Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

06/28/2016

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press Offers Shelf Space to Self-Publishing Authors


nook press logoSelf-published authors who have obtained a certain level of ebook sales can now print publish their books and sell them in B&N stores and online at BN.com. This means that B&N will offer these authors a coordinated, national distribution, never before available.

My, my – it appears that self-published authors are now being sought after and even accommodated a little. Of course, all things publishing has been changing dramatically over the past few years and self-published authors are now even allowed to use the indoor bathrooms at literary events 🙂

This announcement came from Digital Book World today:

Barnes & Noble announced today the launch of a new self-publishing, print platform called Nook Press, which will allow authors to turn their ebooks into print versions that can be sold in B&N stores and online at BN.com.

The program is self-service and allows authors to create both hardcover and paperback versions.

Through the program, authors who have sold 1,000 copies of a single ebook in the past year will be able to sell their print books on the local, regional or national level through B&N.

Moreover, authors who have sold 500 copies of a single ebook in the past year are eligible to participate in in-store events at B&N, including book-signings and discussions.

If eligible authors want their books to be considered for in-store placement, they can submit their books for review to B&N’s Small Press Department and one of the company’s corporate category buyers. To participate in in-store events, eligible authors can submit for an event review from a B&N store manager.

“Barnes & Noble is proud to be the first to offer coordinated, national distribution for self-published authors who will benefit from in-store placement at Barnes & Noble stores and online at BN.com,” said Fred Argir, B&N’s chief digital officer, in a press release. “No one else can offer self-published authors a retail presence like Barnes & Noble can.”

What do you all think about Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press? At least they are trying – even though the effort is in their interest to save their own ass a little, too.

11/08/2015

The Printed Book – The Latest On Its Fate


                       Printed Books – Here to Stay?

In the continuing development of the ‘evolving publishing industry’, as in the evolution of ANY industry or of the world, itself, for that matter, there are going to be growth spurts and plateaus.

And when either one of these phenomena occur, speculation runs rampant Re why – and all kinds of predictions materialize running all the way from Armageddon of a product (e.g. the printed book) to the newest replacement product (e.g. the ebook)!

The truth of the matter is neither of these book platforms are going anywhere – In fact, more hitherto unknown platforms will be marching onto the publishing stage in the future AND the future thereafter 🙂

What is and will be happening is the acceptance of existing and new publishing products will be integrated, massaged and utilized by different demographic areas at different times.

Tonight’s research article outlines one such current ‘state of the printed book’ forecast; with a little of its history thrown in for good measure:

 

The Past, Present and Future of the Printed Book

By Anuj Srivas as printed in The Wire

Hear that? That’s the sound of Johannes Gutenberg rolling in his grave. Amazon, the very company that has done the most to disrupt the industry surrounding the printing press, has opened a physical bookstore.

Dustin Kurtz over at New Republic has a great review of what the company is billing as a “brick-and-mortar store without walls”: Amazon Books, located just outside a shopping mall named University Village in Seattle, comes with the company’s touch; reviews, ratings and all. Books are organised into stacks such as “Most Wish-listed Cookbooks”, customers can look at online reviews while physically browsing a book and the price of all inventory is determined by Amazon’s online algorithm, the one used for the company’s website.

Perhaps it’s only fitting that Amazon has finally opened a bookstore. The store’s existence shows us how developments in the publishing industry, which has often confused business analysts, have come full circle over the past ten years.

The all-too-familiar tale of digital disruption that we’ve seen play out in television (Netflix), transportation (Uber/Ola Cabs), accommodation (Airbnb) and music (iTunes, Spotify) hasn’t quite applied to the printed word. This isn’t to suggest, however, that Amazon is throwing in the towel and plans to open any more bookstores, or even pursue it as a serious strategy; only that the march of technological progress hasn’t followed its usual course.

Read the entire article here.

 

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08/20/2013

Print Gaining Popularity with Twenty-Somethings; Digital with Septuagenarians! Say What?


