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Posts tagged publishing

Is Philip Jones really standing up for the book?
July 7, 2014 | 2:28 pm

In the context of Joanna Cabot's recent post asking "Would Anyone Care About the Amazon/Hachette Dispute If it Wasn’t About Books?", it's worth picking up the editorial "Disinterested? Moi?" by Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, about the primacy of the book. "It is the books that should do the talking, not the publisher," he declares. "Publishers may make books, but it is the books that maketh the business." Few actual authors would disagree with that. Jones follows with the creed he came into the job with: "my job was to support the book. We could be rude about publishers, booksellers,...

Big Five publishers, it’s time for some tough love
July 6, 2014 | 4:32 pm

ToughLoveSo, Andrew Updegrove has a blog post in which he expresses concern about the future of competition in publishing. (Found via The Passive Voice.) His thesis seems to be that traditional publishers exert a competitive pressure on Amazon—Amazon can’t lower the rates it pays self-publishing writers as long as traditional publishers represent some kind of alternative. He writes: If Hatchette and the other big publishers are successful in holding off Amazon, then it’s pretty safe to assume that not much will change with the way they do business. But if Amazon wins, the traditional publishers will...

In taking sides in Amazon/Hachette dispute, John Scalzi tells readers to do as he says, not as he does
July 4, 2014 | 3:48 am

John Scalzi has written a blog post noting that publishing “is not a football game” and people shouldn’t be rushing to take sides. Like many of Scalzi’s posts, it seems superficially reasonable. Scalzi’s point seems to be that business is business, and big companies aren’t your friend or your enemy—they do what big companies do, which is whatever is best for them. Their interests might align with yours, or not. That doesn’t mean they like you or hate you. (Though he does make clear he thinks “what Amazon’s doing to US Hachette authors at the moment well and truly sucks.”)...

Does publishing have a coolness problem?
July 3, 2014 | 10:25 am

Over six months after the International Publishers Association concluded that publishing has an image problem, UK peers at the London Book Fair have been wondering "Is publishing cool anymore?" and bemoaning the tendency of the tech companies to steal all the brightest people. For the British publishing industry overall, with its somewhat fusty and cozy reputation as a bastion of the Old Rectory Syndrome, I'm surprised that this is even a discussion, but clearly some insiders feel differently. "Will the bright, imaginative, tech savvy, book reading (or content devouring) twentysomething choose Gollancz or Google, Faber or Facebook, Orion or O2?" asks...

Morning Roundup: Txtr to launch subscription service. eBooks vs paper and more
July 1, 2014 | 9:00 am

txtrTxtr to Launch a Million Title eBook Subscription Service This Summer (The Digital Reader) Late last week txtr, the Berlin-based ebook subsidiary of 3M, pulled the covers off of Blloon, their newest service. When it launches into beta this summer, Blloon will offer readers in the US and UK a completely free reading option. *** eBooks vs paper (The Financial Times) Choosing books to take on holiday has got more difficult in recent years. Now it is a question not just of what to read but how – on paper, tablet, e-reader, or perhaps even a phone – and people have strong opinions on...

Title mix-up helps writer sell book entitled Joyland
June 29, 2014 | 10:25 am

joyland times 2!I just love quirky little stories like this one---as GalleyCat reports an author named Emily Schultz is was bemused to see a sudden spike in sales of her eight-year-old novel, Joyland, after Stephen King released a book with the same title. At first, she was someone put out by the whole thing, as a spate of confused King fans bought hers by mistake and then left one-star reviews complaining that they had the wrong book. But then, the first larger-than-average royalty check came in, and Schultz is fine with it now. She's even started a blog chronicling how she is spending...

The Guardian: Big Publishing’s most useful idiot
June 26, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Save Big MediaIn line with its past inflammatory anti-Amazon screeds, UK daily The Guardian has been weighing into the Hachette vs. Amazon spat with histrionic variations of its own. The latest, sublimely, stating that: "New Amazon terms amount to 'assisted suicide' for book industry, experts claim." The "experts" quoted in this instance are primarily anonymous publishers speaking to The Bookseller. Yes, The Guardian's Alison Flood quotes members of the publishers' club speaking in their favorite house organ as impartial, objective "experts." The "assisted suicide" quote actually comes from The Bookseller editor Philip Jones, who states that Amazon's push towards print-on-demand when publishers can't...

There are no good guys in the Amazon/Big Publisher battle
June 26, 2014 | 12:14 pm

amazon is not a white knightIt's human nature to want to find good guys in just about any conflict, and most of the coverage about Amazon and Hachette just reinforces that. Hachette authors have been yelling that Amazon is the bad guy, and their assumption is that Hachette has been looking out for their best interests. As a recent comment from David Gaughran on a post on The Digital Reader demonstrates, that's not necessarily the case. He posits several scenarios stemming from recent Hachette leaks and shows how they might be interpreted, and not in Hachette's favor. The flip side, of course, is people calling Amazon the...

Publishers go directly to jail – and no, not for price fixing
June 22, 2014 | 2:25 pm

This may sound like wish-fulfillment to some of the more militantly anti-Big Media types among us, but six UK publishers and book world figures have gone to jail in London. No, it's not for price fixing, nor for defrauding would-be authors through Author Solutions-style vanity press gouging. Instead, they did it voluntarily - and in a good cause. Pavilion Books' "A Night in the Cells" was staged in support of the campaign by Britain's Howard League for Penal Reform against the British government's widely condemned ban on sending books to prisoners. The cells were actually in a disused London police lockup...

Dumping DRM is not a panacea
June 20, 2014 | 12:23 pm

As I’ve watched the e-book market develop, I’ve gradually lost a good deal of patience with the argument that DRM is the thing keeping people locked into the Amazon Kindle ecosystem. The latest example to pop up comes via Cory Doctorow’s latest column in The Guardian (found via BoingBoing). Doctorow feels Hachette is hoist by its own petard because of the DRM it insists Amazon (and the other e-book stores) use. It’s an old, old argument. And make no mistake, I don’t like DRM myself and would be just as glad if it all went away tomorrow. But Doctorow...

Authors lost the book war long before Amazon vs. Hachette
June 19, 2014 | 12:28 pm

publishersI meant to cover this piece from The Weeklings when it popped up on The Passive Voice the other day. To my surprise, it’s reprinted on the normally rabid pro-publisher/anti-Amazon Salon Magazine this morning, so I guess I have no excuse now. In this article, J.E. Fishman traces authorial woes all the way back to the 1930s when Penguin began to flood the market with cheap paperbacks. This kicked off a paperback revolution among US publishers. Through all of this disruption no one asked authors what they thought. When it came to business, authors were...

Hast ‘t wooking class bin writ oot ‘o literature?
June 18, 2014 | 2:25 pm

... and for those of you unfamiliar with Yorkshire dialect (unlike my Bridlingtonian maternal grandparents), that means "Has the working class been written out of literature?" and was composed with the aid of the Chicken Run Yorkshire Translator - for those whose familiarity with Yorkshire goes no further than Chicken Run. What started this particular chicken run was another silly post in The Guardian - home of silly post after other silly post - from Kevin Duffy, founder of the otherwise excellent Yorkshire independent Bluemoose Books, based in Hebden Bridge. Duffy complains that "Working-class fiction has been written out of publishing,"...