No-inventory publishing changes everything for everybody and nobody will escape making adjustments (The Shatzkin Files, 10-7-13) Must to think about here. For example: "Should a library that uses its copy of an ebook to satisfy many readers pay more than an ebook reader who has practical (and contractual) barriers to sharing? (Random House is trying this.) While some authors are asking themselves whether publishers are essential for them anymore, which makes sense, doesn’t it also make sense for publishers to be thinking hard about how the digital revolution might change their relationship with libraries?"

The new face of competition
The "split that matters when trying to foretell the future of the book business (and everybody in it) is not 'print' versus 'digital,' but 'bought online' versus 'bought in stores.' ” ~Mike Shatzkin, Barnes & Noble and managing the digital transition , The Shatzkin Files, 8-21-13. See also An innocent story with dramatic implications

Twitter Book Trade Directory (a list of, and links to, tweeting book publishers, literary agents, book publicists, book editors, and others in the book trade)

Arlene Friedman Shepherd, a career mentor, has died. (Gregory Mowery, Leaving New York, 9-4-12). A lively account of the life of one of my best friends and one of the most memorable figures in publishing. Nicely done!

Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century by John B. Thompson, who really sees the big picture.

Who wins and loses from DoJ's suit against Big Publishers and Apple? -- a roundup (with links) of stories and analysis about the Department of Justice's lawsuit against five major publishers and Apple for colluding to raise the prices of electronic books (eBooks).

Paying authors more might be the best economics for publishers in the long run (Mike Shatzkin, Idea Logical Co., 12-12-11). Shatzkin is publisher-centric, and he writes: "Making deals with authors is the publishers’ price of admission to the game....Declared royalty rates that are closer to what Amazon can offer are critical for publishers to turn around a PR war for new authors that they have been losing. ...Pay authors more so you can pay retailers less. There will be a direct connection between the two."

And here's Mariah Bear's tongue-in-cheek look at how a book is born (because you kids love the infographics) (Weldon Owen, 5-10-12). Pretty funny and a little too true to life!

Will the E-Book Kill the Footnote? (Alexandra Horowitz, NY Times, 10-7-11)


"The most effective way to do it, is to do it."
~ Amelia Earhart

Happy (75th) birthday to the paperback! (Read Street blog, Baltimore Sun, 7-29-10)

"Jason Epstein believes that publishers have been handed a golden opportunity. The agency model, he says, is really another form of the consortium he proposed a decade ago: 'Publishers will be selling digital books directly to the iPad. They are using the iPad as a kind of universal warehouse.' By doing so, they create opportunities to cut payroll and overhead costs. Epstein said that e-books could also restore editorial autonomy. 'When I went to work for Random House, ten editors ran it,' he said. 'We had a sales manager and sales reps. We had a bookkeeper and a publicist and a president. It was hugely successful. We didn’t need eighteen layers of executives. Digitization makes that possible again, and inevitable.'
~ Ken Auletta, The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of the book business. . Can the iPad topple the Kindle, and save the book business? (The New Yorker, 4-26-10)



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The old days.
"We proudly carried manuscripts everywhere.... Decades later, I discovered that my right arm was a half-inch longer than my left.
"But it was our office archaeology that I remember the most. There was a primitive chaos to it all — the hybrid scent of tobacco and mimeograph ink, and the sounds of ringing phones, of typewriters zipping along until the warning bell pinged near the end of a line, and of the clack-clack-clack of the return handle as the carriage reset."
"... And dictionaries, atlases and all manner of reference books were propped high over file cabinets.
~ Joni Evans, When Publishing Had Sights and Sounds (NY Times, 9-5-09)

"People outside the publishing industry are often shocked to learn that bookstores don’t buy books, but take them on consignment; that publishers knowingly overprint to achieve economies of scale, that wholesalers intentionally overfill warehouses; and that retailers greedily overstock stores, knowing they can routinely return any excess inventory without paying. These bad business practices, widely accepted for years in the book world, are wasteful, environmentally hostile, and unfair to both readers and writers. Perhaps most egregious of all, they’re simply inefficient."
~ Danny O. Snow, Sr. Fellow, Society for New Communications Research, in a white paper/​research brief: Publishing at the Tipping Point (PDF)

"I am not at all excited about e-books. I believe they pose threats to profitability for most book publishers. Here are a few that face publishers who adopt e-books as their primary format.

"Weaker attraction for authors. The reason you make money as a publisher is that authors believe your participation adds value. Although editing and graphic design are important, the major area in which you add value involves your knowledge of, and access to, printing and distribution resources. If you’re publishing e-books, authors may decide they don’t need you.

"The process of converting a Microsoft Word document into a PDF file for download is much simpler (or at least, perceived to be much simpler) than the process of engaging the services of an offset printer and dealing with all those thousands of books that come off the press. If e-books are sold more than printed books, the publishers’ added value may seem irrelevant."
~ Bryan Rosner, from E-Books: Not So Fast! (Independent Book Publishers of America)

"For a long time, I assumed publishing companies needed sales and marketing executives in generalist positions to focus the priorities of the house, but that's just more Kabuki. Books only the editor has read become bestsellers. Titles launched with a battalion of support go straight to the remainder bins. We all like to believe we are essential to a book's success, but the truth is, we are a marginal factor. The author, and the book, matter most, followed by the media, booksellers and readers. We're facilitators. The most important decisions we make are at the acquisition and positioning stages. That's where sales and marketing experience is most useful and why those executives should be assigned to specific titles at the outset.

"...authors usually write the best promotional copy (they're writers, after all), and they certainly know their readership best. Yet they are underutilized in the publishing process. Empower them. Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin's Three Cups of Tea, for example, has been sustained by a dynamic author and a multi-year speaking tour, and the hit Twilight series has greatly benefited from Stephenie Meyer's extensive online promotional efforts. At Hachette, I've had a peripheral view of the Twilight phenomenon. It began with an astute, passionate editor and publisher named Megan Tingley, who read the manuscript on an airplane, and made a pre-emptive three-book deal. The readership built gradually, and with the help of much inventive in-house marketing. But everyone within Hachette points to the author as the driving factor in the books' success."
~Jonathan Karp, 12 Steps to Better Book Publishing (PW 4-20-09)



"In recent years...some [publishing] houses changed the rules about editing. I have been told that now, after an editor signs up her book for the house, she is told not to worry about editing. What she must do is help market the book. 'Don't worry,' they tell her, 'we'll get a good freelancer to edit your book.' Except that the author then loses something vital--the inspiration of the discovering editor, ready to try to make the work better. Yet these young ones who sought the calling are still helping to keep book publishing afloat, helping to keep the word alive."
~Al Silverman, author of The Time of their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Book Publishers, Their Editors and Authors, in an interview with Isabel Howe, in the Authors Guild Bulletin

What does this passage mean? Why is it on this page? (See link to answer below.)

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You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.
~ Les Brown

Contemporary Latin American Short Stories, ed. Pat McNees

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Publishing (and e-publishing)


eBook Basics (how to) and Beyond
Ebooks' share of income for publishers is rising quickly, with particular types of books selling the lion's share: books you read from beginning to end, particularly fiction, top the list of ebook bestsellers. Print is still the preferred format for books with illustrations, or books you skip around in (such as cookbooks).
See also
E-Book Formats and Formatting

10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to Any E-Publishing Service (Jane Friedman, Writing, reading, and publishing in the digital age). Start by reading her articles on all aspects of e-publishing.
I Was a Digital Best Seller! (Tony Horwitz, NY Times Opinion page, 6-19-14) A cautionary tale from someone who "succeeded" in ebook format.
The Best E-Publishing Resources (Jane Friedman's excellent site)
Piers Anthony's survey of electronic publishers. Anthony, author of the successful Xanth series, publishes and updates a listing and reviews of electronic publishers. See the long list of publishers and another list of related services.
• Use the Preditors and Editors list of book publishers and distributors, listing many small presses and telling you which ones to avoid, and why.
ABI’s Four Fundamentals to Understanding eBooks
Which ebook reading format works with which reader? (handy chart from Lisa Angeletti). See also E-Book Formats and Formatting
Top eBook Publishers and eBook Publishing Services (John Kremer's directory of eBook formatting and translation services)
How to self-publish an ebook (David Carnoy, CNET exec. editor, 6-1-12).
Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know (David Carnoy, CNEt, 6-13-12)
10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to Any E-Publishing Service (Jane Friedman, Writing, reading, and publishing in the digital age, 2-10-12). Be sure you know the answers to these questions!
A journalist's guide to eBook publishing, part 1 (Robert Niles, Online Journalism Review 7-19-11). See also part 2
and part 3
How Writers Can Turn Their Archives into eBooks (Carl Zimmer, The Atlantic, 10-14-10). Excellent idea!
7 Reasons You’re Not Selling Many Ebooks (Lindsay Buroker, 5-16-11)
E-publishing 101: How to Get Started (Lindsay Buroker, 8-8-11)
Harlequin Fail (Ann Voss Peterson, on JA Konrath's blog, 5-8-12). Be sure to read this before you sign with Harlequin. Followed up by Harlequin Fail Part 2. ""While most of my books are sold in the US, many are sold under lower royalty rates in other countries. In this particular contract, some foreign rights and – ALL e-book royalties – are figured in a way that artificially reduces net by licensing the book to a “related licensee,” in other words, a company owned by Harlequin itself." Summed up in Did Harlequin Publishing Deceive Their Authors? (Doris-Maria Heilmann, Savvy Writers & e-Book online, 7-21-12).

It’s a Long Article. It’s a Short Book. No, It’s a Byliner E-Book. (John Tayman, Nieman Reports). Byliner published Jon Krakauer's "Three Cups of Deceit" (an exposé of Greg Mortensen's Three Cups of Tea) at 22,000 words, some of which were written, edited, checked up to an hour before publication and based on reporting he'd finished that day. ‘Our idea was to create a new way for writers to be able to tell stories at what had always been considered a financially awkward length.’

E-singles, e-shorts, long-form journalism, and "read later" bookmarking systems (Narrative Nonfiction section, Writers and Editors website)

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens (Ferris Jabr, Scientific American, 4-11-13). E-readers and tablets are becoming more popular as such technologies improve, but research suggests that reading on paper still boasts unique advantages
BookOS ("the world's largest ebook library"). If your copyrighted book is listed there as free, clearly pirated--or skating on a prior promotional freebie--get your book taken down by emailing a message to support@​bookos.org, telling them they've posted your copyrighted books and asking them to remove them. Then, when they list the book, they will link to Amazon.
EPUB file: What It Is & How to Open One
(Tim Fisher, About.com). An ePub file is an Open Publication Structure eBook file.
EBW Knowledge Base . Electric Book Works explains basics. Start with the ABCs .
Going from InDesign to Ebook (Colleen Cunningham, eBook designer, Digital Book World) InDesign is the most commonly used book design software)
Comparison of e-book formats (Wikipedia and very helpful)
Step-by-Step Conversion Guide to Epub or mobipocket
How to Proofread on a Kindle (Beyond Paper Editing, Editor's Tips for Editors, 2-12-13)
Carolyn McCray's practical wisdom about marketing and selling ebooks (Digital World Library), including such articles as Are Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL) Borrows Cannibalizing Your Book Sales? Part 1 (Expert Publishing Blog, 3-1-12) and
Are KOLL Loans Cannibalizing Your Sales: Part Two
. See also Gaining Traction in the Amazon Ebook Marketplace and Best Practices For Amazon Ebook Sales (3-15-11)
Digital Textbooks Go Straight From Scientists to Students (Dave Mosher, Wired, 1-26-12). When his marine science textbook was rejected by electronic textbook publishers, David Johnston hired students to create FLOW, open source software to publish the multimedia book himself. (Read the story!)
Libraries And E-Lending: The 'Wild West' Of Digital Licensing? (NPR Staff, All Things Considered, 12-27-12). Brian Kenney, director of the White Plains (NY) Public Library tells Audie Cornish that only two of publishing's Big Six publishers license their e-books to libraries. Harper Collins licenses 26 circulations of one book, after which the library has to pay an additional fee (typically $25 to $35). New titles from Random House cost up to $100 to license. Simon & Schuster licenses no ebooks to libraries. Publishers and librarians need to work together to figure out, how can we sustain readers? How can both publishers and libraries thrive?
How to self-publish an ebook . CNET executive editor David Carnoy, on CNET (7-27-10, and updated), covers the basics, surveying options with Kindle Direct, Smashwords, BookBaby, Barnes & Noble's PubIt, Lulu, Booktango, iBooks Author, print-on-demand operations (such as CreateSpace, iUniverse, Xlibris, AuthorHouse), and Scribd.
How to Publish Your Own Amazon Kindle Ebook (Tony Bradley, PCWorld, 8-8-11)
A next-generation digital book (Mike Matas's six-minute TED talk with illustrations shows us the future!)
Trying to explain publishing, or understand it, often remains a great challenge (Mike Shatzkin, 10-31-12, on how the world of justice does not understand the essence of book publishing--comparing the Bobbs Merrill decisions a century ago to what's going on now, and publishers' ever-diminishing margin)
Ebook Publisher Power Rankings: Random and Penguin on Top (Jeremy Greenfield, Digital Book World, 11-5-12)
Things to think about as the digital book revolution gains global steam (The Shatzkin Files, 8-27-12)
The ebook marketplace could definitely confuse the average consumer (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files 9-17-11)
Self-Publishing Ebooks (Writers and Editors links)
Journalist's e-book scoop is a surprising success(Joanna Cabot, TeleRead, 8-12-12). Paula Todd’s 14,000 word e-book sold between 65,000 and 70,000 copies and generated about $200,000 in revenue--far more than she would have made selling it as a magazine piece. Certain factors contributed to its success.
Sign Up for “Saner, More Humane Digital Publishing” (Amanda DeMarco, Publishing Perspectives, 6-27-12). Nick Disabato the founder of the Publication Standards Project, an organization that aims “to advocate a saner, more humane digital publishing landscape,” promoting standardization, access and ease of use. DeMarco summarizes the key problems the project is trying to get the industry to address, including an end to DRM, more standardization, and better terms for libraries.
Publication Standards Part 1: The Fragmented Present by Nick Disabato (A List Apart, 5-22-12), and Publication Standards Part 2: A Standard Future. One section in Part 2 "Self-Publishing and Its Discontents" provides an excellent summary of possibilities and problems.
University of Chicago Press Partners with Oxford University Press on E-book Platform (Andrew Albanese, PW, 8-8-12). The University of California Press is also signed up to OUP's ebook platform, University Press Scholarship Online (UPSO). PW reports: "UPSO is part of a growing field of university press-driven competitors in the digital monograph field, including efforts by Cambridge University Press, the University Press E-Book Consortium (which merged with Project Muse Editions last year), and, an e-book effort by JSTOR, an extension of the popular non-profit e-journal platform."
Your E-Book Is Reading You (Alexander Alter, WSJ, 7-19-12--later it may be behind a paywall). Digital readers are yielding useful data about readers. "Barnes & Noble has determined, through analyzing Nook data, that nonfiction books tend to be read in fits and starts, while novels are generally read straight through, and that nonfiction books, particularly long ones, tend to get dropped earlier. Science-fiction, romance and crime-fiction fans often read more books more quickly than readers of literary fiction do, and finish most of the books they start. Readers of literary fiction quit books more often and tend skip around between books. "
Does Pew study prove ebooks in libraries are safe for publishers? (The Shatzkin Files, 6-22-12)
Amazon Cracks Down on Some E-Book ‘Publishers’ by David Streitfeld (NY Times 8-12-11). Fly-by-night e-book publishers lifting Wikipedia or other copy will be kicked off Kindle. And not all e-books contain the full text, so be wary with free or cheap editions (read comments).
How to become an e-book sensation. Seriously. (Beverly Akerman, Globe & Mail 4-27-12). "This is a story about the end of the gatekeeper. About the movement spreading throughout media....It’s about the reading public – the great unwashed, the hoi polloi – no longer letting tastemakers decide what’s worth reading. It’s about the masses seizing the means of publication."
Are Apps The Future of Book Publishing? (Alex Knapp, Forbes 3-30-12)
Can E-Books Succeed Without Amazon? (Barbara E. Hernandez, PBS's MediaShift: Your Guide to the Digital Media Revolution, 5-3-12). Mark Coker, creator of Smashwords, doesn't like the KDP Select program because he questions its fairness. "It's using self-published authors as pawns as a broader campaign to wage war against retail competitors," he said. 'If it wasn't for the exclusivity requirement, I would be a big supporter of KDP Select.'" Competitors to Amazon discussed in this story (do read what Hernandez writes):Smashwords, BookBaby, Hyperink
The ebook marketplace is a long way from settled (The Shatzkin Files 5-7-12). Will the big publishers give up Digital Rights Management (DRM)??? Maybe so.
Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (Mark Coker, Smashwords)
Apple reveals new service for authors to sell their books directly in the iBookstore (David W. Martin, MacLife, 5-26-10)
The Apple iBookstore and You (SPANNet.org). Learn about the pros and cons of publishing with Apple here.
Ebooks & Ebook Readers (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, several articles)
Multimedia E-books: Immersive or Subversive? (Dennis Meredith, Research Explainer, 4-15-12)
Publish Your Own Ebooks, with articles such as Several Options for Designing Ebook Covers (Gary McLaren, 10-25-11)
Authors catch fire with self-published e-books .Carol Memmott, USA Today, 2-11, reports that young Amanda Hocking's self-published (digitally) young-adult paranormal novels are selling hundreds of thousands of copies through online bookstores. "Hocking credits her success to aggressive self-promotion on her blog, Facebook and Twitter, word of mouth and writing in a popular genre — her books star trolls, vampires and zombies." But she's not the only such success in self-publishing.
Beyond the Book (Mark Glaser, Special Series, MediaShift: Your Guide to the Digital Revolution 10-24-11)
Comparison of e-book readers (Wikipedia's very useful chart, with items such as "can be used to borrow books from libraries"!) -- a good shopper's guide.
Digital Textbooks Go Straight From Scientists to Students (Dave Mosher, Wired.com, 1-26-12)
Do enhanced ebooks create a comeback trail for packagers? (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 2-20-10)
e-Book Cover Design Awards (Joel Friedlander's monthly awards, and articles)
How to Sign an E-Book (Women of Mystery, 6-4-11). Audio not great, but you can see him do it.
Ebook growth explosive; serious disruptions around the corner (Mike Shatzkin, whose many excellent blogs on eBooks are linked to below)
E-book Guide Update: Keeping Up with a Bullet Train (Research Explainer, KDP Select 2-2-12)
ePub Author Question – What Are the Parts of an ePub File?ePub Author Question – What Are the Parts of an ePub File? (Mark Harmon, ePub and eBook help, with lots of detailed articles on technical aspects of self-e-publishing)
eBook Discovery and Sampling Skyrocketing at Public Libraries (OverDrive 1-19-12).
e-Books Best Practices: How to Produce and Sell eBooks (Larkin Flora, SPANnet.org, on SPAN's tips and best practices)
E-book rights, developments, conflicts, and struggles for market (Writers and Editors site)
How the e-book landscape is becoming a walled garden (Mathew Ingram, GigaOm, 2-29-12)
Letter from Scott Turow: Grim News (Authors Guild blog, 3-9-12).
Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler's response to Scott Turow (this is pretty interesting)
Scott Turow on why we should fear Amazon (Laura Miller, Salon.com 3-13-12)
Presumed Inane (J Konrath's response to Scott Turow on fearing Amazon
The Economics of Self-Publishing an Ebook (Simon Owens, on ebook fiction, The Next Web Media, 3-7-11)
EReaders for 2011 (another comparison, more simply laid out than Wikipedia's but not as complete)
Getting the Skinny on e-Publishing Chynna Laird, Wow! The E-Publishing Revolution)
How and Where to Publish an eBook (AgentQuery)
How do I get my book into the Apple iBookstore? (Scott Flora, SPAN)
How the Long Tail Cripples Bonus Content/​Multimedia (Seth Godin, The Domino Project, paidContent,org, 12-27-11)
Who decides what gets sold in the bookstore? (Seth Godin, The Domino Project 2-2012). "We’re heading to a world where there are just a handful of influential bookstores (Amazon, Apple, Nook…) and one by one, the principles of open access are disappearing. Apple, apparently, won’t carry an ebook that contains a link to buy a hardcover book from Amazon."
How to make and sell your first ebook in 10 easy steps (Avi Solomon 7-26-11)
How to Publish an eBook on Amazon's Kindle Store (AgentQuery)
In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are History (Tamar Lewin, NY Times, 8-8-09)
Why Your Printed Book Isn’t an E-Book (Yet) (Carol Saller, The Subversive Copy Editor, 2-11-12). While novelists take for granted that their new books will appear in all the electronic formats simultaneously with print publication, for scholars there are no such assurances. Why?
John Locke on his self-publishing e-book supersuccess. Guest-posting on J.A. Konrath's blog A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, Locke, who has six titles on Amazon's Top 100 list for Kindle sales, explains (in the Q&A) that his success is based on niche marketing, the formula for which is:
1. Identify your target audience
2. Find out where they live
3. Shove your book down their throats.
Read both his post and the Q&A, where he and others agree that it costs about $1000 to have someone cover design and format your e-book (plus the cost of any art work).
A journalist's guide to eBook publishing, Part 1 (Robert Niles, Online Journalism Review, 7-19-11). See also Part 2 and Part 3
Making a Book—Digital and Print—From Scratch (Elizabeth Castro, Nieman Reports). By building a book in modules—rather than constructing it as a complete “bible”—I can gain flexibility, respond easily to the rapid pace of changes, and be happier than if I have to rewrite my entire book.’
Making Book on eBooks (excellent links to material on ebooks for science writers, for a course taught by Tabitha Powledge and Carl Zimmer, with notes by Tammy, ScienceOnline 2012)
The Newbie's Guide to Publishing (free PDF, by J.A. Konrath, with section on Ebooks). See any of his blogs, but maybe start with Eisler & Konrath Vs. Hachette
3 Great Typeface Combinations You Can Use in Your Book (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 2-19-10)
E-books: Not so fast! (Bryan Rosner on what publishers have to fear, IBPA)
* The once and future e-book: on reading in the digital age (John Siracusa, ars technica -- check out the comments after reading the article)
P.D.A. in the Library (Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, 10-28-11). Patron-Driven Acquisition, a model of e-book licensing that aims to relieve library purchasing agents from spending thousands on books nobody will end up reading. Good story on how libraries are rethinking their inventories and patron needs.
Searching for the formula to deliver illustrated books as ebooks (Shatzkin Files, 11-13-11)
$72,000 in E-Books in a Week – 8 Lessons I Learned (Darren Rowse, on ProBlogger, who sold 4800 e-books in a week)
The Real Trouble With E-Books (Jeremy Lott, Splice Today 2-3-12). Fahrenheit 451 and the future of publishing. Ray "Bradbury has for some time insisted that Fahrenheit 451 has been misunderstood. It is not chiefly a book about censorship, he says, but what happens to a society that ceases to care deeply about books. He worries that our obsession with 'screens' will undermine the book. Logically, that doesn't have to be the case. But the fact that his publisher was willing to take a huge bestseller out of print if it couldn't offer an e-version of same should give us reason for concern."