2013 Tokyo International Book Fair — Where Young People Preferred Print!

Interesting survey by BookLive Co with revealing numbers. Could be what I suspected for some time, that print would not only not degrade to zero but would actually experience a rebirth of sorts in time, may be coming to fruition.

And the underlying reasons are perfectly understandable. The survey and resulting data came from this year’s Tokyo International Book Fair (TIBF) and can be extrapolated globally.

Why wouldn’t older folks welcome lower unit book costs, lighter weight, adjustable text for failing eyes and greater choice from one device?

Is print prancing again? Could be.

More details and numbers by Edward Nawotka (and Dennis Abrams) in Publishing Perspectives:

 

Japanese 20-yr-olds Favor Print, Septuagenarians Like Digital: Why?

 

A survey conducted at this year’s Tokyo International Book Fair revealed a surprising fact: more seniors than young people are open to using electronic books.

The Japan Times reports that close to 70% of Japanese in their 20s prefer traditional paper to digital books, while less than 50% of those in their 70s feel the same way, according to a survey conducted by BookLive Co., an ebook arm of Toppan Printing Co.

The results, according to the Times, also suggest that more seniors are ready to switch to ebooks if they see a clear advantage to them, such as lower cost.

When asked what they want from e-books, 52.5% said low price. And among those who have already taken the leap into ebooks, 70.4% wanted to have a greater range of titles available.

But the statistics can be deceiving. First, the survey looks at ebooks — not manga and comics — which dominate the digital market. Japanese consumers turned to digital manga for a very good reason, and it’s not one you might expect: the most popular titles are typically published in print in large, thick compendiums. The book is cumbersome to read, particularly for a commuter. The emergence of the digital manga made it much more convenient and easy to read these very popular editions.

Other books, such as novels, on the other hand, are typically printed in small, light, beautifully produced pocket-sized editions (often on beautiful paper, I might add). The books are appealing and easy to carry and read. This, coupled with no particular price advantage (ebooks are typically priced at 70% to 80% of print prices) means that print still hold much of their appeal.

Continued

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05/26/2013

Traditional Publishers’ Disinterest of Innovative Print Technologies Results in a Slow Death of ‘Print’


Weighing ‘Print’

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According to some highly educated and deeply experienced media professionals, traditional publishers are their own worst enemies Re the growing demise of print media. Perhaps TP’s have run away from print too early and not invested in new print technologies that are apparently begging to be expanded upon.

Even the “loss of physical books I can hold in my hand and smell” lamenting has not been enough to instill innovation in the present set of TP management to bring ‘print’ into the 21st century.

Tonight I’m introducing one of those highly educated/experienced personages mentioned above:

Andreas Weber , educated at Johannes Gutenberg-Universitat Mainz (Germany) — And Mainz, if you haven’t already guessed, is where the university’s famous namesake, who invented the first printing press, came from.

Key excerpts from Andreas to whet your appetite:

“However, the modern print-publisher is lacking vision and power for change. Though, over more then a generation ago specific solutions have been approached. Back then, in various places throughout the world, people developed the idea of revolutionising communication with media. IT, Web and print were seen as an integral part of a new communication culture.”

“Digital and analogue media don‘t contradict but build a new intermedia hybrid system.”

“The publishing industry is lacking contemporary ideas and motivation to innovate its core business with print, which is driven by digital communication technologies. Instead, they run behind on development and focus on third parties and their communication channels, which are used by publishers as ‘their new media’ to advertise in the old fashioned way.”

“Even though publishers are present in the digital world via apps and websites there is no innovative progress insight. If Google wouldn‘t bring the traffic and Apple wouldn‘t have given a platform via the iPad there would be no perspective on the subject of ‘digital content by
traditional publishers’.”

“Assuming printing is digital. Print and online are linked and form one unit. The targeted print media production is a just-in-time production. Print media products are created based on automated processes. Printed content will become more relevant, if it is customised to the customer’s request.”

“The publishing industry is lacking contemporary ideas and motivation to innovate its core business with print, which is driven by digital communication technologies.”

