Month: February 2011

Go Read This | The subtext of REDGroup’s collapse | Josh Dowse | Commentary | Business Spectator

Fascinating throughout but this passage is striking both because it highlights the remaining defence of publishing and because if it is believed by publishers, it heralds the demise of publishing as we know it. Getting ‘its internal dynamics’ right means gutting the publisher as it stands and forever changing the way the industry works:

Publishing is neither printing nor distribution. It is neither paper nor e-ink. It is the creation and support of content, and the delivery of content in whatever ways are both appreciated by readers and profitable. At the moment, the industry is being buffeted by the simultaneous rise of e-books, online retailing and retail chain discounting, as well as changes to copyright policy. It must get its internal dynamics right to remain attractive against more and more home, computer and mobile entertainment.

via The subtext of REDGroup’s collapse | Josh Dowse | Commentary | Business Spectator.

Monday ReformCard Meeting

Warning, NOT PUBLISHING RELATED

So it’s election time in Ireland. One of my friends, Johnny Ryan, is one of the bods behind ReformCard.com an interesting experiment to rate and rank Irish political parties’ plans for political reform. They are having a meeting at lunchtime on Monday where the parties will get a chance top respond to their assigned rank. It should be fun! See Johnny’s note below:

Re: Meeting – Monday

Hi!

Joe and I are hosting a Reformcard event on Monday that we would like to invite you to. Attendance is free, and all are welcome.

We’re bringing representatives from all the major political parties to the Sugarclub at lunch time on Monday 21st, and they are going to respond to their Reform Scorecards and to the crowd.

This will be the last opportunity for most people to directly engage with the political representatives before the election – which will be only 4 days away by Monday.

Details: Monday, 21 Feb, at 1.00 at the Sugar Club on Lesson St. Dublin 2. The event is a Reformcard public forum, and Pat Leahy of the Sunday Business Post will be moderating.

Pat Rabbitte, Labour Party; Eamon Ryan, Green Party; Phil Hogan, Fine Gael; Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Fein; and Averil Power, Fianna Fail; will be speaking.

Admission is free – Transparency International are covering costs.

Full details are on the event’s Facebook page (you can RSVP here too):
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=198142726878511

Poster + map are at
http://www.reformcard.com/realreform

To see recent media coverage about Reformcard seehttp://www.reformcard.com/media

Please pass the word around – the more the merrier.

Johnny

Go Read This | The Numbers Game

And this post is the reason why two things WILL happen:

1) Authors and Agents WILL carve ebook right out, retain them and self publish them, or else publishers will lose print rights and right now that’s a big loss

2) Publishers will lose big name authors

When I got off the phone with my friend, she was still worried and not quite ready to jump into self-pubbing. This is understandable. She has no personal data to fall back on. I have 2 years of self-pubbing experience, and when I started I didnt expect it to become my main source of income. It also took me over a year, even with the data, to come to the conclusion that signing with a traditional publisher is a bad idea.

But now Im convinced. Signing with a traditional publisher, even being offered $200k per book, is a VERY BAD IDEA.

And I believe these numbers back me up.

via A Newbies Guide to Publishing: The Numbers Game.

Publishers, Stop Being Craven, Forge Your Own Future

For some time there has been a funny dichotomy in the publishing industry worldwide.

On the one hand publishers have decried the growing influence of powerful tech companies from outside the industry. Google, Amazon, Apple all fall into that category (Amazon aside from being an impressive online retailer is also an amazing tech company). They are feared and despised both as huge outside firms with enormous capabilities and cash compared with publishers and also as companies driving the industry in a direction it wasn’t keen on going.

On the other hand, various parts of the industry have gushed about the latest moves by these companies, Apple’s launch of the iPad as a media’s saviour, Google EBooks as a game changer or now, Google’s One Pass as a way to beat Apple’s new and restrictive trading terms for content bought in App by consumers.

Perhaps the only exception to this has been Amazon who, despite being one of the most innovative and reader friendly companies in the business, has been routinely lambasted. Even it’s clever and effective popularization of ebooks and ereading was seen as a BAD thing. Amazon, it seems, can do no right!

