Independent Bookstores vote for Big 5 Publishers’ Authors

March 21, 2014

You have to feel it was all a waste of time, this notion that somehow writing and publishing were being “reinvented” by new ideas and approaches and the startup companies behind them. Or even that being an independent publisher of any sort is worth the back-breaking effort.

American Booksellers Association

Have a look at the nominees for the 2014 Indies Choice awards. As far as I can see every single title is from one of the big five publishers (or one of their “independent” imprints). I only checked the adult books; maybe there’s an independent among the kid’s titles. According to Wikipedia ”throughout the year, Book Sense independent booksellers from across the country nominate for inclusion in the monthly Book Sense Picks the books that they most enjoyed hand-selling to their customers.”

I know that lots of self-published books are available online only. I also know that there are thousands of independent publishers of all shapes and sizes that issue books in print. I guess it’s just no fun selling those books.

For decades there’s been a clear order to the publishing universe, from author to agent to brand-name publisher to publicity machine to booksellers to reviews to awards. If that doesn’t change, well, will anything change?

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How Amazon Destroyed the Publishing Ecosystem

March 12, 2014

Everyone takes a shot at Amazon, and it’s not difficult to see why. Founder/CEO Jeff Bezos is blamed for just about every corporate crime imaginable, from pricing that destroys competition to suffocating warehouse employees on hot summer days (apparently no longer a problem).

My criticism of Amazon is about an issue perhaps more subtle, but, in my view far more serious. Amazon has destroyed the publishing industry by destroying its well-honed ecosystem. Sure, all of the other issues and criticisms stay on the table. This issue is for me the heart of darkness of our beleaguered industry. (more…)

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The Book Publishing Startup Problem

January 11, 2014

Two years ago at the Tools of Change conference in New York I was on a panel called “Startups to Publishing Companies Ripe for Expansion: What Are Investors in the Publishing Sector Looking For?”. (more…)

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BOOKISHNESS: 3D Printing adds Exceptional Value

January 8, 2014

I started floating the idea of “bookishess” last spring. It’s a simple concept. Ebooks and print books each have notable advantages and disadvantages (they are in fact complementary media, not conflicting media). But print books often get lost in the online battle: Every time Amazon adds a single percent to its market share, a beautiful book cover design is vetoed by management as too expensive. (more…)

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How Important is Mobile to Book Publishers?

December 26, 2013

I published a blog post in mid-December at Digital Book World, mostly on the topic of mobile publishing. (I gently request that you read it alongside this post: otherwise I have to clumsily repost it here — and it’s only a click away). I’m probably the last blogger in the known universe to tackle mobile’s impact on publishing. I just felt that some commentators were firing off target. But I felt inhibited. (more…)