Now, this from Andreas Weber in Graphic Repro & Print:

News from Andreas Weber in the Gutenberg Galaxy

It started in Mainz and in Mainz it is supposed to continue. The ‘media.expo 2013’ promised new solutions and innovative tools for the publisher and media industry. The media.expo is one of many exhibitions with mainly the same content and promises for the print and media industry in Germany. The focus lies on speeches, discussions and networking of functional content.

In consideration of the current development of sales the publishing industry needs to wake-up. Even though publishers are present in the digital world via apps and websites there is no innovative progress insight. If Google wouldn‘t bring the traffic and Apple wouldn‘t
have given a platform via the iPad there would be no perspective on the subject of ‘digital content by
traditional publishers’.

Crucial: Publishers don‘t manage or develop their own intermedia communication systems. And they don‘t even use state-of-the-art communication channels in a bi-directional way to create interaction. Maybe they hate Wikipedia and the way Social Media is used by more than a billion of people? — Furthermore, they use a high proportion of their share of sales for the content creation and mostly ignore phenomenons like Twitter, Facebook or Blogs.

What is worse — publishers don‘t invest in their core business ‘print’ any more. An obvious disinterest of innovative print technologies results in a slow death of ‘print’.

But Innovation is the key. Through innovation of the print media products new markets can be entered. Back in the day Gutenberg was aware of this fact and changed the world with print. However, the modern print-publisher is lacking vision and power for change. Though, over more then a generation ago specific solutions have been approached. Back then, in various places throughout the world, people developed the idea of revolutionising communication with media. IT, Web and print were seen as an integral part of a new communication culture. The main drivers of this development were Xerox Corporation and Hewlett-Packard. They anticipated back in the 90s what is now possible: Digital and analogue media don‘t contradict but build a new intermedia hydrid system.

Read and learn more

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10/05/2012

The Intra-Publishing Civil War


Print and Digital Media “Going At It”

What is the intra-publishing civil war, you ask?

It is the stress, fighting and positioning going on between the newer digital publishing aficionados and their legacy print publishing brethren. 

E-book authors still often hear “So, you don’t write real books?”  And money? The majority is still being brought in through print medium.

But, the e-books are pulling in more and more money and increasing their percentages in all areas — resulting in the newcomers brashly asserting that old publishing is dead. More importantly, digital publishing has opened the door to new very successful genres thought unprofitable before by traditional publishers.

This publishing intrigue has been in play in varying degrees for a while, lets watch some of the latest progress as reported by Aleksandr Voinov  in USA TODAY:

Publishing is dead — long live publishing

No day passes without yet another skirmish in what could be seen as a kind of intra-publishing civil war, where the newcomers brashly assert that old publishing is dead and traditional publishing refuses to die. Meanwhile, old publishing continues to account for the majority of all books sold in brick-and-mortar stores, and e-book authors still face the “So you don’t write real books?” questions when they go to conventions and interact with friends and family, most of whom were exposed to e-books only when they received an e-reader last Christmas.

We are in flux. I’m saying “civil war” because here, too, the lines are messy, sides change all the time, and so do positions. Thankfully, there’s less bloodshed, but the implications for the publishing industry and how we write, read, market and interact with each other are enormous. It’s not tidy, it is at times exasperating, and nobody can predict where it’s going — only that e-books are growing, authors are making a good living off e-books, the books on offer are often more colorful and sometimes weirder and “uncommercial” when compared with legacy publishing, and e-books are heralding the creation of whole new genres that legacy publishing, in its necessities of scale, had never truly been able to support.

For example, 10 years ago, I was told that gay romance was unsellable, and was strongly advised by several agents and print acquiring editors to not waste my talent in a niche without a future or financial viability.

Ten years later, I’m not only a writer of gay/bi/trans fiction, but I also part-own Riptide Publishing, a hot young start-up selling GBLTQ stories with a focus on romance. A gay historical romance, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, recently won the 2012 Orange Prize for fiction (and, predictably, faced the critical derision our genre seems doomed to). One of Riptide’s own titles, Stars & Stripes, recently made it into the Barnes & Noble sitewide Top 100. Riptide Publishing is celebrating its first anniversary this month, and already, half a dozen or more of our authors are earning a living off their royalties. So much for gay romance being “unsellable.”

