficient way to produce books." At the end of the day print will be around a long time, but it won’t be the predominate way that people will read

  • Bill Rosenblatt

    Thanks Joe. This is one of the very few sane comments about curation and paywalls I have ever read. Publishers deserve to get paid… once they figure out what’s worth paying for.

  • Kathryn Malm Bourgoine

    The value of saving time can’t be under-estimated.

  • Ready Reference

    Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls! – Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In

  • zpanamas

    Interesante podremos leer más libros en menos tiempo. Es importante,

  • Thad McIlroy

    Spritz looks very interesting; the technology looks innovative. Speed-reading has traditionally reduced comprehension by a significant margin (depending on the complexity of the text). Spritz claims:

    Will I even remember anything I read?
    Of course… Our testing shows that the retention levels when spritzing are at least as good as with traditional reading and that, with just a little bit of experience, you will retain even more than you did before.

    I’ll be interested to see the tests that verify the science.

  • Michael J. Fisher

    Hey Joe, prior to becoming and author and now founder of eBooks in Motion, I was deeply entrenched in the LBS market for little companies like Oracle and startups like gate5, which we sold to Nokia. If you’d like some inside information regarding LB content, ping me on Skype. ebooksinmotion


  • Al Bagocius

    I was intrigued by this article…In early & middle education this could be a great incentive and/or award program sponsored by the schools/PTOs, etc. Books could be prepaid and tokens given to students who excel to retrive these books…cool!

  • Yaacov Haber

    "a publisher could invest $10,000 to publish 1 title a year, 100 copies a month. In this example the publisher prints 12,000 copies up front, and pays carrying costs of the excess inventory in the warehouse and the cost of the capital (units) until month 12."
    Should this be 1200 copies or are my not getting your math?

  • Bob Kasher

    In the Telecommunications market companies are using key word searching on social networking to see what people are talking about regarding the key brands. If its good then companies may respond with a coupon, if bad then perhaps a pro-active intervention. If bad for a competitor then perhaps you can contact and move that client to you. The real data is in the conversation not the conversion.

  • DrSSSmithPhD

    This article is spot on- At Heritage Builders Publishing, we use both models. POD is a great way to keep books moving without inventory, but our good sellers still require the old methods of distribution to be effective. Both ways are profitable for us.

  • Robert Fletcher

    Well done Joe. Clearly this won’t apply to all publishers, but Google has a great "trending" report that they will auto-email you on top search terms for the week, or month. I use those to see if there is anything I might want to "whip out".
    Robert Fletcher – CEO Publish On Demand Global / International Distribution

  • Laura Van Wormer

    Now that we are seeing (after 5 years of wrestling in the mud) publishers solidying workable terms for eBook sales to 100,000 public libraries across the country, how is it that a paid subscription eBook service is better for readers or publishers? I understand the impatience of many readers who don’t want to be on a waiting list forever to get their hands on the eBook edition of a new bestseller, but that is not what these subscription services offer. (Either you buy it or join the waiting list at the library.)

    And then there is the question, if there are less than 150,000 eBooks of titles created under the auspicies of traditional book publishing oversight (i.e. editorial standards and quality curation) to begin with, is it really a good thing to carry hundreds of thousands of eBooks of unknown quality? We know that such a situation at the large eBook retailers has destroyed readers’ ability to truly browse–or find anything, for that matter!

    Well, we shall see. Public libraries or paid libraries?

  • Robert Boyd

    The reason they are delaying shipments more and more is in order to encourage people to pay the $99 a year prime membership fee. I’ve had orders sit in the warehouse for 2+ weeks before shipping, and its not just books.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Apparently, some publishers are no longer giving away books in advance for book review purposes. Springer, for instance, provides access to a reviewer to an online version of a book being reviewed, and then only after the published review is sent to Springer is a print copy provided to the reviewer. Wonder if this is a new trend?

  • David Seid

    MiniBük books are a natural for vending machines. This new book: "Authors Who Speak Sell More Books" by Andrea Gold and Gary Yamamoto, is a natural for this venue. Other titles include "Dyslexialand" by Cheri Rae for parents of school age kids, "Spookynooga" ghost stories from Chattanooga TN by Vincent Phipps, "A Travelers Guide to Couture Nutrition" by Alina Z and many more. All books are 3.5" x 5". Other titles are for management and leadership topics. We also have a complete series of hiking books covering California by "The Trailmaster" John McKinney.

  • Dave Ball

    Interesting timing for this column. This morning there was a report on NPR saying that very few teens read for pleasure. I think that your estimate of demand for these services is too high. You need demand in order to raise prices. Perhaps if the services are marketing as a luxury item they will get some traction. As someone who reads several books/month I have no interest in subscribing to a library when there are so many good free/almost free titles out there.

  • ArtemisSmith

    B&N can thrive in the digital age by offering a new kind of bookstore – one that moves beyond just books but also incorporates a variety of café-style book-club social gathering places together with perhaps a laundry, a supervised kindergarten for toddlers, and even classrooms for college-extension courses. Human personal contact is what is lacking in today’s wi-fi age. And there’s nothing like a physical book to hold in your hands while talking to your friends.

  • Patricia Leadbeater

    Well said, Mr. Huseby! I believe you have given definition to the nay-sayers and the "Henny Pennies" of book publishing. Since my company, Engine-Uity works with teachers and students in grades K-12, I stand proudly with you in the estimation of the future of hard cover books, ebooks, and brick and mortar stores as long as they are like a B & N when you walk in. The children’s section alone is worth the trip! Thank you for standing up and being counted. Going to my local B & N is like coming home for a book addict like me. Adaptation is the name of the game today, and you have done a stellar job. Carry on!!
    Pat Leadbeater

  • roskilan

    "Publishers need to take more risks, both in embracing new types of content and adapting content to new platforms."

    I couldn’t agree more!

  • Volapuk

    Amazon controls 95% of the e book market and will long continue to do so.

    As a writer who has great success with KDP ( Kindle Direct Publishing) there is no reason I can think of to jump ship.

  • Volapuk

    The free e book reader, Calibre, will strip any DRM from any book. Millions are using this as I now type this.

    This new launch is irrelevant for most consumers out there.

  • Stanislav Fritz

    I think BookBaby is a great service for self published authors, but as a small publisher I see no benefit to this. Creating the epubs and other files for B&N, iBookstore, Kobo, is not rocket science and that is not what small publishers (well us and others we know, certainly SOME will probably want this) need. The issue for most small publishers is marketing muscle and enhanced distribution. We can get all the ebook distribution easily and get in Ingram’s catalog, but getting BEYOND that is the issue. Marketing. Acceptance by reviewers. Bookbaby is not solving that and taking a fair chunk of money for anyone who knows how to manipulate a little HTML (which is really all these eBook formats are). What Bookbaby might want to do for publishers (small) is have some sort of ala cart service for book covers and some real marketing that one can buy into.

  • Beverly

    Thank you so much. Unable to attend but you are magnificent for sharing!

  • Grammarian

    "What if digital preceded print?"
    What a confusing headline for an article. This was not the case, so the question makes no sense whatsoever. Your title as it stands is a remote (i.e. unlikely hypothetical) condition with present/future reference. Surely your question has past reference, so it should be "What if digital HAD preceded print?" Back to Grammar 101, Joe …

  • Richard

    I too was very pulled in by Ruth Chew and her stories growing up in gradeschool between 2-4th grade (1971-1974)… though, the only two that I had my parents purchase for me growing up were "The Wednesday Witch" and "What the Witch Left". In fact, I just pulled "The Wednesday Witch" off the shelf and will read it after my note to you.. Yes, it is sad she has passed; as her’s are short quick reads which allow one to come back to reality soon as not to miss the other happenings of the world compared to that of Harry P and his friends… (I haven’t read any of those, the names get too confusing for me, even in the movies.)

    Thank you for sharing. I am going to try to find the others and get those as well. :-) All the best! -R

  • debb

    Dr. Syntax I love you. I want to wear your article around my neck in a gold frame. No matter how many times I and other publishing folk tell others that we’re not getting rich off ebook profits, they insist we’re hiding treasure chests of money and just won’t admit it. It’s even harder to explain to supposedly intelligent adults that businesses have overhead and every book — even an ebook — has to help cover those expenses.

  • debb

    Dr. Syntax I love you. I want to wear your article around my neck in a gold frame. No matter how many times I and other publishing folk tell others that we’re not getting rich off ebook profits, they insist we’re hiding treasure chests of money and just won’t admit it. It’s even harder to explain to supposedly intelligent adults that businesses have overhead and every book — even an ebook — has to help cover those expenses.

  • Thad McIlroy

    Hi Joe,

    I’d love to have the same service. But in the meantime my somewhat laborious approach is to make a digital copy of everything I read on the web that I imagine I might return to. The format is PDF, easily generated from any browser. Then I put the file into heirarchically arranged folders. Google Desktop indexes all of my files for later searching. (Google discontinued Desktop in 2011, although it can be found online.)

    If I read something in a magazine or newspaper that I want to keep I can usually find it on the web and save it to PDF, or sometimes download a PDF version of the magazine and extract those pages.

    One thing that ameliorates the complex approach is that articles disappear from the web as sites disappear or when the site owner decides to remove content. The Wayback Machine can sometimes recover these pages, but not always. So I can always access the article/post.

