Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

07/17/2015

Is It Possible That Amazon Is Not ‘All’ Bad News For Publishers?


Might Amazon’s debilitating effect on local shops be about to change?

For the past 20 years Amazon has disrupted the publishing industry from stem to stern. Could it be that much of the resulting adaptation and metamorphosis has actually been good news for publishers?

Depends on what you consider. What kind of publisher? What kind of book? Book audience location. Book platform. Book distribution system access. Digital technology, etc., etc.

Hell, many of these considerations weren’t even in existence 20 years ago! And while Amazon didn’t create or discover all of the above mentioned ingredients, they were the first to mix them in a masterful menu – creating a smorgasbord of possibilities – the understanding of which is still being deciphered today.

Tonight’s topic will discuss the how’s and where’s of some of the possible positive changes that Amazon has wrought within the publishing industry and the reaction/attitude of the big five publishing houses as well as others (Bowker’s, etc.) in the overall industry.

Key excerpts from tonight’s research/resource article:

“It has been presented as a David and Goliath battle. This is despite the underdog status of the largest publishing houses in the world. As Amazon has become the primary destination for books online, it has been able to lower book prices through their influence over the book trade. Many have argued that this has reduced the book to “a thing of minimal value”.”

“Despite this pervasive narrative of the evil overlord milking its underlings for all their worth, Amazon has actually offered some positive changes in the publishing industry over the last 20 years. Most notably, the website has increased the visibility of books as a form of entertainment in a competitive media environment. This is an achievement that should not be diminished in our increasingly digital world.”

Presenting:

Amazon is 20 years old – and far from bad news for publishers

By , as published in The Conversation (UK). Academic rigor, journalistic flair  

It has now been 20 years since Amazon sold its first book: the titillating-sounding Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, by Douglas Hofstadter. Since then publishers have often expressed concern over Amazon. Recent public spates with Hachette and Penguin Random House have heightened the public’s awareness of this fraught relationship.

It has been presented as a David and Goliath battle. This is despite the underdog status as the largest publishing houses in the world. As Amazon has become the primary destination for books online, it has been able to lower book prices through their influence over the book trade. Many have argued that this has reduced the book to “a thing of minimal value”.

Despite this pervasive narrative of the evil overlord milking its underlings for all their worth, Amazon has actually offered some positive changes in the publishing industry over the last 20 years. Most notably, the website has increased the visibility of books as a form of entertainment in a competitive media environment. This is an achievement that should not be diminished in our increasingly digital world.

Democratising data

In Amazon’s early years, Jeff Bezos, the company’s CEO, was keen to avoid stocking books. Instead, he wanted to work as a go-between for customers and wholesalers. Instead of building costly warehouses, Amazon would instead buy books as customers ordered them. This would pass the savings on to the customers. (It wasn’t long, however, until Amazon started building large warehouses to ensure faster delivery times.)

This promise of a large selection of books required a large database of available books for customers to search. Prior to Amazon’s launch, this data was available to those who needed it from Bowker’s Books in Print, an expensive data source run by the people who controlled the International Standardised Book Number (ISBN) standard in the USA.

ISBN was the principle way in which people discovered books, and Bowker controlled this by documenting the availability of published and forthcoming titles. This made them one of the most powerful companies in the publishing industry and also created a division between traditional and self-published books.

Bowker allowed third parties to re-use their information, so Amazon linked this data to their website. Users could now see any book Bowker reported as available. This led to Amazon’s boasts that they had the largest bookstore in the world, despite their lack of inventory in their early years. But many other book retailers had exactly the same potential inventory through access to the same suppliers and Bowker’s Books in Print.

Amazon’s decision to open up the data in Bowker’s Books in Print to customers democratised the ability to discover of books that had previously been locked in to the sales system of physical book stores. And as Amazon’s reputation improved, they soon collected more data than Bowker.

For the first time, users could access data about what publishers had recently released and basic information about forthcoming titles. Even if customers did not buy books from Amazon, they could still access the information. This change benefited publishers as readers who can quickly find information about new books are more likely to buy new books.