Where many see dangers and change, and some large players are frankly still in denial or trying to turn back the wheel by deliberately making e-books unattractive or too expensive or too hard to find in worldwide markets, other authors and start-ups are creating facts. Being more nimble and more in tune with our readership, small e-book-first presses such as Riptide back genres and books that others find unviable. Overhead is lower, processes are less entrenched, and staff are often younger and steeped more thoroughly in the digital culture. They follow their passions, even when those passions are unlikely to appeal to a mass market. They take risks.

Read and learn more

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07/16/2012

S and M = Sadomasochism or Serious Money?


50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James (pictured)

Sadomasochism (deriving sexual pleasure by giving or receiving rough sex pain) has never been a favorite pastime of mine — But, it is a hot, in-demand, reading topic since ’50 Shades of Grey’ hit the shelves in the U.S. about four months ago.

‘With more than 20 million copies sold in four months in the U.S., the erotic Fifty Shades trilogy seems to be giving mouth-to-mouth to the barely breathing book industry—and slipping in some tongue for good measure. The series accounted for one in five adult print books sold this spring, so it makes sense that publishers are scrambling to reproduce its success.’

These interesting details and numbers are provided by Lizzie Crocker in The Daily Beast

Publishing Looks for S&M

With more than 20 million copies sold in four months in the U.S., the erotic Fifty Shades trilogy seems to be giving mouth-to-mouth to the barely breathing book industry—and slipping in some tongue for good measure. The series accounted for one in five adult print books sold this spring, so it makes sense that publishers are scrambling to reproduce its success.

“E.L. James has opened up these genres to a whole new subset of readers who might not have previously been familiar with them,” said Paul Bogaards, executive vice president of Knopf, whose imprint, Vintage, publishes Fifty Shades. Sylvia Day’s Bared to You, an erotic romance with Grey-like themes (emotionally burdened characters and rough sex), has climbed to the top 10 on several bestseller lists. Originally self-published in April, Bared to You was picked up a month later by Berkley Books and marketed as a Fifty Shades clone, down to its gray book jacket featuring a pair of cuff links and the tagline: “He possessed me and obsessed me.”

Day insists Bared to You is different from Fifty Shades because it’s not a Cinderella story, but she didn’t fight Berkley’s marketing strategy and even thanked E.L. James in the back of the book.

Fifty Shades has absolutely contributed to sales,” said Day, whose previous bestselling book, Bad Boys Ahoy!, sold about 9,000 copies. Bared to You has already sold roughly 10 times that number.

Read and learn more

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07/05/2012

Is News Corp. Really Throwing its Publishing Ops Under the Bus ?


Throwing Print Publishing Under The Bus ?

Ole Rupert is actually being forced by financial forces to break off News Corp.’s print publishing arm from the rest of his media empire — But, could this bring about an unintended method to their madness at the end of the day (also forced) ?

 
The decreasing financial numbers being earned by News Corp.’s publishing arm all point to the eventual failure of this entity if left to operate on its own without any type of other financial shoring up as was provided by News Corp.’s other digital and entertainment arms. 
 
This forced separation, however, could just be the igniter of the needed ingenuity that could revive print just out of the adrenalin of survival.
 
Lets get inside some numbers and forecasts provided by Diane Mermigas in the Business Insider:

Splitting News Corp. Means Shoring up – or Shipping Out – Print Ops

News Corp.’s decision to throw its publishing operations under the bus in a division of assets is a shortsighted effort to pacify shareholders disgruntled with a year-long phone-hacking scandal in Britain and declining stock price that could blunt the newspapers’ digital survival.

Is it realistic to expect a pure-play publishing company to do more experimenting with digital business models than it does now? News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch promises the standalone entity will have “a robust net cash position” for potential acquisitions. But where will the investment funds come from? 

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, who has been loath to spin-off his beloved newspaper operations, says the stand-alone entity will have “a robust net cash position” for potential acquisitions. 