Well I’m sick of it. I tired of hearing the industry complain and point one minute then jump up and down in happiness at the anticipation of NEW things SAVING content the next. I’m tired of bad strategy decisions prompted by poorly thought out positions. I’m really bored with people arguing about why this or that needs protection and honestly I don’t care what Apple does next.

Lots of sensible people have been talking about what publishers should be doing to make their OWN way towards a sustainable future. Mike Shatzkin has written about it, so has Brian O’Leary, Don Linn and Kassia Krozser, many, many others have too. But none of it seems to impact the mainstream discussion.

  • Here’s a simple truth: the web (in particular digital distribution of content) is undermining the existing economic model for publishing
  • A second: the author is gaining power vis-a-vis the publisher
  • A third: the existing system cannot persist, the parts of the industry that don’t change, will fail
  • And a last one: YOU are responsible for your own future and it’s time you stopped waiting for someone else to make it happen

Digital content WILL dominate the future*. You don’t have to like that, but you DO have to accept it. When you accept that you’ll begin to see that the systems behind publishing need to change rapidly or else you need to create a new organisation to work within the new rules (and economic realities).

It’s time for the industry to stop worrying about Apple, Amazon and Google. It is time for the industry to just forget about all of them and to decide how it is going to bring stories to readers in a way that keeps it relevant, interesting and hopefully profitable or else to decide that it is going to grow old and die gracefully. In either case, I’m pretty sure it’s time to shut up and do it.

~~ ~~ ~~

*By that I don’t mean print will go away, it won’t, but just as letters have been superseded by email, phone calls and text messages, it will become less important. It will though, have a fascinating and interesting future and it may well be that it’s where your future lies if you decide to pursue certain strategies, but that is YOUR decision.

Boyd Tonkin Talks Trash About Cheap Ebooks

I mean seriously, it’s been shown that authors can make serious amounts of money from selling cheap ebooks themselves. In fact ebooks are probably one of the most remunerative  forms of all even when they are sold cheaply (providing of course they are sold by the author).

Perhaps the authors making those kind of sums are not the authors Tonkin wants to be earning money. Perhaps it’s that their success spells the end (or at the very least a radical change to the traditional model) for publishers.

Whatever his problem (other then those he outlines in the piece which I don’t believe hold up) if Tonkin really thinks what he has written, he’s either not paying attention as closely as he should be or willfully ignoring reality of ebooks sold by authors to the readers.

Dirt-cheap e-books benefit the very rich – and the very dead. They might also help new authors to find a foothold and win an audience – although, on that logic, newcomers should think about showcasing their work for nothing. Many do. But the almost-free digital novel hammers another nail into the coffin of a long-term literary career. Who cares? Readers should, if they cherish full-time authors who craft not safe genre pieces but distinctive book after distinctive book that build into a unique body of work.

via Boyd Tonkin: Stop this race to the digital depths – Features, Books – The Independent.

Go Read This TOO | The Misleading “Research” By McSweeney’s

Worth reading this, it pretty much hits all the thoughts I had on reading the McSweeney’s material!

Let’s be clear: I don’t think print will die.

But that’s no reason to concoct “research” about publishing that says “almost all of the news is good, and most of it is very good.”

That’s what McSweeney’s has done with their series on “The State of Publishing” or “Some Good News From the World of Books.”

via There Are No Rules – The Misleading “Research” By McSweeney’s.

Go Read This | Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: The State of Publishing.

Some great quotes, some interesting stats, though when I was finished I was left with three over-riding thoughts:

  1. Libraries are benefiting from the economic slowdown
  2. Audiences are fragmenting and the idea of touchstone works is being eroded
  3. Librarians think they might just replace publishers

Later in our phone conversation, Ms. Reardon did start to talk like the new guard at the gates. It was good to hear backbone in the library business—the same strength that I heard in the response of the librarian at New York Public Library. Speaking about the historic difference in how people use libraries, Ms. Reardon said, “The biggest shift for us is just how quickly information is at our fingertips. You used to go to the shelf, and you used to go to the Encyclopedia. So all of those reference materials, and all that stuff that used to be behind a librarians desk, all this very possessive nature that we had is gone now. What we [libraries] still own is that understanding in finding quality information, and that’s just our world, and we do it better than anybody.”

via Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: The State of Publishing..