[Go Top]

Ebook Prices and Price Wars


Author Earning (Hugh Howey). These pieces are worth skimming if only to see the relative proportions of sales of various forms of publication, including various forms of fiction ebooks.
---The Amazon 7K Report (2-14)
---The Amazon 50K Report (2-14)
---The B&N Report
---The Print vs. Digital Report
---The Amazon 85K Report (5-14)
---The Tenured vs. Debut Report
But take a look also at the following comments about the shortcomings in Howey's data, in a world where Amazon and traditional publishers keep real figures a secret.

Hugh Howey calls for author earnings revolution (Alison Flood, The Guardian 2-14-14) Author calls for publishers to concentrate more on readers and writers, after releasing data which claims to reveal the strength of self-publishing in genre fiction
Self-published ebooks: the surprising data from Amazon (Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, 2-13-14) Top 2500 Amazon genre bestsellers by format (mystery/​thriller/​suspense, science fiction & fantasy, & romance)
Do Hugh Howey’s AuthorEarnings Add Up? (Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, 2-18-14) Doctorow sums up Howie's message: "authors should not assume that there’s always more money to be made in traditional contracts."
Comparing self-publishing to being published is tricky and most of the data you need to do it right is not available (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 2-13-14) Among data not included in Howey's analysis, writes Shatzkin:
1. Author revenue from print sales.
2. Getting an advance before publication versus having costs before publication.
3. Unearned advances and their impact on author earnings.
4. Getting paid for doing the work of publishing which goes beyond authoring.
5. Current indie successes where the author name or even the book itself was “made” by traditional publishers.
6. Rights deals.
7. How well Amazon data “maps” to what happens elsewhere. Is it really projectable?
8. The apparent reality: flow of authors is self- to traditionally-published, not the other way around.
9. Publishers can raise royalty rates (or lower prices) when it becomes compelling to do so.

Book wars: A monopolist vs. the cartel (Steve Pearlstein, Business, Washington Pot 6-7-14). Attention writers: an excellent analysis. "In business terms, what is about to play out is the next round in a long-running battle between a manufacturing cartel (the publishers) and a monopoly retailer (Amazon) for control of the value chain that links book writers and their readers. In most respects, it is similar to the battles in other parts of the news and entertainment sector where digital technology has also upset the old order but a new order has yet to emerge." "...authors from time to time have offered to take a smaller advance in exchange for a royalty rate higher than the 15 percent industry standard. Such offers, however, are routinely and universally rejected."
Missing from this excellent piece online is a HarperCollins chart (see following piece by Jim Milliot): "Authors makes about $1.60 less from a typical e-book sale than a hardcover sale, while the publishing house is left with $2.20 more in gross profit (that’s the money used to pay for editing, marketing and general overhead, as well as profit for investors)....In other words, while the work done by author and publisher is exactly the same for a printed book or an e-book, what they are paid for that work is significantly different."
The New Harper Collins (Jim Milliot, PW, 6-7-13). Report on a HC presentation to industry analysts. See especially the chart showing the economics of a hardcover vs an ebook.
Ten Things You May Not Know About Ebook Prices (Rachel Willmer, TechCrunch, 1-15-14) Prices in the $9-10 range earn more revenue than books priced $2 to $3.
Why do e-books cost so much? (Stacy Johnson, Christian Science Monitor, 1-12-13). It's not because costs are higher. "The lion’s share of the retail price of a book, whether in digital or physical form, is going to the publisher.... the power has never been with the artist, or the consumer. It’s been with the distributor. ... In the case of books, the publisher. But thanks to the Internet, that’s changing now.... The publishing industry – the gatekeeper between writers and readers – is collapsing under its own weight. I no longer need to surrender up to 90 percent of the price of a book to the publisher."
Amazon vs Book Publishers (check out all the articles on Amazon's fight with book publishers, particularly over ebook prices--and who loses mainly? Writers and readers.)
Little Sign of a Predicted E-Book Price War (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 12-23-12). After the Justice Department sued five major publishers and Apple on e-book price-fixing charges, many felt the prices of e-books would plunge--but they didn't. Amazon, which led the price wars in the first place (aiming to grab market share), has not lowered its prices, and the growth in sales has leveled off. (Streitfeld makes many interesting points.)
Rethinking what's happening with ebook prices (Shatzkin Files, 9-13-12). As always, read the comments, too.
Ebook price drops begin — and Apple is discounting, too (Laura Hazard Owen, PaidContent, 9-11-12) Just a few days after the approval of the DOJ’s ebook settlement, HarperCollins has entered into new contracts with ebook retailers, and they’re already discounting its titles. What kinds of deals will you get?
Digital Book World lets us look at ebook bestsellers by price, and things are revealed (The Shatzkin Files, 8-20-12)
The eBook Wars: The Price Battle (I) 1-9-10). Rich Aden, on his An American Editor blog, writes about what happens to the quality of books when accountants call for outsourcing at prices so low that a well-edited book is unlikely.
How to price ebooks (Pat McNees, roundup of pieces on the subject, Writers & Editors, 8-14-13)
The eBook Wars: The Price Battle (Rich Adin, An American Editor 1-9-10). Consumers reading sloppily, hastily edited ebooks are definitely going to be annoyed with high prices. Deal with the quality problems, folks.

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eBook Basics and Beyond


E-book Guide Update: Keeping Up with a Bullet Train (Research Explainer, KDP Select 2-2-12)
eBook Discovery and Sampling Skyrocketing at Public Libraries (OverDrive 1-19-12).
Learning the Inner Workings of an E-Book File (Elizabeth Castro, Nieman Reports Winter 2011)
Making Book on eBooks (excellent links to material on ebooks for science writers, for a course taught by Tabitha Powledge and Carl Zimmer, with notes by Tammy, ScienceOnline 2012)
A journalist's guide to eBook publishing, Part 1 (Robert Niles, Online Journalism Review, 7-19-11). See also Part 2 and Part 3
Beyond the Book (Mark Glaser, Special Series, MediaShift: Your Guide to the Digital Revolution 10-24-11)
The Economics of Self-Publishing an Ebook (Simon Owens, on ebook fiction, The Next Web Media, 3-7-11)
How the Long Tail Cripples Bonus Content/​Multimedia (Seth Godin, The Domino Project, paidContent,org, 12-27-11)
How to make and sell your first ebook in 10 easy steps (Avi Solomon 7-26-11)
The Newbie's Guide to Publishing (free PDF, by J.A. Konrath, with section on Ebooks). See any of his blogs, but maybe start with Eisler & Konrath Vs. Hachette
Making a Book—Digital and Print—From Scratch (Elizabeth Castro, Nieman Reports). By building a book in modules—rather than constructing it as a complete “bible”—I can gain flexibility, respond easily to the rapid pace of changes, and be happier than if I have to rewrite my entire book.’


ABI’s Four Fundamentals to Understanding eBooks
Ebook basics for authors (part 1: formatting); Part 2: DRM, or copy protection; and Part 3: Trends, Q&A
How and Where to Publish an eBook (AgentQuery)
How to Create an EPUB file -- Mac or PC Users (AgentQuery)
How to Publish an eBook on Amazon's Kindle Store (AgentQuery)
How to Convert Your Manuscript to a Kindle eBook (for PC Users) (AgentQuery)
Comparison of e-book readers (Wikipedia's very useful chart, with items such as "can be used to borrow books from libraries"!) -- a good shopper's guide.
EReaders for 2011 (another comparison, more simply laid out than Wikipedia's but not as complete)
Searching for the formula to deliver illustrated books as ebooks (Shatzkin Files, 11-13-11)
Amazon Cracks Down on Some E-Book ‘Publishers’ by David Streitfeld (NY Times 8-12-11). Fly-by-night e-book publishers lifting Wikipedia or other copy will be kicked off Kindle. And not all e-books contain the full text, so be wary with free or cheap editions (read comments).
Amazon introduces new Kindle eBook format and makes a major misstep (Guido Henkel 10-21-11). Old Kindles won't support new format! Confusion and extra work and expense for e-book producers.
e-Books Best Practices: How to Produce and Sell eBooks (Larkin Flora, SPANnet.org, on SPAN's tips and best practices)
EBook Conversion Services Directory, an invaluable directory courtesy of book designer Joel Friedlander (Marin Bookworks), which you can sort by providers or by format you want to produce.
Top eBook Publishers and eBook Publishing Services (directory of eBook formatting and translation services)
E-books: Not so fast! (Bryan Rosner on what publishers have to fear, IBPA)
Ebook growth explosive; serious disruptions around the corner (Mike Shatzkin, whose many excellent blogs on eBooks are linked to below)
Before Choosing an E-Book, Pondering the Format (in which to deliver it), Peter Wayner, NY Times 9-24-09
Take pride in your eBook formatting (Guido Henkel's
Formatting Kindle (eBook Architects, who have a list of e-book blogs)
Kindle Formatting: The complete guide (a sample--Joshua Tallent)
Kindle Boards Writers' Cafe (discussion board to help authors of e-books promote their books)
Amazon's Digital Text Platform (DTP) (Kindle Direct Publishing)
Indie Author Guide to Publishing for the Kindle (April L. Hamilton)
Apple iBookstore Now Open Directly to Independent Publishers
Apple reveals new service for authors to sell their books directly in the iBookstore (David W. Martin, MacLife, 5-26-10)
How do I get my book into the Apple iBookstore? (Scott Flora, SPAN)
Smashwords (your ebook, your way--a digital self-publishing platform and online bookstore)
How to Publish and Distribute Your Ebook with Smashwords!
P.D.A. in the Library (Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, 10-28-11). Patron-Driven Acquisition, a model of e-book licensing that aims to relieve library purchasing agents from spending thousands on books nobody will end up reading. Good story on how libraries are rethinking their inventories and patron needs.

Smashwords FAQs, Smashwords Style Guide (by Mark Coker), and Smashwords Marketing Guide (also Coker).
What's wrong with Smashwords? (Bradley Flora, SPAN)
Q&A: Smashwords Founder Mark Coker Predicts Drop in eBook Prices (with Devon Glenn, dBookNewser, 1-31-11)
In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are History (Tamar Lewin, NY Times, 8-8-09)
$72,000 in E-Books in a Week – 8 Lessons I Learned (Darren Rowse, on ProBlogger, who sold 4800 e-books in a week)
* The once and future e-book: on reading in the digital age (John Siracusa, ars technica -- check out the comments after reading the article)
The eBook Wars: The Price Battle (1). Rich Aden, on his An American Editor blog, writes about what happens to the quality of books when accountants call for outsourcing at prices so low that a well-edited book is unlikely.
Authors catch fire with self-published e-books .Carol Memmott, USA Today, 2-11, reports that young Amanda Hocking's self-published (digitally) young-adult paranormal novels are selling hundreds of thousands of copies through online bookstores. "Hocking credits her success to aggressive self-promotion on her blog, Facebook and Twitter, word of mouth and writing in a popular genre — her books star trolls, vampires and zombies." But she's not the only such success in self-publishing.
John Locke on his self-publishing e-book supersuccess. Guest-posting on J.A. Konrath's blog A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, Locke, who has six titles on Amazon's Top 100 list for Kindle sales, explains (in the Q&A) that his success is based on niche marketing, the formula for which is:
1. Identify your target audience
2. Find out where they live
3. Shove your book down their throats.
Read both his post and the Q&A, where he and others agree that it costs about $1000 to have someone cover design and format your e-book (plus the cost of any art work).
Do enhanced ebooks create a comeback trail for packagers? (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 2-20-10)
E-book rights, developments, conflicts, and struggles for market (Writers and Editors site)

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The Way We Read Now (Dwight Garner, NY Times book critic, on the pros and cons, for book readers, of smartphones, e-readers, and the iPad).
Resource list for a workshop on "Making Book with Ebooks" that Carl Zimmer, Deborah Blum, and Tabitha M. Powledge did for the National Association of Science Writers. Their advice: "Caveat emptor-- i.e., read the fine print").
Amazon Kindle (in various versions: Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, and coming soon, Kindle Fire (with more than books--including movies). Both an ebook reading device and a platform, readable on other readers--but with proprietary software)_. Disconcerting feature: Kindle keeping track of your highlighting. See Introduction to the Amazon Kindle (YouTube). Late 2011: Amazon moving its format to HTML 5--to compete with Apple.
Kindle Direct Publishing (self-publish your eBooks in the Kindle store, but read the fine print on those 70% royalties, which may prove to be only 30%, depending...)
Apple iPad (for reading Apple's iBooks -- a tablet computer with more functionality than Kindle but smaller selection of titles). Ian Paul's PCWorld review 4-2-10: Apple iPad's iBooks vs Amazon's Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook (Android operating system and affordable; 3G and WiFi connectivity makes downloading ebooks and lending them to friends easy)
Book Baby
CreateSpace
Google ebook store (launched Dec. 7, 2010 -- expected to offer a large selection of public domain and professional and scientific books)
Kobo eReader(good for basics; no bells and whistles)
Kobo Writing Life (launching early summer 2012, to compete with Kindle Direct, for self-publishing eBooks to the Kobo market)
Lulu
Sony Reader (weakest device and store, says Mike Shatzkin, who in early August 2010 describes the pros and cons of the first ebook devices and platforms. No Internet capabilities; ebooks downloaded to your computer through USB cable and transferred to device.)
Shatzkin describes
Blio (Baker & Taylor and the National Federation of the Blind added sound and video and tools to bring free reading to the sight-impaired--capable of handling heavily illustrated books, to be offered by Toshiba, using Microsoft’s XPS platform)
Copia (a social e-Reading experience, with social networking built "into the content consumption platform"--and allows epub files using Adobe DRM to move painlessly into their platform, no matter where ebook was purchased)
Alex e-Reader (dual-screen, Android-powered)