World domination?

As Amazon expanded beyond books, ISBN was no longer the most useful form for recalling information about items they sold. So the company came up with a new version: Amazon Standardized Identifier Numbers (ASINs), Amazon’s equivalent of ISBNs. This allowed customers to shop for books, toys and electronics in one place.

The ASIN is central to any Amazon catalogue record and with Amazon’s expansion into selling eBooks and second hand books, it connects various editions of books. ASINs are the glue that connect eBooks on the Kindle to shared highlights, associated reviews, and second hand print copies on sale. Publishers, and their supporters, can use ASINs as a way of directing customers to relevant titles in new ways.

Will Cookson’s Bookindy is an example of this. The mobile app allows readers to find out if a particular book is available for sale cheaper than Amazon in an independent bookstore nearby. So Amazon’s advantage of being the largest source of book-related information is transformed into a way to build the local economy.

ASINs are primarily useful for finding and purchasing books from within the Amazon bookstore, but this is changing. For example, many self-published eBooks don’t have ISBNs, so Amazon’s data structure can be used to discover current trends in the publishing industry. Amazon’s data allows publishers to track the popularity of books in all forms and shape their future catalogues based on their findings.

While ISBNs will remain the standard for print books, ASIN and Amazon’s large amount of data clearly benefits publishers through increasing their visibility. Amazon have forever altered bookselling and the publishing industry, but this does not mean that its large database cannot be an invaluable resource for publishers who wish to direct customers to new books outside of Amazon.

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09/11/2014

Most Books Are Never Fact Checked! Let’s Talk About Fact Checking in the Publishing Industry


The false claims in James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces made headlines, but didn’t face commercial consequences. (Seth Wenig/Reuters)

“Believe nothing you read and only half of what you see.” This is an old adage that’s been around for years. Seems there is more truth to the first half of this statement than originally realized:)

Fact checking or vetting written works of nonfiction, it turns out, has never been a priority in the publishing industry; and, if it was attempted at all, the fact checking was done very haphazardly!

Since the publishing industry, as a whole, has come under scrutiny in the last several years, many skeletons have fallen out of the closet. And many sins of the father, so to speak, have carried over into the newer publishing business models for the skimpiest of reasons.

This stuff snowballs! Simply because many subsequent researchers use nonfiction books as fodder for their research — and if they keep perpetuating half-truths or only the authors’ opinions and not facts — well, you can see how many so-called researched facts are not such at all.

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Could it be that 50% or more of what we believe from reading is, dare I say it — FALSE.

Kate Newman, a writer from New York, has delved into more detail Re fact checking in the publishing industry with her fine article in The Atlantic magazine titled:

Book Publishing, Not Fact-Checking

Readers might think nonfiction books are the most reliable media sources there are. But accuracy scandals haven’t reformed an industry that faces no big repercussions for errors.

On the cover of her memoir, The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine, Somaly Mam sits in a field, surrounded by laughing children. “I came to know Somaly Mam, who was enslaved herself but managed to escape and then became the Harriet Tubman of Southeast Asia’s brothels, repeatedly rescuing those left behind,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in the book’s introduction. “As a local person with firsthand experience in the red-light districts, Somaly has a credibility and understanding that no outsider does.”

That was in 2009. This past spring, Simon Marks’s Newsweek article on Mam charged the anti-sex trafficking activist with fabricating her past as a child prostitute. In the fallout, many readers faulted Kristof for lauding her as a heroine; others pointed fingers directly at Mam. Hardly any called out the publishing houses that distributed her book.

Mam’s story gained a mass following with the release of her best-selling memoir, first published in France in 2005. The book’s success helped the activist launch the Somaly Mam Foundation in 2007. Mam was also featured in Mariane Pearl’s In Search of Hope that same year.

In a Politico post, Kristof cited the fact that Mam’s story had been the subject of two published books as part of what made it so credible. Addressing the issue in the Timeshe wrote, “We journalists often rely to a considerable extent on people to tell the truth, especially when they have written unchallenged autobiographies.”