    I have to search emails separately, which is easy enough to do in Gmail.

    As I document this process it sounds terrifically inefficent. But for me it’s invaluable. When I’m writing an article, presentation or a client report I can quickly access all of the information that I’d considered important in the last few years.

  • Stanislav Fritz

    The problem with an index like Google Desktop or any "indexing" program is that it is not meta data. There have been/are business intelligence programs that do some of this if the data is accessible, but without some sort of meta schema you are getting so much raw data (for the index everything that you want) that it becomes unmanageable. It sounds like you want an intelligent/adaptive metadata management tool. Google/Bing/Yahoo itself is sort of like that, but you want it extended to more things than online and searches. BI/ data management tools are getting there, but not for your average user.

  • Miranda

    Any vendor worth using should validate their e-books, have a defined and well thought out workflow, follow best practices, include metadata, have a default CSS that works on its own that can be customized to meet client needs. At vendors where there is a tremendous amount of turnover, one may expect variability from one e-book to another. Publishers should look for stability in their vendors. If excessive turnover results in inconsistency, the publisher’s corpus is in jeopardy. Going forward e-book standards will undoubtedly change. If we want to capitalize and move content forward, it requires standards and consistency of e-book creation. Also, there should be graceful degradation for legacy readers while optimizing e-books on all existing readers. Publishers need to confirm that what they are paying for is what is actually being produced. Cheap is still cheap and often lacks the quality we all seek.

  • Muhammad Abd al-Hameed

    The next thing you may want would be an index of your thoughts! Come on, don;t be so lazy. Save what you thing you might need again and you will not need any indexing.

  • AuthorDavidEH

    There was a time when one exceptional book could set up an author for a lifetime (“To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee, rated among the top 10 in Literary history). Presently, a typical best-selling author must write books by the dozen to achieve similar rewards, and the end results are disappointing to many readers. This Book Business article promotes the obvious cure. It’s worth passing along.

  • Reggie Blackmon

    hi Vickie my name is Reggie Blackmon I am 51 and I was raised in Chicago,illinois in the cabrini green housing project,s I became a member of the notorious black-gangster-disciples-nation street gang at the age of 16 after my mom died and at the age of 19 I was the general of all generals over the whole city and at 21 was on the run for murder for 4 years ,I have been to prison 3 times in thee different states I am aformer gang member,leader,stick-up man,crack addict,burgler,car thief and drug dealer and am now a born again Christian living in florida,i feel a lot of youth can benefit from my story if I can get some books out there,please help I can be contacted at 321-632-3019 or reggie_,thank you very much Reginald Blackmon aka RAGU.

  • FightAmazon

    Thank goodness for Germans. Always logical. It’s time the US DOJ wakes up and realizes Amazon equals the biggest Monopolist ever. Their attorneys have been barking up all of the wrong trees.

  • AuthorDavidEH

    All right, what happened to the rest of the article? The link only connects to a list of Google and Android articles.

  • Greg Freed

    “Read Full Articles…” and “Source: Venture Beats” links got swapped. To read the article (pending correction), click the “Source: Venture Beats” link.

  • Vern Lacrosse

    I’m a writer, am not so hot at computers. I need help with the Social Media marketing of my 5 1/2 published books. You may see what I’m up to on then “The Wordvues of” I reckon I’m saying “Help!”

    Vern LaCrosse

  • 6books

    Great strategy, especially if you’ve spent a lifetime in sales, as some of us have.

  • Bookonomic

    Sure, ya gotta love the consumer who wants everything digital for free.

    In reality, digital business costs, like in any other, are escalating quickly due to acceleration of government regulation and other compliance burdens that will cause most of these low-to-no margin businesses to fail.

    Good luck with your economic forecasts…as they mean mass failure in the industry…. and for those left standing, real dollar market prices will simply have to come back, roaring.

    Think about this. A common $1 paperback in 1960 is the equivalent of a $7.15 paperback today. In digital terms, some publishers may be able to produce a lower equivalent e-book than in paperback, but not by much. A $1 e-book today brings home the equivalent of about 7 cents. Can’t sustain such giveaways forever. And, you can’t pay author royalties on such thin air. Book subscription models will collapse because readers will soon face big annual costs increases – like cable TV. Without a utility-type monopoly, the book subscriptions will fall under their own weight. Oyster and Scribd sound so hip, but they, like many traditional over-burdened compaines won’t be around without significant profitability.

  • Bill Rosenblatt


    I completely agree with the premise – that the price of content is drifting inexorably towards zero – but I have a couple of reasons for it that are simpler and more general than what you have here:

    First and foremost is the simple law of supply and demand. Since the dawn of the Internet, supply of content (and that includes your Facebook posts, YouTube videos, etc.) has skyrocketed, while demand has increased only a tiny bit. Doesn’t matter what the nature of the product is; drastically increased supply without increased demand equals plummeting prices.

    Second is the growth of businesses that have figured out how to solicit, promote, and monetize content that costs them nothing rather than focusing on content that costs them something and has lots of legal strings attached. That’s right, I’m talking about Google and Facebook.

  • Elliot Linzer

    This item carries a date of Sept. 10, 2010, almost four years ago. Why is this a news story today?

  • Michael Roney

    Great food for thought Joe. Obviously these niches also present opportunities for third parties who can bring publishers together with sponsors, partners, promising e-channels, etc.

  • debbsmith

    Amazon makes its authors sign a Nondisclosure Agreement, something no traditional publisher does. So we don’t know a lot about their circumstances, but from what we do know, the imprint contracts are very similar to Big 5 houses’. I’d like to know how many big success stories Amazon can produce like Zandri, and are there any outside of pop genre fiction — say, in the important realms of biography, essay, current events, investigative non-fiction — those areas that trad pubs invest in and support.

  • Phillyboy

    In my opinion Zandri is very short sighted. What will happen to authors when all of the publishers are gone and only Amazon remains. I think we can be assured that they will treat authors very differently when they own them all.

  • chrislee

    Thanks, Joe. Your point #2 caught my attention just now, in particular the part about the selection of books. I have Amazon Prime, which allows use of a free book per month. From what I understand, the new “unlimited” choices are to be the same as those books? If that is so, I often can’t find a book I want to download, even for free, from the list. Which then makes your points #4 and 5 so important.

    The same might apply to Amazon Prime Music, which I am currently trying and comparing to other music sources. It too comes free with a Prime membership, but I am not yet sure what the choices will be like.

  • Thad McIlroy

    “In order to ensure future competition in this space I hope these publishers will sign up immediately with Oyster and/or Scribd. In order to keep Amazon honest we need at least one of these startups to survive.”

    I agree with the sentiment but doubt the outcome. Scribd had a business before it moved into the ebook lending space; Oyster did not. So, at least in theory, Scribd can abandon this space and survive. Oyster cannot.

    Would publishers support Oyster to help it maintain a competitive edge against Amazon? I find it difficult to imagine (although, again, I agree with the sentiment). When push comes to shove authors, looking to their earnings, will shove their publishers to favor Amazon over a 3rd party.

    For the last few days I’ve been thinking: does Oyster have anough intellectual property, strong supplier relations or a large enough customer base for Amazon to acquire them? Oyster DOES have $17M in VC cash that would be thrilled to grab a payout. Hmm….

  • gkrehbiel

    Good article, thanks.

    IMO it’s past time for the major publishers to band together and create an alternative to Amazon and Kindle — with terms more beneficial to the publishers.

    (BTW, I’m posting as a guest because when I try to choose one of the options to post, the terms are usually outrageous.)

  • Publisure

    I’ve withdrawn titles from the select program because of this. Since there’s no barrier to entry and payments are based on shares of an arbitrarily-sized pot, I’m expecting that in a few months the entire kindle catalog is going to be filled with 10-page pamphlets on “niche” topics that exist to gather a portion of the fund when a user opens them, while legitimate authors still have to continue marketing for smaller and smaller pieces of the pie. I gave you exclusivity and this is how you repay me? No thanks, Amazon.

  • Alex Hurst

    Can’t access the full article. :(

  • Marilyn Kleiber

    Joe – my big question is, how well are the authors doing with Scribd and Oyster? What are their returns?

  • GSK

    Authors can be extremely shortsighted when it comes to sales and distribution of their books. Is Amazon important. No doubt. Is it the only sales channel for which their book could be sold through…. absolutely not! Amazon represents a sizeable share of our booksales yet it still ranks 3rd behind a direct sales channel, and a subscription platform. If an author signs with Amazon will they ever see their book sold B&N, BAM or independents? Will it ever be added to collections at any of the 16,000+ public libraries in the US? Choosing a finite channel over the chance for wider and international distribution and discovery will just limit the number of readers that come in contact with your work.

  • DeadTreeEdition

    You’re dead wrong on the last point, at least as far as magazines are concerned. It’s the same disastrous thinking that caused to get swallowed by Someone thought Newsweek’s legacy was something to run away from. But it turns out that consumers and search engines ascribe credibility to web sites that are associated with respected print publications. Consumers don’t think in terms of print vs. digital like we do publishers do. They want the convenience and immediacy of the web but with the credibility and depth associated with print. That’s why ancient print brands like The Atlantic are thriving on the web.

  • Kevin Morris

    Check out for truly innovative digital only publication.