Some review sites for e-readers:
E-book reader review (top 10, helpful chart of features)
cNet reviews of E-Book readers (editors' and users ratings)
Ebooks & Ebook Readers (Joel Friedlander's roundup on The Book Designer)
engadget
The Shatzkin Report (Mike Shatzkin, always engaging)
ebrary (provides e-books and technology to libraries)
(Still gathering information for this part.)
The Dark Ages of E-Books. BenClemens, on Blurb.com, writes that "Reading devices like the Kindle, Nook, and iPad all have separate bookstores and book formats, and their makers (and other companies) are trying to create readers ‘locked in’ to their device and bookstores....none of these formats have the prospect of being around to be read on future readers." He also posts a review of the latest e-book readers as of January 2011 Check out Next.blurb.com on the Future of the Book.
Apple Forces e-Tailers to Remove In-App Links. Does Apple's heavy-handed approach on eReader apps remind anyone of the Beta/​VHS wars? "In response to Apple beginning to enforce new iOS4 app design guidelines that prohibit in-app links that allow consumers to bypass the Apple purchasing system, retailers are scrambling to let consumers know that they can still read their e-books on their Apple devices and alternative ways to buy e-books. Kobo, for one, announced plans to develop its own HTML5 eReading Web app that will allow consumers to shop, browse and share content outside of the Apple purchasing system by using their web browser. B&N also plans to release updated versions of its Nook and Nook Kids for iPad apps. Other content retailers are expected to follow suit. Beginning this week, links to e-book stores in Amazon's Kindle app and those in apps by such e-book retailers as Kobo, Blio, B&N and Google eBooks have all been removed. In fact B&N's Nook and Nook Kids for iPads apps have been removed form the App store." (Calvin Reid PW, 7-26-11)
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EBook Formats and Formatting

and Style Guides

Start here:
Ebook basics for authors (part 1: formatting); Part 2: DRM, or copy protection; and Part 3: Trends, Q&A
Which ebook reading format works with which reader? (quicky chart from Lisa Angeletti).
Top eBook Publishers and eBook Publishing Services (John Kremer's directory of eBook formatting and translation services)
Publlishing Your Ebooks (52 Novels) a broad "how to" for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Smashwords
How to self-publish an ebook (David Carnoy, CNET exec. editor, 6-1-12).
Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know (David Carnoy, CNEt, 6-13-12)
10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to Any E-Publishing Service (Jane Friedman, Writing, reading, and publishing in the digital age, 2-10-12). Be sure you know the answers to these questions!
FAQ about ebooks from 52 Novels
How Writers Can Turn Their Archives into eBooks (Carl Zimmer, The Atlantic, 10-14-10). Excellent idea!
Before Choosing an E-Book, Pondering the Format in which to deliver it, Peter Wayner, NY Times 9-24-09
Learning the Inner Workings of an E-Book File (Elizabeth Castro, Nieman Reports Winter 2011)
EBook Conversion Services Directory, an invaluable directory courtesy of book designer Joel Friedlander (Marin Bookworks), which you can sort by providers or by format you want to produce.
Why NOT To Use Cut-Rate ePub Conversion Service (ePub and eBookHelp.com)
Free eBook Formatting & Marketing Guides for Writers (Jason Boog's helpful links, GalleyCat, 1-24-13)
How to Convert Your Manuscript to a Kindle eBook (for PC Users) (AgentQuery)
How to Create an EPUB file -- Mac or PC Users (AgentQuery)
Take pride in your eBook formatting (Guido Henkel)

Kindle
Formatting Kindle (eBook Architects, who have a list of e-book blogs)
Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines (PDF, AmazonKindle, How to make books available for the Kindle platform)
CJ's Easy as Pie Kindle Tutorials
Kindle Formatting: The complete guide (a sample--Joshua Tallent). Here's Kindle Formatting . Bottom line: Kindle uses mobi files; others use EPub. Get the big picture on how to format for various types of readers so you convert files in the most efficient manner.
How to Publish Your Own Amazon Kindle Ebook (David Bradley, PC World, 8-8-11) Basic stuff: "The Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing service--which I'll focus on for this article--can work with .doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf, .epub, .txt, .zip, .mobi, or .prc files. Amazon recommends creating and editing your content in Microsoft Word."
Kindle Boards Writers' Cafe (discussion board to help authors of e-books promote their books)
Amazon's Digital Text Platform (DTP) (Kindle Direct Publishing)
Amazon introduces new Kindle eBook format and makes a major misstep (Guido Henkel 10-21-11). Old Kindles won't support new format! Confusion and extra work and expense for e-book producers.
Indie Author Guide to Publishing for the Kindle (April L. Hamilton)

All the rest
Apple iBookstore Now Open Directly to Independent Publishers
Creating ePub Files with Apple’s Pages program
EPUB Straight to the Point: Creating ebooks for the Apple iPad and other ereaders (Elizabeth Castro's book)
PubIt! Barnes & Noble's Support & Resources Page
Kobo writing life FAQ for writers (PDF)
Calibre FAQ page. Calibre is an eBook management system that works with most formats, but not Kindle.
Getting Started with Calibre (eBookReader.com)
Academic eBook platforms (Center for Research Libraries)

Smashwords
Smashwords (your ebook, your way--a digital self-publishing platform and online bookstore). Smashwords support FAQs answers lots of questions.
Convert MS Word docs to e-books for free (Dennis O'Reilly, CNET, 7-3-12). "The Smashwords e-book-publishing service transforms Word's DOC files into the EPUB, MOBI, and other e-book formats, but only if you shun text boxes, tables, and other common formatting elements in the file, as the handy Smashwords guide explains."
How to Publish and Distribute Your Ebook with Smashwords! (Smashwords
What's wrong with Smashwords? (Bradley Flora, SPAN)
Smashwords FAQs, Smashwords Style Guide (by Mark Coker, provides guidance for “major ebook retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Diesel”) and Smashwords Marketing Guide (also Coker).
Q&A: Smashwords Founder Mark Coker Predicts Drop in eBook Prices (with Devon Glenn, dBookNewser, 1-31-11)
Apple's Biggest (Unknown) Supplier of E-Books (J.J. Colao, Forbes, 6-7-12). "Smashwords, a 14-person company in Los Gatos, Calif., Coker gives authors free self-publishing software that converts Word documents into ­e-book files—and lets them set the price. Through ­distribution partnerships those e-books line the shelves of digital bookstores run by Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. No deal yet with Amazon."

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Ebook subscription services


Oyster (unlimited ebook, $9.95 a month), does not include all publishers
Scribd (read unlimited books for $8.99 a month), does not include all publishers
Entitle (formerly eReatah)
Safari (streaming the best video courses and books). B2B, not B2C, says Mike Shatzkin, is an expensive professional tool subscribed to by a business or govt entity for which personal use may be considered an employee benefit.
Not all books and not all subscription services are created equal (Mike Shatzkin, Idea Logical, 6-11-14). Shatzkin makes distinction between "immersive narratives" (read from start to finish) and "chunkable" books ("the ones that are least likely to be read from start-to-finish and most likely to be useful in bits and pieces").
Are Ebook Subscription Services Worth It? (Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker, 1-21-14). What you pay for Oyster, Scribd, and Entitle, and what you get, or don't get). As a reader, you can do more with the Amazon Kindle app, and Amazon offers a bigger selection, but these three are fine at displaying text on a page.
The unit of appreciation and the unit of sale (Mike Shatzkin, Idea Logical, 9-26-10). More on the difference between immersive reading and chunkable copy: "When you get beyond fiction and certain components of non-fiction (memoir, biography, some history and science), the books aren’t read cover to cover either. You usually use (what we now call) chunks of travel books, gardening books, cookbooks, computer books, crafts books. Even in the bookstore environment, sales of these books are suffering because a more granular offering is available online."
Subscription services for ebooks progress to becoming a real experiment (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 5-27-14) It is by no means "a slam dunk that ebooks must go where Spotify has taken digital music and Netflix has taken the digital distribution of TV and movies, but it looks more likely today than it did six months ago....The core of subscription economics is to pay less to the content supplier than they earn other ways to give you some headroom to create a value proposition for consumers. That’s how Spotify and Netflix work. That’s how Book-of-the-Month Club works."
Subscription Ebook Services Scribd, Oyster and Entitle Duke It Out For Early Dominance (Jeremy Greenfield, Forbes, 12-19-13)
Russian Ebook Subscription Service Bookmate Raises $3 Million in Series A Funding (DBW, 5-23-14)
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The Shatzkin Files (on Changes in Publishing)

Mike Shatzkin thinks things through.
He gets a category of his own.

New data on the Long Tail impact suggests rethinking history and ideas about the future of publishing (6-25-14) "One further point about Long Tail sales. In the aggregate, they can be very significant. But for each individual title, they are trivial. So the real commercial benefits flow to the aggregators — Amazon and Lightning — and much less to the publishers or authors of the individual titles. "
Wondering whether printed books will outlast printed money, or football 5-5-14)
When an author should self-publish and how that might change (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 4-17-14)
Comparing self-publishing to being published is tricky and most of the data you need to do it right is not available (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 2-13-14)
No, Mike Shatzkin did NOT say that publishing is spiraling down the drain (11-21-13). "Amazon’s share is growing in relation to the rest of the market and more and more service offerings for editing and marketing are making it ever-easier for authors to entertain a non-publisher option. There is a very small but growing population of authors with lengthy backlists who have gotten their rights back, or secured their ebook rights alone, and are able to consider alternative paths to market." He then goes on to suggest how publishers must reposition themselves.
Amazon might lose interest in total hegemony over the book business before they achieve it (11-5-13)
Three points worth adding to the excellent account of the Amazon story in The Everything Store. (11-4-13)
No-inventory publishing changes everything for everybody and nobody will escape making adjustments (The Shatzkin Files, 10-7-13) "In fact, nobody in the value chain in between the author and the reader of a book can be complacent about their position: not the agent or publisher or library, but also, quite obviously, not the bookstore, online or physical. The printer and warehouse operator must expect a shrinking share of the book business. No-inventory publishing, by lowering the barriers to entry for a written book of narrative text nearly to zero, is assuring that an ecosystem built around the reality that book inventory was the industry’s greatest cost will change profoundly."
Marketing will replace editorial as the driving force behind publishing houses (Shatzkin Files 9-4-13) "Fifty years ago, editors just picked the books and the sales department had to sell them. Thirty years ago, editors picked the books, but checked in with the sales departments about what they thought about them first. Ten years from now, marketing departments (or the marketing “function”) will be telling editors that the audiences the house can touch need or want a book on this subject or filling that need."
Losing bookstores is a much bigger problem for publishers than it is for readers (Shatzkin Files, 8-14-13)
End of General Trade Publishing Houses: Death or Rebirth in a Niche-by-Niche World, an early piece (5-31-07)
7 starter principles for digital book marketing learned from Peter McCarthy (8-12-13)
Finding the right digital services is today’s challenge for publishers (8-8-13)
The totality of the relationship is what matters (8-6-13), apropos the dustup between CBS and Time Warner's cable services, between Amazon and Macmillan). "One senior executive from a big publisher was recently expressing frustration at what it took to set up a functioning direct relationship with consumers, opining that publishers couldn’t sell ebooks profitably one-at-a-time. Only a subscription model of some kind could work. That’s likely to be true, but underscores again that there needs to be a relationship larger than individual transactions to enable individual transactions."

Further ruminations about the complex notion of scale in publishing (Shatzkin, 5-23-13). Further fascinating analysis of the advantages traditional publishers are losing in this new digital world, and the advantages of publishing with a niche publisher that knows how to reach its market (as Hay House, does, for example, with mind-body-spirit titles).
“Unbundling” in the book business: the fourth big trend (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 3-13-13). "Until the turn of the 21st century, it was the exceptional author who had any kind of “platform” that could be employed for the book’s marketing: something like a TV show or newspaper column or fame achieved some other way that could be a springboard for promoting the book. ... What changed before the publishing business changed is that many of us have some sort of platform now, as in 'a way to reach an audience.'" Another interesting point for authors: "Narrative writing, particularly fiction, works as ebooks. The others don’t. That increasingly encourages publishers who depend primarily on narrative reading to stick to it and to not publish books of other kinds." But read the whole piece!
The three forces that are shaping 21st century book publishing: scale, verticalization, and atomization (Shatzkin, 4-15-13).
Atomization: publishing as a function rather than an industry (Shatzkin, 3-19-13) "The bottom line is that most people employed publishing books perhaps as soon as 10 years from now won’t be working for publishing companies....it is only print-in-stores that requires (or benefits from) a big publishing organization." And "Soon — in the next 5 or 10 years — every university (perhaps most departments within a university), every law firm and accounting firm and consulting firm, certainly every content creator in other media, as well as most manufacturers and retailers will become book publishers too."
More on atomization: why the new publishers are coming (Shatzkin, 3-26-13) Includes a list of magazines and newspapers that are going into book publishing (often ebooks) and companies serving the first wave of fledgling publishers; "the aspirants so far have been content-generating companies."
Full-service publishers are rethinking what they can offer (Shatzkin, 9-4-12)
“Scale” is a theme everybody in publishing needs to be thinking about, so we’ve made it the focus of our next Publishers Launch Conference (Shatzkin, 5-8-13, about a conference scheduled for 5-29-13)
How the ebook evolution might get started in other places (Shatzkin, 4-30-13)
Vendor-managed inventory: why it is more important than ever (Shatzkin, 4-23-13)
Paying authors more might be the best economics for publishers in the long run (Mike Shatzkin, 12-12-11). Shatzkin, who is publisher-centric, writes: "Making deals with authors is the publishers’ price of admission to the game....Declared royalty rates that are closer to what Amazon can offer are critical for publishers to turn around a PR war for new authors that they have been losing. ...Pay authors more so you can pay retailers less. There will be a direct connection between the two."
Trying to explain publishing, or understand it, often remains a great challenge (Mike Shatzkin, 10-31-12, on how the world of justice does not understand the essence of book publishing--comparing the Bobbs Merrill decisions a century ago to what's going on now, and publishers' ever-diminishing margin)
Rethinking book marketing and its organization in the big houses (Shatzkin, 12-17-12). "...it is much easier for marketers to build up data around a category of readers than it is around any single title.... as far as I can tell, no house is close to accepting the reality that the title-driven and pubdate-driven marketing techniques that we all grew up with will shortly have outlived their usefulness." Examples of audience-focused publishing (reaching audiences through subject-specific, not book-specific, channels):
~Jane Friedman and Open Books (backlist titles of strong authors)
~Chelsea Green (whose focus is “the politics and practice of sustainable living")
~Hay House (mind-body-spirit)
~Harlequin (romance)
Things to think about as the digital book revolution gains global steam (The Shatzkin Files, 8-27-12)
Ebook growth explosive; serious disruptions around the corner (Mike Shatzkin, 8-12-09). Was he right?
The ebook marketplace could definitely confuse the average consumer (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files 9-17-11)
Rethinking what's happening with ebook prices (Shatzkin Files, 9-13-12). As always, read the comments, too.
Digital Book World lets us look at ebook bestsellers by price, and things are revealed (The Shatzkin Files, 8-20-12)
Does Pew study prove ebooks in libraries are safe for publishers? (The Shatzkin Files, 6-22-12)
The ebook marketplace is a long way from settled (The Shatzkin Files 5-7-12). Will the big publishers give up Digital Rights Management (DRM)??? Maybe so.
Do enhanced ebooks create a comeback trail for packagers? (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 2-20-10)
Searching for the formula to deliver illustrated books as ebooks (Shatzkin Files, 11-13-11)
Media Chiefs Form Venture to E-Publish (David Carr, NY Times, 9-18-12). As discussed by Mike Shatzkin: New publishing companies are starting that are much leaner than their established competitors (Shatzkin Files, 9-24-12). With changing models in book publishing, publishers will "offload everything except the functions that are absolutely core to publishing: editorial selection and development, rights management, and marketing." Of special interest to authors: Shatzkin's points are particularly of interest to authors: "We are getting closer to the day when all a publisher really will need to 'own' is the ability to acquire and develop good books and ways to reach the core audience for them persuasively and inexpensively. " (Those are paths authors can take, too.)
True “do-it-yourself” publishing success stories will probably become rare (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, Idea Logical Company 11-6-11). "if a conventional publisher is providing the full range of services that our speakers said is needed to maximize sales: good covers, changing covers, dynamic pricing, constantly improved metadata, monitoring to catch glitch take-downs, as well as developmental editing, line-editing, copy-editing, and proofreading, the author wouldn’t be doing badly at all to get 35% of the consumer’s dollar for an ebook." (But publishers are doing less and less editing and proofing, and they don't seem to know any more about e-publishing and experiments with pricing than some authors do. And they expect authors to do most of the promotion.--PM)
End of General Trade Publishing Houses: Death or Rebirth in a Niche-by-Niche World (Shatzkin, 5-31-07).


E-book rights, developments, conflicts, pricing, and struggles for market
On Amazon's Kindle, Sony Reader, iPad, and more

Read what's here if your publisher is asking you to agree to new e-rights retroactively!)

