Great Society

Children of the Sun => Reading & Writing => Topic started by: nacho on October 30, 2008, 12:38:35 PM

Title: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on October 30, 2008, 12:38:35 PM
In the wake of a rash of newspapers and magazines going online only (the current most notable is Christian Science Monitor, which will release their last print edition in April), the Google Book Search settlement now paves the way for the end of print:

http://www.themillionsblog.com/2008/10/google-settlement-could-change-literary.html

Quote
Google Settlement Could Change the Literary Landscape

After once being a hot topic, prompting many in publishing to vocally take sides, the dispute between Google and the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers simmered quietly in lawyers' offices for more than two years. But this week Google's book scanning effort was back in the news with the announcement of a $125 million settlement. What may have been lost in this news is that Google is suddenly poised to drive a massive change in the publishing marketplace, multiply by many times the number of books available at the fingertips of readers, and supercharge the market for online delivery of books.

The original Google Book Search controversy erupted almost immediately after Google first launched the feature, then called Google Print. To many, it seemed like an almost impossible effort but somehow Google had the will and resources to deliver on an incredible promise: all of the world's books - and therefore, some would say, all of the world's knowledge - digitized, searchable, and preserved for future generations. But some publishers, many of them divisions of media conglomerates and made vigilant by the piracy that had ravaged the music industry, were wary of Google's intentions and feared a frenzy of unfettered book-swapping.

In part, the controversy stemmed from confusion about what Google was up to and the knee-jerk notion that digitized books would quickly be coursing across the internet, freely available to anyone who wanted them. Essentially, the search giant was dividing books into three categories. Google would work with publishers on in-print, copyrighted books via its "Partner Program," which makes previews of the books available, provides "buy this book" links, and includes a revenue share for the ads displayed next to those books' pages. Out-of-print, public domain books, meanwhile, were freely scanned and made fully available by Google. But it was the third category, out-of-print books that are still under copyright, that caused the most angst.

This angst was compounded by Google's methods; the search engine had gone around the copyright holders and brokered deals with universities to scan the contents of libraries containing millions of volumes. Google assured publishers that, by default, only snippets of these books would be displayed and that the snippets were protected by fair use, but this promise - and its legal justification - were not enough to soothe the publishers and the Authors Guild, so they sued. Publishers' pique, however, seemed to go beyond the issue of fair use and instead seemed to be rooted in a desire to push back against what was viewed as Google's arrogance and to exercise control, as absolutely as was possible, over their copyrighted works.

This notion of control was a common thread through many of the responses of publishers. Bloomsbury Publishing's Nigel Newton said "Publishers also have the responsibility to make sure that when it comes to hosting electronic content in future, it is their own websites that host the downloads and the scans of text and audio. There is no reason to hand this content to third-party websites." This was echoed at the Association of American Publishers: "'If Google can make...copies, then anyone can,' Patricia Schroeder, president of the Association of American Publishers, said in a phone interview. 'Anybody could go into a library and start making digital copies of anything,' she said." And HarperCollins and others pushed their own digitizing efforts, resulting in widgets and beefed up publisher websites. These anti-Google voices were offset by a cacophony of authors and publishers who dissented and were open to Google's experiment, including Richard Nash of Soft Skull and several others.

But now, after after more than two years of negotiating, a resolution has emerged that, if approved by a US district court to resolve still pending lawsuits, could mark a major change in the availability of books.

The big change comes in that nettlesome category: out-of-print, copyrighted books. Here's how Google describes its proposed plan for those books:

    Until now, we've only been able to show a few snippets of text for most of the in-copyright books we've scanned through our Library Project. Since the vast majority of these books are out of print, to actually read them you'd have to hunt them down at a library or a used bookstore. This agreement will allow us to make many of these out-of-print books available for preview, reading and purchase in the U.S.

And what's key is how Google plans to make these books available: "Once this agreement has been approved, you'll be able to purchase full online access to millions of books. This means you can read an entire book from any Internet-connected computer, simply by logging in to your Book Search account, and it will remain on your electronic bookshelf, so you can come back and access it whenever you want in the future." With those two sentences, the number of books available to readers - Google has estimated that 80% of the books in libraries are out of print - will increase substantially. In addition, by making these books available for sale, a new revenue stream will be opened for publishers (the books will also be available via institutional subscriptions offered to libraries and the like). There are no estimates on how big this number might be but it represents new money both for publishers and for writers whose books are out of print. Perhaps dislocated by this, meanwhile, are thousands of booksellers (not to mention Amazon), whose used book businesses are often times the easiest way for a person to get their hands on many out-of-print books. If a reader doesn't need to own the physical book, Google will be an enticing option, particularly since it seems very likely that books offered through Google Book Search would be cheaper.