  • PrintMediaCentr

    Well I for one am glad that this article is based on biased opinion vs any statistics or data or research that ANY of this is true, or relevant. Kind of like information on the internet vs oh say newspapers and magazines. Also, the amount of data available regarding the retention of information from print vs digital media shows our brains prefer ink on paper. The endless scroll of “news” you referenced doesn’t help the case either… not when MONEY can get you on the top of that list, even if your “news” is Kardashian related vs oh some world event like what is happening in the middle east right now. The sad thing here is that I am a champion of e-books, and e-mags and e-pubs working in CONJUNCTION with print… and there is nothing that irks me more than print vs digital posts. NO ONE WINS in that scenario… and there is a place for both, and always will be.

  • Chris Wendt

    Sounds like a backwards marketing approach: using e-media to make books available through public libraries…one user at a time? Seems librarians are not grasping the concept of e-media, and are very stuck in their ways.

  • Dave Pilcher

    It’s opinions like this that get publishers in trouble. You need to consider your audience and business model and then decide what makes sense. Just talking in generalities to promote a digital strategy, especially one based on print “slowly killing” anyone is ridiculous. Print will be the only media channel that exists outside the internet in the future. . . so there will be value there!

  • Darrell Judd

    A lot of people who claim to be content companies are in fact process companies. Don’t fetishize technology. Do try to get the content a little bit correct and let the customers decide how they want the product delivered.

  • Micha Levin

    Publishers are masters of compiling, choosing and disseminating information.
    Marketing = choosing your clients wisely
    Delineate but work the backlist too,
    But Never forget thebucketlist!

  • Stanislav Fritz

    Obviously this is a very short piece. I would say one thing that SOME agents have done is enforce a stereotype and negative feedback loop. That stereotype is that agents will only represent something obviously commercial and obviously fitting a certain style of writing. Of course agents are doing the math also, so they figure if they are going to stay in business they should only represent someone that is going to do REALLY well. Anyone else can self publish and do “ok” (or worse).

    What I would like to see is agents start to take a (w)holistic viewpoint. “Hey, this author is non-standard, but is willing to self publish and produce a lot of books. I’ll work with them and over the long term, say book three, I’ll get them into a publishing house and get more exposure for them. Then they can publish some backlist, less commercial stuff themselves, some with a publisher and maybe some stuff we’ll do together.”

    Still, we all have to make money and it is hard to justify the long haul of bills are due tomorrow.

  • Gerry Marshall

    Having published a great deal both with and without an agent, I would like an agent that truly would represent my work well and show support for my work while I am doing it. Some previous experience has been discouraging with a former agent. Though she did sell books for me for which I am grateful, when something was turned down even after encouraging comments from editors, she would change her mind and want me to go back to take a book (any book) on assignment. I found her terribly hard as well to contact and get an update on anything. I eventually realized I was not getting any younger and if I were going to write more fiction, I’d better do it. I’ve had a good deal of success with that fiction (and other nonfiction), but now with an ambitious novel almost finished, am considering agents again. Are there any caring agents out there, indeed interested in making money for herself (or himself) and her/ his client, but who can really look at the author’s career as a whole rather than an immediate payoff as quickly as possible? I hope so! Geraldine Ann Marshall (Gutfreund)

  • BeyondTheBook

    Nice wrap-up of the discussion, Ellen. To hear complete audio, as well as read a transcript, visit Copyright Clearance Center’s podcast series at

  • Chris Wendt

    There is no mention of the patents SONY holds on this technology and royalties paid to SONY by Amazon or BN?

  • technofan

    The answer is yes the phone has made us stupid and more so as it has developed (smart phones that do everything for you). It has interrupted our social lives and replaced face-to-face just as the fearful you mention suggested. It all or most has come true.

    Take this simple example: when people moved to LA 5 or more years ago, they were handed a Thomas Guide and had to navigate the streets and memorize and learn routes. They became very knowledgeable about how to get around LA quickly out of need. Now, take away the Ways or Google Maps or Tom Tom, and very few can get around LA unless they have been here for years. The smart phone does everything for you thus limiting the amount of personal knowledge one needs: In short, making us stupid.

    And, I would add, that accepting being stupid in this way, has lead us to be eager to find other ways to become stupid at the hands of technology. Who needs to be able to add when every phone and computer has a calculator? Who needs to be able to spell when every text and email program has spell check? Ask someone under 25 to read a standard clock face?

    Yes, we have become dumber and lazier through the wonders of technology. One day these wonderful gadgets will cease working and we will have to rely on our own intelligence. God helps those of you who are around for that!

  • sleepygeak

    “these types of conversations about how technology is affecting us seem to quickly devolve, degraded by technophobia, ageism, and warnings of an intellectual doomsday.”

    See commenter above.

  • DeadTreeEdition

    Publishing Executive, Book Business’s sibling magazine, has published my rebuttal, “Is Print Really Killing Publishers?”:

  • Chris Wendt

    “Antithetical” is the correct adjective for the business and commercial relationships between digital and analog reading platforms, While aptly descriptive, “antithetical” should not be taken as a negative or as being dispositive of the debate. Remember, what we are witnessing, no, experiencing, is called “The Digital Revolution”, not the digital thing, and not the analog revolution. Digital…Revolution.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    This sounds very good. I wonder how it works for, say, scholarly books, which were not served well at all by the BISAC codes.

  • Chris Wendt

    I think this failure to close an important and mutually beneficial deal could be considered negatively in terms of Hachette’s acumen at deal making, especially at “bargaining” or negotiating. It hints (only a hint) at the possible issues underlying their really big problem with Amazon.

  • Dave Ball

    All of the ideas mentioned above have to do with the offer. While no one disputes that the offer is important I would suggest that presenting the consumer with the BENEFITS of purchasing is the number one priority in direct marketing. I have seen an amazing number of direct mail packages and emails that focus on the offer and never explain to the reader why they should want to buy the product — what does it mean to me, the buyer. Benefits copy will always be copy that talks about the features of the product because it is often difficult for the prospect to make the leap of understanding of how a feature will improve prospect’s life. Offer-driven copy can work for reactivation or renewals, but you need benefits to sell.

  • Chris Wendt

    One could only hope that free content at scale, distributed for free, would break the strangle-hold upon public education presently imposed by educators unions with the collaboration of unwitting school boards. That, and the full (or at least more complete) implementation of digital learning platforms in the near future.

  • jpintobks

    The issue is about margins and profit and Amazon after posting another loss is desperate to generate. Investors expect profits and management offer since Amazon is a for profit listed corporation.

    It is disingenuous from Amazon to claim that is in the interest of readers to fix prices, when is an issue of profits. As a distributor Amazon did not assume any risk producing a book and all the cost involved are from publishers and SelfPub writers (if they hire editors and designers).

    The issue is price and is not the business of the distributor to impose its pricing policies. Let the readers decide if we want or not to pay more for a high quality book.

    Amazon is treating books as merchandise, and not as a creative work. A book is not a commodity like corn, sugar or lettuces where prices are set by supply and demand.

    If Amazon model prevail, which we will see publishing and writing quality plunge.

  • Barry Cohen

    SmartKidz Media has been publishing physical books with light and sound chips for many years. Their library of titles include educational material. visit:

  • ThadMcIlroy

    My goodness but this is getting exhausting. Wasn’t it just the other day that a different startup reinvented ebook distribution? I can’t keep up.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    This is an unusually well-informed and perceptive overview of university press publishing today, which captures nicely the challenges of today’s mixed print/digital environment that compel presses to continually experiment with new models for generating revenue. It doesn’t say much about open access, even though the AAUP’s newest member, Amherst College Press, is a fully OA-operating press, but the reality is that presses generally aren’t ready to make that leap, given the mandates they still have from university administrators, who talk a lot about open access but have shown little willingness to implement it, at least for monograph publishing. My worry about the approach UNC Press is taking to ebook pricing is that it will further give credence to the illusion that ebooks are cheaper to produce than print books; they are only if the ebook piggybacks on a print edition. Once that print edition is gone, then the ebook will have to bear all the costs of production. But if a press has been selling ebooks cheaply up to that point, how does it suddenly change consumer expectations about pricing of ebooks?

  • Richard Pawlowski

    I find this line of thinking a bit unreal simply because it’s already a saturated marketplace with too many voices and most people don’t even read a whole book – end to end. To constantly try “imagine” what readers really “crave” is folly – especially aggregating a few thought from a few saturated minds. Steve Jobs had the gift of imagining what people care about before they even knew what it was they wanted. Best thing to do is think entrepreneurial and test, test, test and then take your best shot at marketing in smaller pools.

  • Amanda

    You know who is really good at imagining what readers want? Librarians and book store employees. For years, long before Amazon’s “recommendations” (and I use that term loosely) you could ask a book seller or a librarian for a book “similar to” the book you just read. My local book store had a “If you like this, you might also like this” list of recommended genre titles.

    This kind of “meta” content is really just the internet. And we’ve all seen the studies on how many seconds people spend on the average web page. Personally I can’t imagine trying to read a book (when the point of the book is the IMMERSION into someone else’s world) and reading a footnote for every word that could be an encyclopedia entry. For a text book, it’s fine. But can you really ever imagine any person WANTING to read like this? (shudder)

  • funreader

    Sounds like a great idea. Definitely worth checking out!

  • Bookdude

    What is the Friendster of eBooks? Amazon?

