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Publishing

Why people still prefer print – in pictures
September 28, 2014 | 3:29 pm

books_infographic-674x1030Here's an interesting infographic from UK new-era second-hand book trading platform FatBrain on why people still prefer print books to ebooks - all down in pretty pictures for those who reading onscreen has left comprehensionally challenged. And of course, FatBrain, whose business depends on people emailing barcodes or ISBNs from print books, has a strong vested interest in people opting for print. But take a look at the pretty pictures that are almost as easy to follow as ink ant trails pressed into woodpulp, and enjoy.  ...

Ellora’s Cave sues Dear Author over ‘defamatory’ blog post
September 26, 2014 | 9:59 pm

Ellora's Cave Well, that was unexpected. The saga of Ellora’s Cave has been chronicled over the last few months, and especially over the last few weeks, on various e-book blogs I read. For example, from The Passive Voice: Ellora’s Cave The mysterious case of the missing royalty checks from Ellora’s Cave More Ellora’s Cave troubles… Cat Grant Gives Away Her Unreverted Ellora’s Cave Titles And those are just from the last week or so. Authors...

David Gaughran catches the stench wafting from the publishing industry
September 23, 2014 | 6:00 pm

David GaughranNo one could accuse David Gaughran of being afraid to take a stand, or of supine impartiality in his readiness to listen to every side. And the author of Let's Get Digital and Let's Get Visible doesn't leave much room for ambiguity in his latest title: "Publishing Is Rotten To The Core." Admittedly, this is a post as much about media bias as about the publishing industry itself - or rather, the partiality of mainstream media to anti-Amazon, pro-trad publishing stories - as it is about conditions where print meets paper. But there's plenty to go around nonetheless. Gaughran doesn't mince words...

Think book prices are out of whack? Try charging $7380
September 4, 2014 | 6:20 pm

Considering how active, and acrimonious, the debate on scholarly publishing and scholarly open access has become, it's valuable to get some data points into the mix. Like one, courtesy of Doug's Archaeology, about the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology from Springer, which costs €5.617,50 ($7380) in its print-plus-ereference edition. Doug's Archaeology comes from Doug Rocks Macqueen, a graduate student in archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, and focuses "mainly on the Profession of Archaeology e.g. pay, working conditions, career prospect, etc. Though I do on occasion through in some other topics and some bits on Open Access." And in his spare...

Publishing venture capital style – or, how most publishers throw money at the wall to see what sticks
September 4, 2014 | 4:27 pm

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="461"] Thanks to "The Wolf of Wall Street" for this inside shot from a typical Manhattan publisher's commissioning meeting ...[/caption] This post comes courtesy of some comments by publisher Hugh Andrew, Managing Director of Birlinn Limited, in the course of the debate on the future for writers after the Scottish independence referendum at the Edinburgh International Book Festival - as well as from my former life in Hong Kong as Managing Editor of the Asian Venture Capital Journal. Hugh Andrew pointed out how most publishing is a matter of paying off a plethora of loss-making works with a few...

HarperCollins UK goes direct-to-consumer: Is Amazon worried yet?
September 1, 2014 | 2:25 pm

News that might just have Jeff Bezos quaking in his boots - though don't bank on it - is that HarperCollins in the UK has introduced across-the-board direct sales for its books, including hard copy as well as ebooks. The ebooks have to be downloaded and read on HarperCollins's dedicated HC Reader app (also available for Kindle Fire, cheekily enough), in conjunction with a HarperCollins account. The ecommerce and payment platform for HarperCollins is provided by Digital River, which was behind the recent dedicated websites for its C.S. Lewis and Narnia properties. (Oops, wasn't C.S. Lewis once an author rather than...

No fault in Penguin Random House stars as Bertelsmann books a big win
September 1, 2014 | 12:25 pm

BertelsmannPenguin Random House demonstrated once again what a cozy, fusty, highbrow, unworldly world modern publishing is by bringing home the fat juicy bacon for parent Bertelsmann. And it was all in our stars. As The Hollywood Reporter ... um ... reported, "John Green’s unstoppable young adult melodrama The Fault in Our Stars lifted the fortunes of German media giant Bertelsmann, which controls the book’s publisher Penguin Random House. Sales of the The Fault in Our Stars novel spiked ahead of the release of Josh Boone’s feature film adaptation ... The book sold more than four million copies in print and...

The Gothic blue book: Time for a revival?
August 31, 2014 | 12:04 pm

An enterprising independent publisher, Burial Day Books, recently launched a submissions drive for the fourth in an anthology series that draws on the tradition of the Gothic blue book, a form of short-to-medium Gothic and horror story imprint that flourished briefly at the end of the 18th century and into the 19th. According to Burial Day, Gothic blue books were: ... abridgements of full-length Gothic novels. The subjects of these books fell into one of two categories; the first being set in a monastery or convent and the second being set in a castle. In terms of the physicality of the...

In dismissing Amazon’s Orwell quotation, Laura Miller misinterprets Orwell herself
August 26, 2014 | 9:15 pm

There she goes again. Salon’s Laura Miller has penned the latest in a series of tirades against Amazon, this one summing up the squabble thus far and taking issue with Amazon’s quotation of Orwell’s discussion of paperbacks in its “Readers United” letter explaining that lower prices were good for everyone. We’ve already discussed Miller’s biases in some of the links above, but the most interesting thing has to do with her understanding (or lack thereof) of the Orwell quotation. Miller writes: To top it all off this month, the retailer posted an open...

11 Publishing Shakers to follow, besides us
August 13, 2014 | 8:28 pm

shakerI’ll admit this is blowing my own horn a little, but today I was alerted to an article on The Independent Publishing Magazine listing “The 12 Publishing Shakers You Should Be Following.” After a bit of puzzlement—are the Shakers even still around, and didn’t they make furniture rather than publish?—I noticed that our very own Paul St. John Mackintosh comes in at number one on the list. (And they happen to mention a certain other TeleRead writer in the comments after that…) Another TeleRead-related writer, Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader, came in at #7. While posting about it...

Amazon’s e-book position ‘weak’ but customer focus too strong for disruption
August 11, 2014 | 4:35 am

Here’s a couple of interesting takes on the Amazon/Hachette affair. It’s kind of refreshing, actually, after all this back and forth he-said/she-said of authors in favor of Amazon or Hachette and Amazon and Hachette themselves to look at what more neutral parties are saying. For starters, here’s Jake Kerr on Medium.com suggesting that Amazon is fighting so hard for lower prices on e-books because, far from being the monopolistic behemoth others accuse it of, its position in the e-book trade is actually fairly weak. This seems a little counterintuitive at first, but Kerr points out that e-book stores have...

Hachette responds to Amazon advocates’ email on pricing its e-books
August 11, 2014 | 1:24 am

Digital Book World is carrying the response Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch is sending to those people who write him at Amazon’s behest. Since I posted the Amazon letter in full, it seems only fair to do the same for this. Pietsch (or whoever wrote the response for him) maintains that “Hachette sets prices for our books entirely on our own, not in collusion with anyone” (technically true, I suppose, since he said books, not e-books). He also maintains that the vast majority of Hachette’s titles are priced at or below $9.99, that the ones that cost more are nonetheless...