Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Booksellers Need to Become ‘Jack-of-All-Trades’ to Flourish

I just love that old term ‘jack-of-all-trades’…It sounds so self relient and totally competent! Outsourcing, a darling concept  in the corporate (and government world), is now OUT in the publishing and bookselling universe…at least the messy business side of that universe.

The new buzz word for a biz model being a more inclusively competent, ‘jack-of-all-trades’ type is to be ‘vertically’ organized as opposed to ‘horizontally’ (outsourcing of some functions) organized. 

As is expressed so succinctly by Michael Wolf in his Crush or Get Crushed: Why B&N Needs to Be a Publisher article on his great blog GigaOM :

Let’s face it, the total pie in books is going to shrink, and the long and unwieldy value-chain from writer to customer is going to collapse. Amazon knew this a long time ago, and that’s why they’ve been moving to disintermediate the publisher and the wholesaler in the e-book world by becoming, essentially, the entire value chain themselves.

One ingredient this new self-sufficient biz side of the publishing and bookselling universe will ALWAYS need, of course, are the writers (creators) of great content! Writers are the really one indispensable part of the equation and they too are now becoming their own publishers (mostly through online publishers/e-retailers like Amazon, etc)…but, watch out…one day we may be able to eliminate the likes of Amazon, too.   

This now from Michael Wolf on GigaOM: 

Talk about frustrating: This week Barnes & Noble announced topline growth year over year and its first profit in four quarters, and how was it rewarded for its hard work?

With a pounding by Wall Street.

The drubbing was due in part to the news the company was eliminating its dividend in order to invest more in its digital business, but there’s no doubt the recent Borders bankruptcy filing weighed on the minds of investors. After all, B&N is the Coke to Borders’ Pepsi, and it’s easy to assume what happens to one will eventually inflict the other.

But as this excellent answer on Quora by former Borders employee Mark Evans points out, Borders failed for numerous reasons, the most important of which was its outsourcing of online to Amazon. What B&N realized — and Borders didn’t — was you don’t become a true online retailer by outsourcing the business, especially to what may be your number one competitor.

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BookBrewer: Borders New E-Book Publishing Platform

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

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

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

Rachel King, in an article for, gives more details:

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

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

Authors have two options when it comes to pricing:

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

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