Here are a few key places to learn what's going on in the eBook digital revolution:
Digital Book World. Check out the roundup of coverage of Digital Book World 2011.
TeleRead (news and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics), which has a good blo+g.
MobileRead (excellent forums "for mobile geeks seeking information and advice for keeping their gadgets happy").
Let me know what key sources I've overlooked.

Are books and the internet about to merge? (Damien Walter, The Guardian, 2-15-12) The difference between ebooks and the internet is minimal, and we should be glad the two are growing closer and closer

Six book publishing lessons from Open Road Media’s first three years (Laura Hazard Oswen, paidContent, 5-23-13). When Open Road Media launched in 2009, the idea of an all-digital publisher was still fairly new. Nearly four years later, it’s encountering more competition as publishers of all sizes hone their digital strategies. This is the lesson an author notices: "'... print publishers, for the better part of 10 years, have been trying to license back the digital rights to everything in their backlist.' One reason they don’t always succeed — allowing publishers like Rosetta and Open Road to get the rights instead — is that they almost always still only offer a 25 percent royalty (rather than a cut of the sales) and they are more focused on new titles than on the backlist." [emphasis added.] Among the six lessons learned: Video is Open Road's "special sauce" -- not book trailers, but video of the author. “The author is the brand. The title is not the brand.”

Media Chiefs Form Venture to E-Publish (David Carr, NY Times, 9-18-12). As discussed by Mike Shatzkin: New publishing companies are starting that are much leaner than their established competitors (Shatzkin Files, 9-24-12). With changing models in book publishing, publishers will "offload everything except the functions that are absolutely core to publishing: editorial selection and development, rights management, and marketing." Of special interest to authors: Shatzkin's points are particularly of interest to authors: "We are getting closer to the day when all a publisher really will need to 'own' is the ability to acquire and develop good books and ways to reach the core audience for them persuasively and inexpensively. " (Those are paths authors can take, too.)

Who wins and loses from DoJ's suit against Big Publishers and Apple? -- a roundup (with links) of stories and analysis about the Department of Justice's plan to sue five major publishers and Apple for colluding to raise the prices of electronic books (eBooks).

EU investigating if publishers conspired with Apple on e-book pricing (Chris Foresman, Ars Technica 12-6-11)

New Service for Authors Seeking to Self-Publish E-Books (Julie Bosman, NY Times 10-2-11). The new distribution and marketing service of The Perseus Books Group will allow authors to self-publish their own e-books. "The new service will give authors an alternative to other self-publishing services and a favorable revenue split that is unusual in the industry: 70 percent to the author and 30 percent to the distributor. Traditional publishers normally provide authors a royalty of about 25 percent for e-books.
"The service arrives as authors are increasingly looking for ways to circumvent the traditional publishing model, take advantage of the infinite shelf space of the e-book world and release their own work. That’s especially the case for reviving out-of-print books whose rights have reverted back to the author."

True “do-it-yourself” publishing success stories will probably become rare (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, Idea Logical Company 11-6-11). "if a conventional publisher is providing the full range of services that our speakers said is needed to maximize sales: good covers, changing covers, dynamic pricing, constantly improved metadata, monitoring to catch glitch take-downs, as well as developmental editing, line-editing, copy-editing, and proofreading, the author wouldn’t be doing badly at all to get 35% of the consumer’s dollar for an ebook." (But publishers are doing less and less editing and proofing, and they don't seem to know any more about e-publishing and experiments with pricing than some authors do. And they expect authors to do most of the promotion.--PM)

An aspect of the Amazon-Apple battle the tech world doesn’t care much about (Shatzkin Files 10-2-11)

Will book publishers be able to maintain primacy as ebook publishers? (Shatzkin Files, 10-9-11). "Magazines and television networks and web sites are recognizing the reality that self-publishing ebooks is something they can do themselves without the complications (or revenue-sharing) that working with a publisher would require....can book publishers add enough value to the ebook publishing process to persuade another brand with content credibility, one that has direct contact with the vertical community that is the audience for their books, to do their ebooks through the publisher rather than directly?"

The ebook marketplace could definitely confuse the average consumer (Shatzkin Files 9-17-11)

Here's a good explanation of the economics of publishers using "agency pricing" to sell ebooks: E-Book Prices Prop Up Print Siblings (Jeffrey A.Trachtenberg, Wall Street Journal, 9-12-11). Worried about Amazon's deep-discount pricing, the six major publishers adopted a new pricing model, known as "agency pricing," under which publishers set the price on a book (to keep prices high enough to make a profit) and retailers act as an agent on each sale, taking 30% and returning 70% to the publisher. Trachtenberg explains who gets what under different scenarios, and more. Read the graphic sidebar.

Amazon in Talks to Launch Digital-Book Library Amazon.com Inc. is talking with book publishers about launching a Netflix Inc.-like service for digital books, in which customers would pay an annual fee to access a library of content. Some fear this would downgrade the value of the book business. (Stu Woo and Jeffrey Trachtenberg, WSJ 9-12-11)

A few great Publisher vs Author vs eBook articles. (Switch11, iReaderReview, 7-17-10)

Amazon Kindle for PC E-Book Software. "Amazon's Kindle family gained a new member today with the arrival of the free Amazon Kindle for PC reader app," writes Yardena Arar, of PC World, in a review of the new Kindle software for reading books on a computer (Washington Post, 11-12-09)

Amazon lets publishers and writers disable Kindle 2's read-aloud feature (Alana Semuels, Business, Los Angeles Times 2-28-09: The Authors Guild objected to device's text-to-speech function, saying Amazon doesn't have the right to essentially turn e-books into audio books)

Amazon Threatens Publishers as Apple Looms (Motoko Rich and Brad Stone, NYTimes, 3-17-10). Rumors swirl that Amazon could revoke the buy buttons for books by Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, or Hachette if the major publishers don't strike an eBook deal with the online bookseller. "The hardball approach comes less than two months after Amazon shocked the publishing world by removing the “buy” buttons from its site for thousands of printed books from Macmillan, one of the country’s six largest publishers, in a dispute over e-book pricing."

Anatomy of a design car-crash, or why authors still need publishers. Simon Appleby, FUTUReBOOK 5-25-11, about the terrible covers put on on eBook versions of Catherine Cookson's novels--whether to blame agent Sonia Land for this is not clear)

Apple's 30%, the long tail and a future of serialized content (Seth Godin on how, if tablets are to "be more than game platforms," Apple needs to reward creators (not tax them 30%) and "create promotional channels so that curated great stuff (not merely things from big companies) has a chance to reach a mass audience").

Apple reveals new service for authors to sell their books directly in the iBookstore (David W. Martin, MacLife, 5-26-10). You no longer have to use a service like Smashwords to put your book in Apple's iBookstore.

Apple's disruption of the ebook market has nothing to do with the tablet (Mike Shatzkin on the implications of Apple's switch from the "wholesale" model to the "agency" model, putting control of ebook prices back in hands of major publishers)

As Library E-Books Live Long, Publisher Sets Expiration Date (Julie Bosman, NY Times, 3-14-11).Librarians feel gobsmacked by HarperCollins' 26-loans restriction on e-book use in libraries. E-books "are typically available to one user at a time, often for a seven- or 14-day period. But unlike print books, library users don’t have to show up at the library to pick them up — e-books can be downloaded from home, onto mobile devices, personal computers and e-readers, including Nooks, Sony Readers, laptops and smartphones. (Library e-books cannot be read on Amazon’s Kindle e-reader.) After the designated checkout period, the e-book automatically expires from the borrower’s account."
See also:
What's up with publishers not selling ebooks to libraries? (Writers & Editors, 3-19, 12)

Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books (Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, WSJ, 9-26-10)."The new economics of the e-book make the author's quandary painfully clear: A new $28 hardcover book returns half, or $14, to the publisher, and 15%, or $4.20, to the author. Under many e-book deals currently, a digital book sells for $12.99, returning 70%, or $9.09, to the publisher and typically 25% of that, or $2.27, to the author. The upshot: From an e-book sale, an author makes a little more than half what he or she makes from a hardcover sale....The Authors Guild and some literary agents are urging publishers to raise the author's share of e-books to as high as 50%, arguing that there is less overhead for a digital book. Thus far, publishers are resisting." (Listen to Marshall Crook on the history of the book.)

Authors Self-Publish E-Books:
Rowling Conjures Up Harry Potter E-Books. Web Store for Digital 'Potter' Editions Promises to Open New Chapter for Industry (Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Paul Sonne, WSJ 6-23-11). "The move could inspire other authors, large and small, to pronounce themselves independent agents in hopes of tapping more lucrative paydays. Ms. Rowling refused for years to release her books in electronic format, retaining the digital rights for herself.
"While most other authors have already handed over their digital rights to their publishers—most recently, John Grisham—Ms. Rowling's deal could prompt them to self-publish when their deals come up for renewal or demand higher royalty rates than the 25% of net sales that most publishers offer today on digital editions....All seven Harry Potter novels will be available as e-books in multiple languages and will be device agnostic." Sign up at Pottermore to be notified when and how e-books will be available.
Rowling (and her agent) leaves Christopher Little Agency (Charlotte Williams, The Bookseller 6-30-11).

Back to School: Rethinking the Textbook (Joseph Esposito, The Scholarly Kitchen 9-13-11)

Baker & Taylor has the next big thing in ebooks. Really! (Mike Shatzkin, Idealogical,12-8-09) and Ray Kurzweil Teams with Baker & Taylor on New eReader Software (Calvin Reid, PW, 10-15-09). Blio software can work on "any device with an operating system."

Bend me, shape me, any way you want me: Flexible display screens (The Economist, 1-22-09, reports that electronic screens as thin as paper are coming soon)

The big guys don’t see the fundamental problem, Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files 12-17-09. He says: "selling content as a publisher is a business that is going to just get harder and harder until it won’t really be much of a business anymore." He holds Publishers Marketplace as an example of a model that does work in this marketplace for eyeballs. "Publishers have always focused primarily on the content. Survival in the future will require focusing on the market." The answer: "In the digital age it will make much more economic sense for the owner of the audience to find the content rather than the way we’ve always done it, which is the other way around." Read this article!

Book publishers in denial on Amazon's e-book sales (Daniel Roberts, CNNMoney, 5-29-11)

Book Publishers Need to Wake Up and Smell the Disruption (Mathew Ingram, GigaOm, 3-1-11). "And evidence continues to accumulate that e-books aren’t just something established authors with an existing brand can make use of, but are also becoming a real alternative to traditional book contracts for emerging authors as well — all of which should serve as a massive wake-up call for publishers...." Publishers expect authors to believe 30% of e-book revenues is a fair deal, when authors making direct deals can get 70% of e-book revenues?

The Business Rusch. Fiction writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch (4-13-11) on inaccurate e-book royalty statements issued by the Big Six traditional publishers, and a follow-up column a week later: Royalty Statements Update (4-20-11)

Cader's analysis of the e-book price wars: Two blogs start their discussion by saying anyone who wants to be in the know about book publishing should pay $20 a month for a subscription to Michael Cader's
Publishers Lunch Deluxe or at least subscribe to his free Publishers Lunch. They then relay his criticism of the NY Times piece on e-book pricing, E-Book Price Increase May Stir Readers’ Passions (Rich and Stone 2-10-10). In Notes from a lecture by Professor Cader(2-13-10), Mike Shatzkin quotes Cader as saying that Amazon (and Sony and Apple) are making their money from the sale of expensive e-readers (Kindle, $200) and Amazon is losing money on the $9.99 prices of bestsellers that that they are using as loss leaders to sell their reader. Moreover, they're not giving credit to the publishers who are making backlist titles of bestselling authors available free as e-books, in hopes of bringing new readership to those authors. Read Shatzkin on the subject, subscribe and read the original in Publishers Lunch, or check out Michael Cader's Masterclass (Dennis Loy Johnson's Moby Lives, a column about books and writers).

Can brick bookstores survive? Mike Shatzkin (The Shatzkin Files) on how eBooks are affecting retail operations:
Why are you for killing bookstores? (2-4-10: "If you are for the most rapid possible adoption of ebooks, you are for killing bookstores faster....The book business has always been one with very low financial barriers to entry. Ebook publishing makes getting into the game even cheaper. It is also going to bring increased competition to book publishers from content-creators outside publishing. None of this is appealing if your power as a publisher is the ability to control shelf space and get fast reprints."
Where will bookstores be five years from now? (7-11-10). Another analysis of "the see-saw relationship between ebook growth and bookstore survival. (When one goes up, the other goes down.)"
Where do we lose the shelf space and how much do we lose? (8-8-10) Two questions about the impact of digital change on publishing are almost impossible to answer: "One is: how much of the sale of ebooks is incremental business and how much of it is cannibalization of prior print sales? The other is: what will be the fate of independent bookstores? The two are connected."

Can e-publishing overcome copyright concerns? by David Pogue (New York Times 5-22-08)

Data helps us understand ebook pricing impacts. Mike Shatzkin (Shatzkin Files, 6-15-11) on Dan Lubart's post explaining that "ranking" and "sales" are not the same thing -- that comparing sales of the 99-cent ebook with the $19.99 ebook is comparing apples and oranges. See Dan Lubart's post on eBook Market: Premium-price eBooks rebound from 'Sunshine' effect and Shatzkin's Amazon’s Sunshine Program is another wake-up call for the Big Six. Fascinating analyses of price effects in a fast-changing market. The bottom line: It would be foolish to follow Amazon's bargain-basement pricing model for premium books (as opposed to the type you buy o impulse in the supermarket checkout line, to borrow Mike Shatzkin's father's explanation).

The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of the book business. . Can the iPad topple the Kindle, and save the book business? (Ken Auletta, Publish or Perish, The New Yorker, 4-26-10). Responses: Erik Sherman, The New Yorker's Ken Auletta Needs a Calculator, not an E-Book Reader, and Mike Shatzkin, Ruminations on Returns

"Debut pricing" for ebooks: a better idea than withholding them (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 8-23-09) and Debut pricing: my idea, great idea, unfortunately can’t work (Shatzkin's follow-up entry). In a follow-up story, also on ebook pricing, Shatzkin writes, about the race for market domination:"Epub is probably the publishers’ best defense against Amazon and the Kindle. With all other device manufacturers able to coalesce around a non-Amazon standard, we have a situation analogous to the VHS-Beta conflict of the 1980s and the Mac-Windows duke-out of the late 80s and early 90s. On one side, we have a standard that remains closed to enable “control” (Beta, Mac, Kindle.) On the other side, we have a wide-open standard to enable multi-player use (VHS, Windows, Epub.) In the two cases we know about because they are historical, the consensus was that the “loser” of the numbers race (Beta and Mac) provided a superior technological performance. Kindle does not seem to have even that element in its favor. Whether you use something larger that does e-ink (Kindle, Sony Reader) or something you’re carrying anyway that is backlit (the iPhone or any other smartphone) is a matter of personal preference. But does anybody doubt that a world full of hardware creators will soon make a device that is similar but demonstrably better than the Kindle?" Read this if you're trying to figure out which device to buy, or whether to wait.

Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers (Electronic Frontier Foundation white paper)

Digital Perception, thriller writer JA Konrath's entry on his blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, makes a compelling case against publishers trying to raise the price of e-books: it will encourage more e-book piracy (which is easy). Elsewhere Konrath talks about the money he's making selling e-books of his old titles that NY book publishers didn't want. In June, his royalty rate went from 35% to 70%. Surely Amazon would have kept getting its 65% if it weren't under pressure to create more favorable terms--first from Sony and now, more effectively perhaps, from Apple.

Digital Reader Penetration Accelerates: Codex survey finds 21% of book buyers own an e-reading device (Jim Milliot, PW, 11-29-10)

Digital Text Platform (lets you upload and format your books for sale in Kindle Platform

The digital transition really IS harder for trade publishers than for other publishers (The Shatzkin Files 7-3-09)

Dual display e-book reader (story on NewScientist blog 6-25-08)

eBook Basics and Beyond (Writers and Editors site)

E-book complexity: good news for publishers (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 6-3-09)

Ebook growth explosive; serious disruptions around the corner Mike Shatzkin, 8-12-09

eBookGuru(digital magazine devoted to eBooks)

E-Book Price Increase May Stir Readers’ Passions (Motoko Rich and Brad Stone, NY Times 2-10-10)

E-book readers are better, cheaper than ever (Consumer Reports' New Ratings, 10-14-10). For more info,check out CR's E-book reader buying advice

The e-book revolution favours the agile (but deep pockets help), Dan,The Casual Optimist (books, publishing, ideas)--like their quote: "The basis for optimism is sheer terror." ~Oscar Wilde

E-Book Royalty Math: The House Always Wins (2-3-11 -- be sure to read this and the next one), part of an advocacy series by the Authors Guild. See also How Apple Saved Barnes & Noble. Probably.(2-2-11), The Right Battle at the Right Time (2-2-11), and The E-Book Royalty Mess (2-11-11).

The E-Book Royalty Mess (Authors Guild 2-11-11). To mark the one-year anniversary of the Great Blackout, Amazon’s weeklong shut down of e-commerce for nearly all of Macmillan’s titles, AG sent out a series of alerts on the state of e-books, authorship, and publishing. The first installment (“How Apple Saved Barnes & Noble. Probably.”) discussed the outcome, of that battle, which introduced a modicum of competition into the distribution of e-books. The second, (“E-Book Royalty Math: The House Always Wins”) took up the long-simmering e-royalty debate, and showed that publishers generally do significantly better on e-book sales than on hardcover sales, while authors always do worse. This installment looks at the implications of that disparity (using as examples "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, "Hell's corner" by David Baldacci, and "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand) and suggests "an interim solution to minimize the harm to authors: negotiate for an e-royalty floor tied to the prevailing print book royalty amount.... While this wouldn’t restore authors to full partnership status in the sale of their work, it would prevent them from being harmed as publishers try to maximize their revenues. This is only an interim solution, however. In the long run, authors will demand to be restored to full partnership, and someone will give them that status."

eBook sales comparisons to print aren’t always what they seem (Mike Shatzkin, 5-20-11). Comparing print shipments to the sales channels with ebook consumer sales is comparing apples to oranges. And "fluctuations in trade ordering behavior ...are also partly driven by the publishers’ collective decision about when to issue new books." Not to mention calculating returns.