The Association of American Publishers FAQ on the deal notes one of the ways the books will be priced: "Google will automatically set and adjust prices through an algorithm designed to maximize revenues for the book. This algorithm will be based on multiple factors." So, as Google brings its algorithm magic to pricing out-of-print books, it seems sure to impact the pricing across the whole market. In addition, publishers and authors have long bemoaned that they are cut out of the revenue in a used book market that has only grown larger thanks to the internet. It would seem that the Google deal will now give them a way to reach out to at least a slice of those used book buyers.

But perhaps more important than the new revenue for publishers will be the huge increase in access to a large new subset of books, in one stroke bringing back millions of out-of-print books from oblivion. While this may not excite the casual reader, it represents a great expansion of the amount of knowledge that is fully searchable and at our fingertips and it has the potential to be a great boon to scholars.

Over the last decade, the internet has wrecked many old media business models. Despite my frustration at their initial recalcitrance, the publishers were right to protect their business model, and both Google and the publishers should be lauded if this agreement results in the creation of a new one.

Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: RottingCorpse on October 30, 2008, 12:59:43 PM
For a gerneration who never knew a world without the internet, I can see how this is fine, but the death of the book will make me sad.

Making out of print books available is good though.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Cassander on October 30, 2008, 09:26:25 PM
"many fear unfettered book-swapping" 

haha.  you mean like, in a library? 
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on November 25, 2008, 11:29:57 AM
Here we go... We can turn this into a "death of publishing" thread.  Taking a note from the Borders discussion with Cass:
http://www.greatsociety.org/forums/index.php/topic,3971.0.html

General news on the economic crisis and how it'll make Stephanie Meyer's life much harder because her publisher can no longer afford a driver.

Today's news -- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which puts out trade and reference titles (about 400 a year) has just announced a freeze on acquisitions.  They're the first to take such measures, though lots of the big names are considering the same across the board.

Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Reginald McGraw on November 25, 2008, 12:39:33 PM

Today's news -- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which puts out trade and reference titles

Wait, did Houghton Mifflin merge with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich?
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on November 25, 2008, 12:48:46 PM
Oh, publishing has long been a mega-corp.  The Germans bought almost everyone up and slammed them together.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on January 29, 2009, 02:22:22 PM
So, haven;t been keeping up, but the latest...


http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/lit_crit/book_world_to_cease_standalone_publication_107088.asp?c=rss

Quote
While the news has not been officially confirmed, the National Book Critics Circle reports that Book World, the Washington Post's stand-alone book supplement, will cease publication after February 15. Daily book reviews will still be published in the Style section.

Update: The rumors have been confirimed. According to the report, the section's essays will now be divided between the Outlook section and the Sunday Style & Arts section of the newspaper. The Book World section will still exist online.

Last week rumors flew (and were denied) that the Washington Post could close the section, and the National Book Critics Circle has created an online petition to support the publication.

Here's more from the NBCC report: "The promise is that there will be four additional broadsheet pages in Outlook for book coverage and one additional page in Style & Arts. That's an equivalent of 12 tabloid pages. (Book World is 16 pages.) Jonathan Yardley's reviews will appear in Outlook. Michael Dirda's will appear in Style. The staff of Book World will be kept together under the editorship of Rachel Shea." (Via LitKicks)
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on February 11, 2009, 06:55:16 PM
Man, when the dust settles, it'll be a whole new publishing world out there...

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6636326.html?

Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: monkey! on February 19, 2009, 10:30:34 AM
SFWP FTW!
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on March 17, 2009, 11:12:12 AM
And the latest to fall.

(Also:  horsey!  clippity-clop!  clippety-clop!)

Quote
Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper goes Web-only

By PHUONG LE
The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 17, 2009; 2:28 AM

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which has chronicled the news of the city since logs slid down its steep streets to the harbor and miners caroused in its bars before heading north to Alaska's gold fields, has produced its final print edition.

Hearst Corp., which owns the 146-year-old P-I, said Monday that it failed to find a buyer for the newspaper, which it put up for a 60-day sale in January after years of losing money. Now the P-I will shift entirely to the Web.