There’s a basic problem with this line of logic, though: Most books are never fact-checked.

“When I was working on my book, I did an anecdotal survey asking people: Between books, magazines, and newspapers, which do you think has the most fact-checking?” explained Craig Silverman, author of Regret the Error, a book on media accuracy, and founder of a blog by the same name. Almost inevitably, the people Silverman spoke with guessed books.

“A lot of readers have the perception that when something arrives as a book, it’s gone through a more rigorous fact-checking process than a magazine or a newspaper or a website, and that’s simply not that case,” Silverman said. He attributes this in part to the physical nature of a book: Its ink and weight imbue it with a sense of significance unlike that of other mediums.

Fact-checking dates back to the founding of Time in 1923, and has a strong tradition at places like Mother Jones and The New Yorker. (The Atlantic checks every article in print.) But it’s becoming less and less common even in the magazine world. Silverman suggests this is in part due to the Internet and the drive for quick content production. “Fact-checkers don’t increase content production,” he said. “Arguably, they slow it.”

What many readers don’t realize is that fact-checking has never been standard practice in the book-publishing world at all.

And reliance on books creates a weak link in the chain of media accuracy, says Scott Rosenberg, founder of the now defunct MediaBugs.org. “Magazine fact-checkers typically treat reference to a fact in a published book as confirmation of the fact,” Rosenberg said, “yet too often, the books themselves have undergone no such rigorous process.”

Somaly Mam’s case is far from the first of its kind. In 1999, anthropologist David Stoll questioned the accuracy of I, Rigoberta Menchú, a memoir that describes the horrors experienced by Menchú during Guatemala’s civil war. That same year, Binjamin Wilkomirski, author of the Holocaust memoir Fragments, was revealed not to be a Holocaust survivor at all. And we all watched Oprah poke a million little holes into James Frey’s story of addiction and recovery.

These cases vary widely but share that they have many unfortunate effects. Critics of Menchú’s political views were quick to completely discredit a rare survivor testimony. Conservative commentator David Horowitz labeled her a “Marxist terrorist” and “one of the greatest hoaxes of the 20th century” before launching an unsuccessful campaign to revoke her Nobel Peace Prize. Wilkomirski’s downfall fanned the flames of Holocaust denial.

Kristof urged readers not to let Mam’s falsehoods overshadow her cause.

“One risk is that girls fleeing Cambodian brothels will no longer get help,” he wrote in a Times blog post. “… Let’s remember that this is about more than one woman.”

Why then, with the perils so apparent, are so many books still not fact-checked?

The reluctance may stem in part from a sense that it’s unkind to question victims, especially when their pasts portray them unfavorably. Nan Talese, Frey’s editor, sat beside him on the couch at Oprah. “As an editor,” Talese wondered, “do you ask someone, ‘Are you really as bad as you are?’”

“Yes,” Winfrey flatly replied.

Or perhaps people are too in love with resilience narratives—the more harrowing Frey’s original circumstances, the more buoyed we felt by his success.

Publishing houses cite lack of funds for fact-checking operations, but it’s getting harder to accept that argument, particularly with major presses. Even when a line-by-line, magazine-style edit is unrealistic, publishers could work to clear certain key details. In Frey’s case, for example, Doubleday might have verified court records, as The Smoking Gun was able to do, regarding the amount of time he spent in jail (a few hours, instead of months).

And publishers often find funds for an in-depth legal vetting process, during which lawyers carefully review a manuscript and flag any passages that may expose the author or publisher to issues of legal liability. These issues may fall into the categories of copyright and fair use, right of privacy, right of publicity, and defamation, explains Tonya M. Evans, a law professor at Widener University and author of a series of legal reference guides for publishing professionals. “The goal is to raise these issues so that the client can make an informed decision whether it is in their best interest to publish the work as is or make changes, secure permissions, or delete certain material altogether,” Evans says.

