Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


‘Goodreads’ Owner Pushes Print on the Web Over Paper

“Chandler talks about how the world of publishing has been blown wide open by self-publishing sites. With more than 300,000 new titles a year, he maintains that the traditional media can’t possibly cover them all. ‘Someone has got to sort through what is good and what is bad,’ he said, suggesting Goodreads members will be the new arbiters”…
Excerpt from LATimes article by James Rainey.

I have been a member of Goodreads since last January, although, I admit, I just haven’t had enough time to visit as often as I’d like…It’s an excellent site and founded by Otis Chandler (pictured above), of the Chandler family who owns the Los Angeles Times.
Otis Chandler gives his outlook on the future of publishing and media in this eye-opening, LATimes aricle by James Rainey:

“Book reviews in newspapers, well, those are gone,” the young Web entrepreneur told me in the most matter-of-fact way. “Independent bookstores are almost gone. Chains will probably be gone soon. It’s all happening online now.”

That might have been ho-hum stuff coming from just any techie. But the pronouncements were being made by a descendent of a print-and-ink empire.

Otis Chandler made no apologies. His great-great-great-grandfather may have founded the Los Angeles Times. His grandfather, another Otis, pushed the newspaper to renown. But this member of the Chandler family, generation six, has moved on.

He has built one of the biggest sites on the Internet for book lovers, one that has been growing steadily since its inception in 2006. hosts reading clubs, gives away books, sponsors author chats, offers literature quizzes and generally dissects and celebrates writing. The website has 3.5 million members. It has more than 1.7 million unique visitors a month, a 65% jump from a year ago, according to the Nielsen Co.

Chandler, 32, has built a substantial audience and considerable good will. But he must confront the central challenge that faces most other media companies, old and new: how to make money off the audiences they have built on the Web.

I met with Young Otis this week in his bare-bones office in Santa Monica. It’s upstairs from a liquor store and next to an acupuncturist, the same spot, according to the landlord, where Lakers owner Jerry Buss nurtured a fledgling real estate business.

When I asked whether Goodreads had turned a profit, Chandler didn’t answer directly. “I’ll just say we are doing well,” said the soft-spoken Stanford graduate, who pecked at his laptop, which sat atop a folding table in a room with mostly bare walls.

“I think we are doing very well as an advertising platform for books,” he continued, “and I have other ideas to increase that. To be a really big media business, I think you need other [revenue] streams. We have several other ideas to create those.”

Young Otis, who founded the company with his wife, Elizabeth Khuri Chandler, a former Times staffer, wouldn’t say where that money might be found. But he sounded confident that it lurked out there, just waiting to be mined.

Chandler said Goodreads has worked with all the major publishing houses to promote books and authors in a variety of ways. That can mean banner ads standard on the Web, “sponsored” links like the ones that power Google, and other options — like paid mentions for a book or author in one of the site’s polls, quizzes or in its monthly e-mailed newsletter.

The start-up has 10 employees and announced in December that it landed $2 million in venture capital, adding to its initial round of funding.

Read more and get original comments at LATimes


Publishing Business Not Dead Quite Yet?

The latest figures tumbling out of the trade magazines RE publishing shout the fact that there are numerous “new-kids-on-the-block”! This reflects the high impact of the e-media on traditional publishing (TP)…And is forcing TP companies to either bankrupt or adapt new business models.

Those TP companies that try to form new biz models with hidden agendas (that try to regain ill-gotten control of the past) will fail…Those that genuinely set new goals to work as team members with equal partners will survive…Simple as that!

Michael Wolff , the founder of, reports this on what the new numbers and rankings from the online trade magazine MediaPost (a newbie itself) mean (many feel these numbers are suspect):

What is there to conclude from the recent ranking of the top 100 publishers by the online trade magazine, MediaPost?

It’s a ranking that claims to figure in traffic, plus “prestige, share of voice, content quality, overall design and UX, innovation and, well, importance.” In other words, it’s as sketchy as any ranking. But it does illustrate the obvious, albeit hard to quantify, fact that the consumer publishing business—the business of gathering audiences by aggregating information and then selling those audiences to advertisers—has in a remarkably short period of time been turned on its ear.

While many traditional publishers still figure on the list, with the New York Times at number one, and the Wall Street Journal at number four—Google and Wikimedia are respectively at two and three—more than half of the list consists of publishers who didn’t exist 10 years ago, half again of which did not exist five years ago. Three-year-old Newser is on the list at 25; 88-year-old Time is on the list at 100.



Non-Traditional Books Lead Industry’s Growth

Filed under: digital publishing growth,e-books,online publishing — gator1965 @ 11:06 am

This means, my dear book worms, that e-books are where the action is! This post gives some statistics RE the top genre of books sold on the internet as well as the top online publishers of 2009.

Gloria McDonough-Taub , CNBC Senior Editor of Blogs, published these details on her CNBC blog Bullish on Books :

Interesting release from Bowker—the folks who watch all things publishing.

Based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers, Bowker projects traditional U.S. title output in 2009 was virtually unchanged —BUT— the big driver in ’09 were “non-traditional” books.

These so-called “non-traditional” books are marketed almost exclusively on the web and are largely those on-demand titles produced by reprint houses specializing in public domain works and by presses catering to self-publishers and “micro-niche” publications.

The production of print-on-demand books first surpassed traditional book publishing in 2008 and they’ve been on fire ever since.

Bowker reports these titles are now more than twice the output of traditional titles and only a handful of publishers dominate the market. “These companies are opening up new publishing venues by producing titles for very niche markets and also bringing public domain titles back to life. The net effect creates a long-tail that has no end,” said Kelly Gallagher, vice president of publishing services for New Providence, N.J.-based Bowker.

Ok, so we’re reading, but take a look at what we’re reading:

Categories that grew tended to be those that could help readers in the workplace or those looking for what I call, “economic survival guides.” For example, output increased in technology (+11%), science (+9%) and personal finance (+9).

Losers—cookery and language titles each declined 16% and travel continued its year over year decline, down 5% in 2009 (it took a 10% loss in 2008).

Fiction titles also saw a second year of decline—down 15%.

Top Book Production Categories:

1. Fiction 45,181 53,058
2. Juveniles 32,348 29,825
3. Sociology
/Economics 25,992 24,737
4. Religion 19,310 18,296
5. Science 15,428 14,100

And as for those few who are doing so much – here’s the list of those publishers who are dominating the “non-traditional” market.

Top Publishers by Title Output in 2009:

BiblioBazaar 272,930
Books LLC 224,460
Kessinger Publishing, LLC 190,175
CreateSpace 21,819
GeneralBooks LLC 11,887 10,386
Xlibris Corporation 10,161
AuthorHouse 9,445
International Business Publications, USA 8,271
PublishAmerica, Incorporated 5,698

To read the full report, download the full statistics report here.

Email me at — And follow me on Twitter @BullishonBooks

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