"Tonight will be the final run, so let's do it right," publisher Roger Oglesby told the newsroom.

The last print edition began rolling off the presses at a suburban printing plant shortly after 10 p.m. Monday. The front page featured a headline saying, "You've meant the world to us," and a photo of the 30-foot neon globe atop the P-I's building, which has a slogan rotating around the equator saying, "It's in the P-I."

The paper was to be delivered wrapped with 20 to 24 pages of photos and stories on the P-I's history.

Hearst's decision to abandon the print product in favor of an Internet-only version is the first for a large American newspaper, raising questions about whether the company can make money in a medium where others have come up short.

David Lonay, 80, a subscriber since 1950, said he'll miss a morning ritual that can't be replaced by a Web-only version.

"The first thing I do every day is get the P-I and read it," Lonay said. "I really feel like an old friend is dying."

Hearst's move to end the print edition leaves the P-I's larger rival, The Seattle Times, as the only mainstream daily in the city. The Times plans to deliver a copy of the newspaper to every P-I subscriber on Wednesday morning, spokeswoman Jill Mackie said.

"It's a really sad day for Seattle," said P-I reporter Angela Galloway. "The P-I has its strengths and weaknesses but it always strove for a noble cause, which was to give voice to those without power and scrutiny of those with power."

Seattle follows Denver in losing a daily newspaper this year. The Rocky Mountain News closed after its owner, E.W. Scripps Co., couldn't find a buyer. Staffers plan to start an online news publication if they can get 50,000 paying subscribers by April 23 _ what would have been the News' 150th anniversary.

In Arizona, Gannett Co.'s Tucson Citizen is set to close Saturday, leaving one newspaper in that city. And last month Hearst said it would close or sell the San Francisco Chronicle if the newspaper couldn't slash expenses in coming weeks.

The newspaper industry has seen ad revenue fall in recent years as advertisers migrate to the Internet, particularly to sites offering free or low-cost alternatives for classified ads. Starting last summer, the recession intensified the decline in advertising revenue in all categories.

Four newspaper companies, including the owners of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and The Philadelphia Inquirer, have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in recent months.

While the P-I's Web site ensures it a continued presence in the Seattle news market, it will likely be a pared-down version of its former self _ with a heavy reliance on blogs and links to other news outlets.

The P-I had 181 employees, but Managing Editor David McCumber said the Web site would employ about 20 in the newsroom operation and another 20 to sell ads. He said he would not be working on the new site.

Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers, said the online P-I would not just be "a newspaper online."

"It's an effort to craft a new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information Web site at its core," Swartz said.

Hearst said the online edition will include some of the newspaper's marquee names, including sports columnist Art Thiel, political columnist Joel Connelly and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist David Horsey. Horsey also is under contract to continue drawing for Hearst's other newspapers.

In February, the P-I Web site had 1.8 million unique visitors and 50 million page views, according to Nielsen Online. Meanwhile the newspaper's print circulation was down to 117,000, from nearly 200,000 in 1998, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

It's unclear how the online-only venture will affect the Times, which is controlled by the Blethen family and has a circulation of 199,000. The Times has had severe financial troubles of its own and has cut 500 positions in the past year.

The P-I has had a feisty rivalry with the Times that intensified when the Times shifted from afternoon to morning publication in 2000. But since 1983, the P-I and the Times have shared business operations in a joint operating agreement in which the Times handles advertising, printing and other business functions for both newspapers in return for 60 percent of profits _ or losses.

The Times, which also has been losing money and cutting jobs, has long sought to end the joint operating agreement, arguing it threatened the survival of both newspapers. However, ending the deal could be problematic because now the Times will shoulder losses alone during a weak economy, Mackie said.

The P-I's roots date to 1863, when Seattle was still a frontier town and James Watson founded its precursor, the Seattle Gazette, as a four-page weekly.

The newspaper changed hands, names and offices several times _ including when the 1889 great Seattle fire destroyed its office _ before newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst bought the P-I in 1921 through a representative. Hearst later revealed his ownership of the newspaper in an editorial, according to the P-I archives.

"Every idea, every movement, every debate in Seattle's civic life was reflected on the front page of the paper," said Leonard Garfield, executive director of the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.

Some of the newspaper's more famous employees over the years included novelist Tom Robbins, columnist Emmett Watson and Frank Herbert, author of the science fiction novel "Dune."