When I asked Sally Marvin, publicity director at Random House, whether Mam’s book had been fact-checked, she gave this statement: “Random House does not discuss the pre-publication review process for any particular title. Since Random House publishes in so many different subject areas—biographies, cooking, health and fitness, history, religion, etc. — and on so many topics within each subject area, it is not possible to have or describe any ‘standard’ pre-publication review procedure for nonfiction titles.”

Some authors are taking matters into their own hands. When Mac McClelland, formerly a fact-checker at Mother Jones, wrote her first book, For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story from Burma’s Never-Ending War, she enlisted the help of former MJ research editor Leigh Ferrara to pour through more than 700 sources. The process took about eight months. 

McClelland recently finished fact-checking her second book, Irritable Hearts, a memoir about her experience of PTSD as a reporter covering conflicts and disasters. Because this work is more personal than her last, much of the checking this time around consisted of questions for McClelland’s family, exes, and friends.

“Everything you remember, somebody else remembers it differently,” McClelland said. “Everything I would ask each of my parents, the other one would say, ‘The complete opposite of that happened.’” She caught statistical and historical inaccuracies before publishing her first book; with her second, she changed some personal stories, too.

McClelland is quick to acknowledge the extreme challenges that fact-checking a book presents—it’s no doubt a test of time, patience, and money. In both cases, she financed the process herself. “For my first book, I actually wound up spending more money on fact-checking than I got for my advance—by a lot,” she said. McClelland would like to see a publishing culture in which fact-checking is written into book contracts, but she’s doubtful that will happen soon.

Scott Rosenberg of MediaBugs agrees. “I just think you’d have to rip up the publishing industry as it exists and start over if you really wanted publishers to fact-check books,” he said. Publishers aren’t motivated to take on this vast responsibility, he believes, without commercial pressure.

“They don’t pay a price when the book is exposed,” Rosenberg pointed out. “No one looks at the publishing house’s name on the book they bought four years ago when Newsweek exposes it as inaccurate and says, ‘I’ll never buy a book published by them again!’ So why should the publisher care?”

Even in the case of A Million Little Pieces, for which Random House was made to offer refunds as part of a federal class-action lawsuit, the financial repercussions were minimal. Of the more than four million readers who purchased the book, fewer than 2,000 sought refunds. Random House set aside $2.35 million for the lawsuit, but even with legal fees, wound up paying far less.

Perhaps in a perfect world, every publishing house would have an army of fact-checkers—but what can we do until then? At the very least, it’s important to read more critically, especially for journalists, who perpetuate untruths when they rely blindly on books for fact.

“Maybe there should be a warning, like on a pack of cigarettes,” said McClelland. “‘This book has not been fact-checked at all.’ Because when I realized that basically everything I had read until that point had not been verified, I felt a little bit lied to.”

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05/24/2014

01/18/2014

Despite Gadgets, Content (Letters and words) is Still King – And Content Creators are Kingmakers!


Publishing Guru Bo Sacks

The latest bunch of hot, new, tech gadgets has just marched forth from CES (The International CES is a global consumer electronics and consumer technology trade show that takes place every January in Las Vegas, Nevada) — and some will affect publishing even further, just as 3D covers, shopping inside the pages of a digital issue, stand alone apps, etc., have in the recent present and past.

But, regardless of the bells and whistles of the new tech, they are just bows tied around what is being presented: CONTENT. And, if the letters and words do not engage, entertain, educate or offer some other value/interest, the newness and fascination of the bells and whistles will diminish fast.

Hence, content is STILL the bottom line — No matter which tech embroidered platform spouts it forth.

Today, publishers are presented with so many opportunities and innovations they often get overwhelmed and don’t know what to prioritize first. Readers, on the other hand, get so much free info and data offered that they get ‘information overload’.

Many feel that publishing’s main problem revolves around the fracas between digital and print.

However, one expert (who I will present tonight) believes ‘the real problem is diversity and fragmentation of our readership‘.

So, what does this mean?