  • Bookdude

    Sounds cool. on iPad right?

  • EJC

    Doug who?

  • Gram Noden

    what kind of punk move is this? linking an article that requires a paid subscription? you guys suck

  • David Emil Henderson

    Can’t read the article without subscribing to the Chicago Tribune, from 2000 miles away??!!

  • Ellen Harvey

    @Bookdude, yes iFlipd is on iPad now and is hoping to expand onto Android soon.

  • Roxie Munro

    Print books have been interactive for many years, as Christopher says: Maze books, counting books, lift-the-flap/paper-engineered, search-n-find/hidden objects, guessing games, etc. I’ve been working on a crossmedia concept similar to that discussed in the article: an interactive app using AR (augmented realty) with markers placed on huge walk-in nonfiction print picture books to enhance learning and engagement. (BTW, also right on were the comments re creating the print art so that it can work crossmedia instead of having to be redone or distorted/manipulated to work in an app.)

  • Lisa


  • Bill Rosenblatt


    It’s not accurate to say that the judge in this case “declared the site legal.” He simply denied a request for a preliminary injunction. That just means that the judge was unwilling to step in and make the site shut down while the case is ongoing. The legal standard in the NL may of course be different than the US, but typically a judge only grants a preliminary injunction in a case like this if he believes that the plaintiff is highly likely to prevail later on *and* that the harm to plaintiffs is so great that it merits shutting the business down now rather than later. Often a plaintiff will request a PI knowing that they aren’t likely to get one but more to establish a track record of the amount of harm they are alleging, to influence the calculation of damages later on in the case.

    Note that the judge in the ReDigi case also refused to grant a preliminary injunction to Capitol Records. ReDigi took that as a sign that they were going to win. You know how that turned out…

  • DLincourt

    The remark made regarding the overlooked retail metric of inventory turn is dead on and an important point to understand in the e-book trade. Best margin goes to the distributor, always, than to the publishers.

  • Stanislav Fritz

    It is a little funny that the origins of this article are from AOL.COM, which is failing itself to migrate to the 21st century. I was going to comment on it at the source and they show that you can sign in via Google and a variety of other accounts, but in fact you can’t. Only Facebook or sign up for a AOL account–why would anyone sign up for an account? (and I hate sharing my information with FB)

    But, I digress. The article is a bit of old news. B&N has had a series of good ideas which they then never fleshed out and completely failed to execute on. In my own arrogance, I wish I could take it over and make it work. Some of the changes needed seem obvious (not just 20/20 hindsight). My time at Amazon gave me some insight as to how different the two companies are both in thinking and execution. Yet, B&N has some differentiation that it could still take advantage of if it had the will and the leadership. I don’t see either.

    Ah well. I think the next few years will see companies such as Sears, B&N, and others fade away from the collective consciousness and it will be their own fault. Too bad that they are burning both the brand and remaining opportunities. In some sense they are making more mistakes than publishers are.

  • VJW

    Peter how can the increasing availability of author’s titles in the marketplace without their permission be a ‘good thing’?
    We make next to nothing on our books. Increasingly copies of our work go out and somehow get sold by people other than ourselves. The trend toward ‘librarising’ copyrighted material is fairly terrifying. If everything is free — what is worth anything? and certainly, considering the time that goes into making and writing a book, shouldn’t the AUTHOR’S RIGHTS be somehow a part of this equation???

  • rickchapman53

    This article is full of polemics but no real information. What are the major points of dispute? If we knew that, we’d be in a better position to understand if Hachette sucks at business. It could be that signing a bad deal means they suck worse.

    Rick Chapman
    Author “SaaS Entrepreneur: The Definitive Guide to Success in Your Cloud Application Business”
    Read Excerpts from all 10 chapters at
    Author “Rule-Set: A Novel of a Quantum Future.”
    Just Released. More info at

  • rickchapman53

    To provide a concrete example of what I mean, in addition to Amazon not wanting to buy some books from Hachette on the agency model, it also wants to increase Hachette’s MDF expenditures.

    Now, if the publisher is paying more MDF to a reseller, just whose hide does that ultimately come out of? Is it not the authors? Is it therefore stupid of Hachette to resist this in their negotiations?

    It would be nice if you could dig into that aspect of the story in greater depth so as to provide us all more perspective.

  • jayaprasad jx

    Efficient marketing of books post publishing needs a good strategy and sales plan.

  • rickchapman53

    Amazon’s pricing strategies undercut the entire theme of your article. Let’s say you do want to write a piece of “literature” or perhaps a specialized history on a topic most people find obscure. That means you have a far more limited audience that someone writing about Vampire Love. Or Dating Werewolves. Or Bondage with Billionaires.

    Your article would be more effective if it noted the following facts:

    * Amazon pays no one royalties except with the exception noted. Amazon should immediately stop making that claim and accurately describe what it’s charging you. A “retail usage fee.” A “download fee.” I’ll let them define it. But it’s not a royalty.

    * Amazon complains about agency pricing but imposes a modified version of it on indie publishers. Their margin is locked in a la agency; you have very limited pricing flexibility as I’ve noted. Above $9.99, a predatory 65 points margin.

    * Amazon is attempting to create a pricing codex. It says so on its website.I would like to hear your speculations on how the codex will be created, maintained, and enforced.

    * Amazon buys MOST of its E-books via wholesale, not agency. Amazon wants to stop agency pricing because it want to gain control over the E-book pricing structure. I neither condemn nor approve them. This is business. But their pricing box is part of that strategy. Again, I describe the motivation of both sides on my blog.

    * Amazon’s pricing box HURTS indies. I’m not going to break it down in detail here; I’ll do that on my own blog. But you don’t have to be a marketing genius to figure out what’s wrong with a seven dollar pricing box.

    * The big publishers DO NOT have to live in that pricing box. Only indies do.

    * 30% points to use a downloading service is a very steep price to pay. Amazon’s NET margins on indie sales is close to 30 points because E-book publishing and distribution are electronic. No warehousing and shipping. Now, of course, you are free to not use their service. But it is accurate to note that 30 point margins are incredibly wonderful in most channels, never mind book channels. 65 point margins are beyond awesome but for an indie, ruinous.

    Fortunately for the publishers, none of them are paying 65 point margins. Only indies face it. How nice for us.

    Amazon’s pricing strategies undercut the entire theme of your article. Let’s say you do want to write a piece of “literature” or perhaps a specialized history on a topic most people find obscure. That means you have a far more limited audience that someone writing about Vampire Love. Or Dating Werewolves. Or Bondage with Billionaires.

    Yet, the time and effort to produce that work will be as great, if not far greater, than that required to do your research on the best way to flog a besotted masochist.

    And then you are stuck in Amazon’s pricing box trying to sell a book that can’t pay back your time and effort at $9.99. The audience isn’t big enough to make up in volume what you’ve lost in revenue. And, of course, since you are an indie, you’re going to have pay for ALL the expenses incurred by having to market and sell your book. And you will have 30 points less revenue to do it because you will be paying that money over to Amazon right up front (and don’t forget the transmission fees, which you also pay).

    Indies in these markets are driven, by necessity, back to the major publishers who may be able to price your product at a level you hope will make your time and effort somewhat profitable. And relieve you of the cost of marketing. Because they don’t live in the box.

    Or, maybe, they can apply to be a member of Amazonium Codexorum. If they can demonstrate the “legitimate” reasons to be on the approved list of book priced above $9.99.

    Do you care to comment in the context of the above?

    Rick Chapman
    Author “Rule-Set: A Novel of a Quantum Future.”
    Just Released. More info at

  • rickchapman53

    You don’t hav to be in love with publishers to realize that Amazon should not be regarded with unconditional love. The company’s pricing policies towards indies are not particularly generous and are very, very restrictive to the great disservice of indies. Hugh Howey and Joe Konrath are providing proper analysis of what’s going on.

    Also, it’s not healthy when a $75B announces a pricing codex for the book market:

    Rick Chapman
    Author “SaaS Entrepreneur: The Definitive Guide to Success in Your Cloud Application Business”
    Author “Rule-Set: A Novel of a Quantum Future.” Just Released. More info at
    Author “In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters.” Apress.

  • David Emil Henderson

    I find myself in the middle on this debate. There was a time when a serious author could invest a lot of time in a book, because smaller publishers were actively seeking new talent, and they had mid list slots for nurturing those newcomers. All that went away with the corporate takeover of the industry.

    Today’s corporate publishers have no interest in new, untested authors; so by default, those authors flock to Amazon, where they are welcome, because eBooks have negligible overhead, and Amazon doesn’t care if it collects $250,000 dollars from one author’s blockbuster book or from single sales of 99-cent books by over 250,000 different authors.

    In both situations, an author can make a living only by producing a lot of books. Harper Lee probably would be destitute if she wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird” in today’s publishing climate. Amazon would want to sell it for $2.99, and it would be lost among several million titles. The big five publishers probably would not publish it at all.

    I generally read a novel a week, and I’m somewhat disappointed in the majority of those. Among the most prolific authors, I lose track of which titles I’ve read. And then I don’t even care, because they’re all too similar.

    As an author, I would like to switch topics and genres to suit my various areas of interest, å la Ken Follett. But in this climate, I don’t think that’s financially feasible. Back in the 1950s, such versatility was commendable.