Former P-I columnist Susan Paynter, who retired in 2007 after 39 years at the newspaper, said the P-I pushed the envelope on stories, running early pieces on abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment.

"The P-I was really on the forefront of telling the average person's story and why it mattered," Paynter said.

Horsey, the cartoonist who won the newspaper's only two Pulitzer Prizes in 1999 and 2003, said much would be lost when the print product ceases publishing.

"A daily newspaper tells the stories of a community and lets the people of a city know who they are, who their neighbors are, and the life and issues they share," Horsey said. "When you lose any one newspaper, you lose a piece of that."
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on March 18, 2009, 02:14:01 PM
God, I'm glad to read this.  We need to destroy these self published fuckos.


http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-first-book-was-published-by.html
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Tatertots on March 18, 2009, 05:19:16 PM
http://medialoper.com/hot-topics/print/traditional-publishers-crash-and-burn-at-sxsw/

Quote
Traditional Publishers Crash (and Burn at) SXSW
I’ve seen a fair number of remarkable events at SXSW over the years, but I’ve never seen anything quite like what unfolded at the New Think for Old Publishers panel yesterday afternoon.

On paper, the panel must have seemed like a great idea. The publishing industry is in transition with the rise of digital reading and devices like the Kindle, iPhone, and applications like Stanza. SXSW has always been about convergence and the evolution of old media in the digital age. Why not bring a group of book publishers together to address the digerati at SXSW about the changing nature of their industry?

As the twitter stream reveals, the panel never quite lived up to its promise. Now that the dust has cleared, I feel compelled to describe what happened at the New Think panel. From a remote distance it wasn’t necessarily clear what prompted the audience uprising.

This wasn’t a case of digital natives waging a mindless war against old media. On the contrary, at the beginning of the session a show of hands revealed a high density of heavy readers in the audience. Throughout the session audience members demonstrated a profound love for books. Combine that with the fact that the panel featured the ever popular Clay Shirky, and the publishers started the session with what might best be described as a sympathetic audience.

The problem with the panel was that there was too little Shirky, and no new think. As the panel wore on, the audience listened to panelists describing how they approach their jobs as gatekeepers in the grand old world of book publishing.

The panelists droned on, lamenting the changing media landscape. At one point, one panelists noted that many of the newspapers that review books are cutting back on their review sections, or in danger of going out of business entirely.

“Maybe we should begin cultivating relationships with bloggers, or something”. Or something?

Nearly forty minutes into the session the audience was fidgeting, frustrated, and confused. What the hell did any of this have to do with new thinking, or SXSW for that matter?

And that’s when moderator Deborah Schultz broke the news to us. We (the audience) were the ones who were supposed to provide the ideas.

“We’re here to learn about what you want.”

Without warning the panel discussion was turned into an impromptu focus group. A twist that was met alternately with skepticism, amusement, and open hostility.

I suppose these publishers could be forgiven for not knowing the SXSW protocol, but usually you don’t *give* a presentation unless you have something interesting and innovative to share. SXSW is the place to be if you’re looking for new ideas, but usually those looking for new ideas *attend* sessions held by other people.

What’s sad about all of this is that the publishers missed the opportunity to discuss some of the innovative new media initiatives they’re currently working on. Sadder still is the fact that a panel featuring the Marketing Director of Penguin Group made no mention to Penguin UK’s brilliant We Tell Stories, a project that ultimately won the SXSW best in show award just a few hours later.

It was suggested by at least one back channel observer that the two sides weren’t listening to each other. Not true. The publishers on the panel simply had nothing to say. There was literally nothing for the audience to listen to.

I can see two possible scenarios that might have saved this presentation:

1. Clay Shirky could have lead a panel titled New Thinking for Old Publishers, featuring publishers working on innovative digital publishing projects (like, maybe, We Tell Stories, for example). After demonstrating a few projects they could have then opened up the discussion to include a dialogue with the audience on interesting ways that publishers might effectively collaborate with new media producers.

2. The panel might have been presented as is, but with a slight modification to the title and description. Perhaps something like: Digital Media Makeover for Book Publishers, come help traditional book publishers rethink their business model and product offerings for the digital age. That would have set the right expectations for the audience, and might have earned the publishers a bit more respect.

As presented, the panel was an insult to the audience and a waste of time for everyone involved.