Tonight’s source article from  of ClickZ is an interview with publishing industry guruBo Sacks. The interview delves into this concept of readership fragmentation due to new tech and what it means to publishers today:

Publishing Industry Guru Bo Sacks Shares Tips for 2014 Success

Hot off the heels of innovations and connected devices galore at CES, publishers have a world of opportunity in front of them. There’s so much opportunity it can often get difficult to decide what to prioritize first. For some insights and advice on 2014, we go straight to the ultimate expert in publisher success and sustainability: Bo Sacks.

JM: With so many innovations launching, (including the rise of content marketing), do publishers really need to think differently about the way they do business? Or, is all of this just noise?

Bo: The concept that “isn’t it really all the same as it ever was” is at the heart of the problem for all publishers. Many perceive that the whole problem just revolves around the battle between paper vs. digital substrates. That concept has distracted most professionals and isn’t at the core of the issue.

The real problem is diversity and fragmentation of our readership. And there are two factors going on here.

  1. Ease: There is just too much easy access to the a world of information. We all hold robust communication devices in our hands formally known as smartphones. These communicators empower anyone one to access information either on the fly on in the comfort of their own home. These instant portable electronic librarians offer the reading public limitless reading opportunities where none existed before. So we are reading more now than ever before, but not on traditional substrates.
  2. Mass: Publishers were once the best businesses at identifying groups and niches and selling them words and related materials based on their specific interest. What technology has done is to separate and disperse our old niches into sub-set camps of platform devotees. Where once Meredith had all of America’s housewives locked up in reading a single printed magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, now even the niche of housewife’s is broken into smaller subsets, as iPad reader, Kobo Reader, Kindle reader, and paper reader. This has broken the former single straight line to the reader into readers with multiple personalities, different needs and assorted commercial desires.

Article continues here — And you know you want to complete this publishing insight 🙂

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05/16/2013

Traditional Publishing Will be Usurped by Digital – But – Print Will Remain in Serious, Non-Fiction Literary Efforts


Gayle Feldman, New York based author and correspondent of “The Bookseller”, receives an exclusive interview with China.org.cn on May 8, 2013. [China.org.cn]

Here we go again – Pitting traditional publishing against indie and self-publishing; print format against digital format; old school business model against new business model, etc. – Which will be the last man standing?

How about ALL — just in different suits. 

Gayle Feldman, a deeply vetted world traveler and widely experienced 30 year veteran of the writing/publishing field, shares many of the same views held by yours truly Re the present and future state of publishing.

A little relevant background from her biography:

“Gayle became the New York correspondent for the London-based Bookseller in 1999, for which she writes a monthly “Letter from New York. 

Other essays – about her family, China, and books and writers – have appeared in The Times of London, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times, The Far Eastern Economic Review, and on the Op-Ed page, in the Science section, and in the Book Review of The New York Times.

After being awarded a Pew-funded National Arts Journalism Program fellowship at Columbia University in 2001-2, Gayle Feldman spent a year and a half researching and writing a hundred-page study of bestsellers and prize-winning books to show how the book business evolved during the last quarter of the twentieth century as well as the directions it is taking early in the twenty-first century. Published by NAJP as a monograph, Best and Worst of Times: The Changing Business of Trade Books was published in March 2003, and has been reported or quoted in The New York Times, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, The Boston Globe, NPR’s On the Media, etc.”

Zhang Junmian, China.org.cn, reported on Gayle’s exclusive interview on May 8:

Print publishing’s digital challenge

“In the future, print books will continue, but e-books will inevitably grow and dominate some publishing sectors,” New York based author and correspondent of “The Bookseller” Gayle Feldman told China.org.cn in an exclusive interview on May 8. Feldman was commenting on the idea that in the long run, traditional publishing will be usurped by its digital rival.

Feldman, who has worked in publishing for more than 30 years, believes that the traditional publishing sector will continue in spite of an increasingly digitized world. She believes, however, that the traditional sector should adapt and reinvent itself in order to meet the challenges from both domestic and global markets.