    The corporate system prevails on both sides of the debate, and ultimately that is bad for authors, for readers, for the legacy of literature.

  • Mr. D

    Amazon’s business model differs from most everyone else in the book business. Books are a means to another end which is to become the online version of Walmart. A very small percentage of their profits come from books. It is all about customer-base to sell them everything under the sun which they make lots of profit off of. Amazon will lose money on books with this goal in mind. There was an article in the New Yorker awhile back that conveyed the truth about the predator known as ebooks have hurt the publishing industry because of Amazon’s predator approach. A book that customers would gladly pay $100 for in print, Amazon wants to reduce the price to around $20 and keep 70% of the revenue and profit. This hurts the publisher and the author and just about everyone else in the supply chain whose revenue comes from books. The only winners are customers and Amazon. If Amazon was willing to take a win/win approach everyone could win. Amazon has made it impossible for most stores to compete even online. Given their business model Amazon would benefit greatly by eliminating the entire supply chain for books including publishers. Just imagine a world where anyone could publish a book whether they could write or not or had anything worth publishing, so long as the author was willing to pay the basic cost of producing it in a e-book format. And price could be anything that Amazon. com wanted to charge for it.

  • Amazon Should be Feared

    Indie authors should absolutely be rooting for Hachette and any entity that can counter balance Amazon’s dominance. To think they will be spared is extraordinarily naive.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    What is said here, as usual, applies to only one sector of book publishing, trade, but the sad fact is that whatever Amazon decides to do with respect to trade publishers will also affect other sectors, like scholarly publishers, who feel the pressures from Amazon over margins also and, like self-published authors and indie bookstores, have little power to exert.

  • Michael J. Fisher

    “Content reuse”, or what I refer to as “re-packaging” involves spicing up the story with media. Use of visual media can be applied to take the reader to higher level of understanding. Such was the case with my last novel, when I added black and white silhouettes of the leading characters to illustrate their physical profile. Doing so provided just enough information for the subconscious to complete the picture, thereby strengthening character comprehension.

  • Dick

    Interesting post Joe. My recent experience related to this potential reuse was with my fourth novel in a series. When I finished that novel, it was so different from the style of the first three, I felt the series readers would be upset. This new novel was much hotter than the style of the first three. Rather than just tone it down, I decided to keep that version and made a toned down version in the style of the first three.
    So, to your point of whether I was marketing to the same readers? I felt I might pick up a different group of readers. The strategy worked in my opinion, as the hotter version sold more copies.
    Just some input to get people thinking of how to use a single story line (content) to produce two end products in less time than what it would have taken.

  • rickchapman53

    It may have mattered to the parties involved, but self-publishers/indies had zero stake in the outcome.

    What is interesting about this entire struggle between Amazon and Hachette (and the publishers, by extension) is that the battle had nothing to do with indies/self publishing. They had no stake in the outcome and still don’t. I cover this in this article:

    Amazon vs. Hachette: It’s Over and What Really Happened (and AAAG Owes Indies and Authors an Apology)

    A web collective I’ve come to think of as the Aggregated Amazon Ankle Grabbers (AAAG for short) is in a bit of shock. The problem can summed up by this plaintive post on The Digital Reader, a site I rate as being an AAAG member.

    +++ One has to ask what happened to the demand for ebook prices to be below $9.99, that was apparently so important to Amazon that we indies were asked to write to Hachette on Amazon’s behalf? +++

    Yes, that is an interesting question, isn’t it. Here Hugh Howey and David Gauhgran and Joe Konrath and Passive Lawyer and others have spent so much time telling us how awful agency pricing was. Awful, awful, awful. And that $9.99 was a golden number. Of course, anyone who actually believed that nonsense either A) failed math in high school or B) buys bridges crossing the East River in New York.

    But, apparently, agency’s not so bad after all if Amazon gets more margin and more MDF. Which it did. Which is what channels always want.

    And if you, as an indie, suspect you were being used, you were. Yes, those are bus tracks all over your clothing.The publishers used their writers and Amazon used you. And nothing about the outcome of the fight benefited indies in the least. In fact, you never had a real stake in the fight in the first place. Evil agency pricing is alive and well and will be in the future. Amazon is not going to talk anymore about optimal price points and 1.7 more readers and all the rest of that junk. That’s in the past. Until the new contracts are up.

    What Just Happened?

    After the major publishers lost the collusion case, Amazon had the whip hand in the negotiations. It decided to swing for the fences. Why not? They had nothing to lose. By forcing the publishers to abandon agency pricing, they would gain control of the E-book publishing pricing model. Channels always like being in charge of that.

    Part of their strategy was to proclaim the wonders of $9.99. It’s a price calculated to put pressure on the publishers. THAT’s why they put indies in their $7 pricing box and are keeping us/you in it. If indies are allowed out of the box, some of you are going to find out why that box is bad for you and you’ll talk about it. And once you do, Amazon loses an arrow in its quiver to fire at the publishers.

    Amazon overplayed its hand. Hachette failed to break (Hachette, BTW, will get the same basic deal as Simon and Shuster, as will all the other publishers. All that will differ in the deals will be squabbles at the edges about margins and MDF). Playing games with product availability didn’t play well in the press. Having highly visible writers dabbing their eyes while muttering about censorship didn’t help. I don’t think Paul Ryan noting his book had disappeared off Amazon played well either.

    Rest of post up at:

    And while I think Yglesias makes some valid points about the current publishing model, again, none of what he writes is germane to indies and self publishers.

    Rick Chapman

    Author “SaaS Entrepreneur: The Definitive Guide to Success in Your Cloud Application Business”
    Author “Rule-Set: A Novel of a Quantum Future.”

  • Vern Lacrosse

    I am a Story Teller, turned Writer. I have two small books of about forty-five pages each now on Audio Books. What
    might I do to have you promote these and my four additional “Mini-E-Books”, published but unrecorded?

  • Julianne Caesar

    I wish Mr. Park the best. I would not say his departure is detrimental to amazon in the long run, however. I worked 25 years in publishing; amazon deciding to wade into the publishing end of the pool was like diving into a mountain lake, refreshing, cool, a jolt to the system at first. It wasn’t that long ago when publishers, before they started merging with each other and focusing what seemed exclusively on the bottom line, didn’t focus most of their attention (and marketing budgets) on the Stephen Kings and John Grishams of the world (and that’s not meant as a criticism of the aforementioned). Like the Hollywood of old, publishers once nurtured new writers, investing time AND money in them and not expecting a first book, and each succeeding one, to be a blockbuster. How many wonderful books languished in slush piles (do publishers even have or accept unsolicited manuscripts anymore?) because the focus was on the marquee names? Probably half of the “classics” in today’s greed-is-good environment would never have reached the printing press, much less ended up in some reader’s hands. If that wasn’t bad enough, these new mega-publishers (often simply an acquired asset by a much larger company that knew nothing about publishing) then started off-shoring parts of the process. In-house proofreaders and copyeditors and indexers who had honed *their* craft over a decade or more were increasingly replaced first by American freelancers and then by foreign ones, for whom English was a second language and knew little about publishing, much less actual copyediting (particularly substantive editing) and proofreading but could be paid pennies on the dollar. Of course the CEOs still came from the ‘homefront,’ pulled in Gordon Gekko-style salaries and benefits.And like with the music business, the actual talent made considerably less than the suits. But ’twas ever thus, to quote the familiar bromide.

    Amazon getting into the publishing game *was* exciting, at first. The Internet itself removed the constraints of the suits and penny pinchers of dozens of industries, most obviously the arts. No middleman needed to sell a record or a book or an indie movie. Artists could self-publish, sink or swim fully under their own sweat and skill (or lack thereof). But it was refreshing because the public decided what they liked, not some slick marketing department or firm convincing the consumer of what they should like (better still, purchase). More brilliantly, consumers became a mass marketing department. One of amazon’s most brilliant moves was/is its reviews by ordinary consumers. That, IMO, allows for a more level playing field. Unfortunately, as happens to so many successful enterprises, the sharp point of hubris and overconfidence lets the air out, slowly at first and then more rapidly the bigger the hole grows. Be it a school playground or a thriving business, no one likes to be bullied. Perhaps amazon’s biggest problem is it forgot no one likes a bully. Not even other bullies. How this eventually plays out is anyone’s guess.

  • gkrehbiel

    This article is mostly jargon.

  • rickchapman53

    This may be the most predictable article ever written on this site. Please note the date3 of this blog post was 10/27/04

    Amazon vs. Hachette: It’s Over and What Really Happened (and AAAG Owes Indies and Authors an Apology)

    A web collective I’ve come to think of as the Aggregated Amazon Ankle Grabbers (AAAG for short) is in a bit of shock. The problem can summed up by this plaintive post on The Digital Reader, a site I rate as being an AAAG member.

    +++ One has to ask what happened to the demand for ebook prices to be below $9.99, that was apparently so important to Amazon that we indies were asked to write to Hachette on Amazon’s behalf? +++

    Yes, that is an interesting question, isn’t it. Here Hugh Howey and David Gauhgran and Joe Konrath and Passive Lawyer and others have spent so much time telling us how awful agency pricing was. Awful, awful, awful. And that $9.99 was a golden number. Of course, anyone who actually believed that nonsense either A) failed math in high school or B) buys bridges crossing the East River in New York.