Ebooks are making me recall the history of mass-market publishing Mike Shatzkin's fascinating history of how the mass-market paperback revolution affected book publishing compares that huge shift to what ebooks are doing now.

E-books: Not so fast! (Bryan Rosner on what publishers have to fear, IBPA)

The e-Book Test: Do Electronic Versions Deter Piracy? by David Pogue (New York Times, Personal Tech 6-19-08)

eBook vs. Hardcover: Beyond the Headlines (Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Digital Book World, 7-20-10). His most interesting points (aside from Amazon massaging statistics): "For Amazon, it’s not about the device and never has been; the long game was always about leveraging their existing customer base and becoming the dominant seller of eBooks....eBooks fit perfectly into Amazon’s long tail strategy, and only Barnes & Noble comes close to having the kind of built-in advantage they do to capitalize on a CD/​MP3-style digital transition as many readers re-purchase their favorites in eBook format from the path of least resistance: the retailer they currently buy their print books from, who already has their credit card information and the ability to make targeted recommendations based on their purchase history." And "A significant percentage of the eBooks Amazon offers for sale were NEVER published in hardcover format; many more are from independent publishers and authors taking advantage of the lower barriers to entry. The room to grow is exponential. Genres and niches that get limited shelf space in the brick and mortar book world are perfectly suited for the digital book world."

The ebook windowing controversy has subtext (Mike Shatzkin, 12-10-09). Shatzkin writes: "This is really about the agents and publishers trying to take control of ebook pricing, and value perception, back from Amazon." And this: "There are two important aspects of this that will play out later. One is that what the publishers can do to Amazon today, the authors can do to the publishers tomorrow. If the publishers could sell the ebooks of big books successfully from their sites, then the big authors could also sell them directly without a publisher. The other is that this is a 'last gasp' of a 'static product' publishing economy. Big moneymakers ten years from now won’t often come from just selling the same content over and over again, but will more often come from content that triggers a more extended interaction. The most future-oriented thinkers are already past this battle, although there’s still a lot of fighting left to be done."

ebrary (a content platform)

Fear the Kindle: Amazon's amazing e-book reader is bad news for the publishing industry (Farhad Manjoo, Slate, 2-26-09), admires the Kindle 2 but fears its implications: "Amazon's reader is a brilliant device that shanghais book buyers and the book industry into accepting a radically diminished marketplace for published works. If the Kindle succeeds on its current terms, and all signs suggest it'll be a blockbuster (thanks Oprah!), Amazon will make a bundle. But everyone else with a stake in a vibrant book industry — authors, publishers, libraries, chain bookstores, indie bookstores, and, not least, readers — stands to lose out." An honest look at the 800-pound gorilla that endangers the publishing industry: Amazon.com.

5 Reasons Why E-Books Aren't There Yet (John C. Abell, Epicenter, 6-3-11). Thoughtful and persuasive.

Flexible display screens: Bend me, shape me, any way you want me (The Economist, 1-22-09, reports that electronic screens as thin as paper are coming soon)
The once and future e-book: on reading in the digital age (John Siracusa, ars technica, 2-1-09 — check out the comments after reading the article)

From where I sit, you can’t actually “sell” an ebook. Customers are not really buying those eBooks, writes Mike Shatzkin; they're licensing them. When I buy a physical copy of a book, I can lend it to as many people as I want; I can't do that with an eBook, which is the clear sign that I've paid for a license to read, not a book. Publishers don't make that clear, and should. This has important implications for publishing contracts, where royalties are paid on numbers of books sold, at 15% tops. But licensing of subsidiary rights (e.g., to book clubs) traditionally involves a 50-50 split in income, with half to the author and half to the publisher.

Further Thoughts of a Novice E-Reader (Verlyn Klinkenborg, Editorial Notebook, NY Times 5-28-10). Among drawbacks of the e-book, as Klinkenborg sees them: ugliness of the fonts etc. (as opposed to the text), the system for showing where you are in a book, the fact that you may be reading an earlier, inferior version of a book, and the fact that most e-readers don't permit short-term borrowing (as of library books)--that you have to own the book to read it.

The Future of Digital Distribution and Ebook Marketing (Tim O'Reilly at the O'Reilly Tools o Change Conference 2010, on YouTube)

Google sides against Amazon in e-book format wars (Brennon Slattery, PCWorld, 8-27-09)

HarperCollins largely abandons audiobook CDs, bundles audio rights with digital (Chris Meadows, TeleRead, 2-8-11). "A Simon & Schuster rep pointed out that CDs still do not have to sell too many copies to turn a profit."

HarperCollins Responds to Library eBook Controversy (Jason Boog, GalleyCat, 3-1-11). The publisher decided that eBooks can only be checked out 26 times by library patrons until they expire, setting off protests and a call for library boycotts.

How e-Books Could Smarten Up Kids and Stretch Library Dollars: A National Plan (David Rothman, Teleread, for Huffington Post 10-22-09)

How much should an e-book cost? (Motoko Rich, "Steal this book, for $9.99," NYTimes, 5-16-09)

How the e-book landscape is becoming a walled garden (Mathew Ingram, Gigaom, 2-29-12). Apple’s decision to reject an e-book by Seth Godin because it contains hyperlinks to books in the Amazon store is just another example of how the oligopoly that controls the market for e-books is turning the landscape of reading into a walled garden.

How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write (Steven Johnson, Wall Street Journal, 4-20-09)

How will you win at ebook retailing? Mike Shatzkin comparing features of competing e-readers and wondering which will win out. Read this if you're shopping!

In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are History (Tamar Lewis, NYTimes, 8-8-09) Mind you, participants on one discussion list questioned that printing and shipping would add up to only 12.5 percent of costs--that figure, it was felt, was too low, especially with postage rates going up.

Industry Statistics: US Trade Wholesale Electronic Book Sales. Look at those sales take off!

Is This the Future of the Digital Book?
Are books too one-dimensional for readers in the digital age, as Vook's Bradley Inman tells Brad Stone (NY Times 8-4-09) Will readers be expecting video in their novels?

Kindle and the future of reading (Nicholson Baker, The New Yorker, 8-3-09)
Insights about the current state of the ebook market (Mike Shatzkin, 10-21-10, discussing the "agency model, wholesale model, and what is being called the 'hybrid' model, but which I would simply call 'a mess that won’t be sustained.'") Shatzkin discusses why publishers are fighting to keep ebook prices high and what publishers (and Amazon) can't say, and why the survival of bookstores is threatened.

The Kindle Swindle (Roy Blount Jr., Op Ed, NY Times, 2-24-09, on the Authors Guild's objections to the Kindle in terms of authors' rights)

Legal Battles Over E-Book Rights to Older Books (Motoko Rich, NYTimes, 12-15-09) on authors' and agents' claim that publishers don't own e-book rights to older backlist titles

**Math of Publishing Meets the E-Book (Motoko rich, NYTimes, 2-28-10, making the case for i-Pad e-book prices)

** Most dramatic publishing event of 2010? Introducing agency pricing! (The Shatzkin Files, 11-30-10). "Control of pricing shifted from the retailer, who could charge whatever it wanted in the wholesale scenario, to the publisher who required the same price across all consumer touchpoints under agency....Shift of pricing control meant shift of responsibility at the point of sale and that meant publishers were now responsible for sales taxes, not the retailer....Control of pricing immediately challenges publishers to get sophisticated, modern, and scientific at how they approach pricing." That's just one point in an interesting analysis of the big picture.

**The once and future e-book: on reading in the digital age (John Siracusa, ars technica -- check out the comments after reading the article

The other comparison: ebook royalties versus ebook self-publishing (Mike Shatzkin 8-30-10)

Pass the Gestalt, Please (Evan Schmittman, Black Plastic Glasses: Musings on Publishing and Life in the Digital Age, 7-15-10). "Ebooks aren’t a secondary or tertiary income stream for publishers like subsidiary rights; ebook income replaces hardcover and/​or paperback income....Allowing each individual part, or right, to be disaggregated and auctioned to the highest bidder serves only those who make profit from short-term gain." (Either he doesn't understand what subsidiary rights are, or I don't; I believe paperback rights are subsidiary rights, and the paperback was also considered a threat to hardcover sales.)


Penguin CEO Adjusts to E-Books but Sees Room for the Old (Jeffrey, A. Trachtenberg, WSJ, 4-9-11, reports on his interview with Penguin CEO John Makinson. "There is a growing distinction between the book reader and the book owner. The book reader just wants the experience of reading the book, and that person is a natural digital consumer: Instead of a disposable mass market book, they buy a digital book. The book owner wants to give, share and shelve books. They love the experience. As we add value to the physical product, particularly the trade paperback and hardcover, the consumer will pay a little more for the better experience....There will always be a market for physical books, just as I think there will always be bookstores."

Pressure mounts over Apple's 30% subscription charge (BBC News, 2-18-11, on Apple insisting on one-third of the subscription income for readers who subscribe to newspapers via their iPhones and iPads).

The printed book's path to oblivion (Mike Shatzkin, 8-15-10)

Publishers and authors battle over digital (e-book) rights (Pat McNees, Writers and Editors blog post, 12-13-09)

Publishers Test What Prices iPad Market Will Bear (Ed Sutherland, Cult of Mac, 4-30-10)

Random House Claims Digital Rights to Past Books (Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, WSJ, 12-14-09)

Random House, HarperCollins Look to Lock In Low E-Book Royalty Rates: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself. Message to all authors from the Authors Guild. Be sure to read this one, if you have, or expect to have, any kind of book contract. Main points, in brief (but read the details):
1. Get the absolute right to renegotiate.
2. Negotiate for a royalty floor.
3. Double-check your reversion of rights clause.
4. Check your contract; you may control e-rights.
5. If you can't obtain adequate safeguards, you may want to bide your time.

Random House's Retroactive Rights Grab (an alert from the Authors Guild)

The royalty math: print, wholesale model, agency model (Mike Shatzkin, 8-26-10)

Scott Turow on Random House: Local Booksellers May Be the Big Winners. Joining the other major publishers in adopting the agency model may save brick-and-mortar bookstores, "many of which are now selling e-books but cannot afford to lose money on those sales, a fighting chance in the new print + digital landscape...Many readers will soon be able to support their local booksellers when they buy e-books, without paying a stiff price for their loyalty.
"Barnes & Noble benefitted more than anyone from publishers' adoption of the agency model. It still had to subsidize sales of many Random House titles to stay in the game with Amazon, but it didn't have to lose money on the sales of other titles. Barnes & Noble's share of the e-book market grew at a pace that surprised everyone in the industry and is now approaching 20%." Next step: "restoring the traditional division of proceeds between authors and publishers. Random House and other major publishers have a lot of work to do on that score."

Smashwords (your ebook, your way--a digital self-publishing platform and online bookstore)

Some Fear Google’s Power in Digital Books (Noam Cohen, New York Times, Link by Link, 2-1-09)

Stephen Covey's digital rights deal with Amazon startles New York publishers

TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home (a blog with news & views on e-books, libraries, publishing etc.—including recommended free reads)

Tools of Change (links to O'Reilly's annual conference exploring emerging trends in digital publishing)

The Trouble with E-Readers by David Pogue (Scientific American Nov 2010). Electronic books are still far too crude to replace ink and paper, writes Pogue. They're pricey, pages turn slowly, they're copy-protected so you can read them only on the technology for which you bought them (each company using a different protection scheme), you can't pass a book along to a friend when you've finished it (the way you could a printed book), and you're unlikely to be able to read it years hence, when technologies have changed.

The Very Rich Indie Writer. Eli James, on the Novelr blog (about reading, writing and publishing Internet fiction), lists monthly sales figures for Amanda Hocking and other Internet novelists, to show that you don't have to be traditionally published and don't have to be an A-list famous to sell a lot of e-books.

A Walk Through a Crop of Readers (Danielle Belopotosky, NY Times, Personal Tech, 2-25-09), compares Amazon’s Kindle 2 to Kindle 1 and the Sony Reader.

What does Amazon.com's rosy ebook news mean? (Carolyn Kellogg, Jacket Copy blog, L.A. Times, 7-29-10)

Why Some E-Books Cost More Than the Hardcover (Nathan Bransford's excellent history and explanation of the differences between the agency model and the wholesale model in e-book discounting and pricing.

Why We Can't Afford Not to Create a Well-Stocked National Digital Library System by David Rothman, founder of TeleRead, in The Atlantic (2-8-11)

Will Books Be Napsterized? (Randall Stross, Digital Domain, NYTimes 10-3-09)

Will eBooks Make Midlist Authors Extinct? (James McGrath Morris, Huffington Post, 6-9-10)

With Kindle, the Best Sellers Don’t Need to Sell (Motoko Rich, NY Times 1-22-2010, on why publishers are giving "sample" books of little-known authors away for free).

Yahoo News: All major publishers but one raising e-book prices. Random House is the last publisher sticking to traditional model for e-book sales; other major publishers switching to "agency model." Result: higher e-book prices. Christopher Null, 4-1-10). But see Mike Shatzkin's 'We’ve had “gradually”; get ready for “suddenly”: "When I examined the Random House tactic of staying out of the iBook store initially, I said it made sense but that it constituted a bet that iBooks sales wouldn’t be robust right out of the box. Now that sales results seem to have proven that conjecture (which I shared) wrong, I’d expect that Random House will join the other big publishers in moving to the Agency model to enable them to join the iBook offering.'

Finally, the Authors Guild, in The Right Battle at the Right Time, writes: "Macmillan's current fight with Amazon over e-book business models is a necessary one for the industry. The stakes are high, particularly for Macmillan authors. In a squabble over e-books, Amazon quickly and pre-emptively escalated matters by removing the buy buttons from all Macmillan titles (with some exceptions for scholarly and educational books), in all editions, including all physical book editions. Thousands of authors and titles are affected; hardest and most unfairly hit are authors with new books published by Macmillan that are in their prime sales period."

And Amazon is tough on its own behalf, not on readers' behalf. The Authors Guild again: "Amazon has a well-deserved reputation for playing hardball. When it doesn't get its way with publishers, Amazon tends to start removing "buy buttons" from the publisher's titles. It's a harsh tactic, by which Amazon uses its dominance of online bookselling to punish publishers who fail to fall in line with Amazon's business plans. Collateral damage in these scuffles, of course, are authors and readers. Authors lose their access to millions of readers who shop at Amazon; readers find some of their favorite authors' works unavailable. Generally, the ending is not a good one for the publisher or its authors -- Amazon's hold on the industry, controlling an estimated 75% of online trade book print sales in the U.S., is too strong for a publisher to withstand. The publisher caves, and yet more industry revenues are diverted to Amazon. This isn't good for those who care about books. Without a healthy ecosystem in publishing, one in which authors and publishers are fairly compensated for their work, the quality and variety of books available to readers will inevitably suffer."

AG links to a quick rundown on media reactions to the fight over control of e-book prices: Amazon Revealed: It Hates You, and It Hates Publishers (Kit Eaton, Fast Company, 2-1-10). Eaton adds: "It's clear the move was inspired by Apple's iPad and simultaneous iBooks launch event, which promises a fairer share, more favorable terms and conditions than Amazon, and higher price points." (Fast Company's pieces on the iPad include Peripherals: The Forgotten Killer Feature of the iPad and How the iPad Could Drive Up College Tuition .