In recent years, the conventional publishing sector has been squeezed by internet use in general as well as tech giants like Google, Apple, and particularly the online retailer Amazon. E-books, now a multi-billion dollar category for the company, surged nearly 70 percent in 2012, Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, said in late January 2013. In addition, recent news reports have stated that Microsoft is offering US$1 billion to buy Nook Media’s digital assets.

The rise of digital reading and online book stores has also led to the closure of many high street book stores. Borders, the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain, went bankrupt in 2011, while in China, it’s reported that more than 10,000 private brick-and-mortar bookstores were closed between 2008 and 2011.

As well as this, the change-ravaged book business has been gripped by the dual trends of consolidation and dispersion. Consolidation has resulted in a smaller number of large publishers due to mergers and acquisitions — and the number is set to fall further — while dispersion has led to an increasing number of both smaller publishers and self-published authors, according to Feldman.

“Statistics show that about 23 percent of all trade book sales in the United States in 2012 were e-books,” said Feldman. “And [this is] fast growth, given that people [only] began to read e-books in 2009.”

Read and learn more

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05/10/2013

A New Way of Dealing with a Changing Publishing World


International Publishing is finding new ways

Whenever technology has been embraced in the past by the international community it has resulted in the world getting almost immediately smaller and closer together — little by little. It’s like the world has been melding into one country with the existing countries becoming  more like cities in the new international country.

Result: barriers of all kinds have been falling away. Barriers in publishing are also falling away.

Example: Instead of foreign publishers selling the international rights to U.S. publishers to sell their books in this country, they are translating and releasing the books directly to U.S. consumers and saving the associated costs.

This interesting little ditty comes from Publishers’ Weekly:

Dutch Publisher Goes DIY

Marking yet another example of an international publisher releasing titles direclty in the U.S.,Netherlands house Arbeiderspers/A.W. Bruna Publishers’ is releasing the book and iPad appEarned Attention.

“This a huge project,” said The Arbeiderspers/A.W. Bruna Publishers’ digital publisher Timo Boezeman. “It is also a new way of dealing with a changing publishing world. Instead of trying to sell the rights to international publishers, we decided to do it ourselves.”

Boezeman called Earned Attention a “very practical marketing book.” Along with the print title, consumers will also be able to access an iPhone app (free, it contains 50 audio interviews); a blog (it features new stories that are complementary to the book); and an iPad app (which costs $4.99 and combines all the aforementioned elements). The iPad app also includes hundreds of interactive links, the possibility to add post-it notes on every page and more.

Read and learn more

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01/04/2013

Analyzing the U.S. Book Publishing Industry


Analyzing the U.S. Book Publishing Industry

What a daunting task!

But, I thought a look-see into how the analysis is structured and just what goes into such an intellectual endeavor would be illuminating and fun for many who may not already know.

AND, I thought the source of this and related analyzes would be of great interest to those who want to research, pursue and understand the more professional, business side of publishing (not to mention other research-of-interest projects).

The source is Barnes Reports — ‘The Barnes Reports are a cost-effective, easy way of gathering all the current and forecast information and demographics on over 100 major industries and 400+ minor industries that you need for your business plans, research reports, market analysis and industry profiling. Since 1998, the Barnes Reports, a division of C. Barnes & Co., has been publishing market research and analysis reports for its clients. Based in beautiful Bath Maine, the Barnes Reports division is dedicated to producing the highest quality research to describe industries, nationally and locally, in the United States at an affordable price.’

From Research and Markets Dot Com

2013 U.S. Book Publishing Industry – Capital and Expenses Report

The 2013 U.S. Book Publishing Industry-Capital & Expenses Report, published annually , contains timely and accurate industry statistics, forecasts and demographics.