    But, apparently, agency’s not so bad after all if Amazon gets more margin and more MDF. Which it did. Which is what channels always want.

    And if you, as an indie, suspect you were being used, you were. Yes, those are bus tracks all over your clothing.The publishers used their writers and Amazon used you. And nothing about the outcome of the fight benefited indies in the least. In fact, you never had a real stake in the fight in the first place. Evil agency pricing is alive and well and will be in the future. Amazon is not going to talk anymore about optimal price points and 1.7 more readers and all the rest of that junk. That’s in the past. Until the new contracts are up.

    What Just Happened?

    After the major publishers lost the collusion case, Amazon had the whip hand in the negotiations. It decided to swing for the fences. Why not? They had nothing to lose. By forcing the publishers to abandon agency pricing, they would gain control of the E-book publishing pricing model. Channels always like being in charge of that.

    Part of their strategy was to proclaim the wonders of $9.99. It’s a price calculated to put pressure on the publishers. THAT’s why they put indies in their $7 pricing box and are keeping us/you in it. If indies are allowed out of the box, some of you are going to find out why that box is bad for you and you’ll talk about it. And once you do, Amazon loses an arrow in its quiver to fire at the publishers.

    Amazon overplayed its hand. Hachette failed to break (Hachette, BTW, will get the same basic deal as Simon and Shuster, as will all the other publishers. All that will differ in the deals will be squabbles at the edges about margins and MDF). Playing games with product availability didn’t play well in the press. Having highly visible writers dabbing their eyes while muttering about censorship didn’t help. I don’t think Paul Ryan noting his book had disappeared off Amazon played well either.

    Amazon started to hear rumblings from the Feds about being a monopsony. That’s why they put in that odd phrase about “legitimate” reasons for pricing books above $9.99, which I covered in the article Amazonium Codexorum. And I can assure you that every time the Feds wanted to talk about the ramifications of the collusion case, the publishers jumped up and down pointing to movie theaters, threw around .pptx files loaded with slides on famous monopsony cases and flashed sock puppets who asked why no one could find possible presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s book in the Amazon search engine.

    This was all becoming a bit noisy and complicated so Amazon decided to grab the extra MDF and margin that was always on the table.

    Who’s Happy?

    New books from hot authors will be priced at $X for Y period of time, then drop back to $Z based on wholesale pricing and promotional patterns. IOW, the long tail will be activated. Publishers will also do things like release big fat art books with lots of illustrations and not have to apply for the Amazon pricing codex to wholesale them out to Amazon over $9.99. They are happy boys and girls!

    Amazon gets fatter discounts (more margin) and more MDF from publishers. (BTW, did you, the writer, ever stop to consider where some of that extra margin and MDF is going to come from?) They are happy boys and girls!

    Established publishers such as Doug Preston and pols like Paul Ryan will see their books shine in the Amazon search engine.They are happy boys and girls!

    Indies are in exactly the same place. Stuck in a $7 roach motel paying 30 points for a download service. (And don’t forget those international margins.)

    Rest of post up at:

  • David Rees Laing

    Fairly interesting Ellen the print media market is undergoing a structural change at the moment. Books, Magazines, and Newspapers will have to find a new position as ‘niche’ retro items. I think this market will exist and the size of it is a point of contention. Classified advertising has had a hit with Ebay and Gumtree (big in Australia) and banner advertising is a falling revenue source for paper news. QuidProQuo contra deals in the advertising sector are being reviewed as to their value to both the advertiser and media owner. eReaders are to revolutionize the book business yet on needs to download a book from your home PC, the amount of electronic gizmos we are purchasing just to sit back and relax seems to defeat the purpose. Another factoid: 20% of imports 2013-2014 into Australia were mobile devices from places like South Korea.

  • David Rees Laing

    Rent seeking behaviour by branded authors is a real phenomena on the NYT Bestsellers list. All the attention they receive is an established economic reality. Yet the pleasure of finally finding an author one can enjoy without a worry in the world except biological needs, one that takes you up and down knowledgeably and plays on the emotions and schools the appreciative reader. The author then requires exploring earlier and later manuscripts and that puts the spanner in the works of established names we are all to know and respect.

  • Leigh-Anne Ames

    Sometimes it’s alright to have an unexpressed thought.

  • Thad McIlroy

    I think this is an excellent idea EXCEPT that many authors have their work with a wide range of publishers which makes this very difficult. Look at Ursula K. Le Guin, who received the 2014 Medalist For Distinguished Contribution To American Letters at the NBA tonight. A quick glance on Amazon and I find more than half a dozen publishers.

  • NU Alum

    Curious title. Paraphrases Juliet, but “wherefore” actually means “why” and not “where,” as the blog intends.

  • rickchapman53

    Here’s what indie writers got out of this. And you should be thanking Macmillan and Apple and Hachette every day from the bottom of your heart and on your knees. Every member of AAAG, the aggregated Amazon Ankle Grabbers, should be sending rose scented garlands to the Froggies on behalf of the indies.

    Because when Apple stepped into the game, all of sudden Amazon went from 35% to you for your book sales (for a download service), a completely predatory price point, to a very high but at least a financially tolerable 70%. For at least a few countries.

    That’s how some writers were helped.

  • MC Kelly

    Interesting, but perhaps more Disney ‘when you wish upon a star’ thinking than a realistic business strategy:
    1. It’s unlikely that anyone can afford to beat Amazon on price. B&N can’t afford that kind of discounting and Apple doesn’t believe in discounting. And Amazon can afford to do this forever since books are a small part of what they sell.
    2. Letting the competition be based on price only works in a wholesale pricing environment which publishers are fighting against. Publishers want Agency Pricing which means that the distributors all charge the same publisher-fixed price.
    3. As to the idea that users would “be free to choose the lowest price, no longer worrying about ebook library lock-in”: There would still be lock-in on the book you bought since it’s a function of the DRM. Can the columnist be suggesting that you could go back later and download the book in a different format for free? I don’t think so.
    4. Publishers are not well equipped to collaborate on a central book promotion site which would seem to be required. They have tried before and failed.

    The article goes on to say: “Every retailer except the largest should support this concept as well. If you’re the distant #2 or #3 ebook retailer, you should embrace the opportunity to level the playing field with this; you’ll suddenly gain more relevance as all those books bought on the #1 retailer’s platform could now be read on yours.” How could the little guys ever compete on price?

    But the biggest problem comes from the fact that readers don’t pay much if any attention to who the publisher is. In that regard, Disney is a little like NPR – it is a content brand that people can relate to. They produce a certain kind of content that people seek out. But in most cases, consumers don’t care what channel carries their favorite TV show or what publisher released the latest Harry Potter book.

  • David Rees Laing

    Hey Laura it’s exciting about cloud readers I just still worry that most of the reader’s literature will be a spam airport lounge detective novel set in picturesque windswept Maine with a lot of fancy characters with anxt and not a lot to say!!

  • David Rees Laing

    These are book manufacturers. What about Penguin? Or John Wiley or Thames Hudson? Or Amazon for that matter. Publishing houses surely should be considered.

  • Thad McIlroy

    Donnelley features a “Publishing and Retail Services” segment with a “primary product offerings include magazines, catalogs, retail inserts, books, directories and packaging.” The segment accounted for 26.5% of the company’s sales in 2013.

    In its 2013 year end report it broke “books” out separately and listed sales (including international) of $1,202.2 million.

    Quad/Graphics is another player in book printing. It’s segmenting offers a category called “direct mail, books, directories and other printed products.” Total sales are over $1 billion, but books are listed on their own.

    Ingram and Amazon are both large players in the POD book printing segment but their book sales aren’t available.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Are you aware that the Penn State University Libraries digitized all the back issues of major Pennsylvania newspapers some years ago with the aid of an NEH grant and that they are freely accessible through the PSU website now?

  • Chris Wendt

    A good read, providing interesting historical context for reinventing “book” “publishing”. However, the piece lacks the very boldness for which it seems to advocate: where’s the bold vision? What is the bold vision?

  • Chris Wendt

    While this blurb has zero historical contexts (it is actually about trailblazing), it certainly does ensconce a bold idea! I think this idea (“purchase as you read”, or, the “gradual purchasing” model) will gain traction and could become the emerging standard for digital content distribution. I chose my characterization, digital content distribution, carefully, as we are not really talking about “books” in this discussion; books are so analog, and the term is out of place in a digital discussion.

    Had this concept been implemented when music first went digital, then Napster may have become a real amazon, instead of a flash in the pan. The so-called “gradual purchasing” model is actually a version of the property rights management and distribution model for digital imagery in the commercial and editorial spaces which (licensing) model has been widely (universally) used since it was first adopted by Corbis and by Getty Images, about 16 years ago.

  • jrzybob442

    You are correct. You might want to see what we do at the Auto History Preservations Society where we store thousands of pages of historical material (indexed by brand/model/year – BUT where we write and publish all around this content.

    We even focus on collector cars as living history to make the material even more interesting

  • Christopher Wendt

    Signed-up and installed app before I even finished reading the article!

  • Dave Fessenden

    This article is simply a description of how smaller publishers and midlist authors have been operating for the past several years. And this is a “big idea”?

  • Aaron Zerah

    Dear Caleb and Jason: Thank you so much for helping worldreader reach the children of the world!