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When an author should self-publish and how that might change (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 4-17-14)
New data on the Long Tail impact suggests rethinking history and ideas about the future of publishing (6-25-14) "So far, the commercially successful self-published authors overwhelmingly, if not entirely, fall into two categories. There are authors who have reclaimed a backlist of previously published titles and self-published them. And there are authors of original genre fiction who write prolifically, putting many titles into the marketplace quickly. Successful self-publishing authors are often in both categories but very few are in neither. Those two categories are nearly 100% of the self-publishing success stories but a minority of the books from publishers."
At London Book Fair, Authors Encouraged to Think Like Entrepreneurs (Roger Tagholm, Publishing Perspectives, 4-18-13)
How Much Does Self-Publishing a Book Cost? (indie fantasy author Lindsay Buroker, 11-29-12)
New Publisher Authors Trust: Themselves (Leslie Kaufman, Media & Advertising, NY times, 4-16-13). "David Mamet and other big authors choose to self-publish, as a way to assume more control over the way their books are promoted. "Then there is the money. While self-published authors get no advance, they typically receive 70 percent of sales."
The three forces that are shaping 21st century book publishing: scale, verticalization, and atomization (Mike Shatzkin, Idea Logical, 4-15-13) To get some sense of the big changes going on in publishing, scroll down on this article to the links to other Shatzkin articles and get yourself an education!
Is there gold in your backlist? Self-publish and find out! (Alan Rinzler, Forbes, 5-18-11). Authors of books that have gone out of print could be sitting on a gold mine--especially authors of bestselling fiction. Rinzler offers do-it-yourself tips.
A Book Is a Start-Up (Betsy Morais, New Yorker Page-Turner blog, 3-14-13)“We believe a writer is not necessarily a writer,” Sanders, the Net Minds C.E.O., said. “They are content containers.”
The Slow Death of the American Author (Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild, NY Times Opinion pages, 4-7-13) The new, global electronic marketplace is rapidly depleting authors' income streams. In March 2013, the Supreme Court decided to allow the importation and resale of foreign editions of American works, which are often cheaper (so royalties are lower). E-books are much less expensive for publishers to produce, but instead of using the savings to be more generous to authors, the six major publishing houses all rigidly insist on clauses limiting e-book royalties to 25 percent of net receipts--roughly half of a traditional hardcover royalty.
Why Do Authors Choose Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing? (Digital Book World and Writer's Digest, 2-6-13). DBW and WD surveyed 5,000 authors to answer this question. Top reasons in descending order: Wide distribution, distribution into bookstores, marketing support from a publisher, publisher prestige, managing the publishing process, editorial help, maintaining or losing creative control, avoiding the expense of self-publishing and distributing, and speed to market. Different factors influence the decisions of aspiring authors, traditionally published authors, self-published authors and hybrid authors (those who have done both). Read more on explanations of the survey results in the forthcoming publication What Authors Want: Understanding Authors in the Era of Self-Publishing ($295--yes, nearly $300--from Digital Book World and Writer's Digest).
Digital publishing and the loss of intimacy (François Joseph de Kermadec, TOC, 4-9-113). The cognitive overhead involved in reading a book has increased tremendously
Top novelists look to ebooks to challenge the rules of fiction (Vanessa Thorpe, The Observer, 3-9-13). Leading British authors drawn to experiment with the scope of interactive storytelling
The Publishing Pinch: Books Undergo an E-Upheaval (Kojo Nnamdi radio show discusses the e-book revolution, WAMU-FM, 11-23-11,with guests Richard Nash (founder of Cursor), Nancy Miller (editorial director, Bloomsbury USA), Madeline McIntosh (pres. of sales, operations and digital, Random House), Jeffrey Trachtenberg (Wall Street Journal), Paul Aiken (exec. director, Authors Guild). Today, though traditional publishing houses still drive much of the book industry, their hold on power is under threat -- ie., Book-selling powerhouse Amazon.com now works directly with authors and publishes books; self-publishing has grown easier and gained some respectability; and Print-on-Demand will soon be in your neighborhood. So what's the role and future of the publishing establishment? And what do shifts within the industry mean for readers and writers alike. (Here's the transcript.
Books That Are Never Done Being Written (Nicholas Carr, Wall Street Journal, 12-31-11). Digital text is ushering in an era of perpetual revision and updating, for better and for worse...as the words of books go from being stamped permanently on sheets of paper to being rendered temporarily on flickering screens.
My Amazon Kindle Single publishing experiment (Larry Dignan, ZDNet, 1-26-11). What you need to know about this new market for pieces that are 10,000 to 30,000 words.
The (almost) DIY Guide to eBook Publishing (Coral Russell, Alchemy of Scrawl, 5-31-11). For genre novelists.
How Writers Can Turn Their Archives into eBooks (Carl Zimmer, The Atlantic, 10-14-10). Zimmer tells how he turned a
group of previously written pieces into the ebook Brain Cuttings.
• Authors' rights in electronic publishing. Lynn Chu: Agent Unplugged, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett's informative interview with this principal of Writers' Representatives LLC, appears in the public part of the January 2010 issue of ASJA Monthly (the confidential section goes to members only). This is as helpful an analysis of what authors should know about their rights in the new electronic world as you are likely to read. It starts on pp. 6-7 of this PDF file,then jumps to p. 13. Print those pages out and highlight them! Her most valuable comments are on book publishers trying to becoming licensing agents for e-rights while taking a print publishers' share of income and without doing what a licensing agent ought to do, and since authors will very quickly learn how much they can do without the publishers, they are playing a dangerous game. Authors: there IS no standard on e-publishing terms, so do your homework. At a minimum, read this article.
Authors catch fire with self-published e-books .Carol Memmott, USA Today, 2-11, reports that young Amanda Hocking's self-published (digitally) young-adult paranormal novels are selling hundreds of thousands of copies through online bookstores. "Hocking credits her success to aggressive self-promotion on her blog, Facebook and Twitter, word of mouth and writing in a popular genre — her books star trolls, vampires and zombies." But she's not the only such success in self-publishing.
Novel rejected? There’s an e-book gold rush! (Neely Tucker, Washington Post, 5-6-11)
Don't Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay (Nicholas Carr, Wall Street Journal, 1-5-13) The e-book had its moment, but sales are slowing. Readers still want to turn those crisp, bound pages
Time to rethink contracts, writes Trevor Dolby, in an opinion piece on BookBrunch. "Author advances are the original no-doc mortgages. They base their lending decision on nothing more than a feeling that the author is good for the money." So goes this poor-publishers-screwed-by-authors opinion piece, suggesting it's time to be less generous. If you want to save the industry, the last thing to do is add one more reason for writers to wonder if it makes sense to go the traditional publishing route. Trevor thinks it's time for a more equitable sharing of risks, as if taking a year or more of one's life to write a book is not a major risk.
Apple reveals new service for authors to sell their books directly in the iBookstore (David W. Martin, MacLife, 5-26-10)
The New Author Platform: What You Need to Know (Alan Rinzler's blog is full of stuff relevant to authors)
By Turning Authors into Speakers, Publishers Profit, Even in Recession (Karen Holt, Publishing Perspectives 8-26-09)
The End of Authorship by John Updike (NY Times Book Review essay, 6-25-06). Updike refers to another important essay: Scan This Book! by Kevin Kelly (NYTimes Magazine).
A Book Author Wonders How to Fight Piracy (Peter Wayner, Bits, NY Times, 5-14-09)
The Indie Author Guide (April L. Hamilton)
NovelR, Eli James's blog about reading, writing, and publishing Internet fiction
Susan’s Randoms: When First Books Don’t Top the Bestseller List (another author's lessons learned)
Time to Change: Authors'--and publishers'--shifting responsibilities. Jesse Kornbluth, in PW (11-23-09) writes: "Online book promotion requires more than a marketing assistant's willingness to drill down through 20 screens on Google. To be effective, it requires imagination, the out-of-the-box quality that in-the-box people like to think can be turned on at will. Not so." (It's worth reading the whole piece.)
The Truth About Print-on-Demand Publishing (Writers and Editors)
The Business Rusch: Surviving the Transition, Part 1 by fiction writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch. An interesting series about how writers might deal with the enormous changes rocking and reshaping the book publishing industry. It comes in four parts:
---The Business Rusch: Surviving the Transition, Part 1
---Publishers (Surviving the Transition, Part 2)
---Agents (Surviving the Transition, Part 3
---(Plan for the Future (Surviving the Transition Part 4).
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Tools of Change for Publishing Conference
The O'Reilly Tools of Change Conference explored emerging trends in digital publishing. Final conference was in 2013, and many talks are still available--watch and listen to them while they're still available!
Tools of Change for Publishing Conference 2013 (watch speakers while this is still available on YouTube)
Tools of Change for Publishing Conference 2012 (videos of many talks)
Tools of Change for Publishing Conference, 2011
Margaret Atwood's keynote address: "The Publishing Pie: An Author's View" (video--she's funny: A book is a mode of transmission of stuff from one brain into another brain." "An author is a primary source."
O'Reilly interview with Margaret Atwood and PW's report on Atwood's talk
What publishers can and should learn from "The Elements" Theodore Gray on true interactivity and apps vs. ebooks. (Gray spoke of three essential components for producing e-book titles: An author who can tell a good story; programmers, who can make that story something great; and producers, who can produce compelling video).
Now What? Embracing New Models and Rethinking the Old…… (David "Skip" Prichard, of Ingram Content Group)
Tools of Change for Publishing Conference, 2010 (O'Reilly TOC Conference 2010)
Round-up Day 1 (Mike Rankin)
Round-up Day 2 (Mike Rankin)
Round-up Day 3 (Mike Rankin)
TOC keynote talks online (playlist on YouTube)
Peter Collingridge, "Enhancing the E-book"
Tools of Change for Publishing Conference, 2009
Missed it? Click here for blip.tv Episodes Archive, linking to videos of interesting talks that may change your thinking about how to publish fiction and nonfiction in today's market. Titles you may find of particular interest:
E-books: How Soon Is Now? (Peter Balis, Wiley)
"Where Do You Go with 40,000 Readers? A Study in Online Community Building" (Ron Hogan interviewing science fiction novelist John Scalzi and Tor Book editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden)
The Long Tail Needs Community
Lessons from a Book's Simultaneous Publication in Print and on the Web (Stephen Smith, talking about the 2700-page ESV Study Bible, which went through first two printings in two months and has sold more than 150,000 copies)
New Reading Habits, New Distribution Models
"What Happens When Anyone Can Edit Your Book, Online?" (John Broughton, author of Wikipedia: The Missing Manual)


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(formerly books on tape; CDs and digital downloads are taking over the market)

Audiobook distributors to consumers:
Audible.com (an Amazon.com company--the biggest distributor of audiobooks, especially to Apple and iPod customers)
AudiobooksOnline
iTunes Store
AudioBookworm.com
Learn Out Loud
Radio Classics (the best selection of old-time radio)
Simply Audiobooks
Spoken Network
Voices.com's list of top audiobook publishers and distributors

Audiobook distributors to schools and libraries:
Audible.com
NetLibrary (EBSCO)
OverDrive (eBooks, audiobooks, and more)

Resources for audiobook consumers, publishers, authors
Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) (Audible, part of Amazon, gets half of income from sales). Authors can narrate their own audiobook, or hire a narrator to read it (splitting their share of income or paying the narrator a fee). No other out-of-pocket expenses. Royalties paid monthly. Calling all authors, narrators, agents, publishers and studio pros: Here's how it works . And here is the book posting agreement.
Earn Money With Audiobooks (ACX's plug for its audio platform). Once an ACX audiobook is produced, approved by the Rights Holder, and delivered to ACX, we provide powerful distribution of the audiobook through three retail industry leaders: Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes. See ACX blog. It's the rights situation that's not explained clearly; who holds those rights, author or publisher? Check to be sure, as it varies book by book.
FAQs for ACX (the basics, narrators, rights holders, books and creating title profiles, connect-audition-get found, offers, production, contracts and agreements, distribution, payments. The publisher does not automatically own audio rights. Who does? Check those book contracts.
Learn about Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading "If your book has a Kindle book version, you can use ACX to produce a digital audiobook version of your book, and to make your book eligible for the new Whispersync for Voice functionality which allows customers to switch seamlessly between reading a Kindle book and listening to the corresponding, professionally narrated audiobook across devices without losing their place. Audiobooks will also be eligible for the new Immersion Reading feature, which allows customers with the new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD devices to listen to a professionally narrated audiobook from Audible as the text of the corresponding eBook is highlighted on the screen. When customers buy your Kindle book, they will be able to purchase your Whispersync for Voice-ready Audible audiobook at a special limited time discounted price."
Connect, Audition, Get Found (Become a narrator for ACX.)
Getting Started in Audio Narration (podcast, Voice Over Experts, Voices.com)
How to Publish an Audiobook (brief overviews of various aspects of audiobook publishing, Voices.com). For example, under history: " January 1952, Barbara Cohen and Marianne Roney, sat down with Dylan Thomas in the bar of the Chelsea Hotel and persuaded him to record some of his poetry. Spoken word records were almost unheard of at the time." See also Expert articles, how-to's, and instructionals.
Distributors and wholesalers used by members of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), including audio distributors
Big Happy Audio Family (a digital audiobook distribution solution -- get your audiobooks to all the download sites, if you don't want to get them there yourself)
AudioFile (magazine/​website for those who love audio books, with reviews)
Audio Publishers Association (APA), among other things, sponsor of the Audies (for best audiobooks and spoken word entertainment)
Audie Winners (2001 on, along right -- recordings awarded best narration etc.--a good list from which to check out recordings from library)
Guide to Audiobooks on MP3 Players (anythingbutipod 5-17-09)
Audible Yahoo Group (consumer discussion group sponsored by Audible.com, but not limited to Audible titles)
Books for Ears (see review archive
Review of Audiobook Services

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Articles, blogs, and debates about book publishing, e-publishing, and digital devices and libraries


"Since I joined the publishing business as an editorial assistant in 1951, I have been obsessed with the preservation and distribution of backlist, for I understood from the beginning two important truths about our business: the first is that publishing is not really a business at all, at least not a very good business. If it's money that you want to make, go into a real business and take your chances. The second truth is that publishing is a vocation, a secular priesthood, for publishers are caretakers of our collective memory, indispensable servants to those other caretakers, poets, storytellers, librarians, teachers and scholars. The cultivation of backlist is not only our business but our moral responsibility."
~Jason Epstein, "Backlist Maestro: Mr. Epstein's Dream Machine" (reprinted here) an excellent article about the changing nature of publishing and the ideal possibilities of print-on-demand publishing, in the Winter 2009 Authors Guild Bulletin, excerpted from a speech given at the 2008 Hong Kong Book Fair. Among other things, Epstein launched the first "trade paperback" line, Anchor Books, at Doubleday--when he'd been working in publishing only six months.

Finally, The Decoupling and Debundling of Content and Distribution (Jon Steinberg, LinkedIn, 8-30-13). Interesting piece on the blurring lines between television and movies into just "stories" that need to be made available to consumers however they want them. Says Kevin Spacey, "Give people what they want. When they want it. In the form they want it in. At a reasonable price. And they'll more likely pay for it rather than steal it."

What’s Ahead in 2013–Predictions for the Future of Publishing and Authors of the Digital Age (Kristen Lamb). Two samples: "Traditional publishing is centered in the beating heart of Manhattan, which would be great if that wasn’t some of the priciest real estate in the world. NY publishing is carrying a crap load of overhead their competition doesn’t have. There are high rents, salaries, and electric bills all being 1) factored into the price of the book and 2) taken out of the author’s pocket. This wasn’t an issue so long as digital publishing was in its infancy and there were no other viable options for authors. Unfortunately for NY, now there are other options and these options are leaner, meaner, and faster. This means that consumers get good books cheaper and the writers get paid better (and faster). This all adds up for a WIN for authors and consumers, but NY is finding itself less and less competitive."
"NY apparently has been hesitant to enter the emerging market in self-publishing out of concern for their brand. That is a viable argument and I can definitely appreciate their reticence. But then Simon & Schuster partners with AUTHOR HOUSE? This company has a long history of ripping authors off, and it doesn’t look like much has changed."

A Poignant Response To Books Vs E-books, Courtesy of Will Schwalbe (Josh Hanagarne, World's Strongest Librarian, 11-26-13) Hanagarne quotes Schwalbe : “I was there with mom for the last two days, and then when she died, I looked around the room. I looked at the book shelf and slowly panned across, reading the titles on the spines. It was a lovely, heartbreaking, but uplifting and physical example of who she had been and the books she and I had loved together. And the love we had shared.” Then he smiled and said, “It gave me a comfort that I don’t know that I can ever get from a screen.”

Ten trends shaping the future of publishing (Brian O'Learn, Magellan Media). Read his excellent blogs on magazine, book, and association publishing .

Paperback pioneers (Gayle Feldman, Futurebook, The Bookseller, 3-10-14). A look back at how the U.S. paperback industry developed.

Penguin Random House, the “Following Four,” and the Future of Competition (Edward Nawotka, Publishing Perspectives, 5-31-13)

Will Self-Publishing Counterbalance Trade Publishing Consolidation? (Edward Nawotka, Publishing Perspectives, 5-31-13)

Number of Publishers’ Branded Reader Communities Set to Explode (Jane Tappuni, Publishing Perspectives, 5-14-13). Because of "the decline in library purchases and the closing of bookstores over the last few years, publishers have devoted more of their marketing budget towards building a direct relationship with their customers. The creation of online communities has been central to this."

The (almost) DIY Guide to eBook Publishing (Coral Russell, Alchemy of Scrawl, 5-31-11). For genre novelists.

Are Apps The Future of Book Publishing? (Alex Knapp, Forbes 3-30-12)

Lynn Chu: Agent Unplugged, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett's informative interview with this principal of Writers' Representatives LLC, appears in the public part of the January 2010 issue of ASJA Monthly (the confidential section goes to members only). This is as helpful an analysis of what authors should know about their rights in the new electronic world as you are likely to read. It starts on pp. 6-7 of this PDF file,then jumps to p. 13. Print those pages out and highlight them! Her most valuable comments are on book publishers trying to becoming licensing agents for e-rights while taking a print publishers' share of income and without doing what a licensing agent ought to do, and since authors will very quickly learn how much they can do without the publishers, they are playing a dangerous game. Authors: there IS no standard on e-publishing terms, so do your homework. At a minimum, read this article.

Amazon (and eBooks) vs. traditional book publishers and bookstores
Who wins and loses from the Department of Justice suit against Big Publishers and Apple?
Ideas About the Future of Book Publishing (Shatzkin Files, 2-7-13) Mike Shatzkin's vision of the future is "of books being sold mostly in stores that aren’t bookstores, enabled by VMI systems that largely don’t exist yet." With vendor-managed inventory (VMI), "the cost of negotiation — of conversation between a “buyer” and a “sales rep” — plummets." He writes: "the responsibility for getting the right books onto retail shelves is one that has always belonged to the retailer. That reality encouraged, even required, large book retailing operations: big independent stores and large chains could amortize that cost across far more sales than a small bookstore or a little book department in another retailer." VMI reduces those costs, and to predict sales uses data on past sales rather than a bookseller's instincts.
Amazon.com and the future of book publishing (part 1)
Amazon.com and the future of book publishing (part 2)
Do Legacy Publishers Treat Authors Badly? (Joe Konrath, ANewbie's Guide to Publishing, 2-20-12). Yes, they do, says K0nrath, and he lists the ways, including: "Legacy publishers offer the author 17.5% royalties on ebooks, and keep 52.5% for themselves. Legacy publishers have full control over the title of the book. Legacy publishers have full control over the cover art." (By Legacy he means the big six: Random House, etc.)
Kindle Singles: A lifeline for the long short read (Kate Carraway, Globe and Mail, 2-18-12).
The wild weekend of Amazon and Macmillan (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files 1-31-10). Amazon briefly turns off Macmillan's buy buttons to pressure publishers not to go to agency pricing).
Montlake Romance Marks Tip of Amazon's Expansion Into Publishing (Rachel Deahl, PW 5-4-11)
Amazon Starts Mystery Imprint Thomas & Mercer (PW 5-18-11)
Amazon hires CEO Larry Kirshbaum to head up a new trade imprint (The Shatzkin Files 5-23-11). Writes Mike Shatzkin: "Five years ago we lived in a world where every book that mattered sold more copies at brick stores than it did online. Five years from now every book that matters will sell more copies online than it does in a brick store. The Amazon decision may mark the commercial turning point of that massive shift. (para) The edge in maximizing online sales revenues will go to the publisher that can manage online pricing and marketing most effectively. That not only means raising and lowering prices dynamically to get the most possible revenue, it might also mean experimenting with free sample sizes to see what delivers the best rate of conversion to a sale. It certainly also means having the best list of potential readers to alert to a book’s publication."