The report features 2013 current and 2014 forecast estimates on the cost of materials, capital expenditures, inventories, rentals, and other expenses nationally and for all 50 U.S. States and up to 900 metro areas. Expenses categories include materials used, payroll, human resources benefits, health insurance, retirement/pension plans, advertising, taxes, depreciation, electricity, fuels, equipment, repair/maintenance, and software. Capital expenditures include building, machinery, vehicles, and computer equipment. The report also includes industry definition, a breakdown by establishments size and industry size estimates (establishments, sales and employment).

Barnes Reports’ Capital & Expenses reports are an essential part of any GAP analysis, benchmarking project, SWOT analysis, business plan, risk analysis, or growth-share matrix.

Users’ Guide, Industry Definition and Related Industries, Industry Establishments, Sales & Employment Trends, Industry Ratios, 2012 Establishments, Firms & Payroll, 2012 Industry Cost of Materials, 2012 Industry Inventories, 2012 Industry Rentals, 2012 Industry Capital Expenditures, 2012 Industry Other Expenses, 2013 U.S. States – Estimated Cost of Materials, 2013 U.S. States – Estimated Capital Expenditures, 2013 U.S. States – Estimated Other Expenses, 2014 U.S. States – Estimated Cost of Materials, 2014 U.S. States – Estimated Capital Expenditures, 2014 U.S. States – Estimated Other Expenses, 2013 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Cost of Materials, 2013 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Capital Expenditures, 2013 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Other Expenses, 2014 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Cost of Materials, 2014 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Capital Expenditures, 2014 U.S. Metropolitan Areas – Estimated Other Expenses, Definitions and Terms.

The above breaks down many of the categories that go into the professional analysis of the subject report.

Another helpful report mentioned in the below link  is the 2013 U.S. Book Publishing Industry-Industry & Market Report

So, if you are an ardent researcher and have a few extra bucks to blow, you now have an excellent resource in which to invest the bucks 🙂

Read and learn more

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12/20/2012

Some Publishing ‘Easy Buttons’ (Samhain Publishing, PubMatch, CoreSource)


a worldwide community for the publishing industry that encourages the creation of business relationships and the worldwide spreading of ideas.

a worldwide community for the publishing industry that encourages the creation of business relationships and the worldwide spreading of ideas.

A few publishing industry tidbits for those who might not know or may be in need of reminding.

Tonight’s post is loaded with informative links 🙂

From Publishers Weekly:

Samhain Uploads 2,000 Titles To PubMatch

Samhain Publishing has uploaded over 2,000 titles to PubMatch, complete with full descriptions and EPUB files so that users can view partial contents of each book. The titles were uploaded via Ingram’s CoreSource. While people can view these titles, if they want to contact Samhain for any purpose, they need to be a member of PubMatch.

Currently, the American Library Association is in the process of uploading their last two years of publications via CoreSource, as well. PubMatch is the book-publishing and rights database founded by Publishers Weekly and Combined Book Exhibit.

 

11/20/2012

HarperCollins Publishers + Simon & Schuster = Publishing Intrigue Squared


Publishing Mergers = Publishing Intrigue

News Corp, owned by good old baddy Rupert Murdoch — AND just coming off a scandal in Jolly Old England (remember his News of the World tabloid having to go out of business due to its illegal spying and wiretapping?) just happens to be the parent to HarperCollins, the suiter for Simon & Schuster — Hell, this might be publishing intrigue cubed !

What all this means is a great deal of intrigue is present and accounted for in the traditional publishing world’s positioning itself as best it can to defuse Amazon’s growing digital publishing threat.

This by CHRISTOPHER S. STEWART and JOHN JANNARONE in The Wall Street Journal (also owned by baddy Rupert):

News Corp. Eyes Book Publisher

News Corp NWSA +0.17%., owner of HarperCollins Publishers, has expressed interest to CBS Corp. CBS +0.84%about acquiring its Simon & Schuster book business, according to people familiar with the talks.

The people described the discussions as preliminary and cautioned that a deal isn’t imminent. News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., which publishes The Wall Street Journal.

The conversations come about a month after the owners of two publishing rivals, Random House and Penguin Group, agreed to merge their books businesses into a publishing powerhouse.