    Great Blessings,

    Aaron Zerah

  • Publerati

    What Seth is describing is very well covered in the classic business book of the 1990s, Crossing the Chasm. No product will ever go straight to the masses without first being promoted by the early adopters, or so the theory goes. Most products never cross the chasm standing between the two groups (e.g., early adopters and early mainstream), as one group is a leadership group and the other consists of followers, those easily influenced by others. They are very different sorts of people each requiring different marketing messages. “Be the first on your block”… versus “nine out of ten housewives approve.” Fun stuff worth a read for anyone who has not.

  • jgcunited dot com

    You may find the article at of interest. We won, but authors and independent publishers remain vulnerable.
    John Gile

  • Sanford Thatcher

    There is no acknowledgment here that some academic libraries are becoming publishers, and a number of these, like the library at SUNY-Geneseo, are targeting textbook publishing. It makes a great deal of sense for libraries to work with local faculty to produce textbooks that are customized for the needs of students on the campus, and since these will be “open access,” they will also contribute greatly to reduce the burden of costs on undergraduates. Commercial textbook publishers ignore this challenge at their iwn great risk.

  • DrewHaninger

    I think the publishing industry is ripe for a Silicon Valley disruption. (same with the music industry) – Drew Haninger

  • gregkrehbiel

    Yes, but I think this is going to change. It’s simply impossible to believe that people who are good at creating good content will also be good at being social media mavens. Things will diversify.

  • DeadTreeEdition

    “being tied to a specific container will be a major drawback in the future”: Is that because consumers view it as a drawback or because organizations that are tied to one container have difficulty re-imagining their business for other containers?

  • Geral John Pinault

    Hi Mark! I’d like to invite you to read my newest poetry book from my fabulous series, “101 Love Poems For The Ages” available in full color on for just $18.76! I spent three years producing this amazing book of rhyming love poems! Just enter my full name on to see my books!!!

  • joe sixpak

    i prefer my manual thermostat

    dont want or need a smart toaster or microwave or anything else like that

  • Ed Fitzelle

    I think John Sargent has said it well. The subscription model cuts a publisher off from the upside when a title starts to sell. Backlist titles can get legs. Back in the day McGraw-Hill had the paperback edition of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe in print. Sales were winding down and we were about to revert the rights when the movie announcement was made with one of the hottest casts at the time. We went back to press several times after that and had huge sales. Had there been an Oyster back then and we had licensed the ebook to them, a large portion of those incremental sales would have been lost. Publishers have to make very tough choices, and being conservative may not put enough money in the till to pay the next quarter’s expenses.

  • Sanford Thatcher

    I wish Mr. Grandinetti would explain how threatening small publishers (like the university press I directed at Penn State) with de-listing all our titles if we did not use its POD subsidiary exclusively was done for the benefit of authors.

  • ThinkFirst

    Makes me wonder where all these narrators will come from if we are talking hundreds of thousands of books, millions? I can’t imagine there exist a huge pool of people to choose from at this time. Could this be a new opportunity?

  • Sanford Thatcher

    Why do articles like this always refer to publishing as though it is a monolith? The kind of publishing to which Godin’s remarks apply mostly is just general trade book publishing. What he says here has little relevance to scholarly publishers (who know their readers very well), textbook publishers (who don’t target their readers directly but rather their the professors who assign textbooks), children’s publishers (who sell as much to parents as they do to the children who read the books, at least at the younger ages), etc. What an ebook is has different meanings also across different publishing sectors.

  • kimball

    I understand the desire to go to a digital format from the publishers’ and especially the self-publisher’s view, as it lowers barriers to entry and distribution and printing costs, but aren’t you forgetting that a BIG part of the market is the ‘collecting’ as a motivator, and even as a justification, for buying and keeping a lot of the titles that are out there?

  • Nate DiYorio

    Diagnosed ADHD. I can’t focus on ebooks for a second, but I’m a voracious reader of paper books. It’s way too tempting to go do something else on a tablet or ereader, what with a novel’s habit of not having eye-catching colors splashed across the page.

  • David Skarjune

    These services seem rather thin both in catalogs and functionality. The catalogs have limited publishers and few recent releases, and most of the “doing” is for back catalogs. Looking for unique features? How about catching up with standard features. Scribd is possibly the worst reading experience imaginable, and review forums are filled with “Scam” posts by users unable to cancel their subscriptions.

    OK, you can reduce the issue to customer loyalty and a low bar for features, content and quality at a low subscription price, but that’s indeed a race to the bottom.

  • Glidebks

    We read The Futurists blog with interest and would love to take part. Glidebooks is a London based startup focussed on enhancing illustrated ebooks with interactive features – bringing ebooks up to the standard consumers expect of digital content on their iPads. The challenges we see publishers facing are here:

  • BookVenturePub

    Hi, There’s a lot of ways to publish a book without paying monthly.. Please visit our website to publish your book or

  • BookVenturePub

    Hi, There’s a lot of ways to publish a book without paying monthly.. Please visit our website to publish your book or… have a nice day

  • SWANS_093


  • CarlosJOchoaFer

    New media formats, new ebooks concepts need a different way of thinking from authors. And it is question of time. It is not to convert from analog to digital and add some media content…It is a different approach, a new kind of media content far away from the present ebooks. It is an interactive adventure…it is part a book, part of a movie, part of a game,…it is an interactive experience…. We will see…the evolution of such amazing opportunity…TV?…Radio?…Movie?…Video Game?…convergence of digital media.

  • Doug

    Comparing an invention such as TV to ebooks seems silly to me given how huge the world of TV is compared to books. I also think this article is biased given the author’s company.

  • JASH

    You seem to be focusing on just one type of ebook (fiction and non-fiction), when academic, educational and professional publishers (at the “high end”) have been differentiating their ebooks in terms of price for many years, as well as bundling them into subscription products for libraries.

  • answerman

    i need to see how well that accounting works

    how do you know how much they read
    what is the overhead to doing that
    does it slow down the reader or cause problems
    what if they move to another device
    does the buying start over again
    too many missing details
    sounds great in theory
    but too many questions to get excited yet
    and will anybody but libraries like this
    will libraries pay for each person who reads part of a book ?
    what stops a bunch of people from starting their own library and everybody gets all the books for one price ?
    too many unanswered questions that need clearing up with this idea

  • Olakunle Sogbein

    The hybrid may be the best option for now. POD to get to the market faster when necessary and the traditional method when the market is already steady and the volume is high.

  • Dave

    It also opens up a whole new world of government intrusion! For instance, if I am not prompt enough in changing the oil in my car when the sensor says I need to, the state may decide that I do not properly maintain my car, so it is not safe, and take away my license.

  • Andrea Ptak

    Here’s another + for print. Amazon offers rental on many print textbooks—a very affordable option, with all the benefits of print at a fraction of the cost.

  • Greg Hadden

    My first job was in a print shop, and printing served as my entre into publishing, so I by no means am anti-print. But this article wades somewhere between naivete and recklessness. Millennials are in college today. Tomorrow will be the next generation. They won’t be using printed textbooks. They also will not be schlepping around 7lb laptops, or looking at fixed-pdfs on their tablet. They will require access to the content that constructs the text books from myriad IP-enabled devices, delivered in a format responsive to the device they happen to be on–tablet, phone, laptop, watch, etc… Voice-searchable, bookmarkable and able to resume the experience at the next session, on the next device in a seamless way. And they won’t pay $264 or $230 or probably even $150 for it. It will be available for a quarter what it was in its print-and-move-by-truck format. It won’t be shareable in a meaningful way. It also won’t be re-saleable. Look at music, and video and magazines and other digital media. A sea change is coming, although it is really just aftershock. This has already happened. The nimble textbook companies who focus on providing content and value will win the day. But more likely, nimble tech providers will buy their content out of bankruptcy and then apply it to modern distribution models. Wake up. The revolution is over. Printed textbook sales are dead, and if you cling to them, so will be your career.

  • Greg Krehbiel

    You raise some good points, but are you unwilling to admit the possibility that reading on paper is simply better for some things — like studying?

    For example, when I highlight a printed textbook it registers certain things in my brain, like color and position. That gets associated with the content, and all of us who are getting older know that forming associations helps with the memory. E.g., “it was on the right side of the page near the bottom and I underlined it in pencil” can help you remember what it was you thought was so important.

    Maybe college kids like printed text books for the simple reason that they’re better.

  • Deborah Smith

    Amazon does alter algorithms constantly, for no apparent reason known outside its headquarters. Starting in 2012 the company began to push its own imprints and free/cheap KDP books over those of established vendors (small presses and non-KDP indie authors.) Searches began to pop up the imprints/KDP titles over higher-ranked and better reviewed books. Promotions to customers heavily featured the imprints, with less and less feature space for small presses. (Who pay steeply in their wholesale contracts for Amazon support and service.)

    Whatever Engler’s failings are, what she says about Amazon changing the game without warning, and its favor, is true.

  • burf

    There are plenty of committed, long-term publishing professionals who have faced decades of wasted time and energy chasing proprietary contexts and formats. I’m glad all is finally consolidating, but what you describe as “the perfectly reasonable goal of differentiating and competing in the marketplace” blew up hundreds of companies and committed professionals, sacrificing the valuable content being published on the altar of proprietary data plumbing. Let’s not downplay the mess of the past decades.