Archive of Bo Sacks articles (on publishing--books and magazines), including Bo Sacks's Talk on the Future of Publishing (2009)

Authors catch fire with self-published e-books .Carol Memmott, USA Today, 2-11, reports that young Amanda Hocking's self-published (digitally) young-adult paranormal novels are selling hundreds of thousands of copies through online bookstores. "Hocking credits her success to aggressive self-promotion on her blog, Facebook and Twitter, word of mouth and writing in a popular genre — her books star trolls, vampires and zombies." But she's not the only such success in self-publishing.

BEA: Why Small Publishing Will Save the World. Literary agent Janet Reid reports from Book Expo about the coming artistic revolution. She doesn't know what will turn things around--maybe an enhanced e-book--but it won't come from traditional book publishing, which is not set up to invent things. Writes Anthony, in Comments, "Essentially, what it boils down to is decentralization and just-in-time (JIT) content models based on nimble movers and shakers that can turn on a dime."

Blads ("book layout and design") are booklet-sized previews of books, printed samples from a book to help sell it in advance of publication--showing basic publication information, cover artwork, sample pages showing layout and images.

Blogs, Newsletters, Websites, and Twitter Feeds about Book Publishing
(by no means a complete list, but it should get you started)
25 Twitter Accounts to Help You Get Published (Online Education Database, 11-6-12)
Agent and editor blogs about the book business
AgentQuery's blog rolls (blog rolls for blogs of agents, of editors, about PR& Marketing, being in the know generally, Book Reviews & Interviews, Digital Publishing, On Writing.
The Shatzkin Files (Mike Shatzkin's deeply thoughtful blog about trends and issues in the publishing industry, for The Idea Logical Company)
Publishers Marketplace blogs (forty of them, on various topics)
Bookstore blogs (ABA links)
The Book Deal (Alan Rinzler's blog for writers and book people on the strange ways of book publishing)
Galley Cat (Media Bistro blog about books and publishing)
ABookInside.blogspot.com. How to Write and Publish a Book. Author Carol Denbow on how to write a fiction, nonfiction book or novel; find a publisher or publishing option; and market your book for free. Tips and expert advice.
Big Bad Book Blog(brainchild of Greenleaf Book Groups Big Bad Book Nerds)
Book Square (Kassia Krozser, dissecting the publishing industry with love and skepticism)
Publishing Poynters (Dan Poynter's Book Marketing newsletters)
Christian Writers' Market Guide (Sally Stuart's blog)
How Publishing Really Works (Brit Jane Smith's blog)
Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020 blog (a book publisher's future visions of print, online, video, and all media formats not yet invented)
A Newbie's Guide to Publishing (Joe Konrath's blog on making a living as a genre fiction writer)
Preditors and Editors (many resources here for sci-fi writers)
Pub Rants (A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry)
Publishers Weekly columns and blogs
The Scholarly Kitchen (what's hot in academic publishing--some fascinating articles)

Bob Miller: The Coming Editorial Crisis. HarperCollins chief Bob Miller tells Media Bistro about economic variables shaping publishing industry and prospects of "more work for fewer people" ahead, with YouTube video of his comments.

Book design: a primer. Dick Margulis has some useful material on his website about book design. Go here to read a sequence of clear, brief explanations of typography, the architecture of the page--especially the chapter opening, the color of the paper and ink, and font choice and spacing.

Bookish.
Bookish Goes Live (Jim Milliot, PW, 2-4-13). Hoping to make it easier for bookstores to survive, Bookish will make it easier for consumers to discover book. "Customers can type in as many as four books that they like and Bookish will find recommendations by “deconstructing” the book, Sun said, taking into account such things as editorial themes, reviews, editor insights and awards. “It an exercise in big data.".... As Bookish builds up more of a profile of a reader’s preferences (including book purchases) those will be added as well.
Publishers Make a Plan: A ‘One Stop’ Book Site (Julie Bosman, NY Times, 5-6-11). Three publishers (Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Hachette), frustrated that few book buyers visit their company sites, have created Bookish.com, hoping it will become a destination for readers the way Pitchfork.com is for music lovers and IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Netflix are for films -- where site visitors can read recommendations, reviews, and recommendations from other readers and can buy books from the site or other retailers. (The article doesn't mention Amazon.com. The Bookish staff will select books from 14 or more publishers.
• Mike Shatzkin puts this announcement in perspective in The old publishing value chain got twisted a bit last week (The Shatzkin Files, 5-3-11). "Bookish, which will be the 'new digital destination for readers"... promises to use content and software tools to promote discussion and discovery around books and to answer the reader’s question: 'what book should I read next?' ... Bookish is trying to straddle the same fence that Google, and, to a lesser extent, Kobo are: being an ally of existing retailers while selling direct to consumers itself. What they’re suggesting they’ll do is reminiscent of Copia and Goodreads and Library Thing...The hunch here is that if any one of these three big publishers had gone aggressively into direct sales, they would have risked serious retaliation from both of their two biggest customers: Amazon and Barnes & Noble."

BookMarket.com. John Kremer's excellent resources. Scroll down and find contact info on various lists of Book Publishers for Authors
• Business Book Editors and Publishers
• Children's Book Editors and Publishers
• Cookbook Editors and Publishers
• Health Book Editors and Publishers
• First Fiction and Debut Novel Editors and Publishers
• Christian, Spiritual, and Inspirational Book Editors and Publishers
• Reference, Humor, and Writing Editors and Publishers
• Sports Book Editors and Publishers

Book Production
Making Books (wonderful b&w Encyclopedia Brittanica audio-visual explanation and illustration of how books were produced in 1947, from Prelinger Moving Image Archives))
A brief history of book printing and binding (cj Madigan, Shoebox Stories, with great moving images on YouTube)

Book publishing and bookselling history
Bookstores, chains, and trends toward big and small stores. I'm sure others are covering this topic, but I find Mike Shatzkin's analysis and predictions about what's going on in book publishing and bookselling both compelling and scary:
Jason Epstein on Publishing's Past, Present and Future (Originally delivered as a speech at the Hong Kong Book Fair in 2008, and published in the Winter 2009 Authors Guild Bulletin as “Backlist Maestro: Mr. Epstein’s Dream Machine”)
How Book Publishing Has Changed Since 1984. A look back at an age of old retail and indie bookstores, before computers, celebrity memoirs, and megachains came to dominate the literary world (Peter Osnos, The Atlantic, 4-12-11). Coming next: "Good Reviews Are No Longer Enough."
The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of the book business. . Can the iPad topple the Kindle, and save the book business? (Ken Auletta, The New Yorker, 4-26-10)
Technology, curation, and why the era of big bookstores is coming to an end (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 6-7-11, who provided the following links as well--read him first!). Here's a later entry: Going where the customers are might be an alternative to selling direct (Shatzkin, 8-9-12)
Ebooks are making me recall the history of mass-market publishing (Shatzkin Files 3-13-11)
On Chronicling The End of the Chain Bookstore Era (Sarah Weinman, Off on a Tangent 2-17-11)
Can the chains provide us with better small bookstores? (Shatzkin Files 11-8-09)
Publishers Make a Plan: A ‘One Stop’ Book Site (Julie Bosman, NY Times, 5-6-11, on the formation of Bookish.com
Say goodbye to your local bookstore (Mike Boone, Montreal Gazette, 4-4-11, reporting on Shatzkin's predictions)
Mike Shatzkin on Publishing's Priorities for 2011 (Edward Nawotka, Publishing Perspectives, 5-26-11). BEA Video of Mike Shatzkin discussing "the erosion of shelf space in bookstores, publishing innovation, English as a disruptive force overseas, and the two priorities publishers should be focused on over the next 6-12 months: price experimentation and improving rights databases"
It will be hard to find a public library 15 years from now (Shatzkin, 4-8-11)
And to keep up with it all (and not just with what he writes about:
Mike Shatzkin's Twitter feed

Book Publishing 3.0, a video of Richard Eoin Nash's provocative half-hour talk on the future of book publishing. Nash's start-up, Cursor, is "a portfolio of niche social publishing communities, one of which will be called Red Lemonade." Combine Kinko's (which democratized copying) with Netflix (which brings in "if you liked this, you may also like this") and you go from "The 20th century was about sorting supply" to "the 21st century will be about sorting demand" and Oprah's book club. "The end is connection." He also speaks on Surrounding the Audience: Cursor and the Social Publishing Community, or, Apres Le Blockbuster, Le Niche.

Break on Cost Of Textbooks Unlikely Before Last Bell, 2010 (Ylan Q. Mui and Susan Kinzie, WashPost, 8-20-08), followed up by letters to the editor.

The Business Rusch: Surviving the Transition, Part 1 by fiction writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch. An interesting series about how writers might deal with the enormous changes rocking and reshaping the book publishing industry. It comes in four parts:
The Business Rusch: Surviving the Transition, Part 1
Publishers (Surviving the Transition, Part 2)
Agents (Surviving the Transition, Part 3
(Plan for the Future (Surviving the Transition Part 4).

Changes in Book Publishing. If you're just beginning to sort out how new media and outlets are changing book publishing, there's no better place to start than with Mike Shatzkin's speeches or the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conferences (many talks from which you can listen to online).

The Charles Darwin Guide to Writing and Selling an Effective eBook (Pamela Wilson, Copyblogger). Some basic principles!

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books by Harold D. Underdown, 3rd edition--as reviewers put it, a cheatsheet to the very specialized separate world of children's and adolescents' book publishing



Digital Imaging Guidelines (guidelines prepared by the UPDIG Coalition, to establish photographic standards and practices for photographers, designers, printers, and image distributors). The guidelines cover Digital Asset Management, Color Profiling, Metadata, and Photography Workflow.

Digital Self-Publishing Shakes Up Traditional Book Industry by Geoffrey A. Fowler and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg (WSJ.com 6-3-10),or 'Vanity' Publishing Goes Digital. Among other points made in this important article: "The new formula makes digital self-publishing more lucrative for authors. 'Some people will be tempted by the 70% royalty at Amazon,' Mr. Nash says. "If they already have a loyal fan base, will they want 70% of $100,000 or 15% of $200,000 for a hardcover?"

The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Academic Practice by Martin Weller. Read an excerpt on the academic publishing business here.



The Dog-Eared Paperback, Newly Endangered in an E-Book Age (Julie Bosman, NY Times 9-2-11).These are dark and stormy times for the mass-market paperback...“The people who used to wait to buy the mass-market paperback because of the price aren’t going to wait anymore,” says publisher Liate Stehlik.

Do enhanced ebooks create a comeback trail for packagers? (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 2-20-10)

Does Free Pay? Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail, thinks you should consider giving your book away. Jordan E. Rosenfeld on why he thinks so. (Writer's Digest, 11-3-08)

EBook Conversion Services Directory (listings by File Types for Conversion, alphabetically by service provider, and by Types/​Format--but not evaluated)

eBook Economy (news about and resources for the digital publishing revolution). First quote on deck: "The ebook also allows authors to skip over other hurdles, including the very cold reality that most offline retailers won’t stock a self-published book on their shelves. Though online retailers like the Kindle and Nook stores can still give preferential treatment for major publishers, they’re able to provide a wide swath of inventory from the long tail." ~ Simon Owens, The economics of self-publishing an ebook, on The Next Web: Media

eBookNewser, (one of several Mediabistro blogs), which has blogged among other things about
LinkedIn Groups for eBook Authors, Publishers & Readers"target="_blank">
How To Convert PDFs to ePub or Kindle Files (Jason Boog, Calibre, 8-23-11)

The End by Boris Kachka (long story in New York, 9-14-08. The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after.

The End of Authorship by John Updike (NY Times Book Review essay, 6-25-06). Updike refers to another important essay: Scan This Book! by Kevin Kelly (NYTimes Magazine).




The Fallen Status of Books, Hard Times for Hardcovers, by Jack Schaefer (Slate, 9-9-10).

The Fry Chronicles. Stephen Fry (twitter address: @​StephenFry), as Fast Company puts it, transforms how we read by producing the first book truly designed for the Internet (his memoirs).

Happy (75th) birthday to the paperback! (Read Street blog, Baltimore Sun, 7-29-10)

How Authors Really Make Money: The Rebirth of Seth Godin and Death of Traditional Publishing. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, on the economics and practical realities of being published in print, in e-books, and through self-publishing (vs. traditional publishing). (No simple answers.) Listen to the realistic video. (Publishers are good at distribution and making good book covers.) Three books Ferriss recommends:
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Author 101: Bestselling Book Publicity: The Insider's Guide to Promoting Your Book--and Yourself by Rick Frishman, Robyn Freedman Spizman, and Mark Steisel.

How Book Publishing Has Changed Since 1984. A look back at an age of old retail and indie bookstores, before computers, celebrity memoirs, and megachains came to dominate the literary world (Peter Osnos, The Atlantic, 4-12-11). Coming next: "Good Reviews Are No Longer Enough."

Inside the World of Local Books--A Bright Future (Steven Rosenbaum, Fast Change 2-21-11). He cites U.S. Book Sales Up in 2010 (Book Business, 2-24-11)

Interviews with editors(the Poets & Writers interviews with Agents and Editors)
Agents & Editors: A Q&A With Editor Jonathan Karp by Jofie Ferrari-Adler (Nov/​Dec 2009)
A Q&A With Jonathan Galassi by Jofie Ferrari-Adler (July/​Aug 2009)
A Q&A With Four Young Editors by Jofie Ferrari-Adler (interviewing Richard Nash, Lee Boudreaux, Alexis Gargagliano, and Eric Chinski, March/​April 2009)
A Q&A With Editor Chuck Adams by Jofie Ferrari-Adler (Nov/​Dec 2008)
A Q&A With Editor Janet Silver by Jofie Ferrari-Adler (July/​Aug 2008)
A Q&A With Editor Pat Strachan by Jofie Ferrari-Adler (March/​April 2008)


ISBN (International ISBN Agency). ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number System for Books, Software, Mixed Media etc
ISBN FAQs (frequently asked questions)
ISSN FAQs (the "the social security number of the serials world"--the ID number for magazines and periodicals).
Things You Need to Know About ISBN Numbers Miral Sattar, BblioCrunch Self-Publishing Blog, 12-10-12)
Summary of study of ISBNs and e-books and SPAN's blog response: What does the study mean? (posted 1-6-11 -- read these before getting an ISBN for your e-books)
ISBN 101 For Self-Publishers (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-19-10)
ISBN LookUp and FAQs (Shelley Hitz, Self Publishing Coach)


Is Print the New Vanity Press? (Mary Ellen Bates, EContent blog, Dec 2010). Seth Godin, a best-selling author of Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers, is leaving his traditional publisher and plans to distribute his content in several media,including audio books, apps, podcasts, and print on demand. In this young new market, "whether a book is published and distributed by a reputable print publisher or self-published in ebook form is not as important as whether or not the content is immediately available, is reasonably inexpensive, and meets a need," reports Bates.

Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing by Dean Wesley Smith (read it free online).

Konrath Ebooks Sales Top 100k (A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, 9-22-10). The good news on self-e-pubbed genre novels!

Literary Magazines, Publishers, and Organizations (excellent American Book Review links)

Losing the Secondary Business Can Kill You (Mike Shatzkin, 5-23-10, on the changing value chain: e.g., how in the past someone with money got "self-published" through a traditional publisher; changing role of independent bookstore)

Making Books by André Bernard (Wash Post 12-21-08). More end-of-2008 reflections on Harcourt's bad behavior and the possible end of [good] publishing.

Making Information Pay (Book Industry Study Group, 8th annual, 5-5-21). Click on "presentations now online" (top right) and download presentations (some of them mind-opening). As Madi Solomon says in one, "Content is no longer a scarcity, attention is." As Kasdorf says, "Metadata is the new lubricant."

Metadata, about:
Metadata Demystified: A Guide for Publishers (PDF, Amy Brand, Frank Daly, Barbara Meyers, Niso Press)
Publishers Take Seat at Metadata Table with Giant Chair (Jennifer Zaino, Semantic Web, 3-1-10).
Metadata is the new most important thing to know about (Mike Shatzkin, IdeaLogical, 6-8-10)

Micropublishing
How to get ahead in micro publishing Andrew tuck on the Zine revolution (The Independent, 3-26-95)
Denton: "The Dream Of Micropublishing Is Dead!" (Nicholas Carlson, Business Insider 2-22-09)"... it's easier to get agency brand managers to spend their clients' money on one very popular Web destination than it is to convince them to spend the same amount on lots of niche sites."
How Can New Niche Micropublishers Compete with Large Established Publishers? (Edward Nawotka, Publishing Perspectives 10-27-10). Having a topic with a "large enough" audience enables "scaling up": it can be converted into an active community. Intro to : My “Irish Story”: On Launching an Online Community and Micropublisher from Scratch (Eoin Purcell, Publishing Perspectives, 10-27-10)
A warning to niche blogs (Nick Denton, founder of Gawker, on Valleywag)
A note of encouragement to niche blogs (Ryan Block, 1-20-07)
A Blog Mogul Turns Bearish on Blogs (David Carr on Nick Denton reorganizing his blogs, NY Times 7-3-06)
I have not continued adding stories on this topic....but google the terms and you'll find more stories.


Mining the Literary Middle Ground (Hernán Iglesias Illa, Publishing Perspectives, 8-5-11). Online start-ups Byliner and The Atavist have established a market for stories too long for magazines and too short for books (between 5,000 word magazine articles and 100,000 words books. Much of their income is from apps, not content.