News Corp. made a last-minute expression of interest in buying Pearson PSON.LN +0.42%PLC’s Penguin but never made a formal offer. Instead, Penguin agreed to combine with Bertelsmann SE & Co.’s Random House.

For book publishing, an industry dominated by a half-dozen big companies, consolidation is viewed in part as a way to weather the transition to digital media. Combining forces can allow publishers to gain more heft in negotiating terms with retailers, including Amazon.com Inc., industry executives say.

Simon & Schuster, which was founded in 1924 and publishes about 2,000 titles annually, had $1.6 billion in revenue and $90 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2011, according to CBS regulatory filings.

News Corp. is in the process of splitting into two listed companies, one containing its entertainment assets, such as the 20th Century Fox film studio and Fox News cable channel, and the other housing publishing assets, including Dow Jones and HarperCollins.

While HarperCollins is relatively small to News Corp. in the media giant’s current form, it could account for more than a fifth of the new publishing company’s roughly $500 million of operating income for the fiscal year ending in June 2013, according to Michael Nathanson of Nomura Securities.

The new publishing company is expected to have a significant amount of cash on its balance sheet, potentially to be used for acquisitions. One motivation for the split is the flexibility to pursue the purchase of old-media companies that may have turned off current News Corp. investors, according to a person familiar with the company’s strategy.

News Corp. recently has shown an appetite in other sectors as it prepares for the split, which is expected to be completed by next June. On Tuesday the company said it had agreed to buy a 49% stake in New York regional sports network YES.

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11/13/2012

Do Book Publishers Really Hate Authors?


It would seem so. Publishers have been fucking writers since time began. Rejections without due consideration, chump change percentages for wages (even with established authors), piss ant marketing and many other dictatorial, disrespectful practices.

At times authors are also hard asses to deal with — So, it’s a very tenuous relationship.

 explains Why Book Publishers Hate Authors in his blog contribution on HuffPost

It seems so… unliterary. But publishing houses despise authors and are doing everything they can to make their lives miserable. Here’s why.

Authors are admittedly a strange lot. There’s something antisocial about retreating from life for months or years at a time, to perform the solitary act of writing a book.

On top of that, authors are flaky. They promise to deliver a manuscript in April and it doesn’t come in until October. Or the following April. Or the April after that. This leaves publishers with several options, all of them bad: revise publishing schedules at the last minute; demand that authors turn in projects on time, regardless of quality; cancel books altogether; or sue the authors (as Penguin has begun to do) for undelivered or poor quality work.

Authors are also prickly about their work. There are few jobs on the planet in which people are utterly free to ignore the guidance, or even mandates, from their bosses. Yet book authors are notoriously dismissive of their editors’ advice. When I was writing novels for Simon & Schuster back in the late 1980s, my editor, Bob Asahina, used to tell me, “You’re the only writer who ever lets me do my job.”

Also, annoyingly, writers expect to be paid. Maybe not much, but something. The Authors Guild produced a survey in the 1970s indicating that writers earned only slightly more, on an hourly basis, than did the fry cooks at McDonald’s. Publishers were still responsible for paying advances to authors, hoping that the authors would turn in a publishable manuscript — which doesn’t happen all of the time.

So it’s understandable that publishers might feel churlish and uncharitable toward authors, on whom their entire publishing model depends. But since the 2008 economic meltdown hit Publishers Row, the enmity has turned into outright warfare.

The three R’s of the publishing industry, the strategy for survival, quickly became “Reduce royalties and returns.” Returns are books that come back unsold from bookstores. Printing fewer copies typically ensures fewer returns. Reducing advances and royalties — money publishers pay writers — was the other main cost that publishers sought to slash.

And slash they did. More and more publishers moved to a minimal or even zero advance business model. They said to authors, “We’ll give you more of a back end on the book, and we’ll promote the heck out of your book. We’ll be partners.”

Some partners. Zero advance combined with zero marketing to produce… that’s right. Zero sales.

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