  • Eljefe

    Nice article but you do overstate the case. In the US the Ebook growth over the past 2 years has been close to 0. There is upside in any country that has not begun selling the readers which drives the title sales but that path runs it course in a couple of years and you reach a new mix. One of the very interesting facts about 2015 in the US is the growth significant growth of printed books across the board in the Juvenile and young adult segments far out stripping the growth in ebooks in the same segments. We have reached a point of staturation and mix stability in the US.

  • Erika Fabian

    How about initiating a letter to the appropriate authorities in EU explaining why this is a bad move on their part, and having your readership etc. sign it as a petition to regard ebooks as books, not as “merchandise”.

  • Peter Danckwerts

    I don’t think your coverage reflects the truly chaotic nature of the new EU electronic goods and services ruling. Worst of all for many small ebook publishers who want to sell books directly rather than through Kindle, iBooks, etc. is that it forces them to register for VAT even if they are below the normal threshold for registration, and they have to charge the prevailing rate in the country of the purchaser. And this applies to non-EU publishers selling into the EU.

    However, before I begin to sound like a Eurosceptic (which I am), it’s only fair to point out that the US has an equally messy situation with regard to printed books, etc., with each state having its own sales tax. I’ve just completed 9 different tax forms to cover wholesale sales through Lightning Source but I’m not sure what I’m going to do in relation to direct sales to the US.

    Both the EU and the US seem determined to stamp out small business.

  • camdenlockbooks

    When microwave ovens became commonplace, did everyone throw out their conventional ovens? The same applies to e-readers and books.

  • ThadMcIlroy

    Or, the cynical-minded (that would be me) would note that “most book publishers still generate 70-80% of their revenue from print” BECAUSE “today’s digital editions are nothing more than print-under-glass.”

    If publishers wanted to sell more ebooks, they would add more value to the digital editions. Yet ebook standards are an unholy mess, and 5 publishing companies with $5 billion in sales can’t get together to fix that? Hmm…this isn’t adding up.

    I’m convinced that the largest publishers are quite happy with the current print-to-digital ratio. They’re having just as much fun as the record companies had when they sold CDs.

  • Racheli

    Will you be able to arrange a webinar for people who are interested in this seminar from abroad?

  • June Wiehe

    Do you “get” one of these bags from Barnes & Noble when you purchase books or are they the totes you have to buy?


    are you saying that authors are going to have to be code technicians and cannot any longer
    just write? Because that would be the end of me!

  • Britt Severence

    It’s hard to deny 80 billion tablet users worldwide and nearly 160 million in the USA.

    Britt ,

  • Bob`

    Sign up where?

  • Ori Idan

    I’d be happy to read about it. I don’t really like to listen to webinars.

  • Paul Anthony

    This may seem to be a boon to readers, but at some point authors may be discouraged by the miniscule revenue subscription services provide. What happens when the only new books are those written by fame-seekers?

  • Denis Wilson
  • Allison

    This wonderful list seems to cut off before #50 – can you post the rest of the pages?

  • gilberto durso

    …and why would it be good news?

  • ThadMcIlroy

    Bill: Great explanation as always. I’m struck by how fast has moved into the web ecosystem: broad and robust adoption. It’s less than 4 years old. But as you put it, “it works because those few big players made it work,” pointing to the power of large companies to enforce a single “standard”. IDPF has done an amazing job with EPUB, despite the failure of the largest ebook player to join the dance.

  • Andrew Brenneman

    Well put, Joe. I never saw how Oyster’s “all you can eat” model would be sustainable. So I agree with you that diversification of their revenue streams was required.

    It is hard to beat Amazon Prime in the loyalty game. Frankly, I am a bit surprised that Oyster did not go after ad revenue. That may be the low hanging fruit that does not pit them directly against Prime.

    Good post.

  • brianoleary

    I think the biggest threat to Oyster and Scribd is a business model that makes money only when customers don’t use the service. An “all you can eat” model that is profitable only when the average customer eats just 1.5 meals a month is the problem, not the solution.

    I’m also struggling with the own/rent argument. Ebooks, whether read on a subscription basis or downloaded to a proprietary platform, are not really owned. You can’t resell them, and subsequent lending is prohibited or greatly restricted.

    Arguing that Oyster (or anyone) had to get into the eBook market to compete with Amazon seems backwards. Every company that has tried to compete digitally against Amazon in its core markets has failed. Some niche sites that serve community have survived, and Kobo, which competes where Amazon isn’t, is still alive. But I can’t see a me-too offer from Oyster strengthening its hand against Amazon.

  • Barry Cohen

    Are any of these platforms accepting audio books and e-books from independent & self-published authors?

  • NPLConsult


    As both a publisher and consultant to other publishers, your experience, while unusual, contains both lessons and flaws in your own reasoning.

    First, you must be the only person I have ever met who would pay 50% or more over the retail for an EBook. I believe this is a very, very unusual circumstance and not likely to be broadly applied to other books or customers.

    Second, from an old timer publisher (35+ years), my objections to offering EBooks are many, but let’s only approach three of them. 1) I don’t like them and from the scientific studies, I don’t want to promote the eye issues and diseases people will get from overusing the reader. 2) If all publishers offer EBooks for all titles, there is a real chance that print books will eventually disappear… this is our, or mine at least, protest to the concept of real vs virtual reading experiences. 3) While you believe that offering entire EBooks for free is a great marketing idea… some of us don’t like the idea of our books being copied and used by those not paying for them. And further, I happen to like the profit margins I make on my books and am not in the frame of mind to reduce them in favor of a format I don’t like…see above.

    Third…why is it that somehow the creators and producers of books are supposed to bend to the will of ONE SINGLE consumer? If you believed that computer makers were old fashioned or stupid, which is really your intimation, for not making pink keyboards, and yet, no one does that really, does that give you the right to insult the producer and call them old fashioned and archaic, because you cant have exactly what you want the moment you want it?

    That being the case, go buy it somewhere else… OOPS… you cant do that, can you? Let me make one final analogy. If you want a Ferrari or a Rolls Royce… in purple… sorry, they aren’t made in that color. Either you buy what is available if you want the benefits of that specific product, or settle for a Corvette, if they are made in purple.

    What I am saying in a very long winded way is… I put up hundreds of thousands of my own money and risk it to do what I believe is good for the buying public and myself. Please don’t call me stupid for the decisions I make. Are YOU putting up hundreds of thousands of YOUR OWN dollars to publish
    books? I didn’t think so.

  • Reader

    This post sounds like it is from a spoiled child. Why do you think every book should be available as an ebook? Go back to your screen, there is enough there to keep you busy. If you haven’t bought a real book in 5 years, you obviously don’t see the value. And what’s with the suggestion that you’d “gladly pay 29.99 for an ebook version”? Hogwash. You and almost all ebook readers squawk incessantly paying even pennies for a digital version. You want digital? fine. But stop acting like you deserve to experience everything though the pixels of your favorite screen.

  • Calee Lee

    Joe- Do you know if the book was financed by the publisher or if it was one of their “custom book publishing services” packages found here:

    If the author has already invested between $5,000 and $200,000 (their numbers, not mine), I suspect they are disincentivized to actually sell the book.

    There are quite a few books that I’ve heard about (from niche, non-vanity) publishers that have come out in the last few years that I haven’t purchased simply because I don’t read paper books any more. I wasn’t really reading very often before I got a kindle, but ereading has transformed a forgotten hobby into a passion. I’ve become a consumer of 2-3 books per week, simply because I can now read in a variety of situations like waiting during a child’s practice, waiting for same child to fall asleep in darkened room, even while waiting for water to boil–these have all become opportunities for reading. I think some smaller publishers are leaving money on the table by 1) not making a ebook available on Amazon and 2) not making that ebook available to library vendors.

  • NPLConsult

    Again, this time to Calee Lee…

    We may be leaving some, obviously small, amount of money on the table…but are we leaving revenues on the table or, more critically, PROFITS on the table? as mentioned in another posting, MOST of the buying public wants, nee expects, EBooks to be at most half of retail but more normally, under $5., and also refuses to buy EBooks that aren’t priced right by their metrics. My books sell anywhere from $30 to $195… selling an EBook for half puts me out of the game. Selling for $5-10 is insanity, notwithstanding that frankly, the way you read with your reader is part of why scientific studies are worried about eyes.

    Sidebar… if the books we produce have real value to the marketplace, libraries will purchase them. If not, they won’t. But offering them for roughly $1 per rental, and with the potential for hacking and going on the Internet for free… the risks do not outweigh the rewards. Once a book is hacked and sent out free, there IS no getting it back, something like Pandora’s box.

  • NPLConsult

    Mr. Wikert…

    One last and likely the most critical point, I failed to make in my first opposition to your position… MY Strategic Plan calls for me to sell roughly 2,000-3,000 of each of my titles a year, at a specific profit margin, that yields to me a very handsome profit and overall return. My books are very specific, somewhat expensive, and focus on target customers… thus this is my Strategic Plan and it has served me well for the time being.

    You said:
    That made me stop and double-check the pub date. It’s 2015, after all, and surely every publisher offers e-editions of their frontlist, right? I’ve apparently stumbled across one of the remaining publishers who is still stuck in the 1990’s.

    Do you truly believe that ALL publishers have to follow YOUR concept of a Strategic Plan… or may there be publishers who follow their own Plans with your permission of course?