Paradise Lost: The Three Great Sins Of Online Publishing (Andrew Boer, Publishing Insider 2-24-12). "By my count, there have been only three great sins by online publishers" (do read the article for the explanations):
• The concept of the banner ad
• Its failure to take a stand on user privacy and data.
• Letting the author become the "brand" (the true publisher).
See more interesting stories from MediaPost/​Online Publishing Insider.


Publishing: The Revolutionary Future. Jason Epstein, NY Rev of Books, 3-11-2010, on "the inevitability of digitization as an unimaginably powerful, but infinitely fragile, enhancement of the worldwide literacy on which we all--readers and nonreaders--depend."

Publishing Careers blog (An online "informational interview" for college students, new graduates, and career changers interested in knowing what a job in publishing is like and how they can get one)

Publishing Is Weird (Publishing 101, with Helpful Digressions) , frank explanations for novices, from Jennie and friends, on This Crazy Industry, 10-23-06). In answering a question ("how can a self-published author get an agent to widen his market?", Jennie explains how the whole book publishing industry works. Where there is purple it's kind of hard to read: I recommend you copy the whole thing, paste it into a Word document, and read it there, if like me you can't read the heavy-purple areas. It's a good wrap-up on how things work, although the whole biz is changing and this may all change!

A roadmap for the future: 6 suggestions for today’s publishers that many can’t follow (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files 6-13-10). Shatzkin thinks ahead for the rest of us. In brief, he suggests that publishers have to change the way they do business, because digital delivery increases supply even more than it increases demand, so prices have to go down. So "getting from today (selling content) to tomorrow (selling audiences) depends on using today’s asset to build tomorrow’s." Doing this will require using "content as bait," monetizing "the eyeballs you own," not "the copyrights you own."
"Find multiple ways to engage your audience." Sell other people's e-books, not just your own. Serve your community. Readers don't care where the book comes from.
"...if you can appeal to a community, you have an opportunity to build a brand. Brands are shortcuts for consumers; they orient us as to what to expect in products or services, including social cred, quality, and price."

Smashwords (ebook publishing and distribution platform for ebook authors, publishers and readers), Smashwords FAQs, Smashwords Style Guide (by Mark Coker), and Smashwords Marketing Guide (also Coker).

Subject: Our Marketing Guide (Ellis Weiner's parody of publishers' current approach to marketing, New Yorker 10-19-09)

Reusable cover art. Sarah Johnson's site showing how certain art gets used and reused for covers on historical novels (and Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of Love, hardcover edition). Art directors: your secret is out!

Rights databases and transaction costs are an issue in the slimmed-down world publishing must become, says Mike Shatzkin in Ever heard of Tata Consulting? Well, I hadn’t either…

Scan This Book! by Kevin Kelly (NY Times Magazine, 5-14-06), thinking things through: Is the universal library now in reach? The case against Google. How digital technology has disrupted old business models. What happens when books connect? Will we still be able to read at the beach?

Scholarly Kitchen (what's hot and cooking in scholarly publishing)

Schools, beware the e-book bandwagon (Nicholas Carr, Dallas Morning News, in St. Petersburg Times 8-14-11). Among other interesting arguments: "Because we've come to take printed books for granted, we tend to overlook their enormous flexibility as reading instruments. It's easy to flip through the pages of a physical book, forward and backward. It's easy to jump quickly between widely separated sections, marking your place with your thumb or a stray bit of paper. You can write anywhere and in any form on any page of a book. You can keep many different books open simultaneously, dipping in and out of them to gather related information. And when you just want to read, the tranquility of a printed page provides a natural shield against distraction."

Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab (by Motoko Rich, NY Times, 1-27-09)

Self-Publishing and Print-on-Demand (POD) Publishing (Writers and Editors site with helpful explanations of the differences between the two, the strengths and pitfalls of various options, the "truth about POD," and so forth.

Serious Thoughts About the Business (Mike Shatzkin on how publishing is getting smaller after always having been getting bigger)

Shelf Awareness (daily enlightenment for the book trade)


Stay Ahead of the Shift: What Publishers Can Do to Flourish in a Community-Centric Web World. Mike Shatzkin (slideshow and transcript of talk at BookExpo America 5-28-09). And a follow-up blog: My advice is not always easy to follow, but sometimes it proves right anyway, in which he says no publishers are following his advice, "to switch from a model based on selling products to a model based on owning communities." Book clubs failed to make that conversion, settling for a "last man standing" attempt to squeeze "every last penny out of the old model." His other "alternative to my 'multi-niche development' suggestion is to convert from a rights-acquiring publisher to a service organization. HarperCollins seems to be at least exploring the development of that alternative."

Staying Ahead of the Shift - the Discussion, about Mike Shatzkin's presentation at BookExpo America, May 28th, 2009. Presented on Web-to-print content transformation (personalized books, annotation)

The 10 Most Common Paper-Purchasing Mistakes (Bill Lufkin, expert on paper-buying, guest blogging on Dead Tree Editions, 12-13-09). Dead Tree Editions (things printed on paper) provides insights,, analysis, practical advice, and smart-aleck comments related to the production and distribution of publications such as magazines and catalogs in the United States

This really is the death knell for publishers (an angry Michael Jecks on writerlytwitterings blog, 9-28-11). When Amazon.com's ebook discounts get rock-bottom low, so do returns to publishers, and even more so to authors, who sense increasing rationale for self-publishing and selling their books and e-books.

Time to Change: Authors'--and publishers'--shifting responsibilities. Jesse Kornbluth, in PW (11-23-09) writes: "Online book promotion requires more than a marketing assistant's willingness to drill down through 20 screens on Google. To be effective, it requires imagination, the out-of-the-box quality that in-the-box people like to think can be turned on at will. Not so." (It's worth reading the whole piece.)

Time to rethink contracts, writes Trevor Dolby, in an opinion piece on BookBrunch. "Author advances are the original no-doc mortgages. They base their lending decision on nothing more than a feeling that the author is good for the money." So goes this poor-publishers-screwed-by-authors opinion piece, suggesting it's time to be less generous. If you want to save the industry, the last thing to do is add one more reason for writers to wonder if it makes sense to go the traditional publishing route. Trevor thinks it's time for a more equitable sharing of risks, as if taking a year or more of one's life to write a book is not a major risk.

Trade publishing isn’t one business and it needs more than one strategy. Mike Shatzkin, 10-15-10. We really have at least two trade publishing businesses at the moment, the big houses and everybody else....Any 'industry data' that doesn’t separate the bigs from the smalls has to be parsed very carefully or it could lead to wildly erroneous conclusions."

The Transformation of Academic Publishing (Peter Binfield, publisher of PLoS ONE, TED talk at Stanford, 10-5-11)

23 Tips for Adapting From a Print-Centric to a Cross-Platform World (free PDF download, a white paper from Publishing Executive)

Usability: Typefaces for Dyslexia. Why certain fonts -- including Myriad Pro, Lexia Readable, Tiresias (especially good for visual impairment), Verdana, Trebuchet MS, Arial, and Geneva. If you care about this audience, follow advice in the British Dyslexia Association's Friendly Style Guide and read Dyslexia.com's page on Accessibility.

Where things are going in book publishing, part 1, Mike Shatzkin's important "What I would have done in London (part 1)" blog entry, a follow-up to his major Stay Ahead of The Shift blog essay. Starts with things "coming right up" and continues with the view of the next 20 to 25 years. Essential reading for booksellers and buyers.

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Publishing and bookseller organizations and resources


Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) (ALLi, a nonprofit professional association for self-publishing writers--authors as entrepreneurs). Not to be confused with The Authors Guild, an advocacy group for American writers (especially those traditionally published).
American Booksellers Association (ABA, the national trade association for independent booksellers). Includes Indie Bound, a network supporting independent bookstores. Posts links to bookstore blogs.
Association Media & Publishing (formerly SNAP) (serving association publishers, communications professionals and the media they create)
Association of American Publishers (AAP, principal trade association of the book publishing industry)
Association of American University Presses (AAUP)
Association of Catholic Book Publishers (formerly Catholic Book Publishers Association)
Audio Publishers Association (APA), among other things, sponsor of the Audies (for best audiobooks and spoken word entertainment)
Bookbuilders of Boston (people involved in book publishing and manufacturing throughout New England)
Book Expo America (booksellers' annual conference)
Book Industry Study Group (BISG, which suggestsstandards and best practices for the industry)
Book Publishers' Professional Association (BPPA, Canada)
The Bookseller Book publishing industry news. Launched Unbound, "a publishing platform that allows readers to choose what is published....Authors are required to pitch their idea to readers on the site, and have 50 days to attract support through readers pledging money to fund the publication of the work."
BookWire (news and reviews)
Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA)
Consortium Book Sales & Distribution (CBSD), contact info for a consortium of small, independent, and nonprofit publishers)
The Electronic Publishing Industry Collaborative (EPIC) (originally an authors' organization)
Freelance (discussion group for publishing industry freelancers in all lines of work, including editing, indexing, proofreading, writing, typesetting, design, research, other--moderated by Chuck Brandstater)
FreelanceWritersEditors (forum for published professional freelance editors, mostly, and writers, moderated by Ruth Thaler-Carter -- a breakoff group from Freelance)

Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA, formerly PMA), whose excellent articles can be read online (only members have access to the full archive). See also the list of regional affiliates and specialty organizations
Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group (IBPPG, for "indie" publishing). Sponsor Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Independent Mystery Booksellers Association (IMBA)
Ind-e-Pubs (a chat list for independent e-publishers)
International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)
Literary Marketplace (LMP). THE guide to book publishing industry, stocked in many libraries)
MidAtlantic Book Publishers Association (MBPA)
Music Publishers Association (MPA)
National Association of Independent Publishers Representatives (NAIPR), whose useful links include:
---Directory of NAIPR Reps
---Directory of Groups
---NAIPR Frontlist Plus Universal. See Over 200 Publishers, Distributors Sign On to NAIPR's Frontlist Plus Universal (Judith Rosen, PW, 7-20-09)
New Pages (online guide to independent book publishers and university presses)
Online Publishers Association (OPA)
Organizations and e-communities for publishers (Marion Gropen's links and descriptions)
PMA (now IBPA)
Publishers home pages
Publishers Lunch ((the latest book deals, in two versions, one free, one by subscription). Paid members of PublishersMarketplace get the longer Publishers Lunch Deluxe newsletter.
Publishers Lunch Job Board. See also Writers and Editors Job Banks and Publishing Marketplaces
Publishing Professionals Network (PPN, formerly Bookbuilders West, renamed to reflecgt the changing nature of long-form content publishing)
Publish-L (a publishing email discussion list)
Publishers Weekly (book publishing's main source of news, reviews, data, bestseller lists, etc.)
Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN)
Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) (innovative people advancing scholarly communication -- partly through a delightfully informative blog, The Scholarly Kitchen: What's Hot & What's Cooking in Scholarly Publishing)
Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN, or SPANnet)
Society of Young Publishers (SYP) (London, Oxford, Scotland)
Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA, formerly Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Association)
Washington Book Publishers (WBP, DC-based association of professionals in book publishing)
Women's Media Group . This nonprofit association of prominent women in media (drawn from book, magazine, and newspaper publishing; film, television, online and other digital media) meets, collaborates, informs and provides mutual support as well as mentoring young women interested in publishing careers.
history of the Women's Media Group
Women's National Book Association, Inc. (WNBA, bringing all kinds of book people together, from librarians and teachers to publishers and creators)



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Courses on Book Publishing, Editing, and Proofreading

Champlain College Publishing Initiative (which came to my attention through this interesting blog entry: Everything Old Is New Again: The Return of the Live Event (about the changing level of students' comfort engaging in face-to-face journalism, among other things)
Columbia Publishing Course (highly regarded summer publishing course, previously the Radcliffe Publishing Course). Cost: about $8,000 (see FAQs.
Editorial Boot Camp(various locations)
Copyeditors' Knowledge Base KOK Edit's useful directory to places to get training and certification as an editor, copyeditor, or proofreader.
EditCetera workshops (Berkeley, CA) and distance learning (including courses by mail).
Editorial Freelancers Association (online courses)
Editorial Practices certificate, The Graduate School (formerly USDA, Washington DC)
Certificate program, classroom training, online training
EEI Communications Training (the publishing think tank, Washington DC area)
NYU Summer Publishing Institute (book, magazine, and digital publishing) and NYU Continuing Education
• Radcliffe Publishing Course (now at Columbia), which Jason Zinoman described in 1998 Ivory Tower (Salon.com)
University of Chicago editing courses
University of Denver (The Publishing Institute) (focus entirely on book publishing)
Yale launches course for the magazine and book publishing industry (to fill the gap left by the closure of the renowned Stanford Professional Publishing Course (SPPC), which was offered from 1978 to 2009). First session offered in 2010, with subsequent sessions held annually, says Publishing Executive 4-12-10.
Book publishing courses (Publishers Central list)
Publishing University Online Sessions for Members (Independent Book Publishers Association, IBPA)
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What's going to happen in book publishing. "[A]ll of us, to function, must have a view of how we think things in publishing will change," writes the always-interesting Mike Shatzkin in Part 1 of What I Would Have Done in London, a long blog entry that would have been his talk if an Iceland volcano blowing hadn't cancelled his trip to the London Book Fair. That blog entry is a follow-up to his major Stay Ahead of The Shift blog essay. He starts with issues "coming right up" and continues with his view of the next 20 to 25 years.
From Part 1, which spells out how much change can take place in 20 years:
Those who stay ahead of the curve prosper. "Cambridge University Press, for example, had tens of thousands of old backlist titles set up for print-on-demand long before other publishers did and they reaped a harvest of sales and profits in the past decade as a result. Last year, Simon & Schuster shifted resources from field reps to telemarketers."

This whole series is worth reading. In Part 2 he predicts: 'I’d expect that 20 years from now, the “local” hard drive will be relatively unimportant: a relatively short-term “emergency” cache for the rare moments when you aren’t easily connected to the network (the internet.) Data — all data, including everything you think you “own” — will live in “the cloud.” '
Publishers and other media will no longer be defined by format. The price of content (what writers can make) will go down, but the value of community/​audience will increase. "The idea of a general book publisher will have no meaning." In comments, he adds: "the brands that can sell verifying the truth will command revenue."

In Part 3 he talks about "the process of content as bait to attract eyeballs -- providing tools, features, and databases to monetize the community" as is done today with Michael Cader's PublishersMarketplace. He uses Oxford Bibliographies online as an example of harnessing academic expertise to deliver curated and constantly updated bibliographies by subject.

And here's What I Would Have Said in London, Part 4 (what will happen in the short term--the next few years). He notes that e-book sales for new narrative books are "already in high single or low double digit percentages of the total number of units the book sells." (I assume that's both fiction and nonfiction.) Worth reading the whole series, for gems such as this: "Authors will be more inclined to self-publish, particularly their out-of print backlist and any title a publisher doesn’t offer an advance reflecting high expectations. That means that, on average, desireable books will be harder and more expensive for publishers to sign. The pressure for publishers to give more than a 25% ebook royalty will intensify. There will be excess capacity throughout the print supply chain: printing, warehousing, and sales operations, and the price of distribution services on offer will go down because the overhead cost of maintaining it, as a percentage of the sales it supports, will have gone up for those with fixed operations."


There's a struggle between publishers (wanting to control privacy and maximize sales) and readers (wanting privacy and fair treatment).

Tony Levelle writes:
"When I use my Kindle ebook reader Amazon tracks an incredible amount of information.
- what books I buy
- what books I browse
- what pages I read
- how long I spend reading each page
- any notes or highlights I make and which page I made them on
- what time I read the book
- where I was when I read the book
This information is shared freely with 'law enforcement, litigants, marketing, and marketing associates...' In short, just about anyone. As a reader, I'm not sure what to do about it, except to quit using a Kindle and switch to an open-source book reader."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation provides useful information about various e-readers in E-Book Buyer's Guide to E-Book Privacy (December 2010 update, Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Also of interest: No Sharing Allowed: Amazon and book publishers' stupid attempts to curtail e-book lending (Farhad Manjoo, Slate, 3-22-11)

DRM and Book Piracy


Book piracy: Less DRM, more data. Brian O'Leary on why publishers should tackle book piracy with open minds and lots of data. (Jenn Webb, O'Reilly Radar,1-10-11)
DRM may not prevent piracy, but it might still protect sales (The Shatzkin Files)
What the powers-that-be think about DRM, and an explanation of the cloud (The Shatzkin Files)
Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution by Tim O'Reilly (P2P, 12-11-02), part of which is summed up nicely in Ebook Piracy is Up Because Ebook Demand is Up by Andrew Savikas (O'Reilly Radar, 5-12-09)
Digital rights management (Wikipedia offers a good explanation and tons of links if you want to read more)
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Websites, organizations, and other resources

A GREAT READ
Blog roll, too
and communities of book lovers
Best reads and most "discussable"
Fact-finding, fact-checking, conversion tables, and news and info resources
Recommended reading
long-form journalism, e-singles, online aggregators
BOOK AND MAGAZINE PUBLISHING
New, used, and rare books, Amazon.com and elsewhere
Blogs, social media, podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games
How much to charge and so on (for creative entrepreneurs)
And finding freelance gigs
Blogs, video promotion, intelligent radio programs
See also Self-Publishing
Indie publishing, digital publishing, POD, how-to sources
Includes original text by Sarah Wernick
WRITERS AND CREATORS
Multimedia, cartoons, maps, charts and so on
Plus contests, other sources of funds for creators
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Literary and commercial (including genre)
Writing, reporting, multimedia, equipment, software
Translators, indexers, designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, image professionals, composers
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Groups for writers who specialize in animals, children's books, food, gardens, family history, resumes, sports, travel, Webwriting, and wine (etc.)
Writers on offices, standing desks, rejection, procrastination, and other features of the writing life
ETHICS, RIGHTS, AND OTHER ISSUES
Contracts, reversion of rights, Google Books settlement
Plus privacy, plagiarism, libel, media watchdogs, FOIA, protection for whistleblowers
EDITORS AND EDITING
And views on the author-editor relationship