Kassia has more on this story over at Booksquare
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on March 19, 2009, 09:56:46 AM
Fuck... I hate Sony.


Quote
Notes: Sony Reader to Add 500,000 Google Titles

In a move intended to dampen the Kindle firestorm, Sony is making some 500,000 public domain books that Google has scanned available for its Sony Reader. The e-books will be free.

Amazon, which recently launched the Kindle 2, has some 250,000 titles available for sale. As the New York Times
 
noted, Amazon "stresses that they are the books people are most interested in reading, like new releases and bestsellers."

Google has been promoting the ePub open e-book format and hopes to increase the number of non-copyrighted books available to Sony and others using open formats. When the settlement of the Google suits involving publishers and authors is approved, Google may be able to sell copyrighted e-books, too, in this manner.

Sony has sold more than 400,000 of its Readers, according to the Wall Street Journal
 
.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on March 19, 2009, 10:38:48 AM
Ah, this is interesting.  Now stuff is public, so we can get a glimpse into how it works.  Telling is that he only made 2.5 million.  The industry really is dying.  His publisher probably only walked away with about 7 or 8 million.  It sounds like a lot, but Crown probably spends $500k-1 million per book that they release.  And considering that this is Obama.  People who can't read blindly bought his books.  You would think earnings would be in the billions.



Quote
Obama Earned Nearly $2.5 Million in Book Royalties in 2008

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Disclosure forms filed with the Secretary of the Senate for Barack Obama's final year as a U.S. senator show that, as he spent 2008 campaigning for president, he earned nearly $2.5 million in royalties from the sale of his books.

And he added $500,000 more on Jan. 15, just before taking office as president, when he signed a deal for "an abridged version of Dreams from My Father suitable for middle grade or young adult readers."

President Obama has authored two best-selling books, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," published in 1995, and "The Audacity of Hope," published in 2006.

Most of the royalties came from Obama's more recent book, which brought in $1,512,933 in 2008. "Dreams from My Father" also continued to sell well, earning the author $949,910.

The disclosure forms were filed Wednesday afternoon.

An attachment to the disclosure sheds more light on Obama's book deals. On Jan. 9, he amended a December 2004 deal with the Crown Publishing Group, which is expecting another nonfiction book from him, to note that the book "would not be delivered during his term of office."

Crown also intends to publish his young-adult version of "Dreams."
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on March 19, 2009, 12:39:11 PM
Haha!  So...how much did Crown make off of Obama (re the above and my front page piece).  Looks like I was right here at 7 mill.

Quote
According to book industry sources, Crown publishers has agreed to pay former president George W. Bush a cool $7 million for a memoir that is tentatively titled, Decision Points. The "decider", it turns out, is already a good way through the project. The Daily Beast reports that 30,000 words have been written so far.

Of course, no relation to the journey of the money...I just like that I guessed a 7 million profit from Obama and that's what they gave Bush.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on March 19, 2009, 05:12:03 PM
The Kindle Killer rises...


It's pricey, and just in Japan, but it's what people want from these fucking things...


Quote
Just weeks after the announcement of Amazon's Kindle 2, Fujitsu today announced the release of the world's first color e-Paper "mobile terminal", now for sale in Japan.

It's called FLEPia (Nice name. Not.) and its features include:

    * 8-inch display screen capable of showing up to 260,000 colors in high-definition (768 x 1024 resolution).
    * Equipped with Bluetooth and high-speed wireless LAN.
    * 40 hours of continuous battery operation when fully charged..
    * Supports up to 4GB SD card (the equivalent of 5,000 conventional paper-based books).
    * Books downloaded directly to device.
    * Embedded stereo speakers for audio playback of e-books.
    * Input: touch screen, digital stylus, scroll key, function buttons.
    * Two e-book viewers included as standard feature (BunkoViewer [XMDF], T-Time [.book]).
    * Loaded with Windows CE5.0, enabling use of an Internet browser, e-mail, and various software.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Cassander on March 19, 2009, 10:11:25 PM
does it play comic books?  because that would be a dealmaker for me.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on March 20, 2009, 01:14:35 AM
If it has proper internet access, then yes.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on April 01, 2009, 02:05:41 PM



Quote
Mediaisdying reports that the travel guide company Lonely Planet will cease publishing at the end of 2009. It seems with updated information being readily available online the BBC owned operation no longer foresaw profits for their iconic series of books. Sales have steadily decreased despite the company’s best efforts to paint any possible destination as a ‘marvelous land of contrasts.’