Nomura Securities analyst Michael Nathanson estimates the publishing business will have $362 million in profit in fiscal 2012 and a value of about $2.6 billion, or 7% of News Corp.’s current market cap. By comparison, News Corporation’s entertainment business will earn $3.1 billion in fiscal 2012 and could be the highest-growth portfolio in media, valued at about $52.5 billion–nearly the same as the existing company. 

Barclay’s Anthony DeClemente expects as much as $2 billion of News Corp.’s estimated $11 billion in cash will go with publishing to mitigate $1.5 billion in debt and an estimated $330 million in phone hacking-related legal expenses. Even with double-digit declines in ebitda, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield expects publishing free cash flow to remain positive in fiscal 2015. 

Still, those numbers speak more to getting by than getting on. 

The publishing company will not likely seek another $5 billion deal like its purchase of  Dow Jones in 2007, which was heavily written down and whose estimated value has deteriorated. But it will need to continuously invest in innovative digital applications and business models to better monetize its unique data and information. 

The WSJ, as it is expected to be rebranded, is aggressively making variations of its content available to users through their device of choice to avoid the huge reader exodus spurred by The Times of London‘s hard pay wall tactics. 

Wall Street Journal readers can “subscribe” for a few dollars a month to specific news channels through premium sources, such as Water Cooler, the Political Report and the Technology Digest in a unique revenue-sharing arrangement between Dow Jones, aggregator Pulse and Apple, which demands about one-third of money generated from apps on its devices.

Read and learn more

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02/16/2012

History Says: Book Publishing Will Survive Digital Age


Book Publishing Survival?

How many times have you heard the old adage ‘if history is any indication …’

Well, I found a little history and intrigue RE the publishing industry that points out its numerous fights for survival against medieval digital-age-like challenges 🙂 The results of these scrimmages may point to a future outcome a little different than envisioned by some today enamored with all things digital. 

From Bloomberg.com by Ellen F. Brown:

Why Book Publishing Can Survive Digital Age

Word on the street is that the publishing industry is under attack by technology. Amazon.com Inc. has launched a bare-knuckled assault against independent bookstores. Print-on-demand firms make it possible for anyone to get his work on the market, and thus threaten to render agents and editors obsolete. And with e-books priced so low, how can authors and booksellers earn a decent living?

Yet the publishing industry has a long history of weathering these sorts of challenges, and its past offers some optimism for the future.

In the 1920s, drug, grocery and department stores gave booksellers fits by offering popular titles at cut-rate prices. An old industry yarn tells the story of a flapper looking to buy lipstick. She walks into a bookstore and excuses herself when she realizes she had made a mistake. “I’m sorry,” she says, “I thought this was a drugstore, I saw books in the window.”

Also problematic was the Book of the Month Club, a distribution company founded in 1926 that sold inexpensive hardcover versions of popular books through mail order. Within 10 years of its founding, the club had almost 200,000 members. Ten years later, there were more than 50 imitator clubs in North America with more than 3 million participants.

And, of course, there was the ultimate competitor to bookstores: public libraries. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, communities across the U.S. funded the construction of facilities where books could be had for free, albeit only on loan.

Then came the “paperback revolution.” According to Publishers Weekly, word spread at the 1939 American Booksellers Convention that “some reckless publisher” was going to bring out a series of paperback reprints of popular novels to be sold for only a quarter a piece. The industry was equal measures aghast at the nerve of such a plan — American readers had proved notoriously resistant to paperbacks — and terrified that it might succeed. Major publishers fretted that, if the books proved popular, the reprints would kill hardcover sales of the featured titles. Most booksellers refused to stock the series, unwilling to compete with their existing inventories of full-priced books.

Undeterred by the negative buzz, publisher Robert de Graff advertised his New Pocket Books directly to readers with a mail-order coupon system and to wholesalers who sold magazines to newsstands and grocery stores. He touted his books as small enough to be carried in a pocket or purse and “as handy as a pencil, as modern and convenient as a portable radio — and as good looking.”

The industry watched with amazement when the books sold like wildfire. Skeptical publishers couldn’t remain aloof for long in the face of such obvious success and rushed to produce their own lines of paperback reprints.

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