Also, despite the instructions of the publisher to the writers to phrase their bits of history and trivia in ‘as bland and universally-appreciated as possible’, the bottom seems to have fallen out of the market.

Naturally, the economic crisis played a defining role in the collapse. With the number of international trips way down, travelers have made cutbacks on the items they have been purchasing.

Joe Arpit, an American visiting Laos, tells us that when it came down to preparation, he “just packed the yellow pages instead” of a guidebook.

Costs have been running high at Lonely Planet as they have maintained their line of guides encompassing 750 countries throughout the world. Although they cut the requirement that the travel guide authors actually go to their destinations back in the eighties, the fact that they were still obliged to pay something to researchers turned out to be unsustainable.

Co-founder Tony Wheeler, in a brief interlude from his perpetual series of poolside Thai massages, provided hints about the move during an interview early last year with Vanity Fair.

“Lonely Planet books? We’re actually still around?”

A spokesman at the BBC stated that the American division will be seeking emergency loans in a form of a stimulus package to try and keep the books in print.

“If they’ll give billions of dollars to build Hummers, surely they’re willing to give us a few million so that Detroit can be depicted in our guides as ‘a bustling metropolis with buckets of local character’,” PR representative Herb Bowmont stated.

Herb went on to state that in the future the company will focus on online operations, and that Lonely Planet Labs is currently developing a new form of nano, eco, solar guidebook that costs under $5 and dispenses microloans called the iMhere
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: RottingCorpse on April 01, 2009, 02:40:58 PM
Lonely Planets are the best guidebooks ever.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on April 01, 2009, 02:41:29 PM
They're my go-to guides.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Reginald McGraw on April 01, 2009, 03:16:16 PM
Quote
Costs have been running high at Lonely Planet as they have maintained their line of guides encompassing 750 countries throughout the world.

Maybe costs are running high because they think there are 750 countries in the world?
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on April 01, 2009, 03:21:09 PM
You've never been to the Underlayer, have you?

BEWARE THE UNDERLAYER!
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on April 13, 2009, 10:09:05 AM
Starlog goes web only...

Quote
Starlog, one of the longest-running print magazines devoted to the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy, has ceased publication after 33 years.

Official word of Starlog's demise came in a posting last week on the Starlog.com site, buried five paragraphs deep in an update informing readers that Starlog.com had relaunched in beta as part of a "massive digital initiative" and touting the fact that a "Digital store," to launch next month, will feature digital editions of the entire Starlog catalog.

We should now be seeing that it's not a question of "the death of publishing" or newspapers/magazines/etc., but simply a transition from the well outdated and ridiculous (for newspapers) print format to the electronic format. 
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Reginald McGraw on April 13, 2009, 10:55:13 AM
Yes. 
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: monkey! on April 14, 2009, 03:11:49 PM
Nice.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Cassander on April 15, 2009, 09:26:45 PM
yeah, and magazines don't have streaming video.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: monkey! on April 16, 2009, 08:20:46 PM
yeah, and magazines don't have streaming video.

Not yet!
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on May 05, 2009, 10:52:51 AM
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/05/05/its-a-small-globe-after-all/


Quote
Back when people read newspapers, The Boston Globe was a titan. Even as recent as 10 years ago, the Globe had more than a half-million daily readers, easily holding its title as the largest paper in New England.

Today the Globe tells a different story. Just last week, the newspaper reported a pitfall in circulation: a 13.6 percent drop from last year, leaving it with just more than 300,000 copies a day.

Falling readership had been the cause of what looked like the paper's slow death, but in early April, a quicker illness reared: the Globe's owner, The New York Times Co., threatened to shutter the newspaper if it didn't find $20 million to cut. The newsroom union is still working out a deal with management to postpone the Times from filing a notice allowing it to close the paper within 60 days.

The Times Co. has said the Globe is on pace to lose another $85 million this year, an enormous but still not entirely surprising figure for a company operating in the faltering, changing field of print journalism. Ads have been down more than ever. The recession makes it worse. Subscribers are less loyal -- when I worked on the paper's City Desk last winter, I got angry calls from readers saying they were canceling their subscriptions because the Sunday issue no longer included the TV guide.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Reginald McGraw on May 05, 2009, 02:28:14 PM
Quote
Subscribers are less loyal -- when I worked on the paper's City Desk last winter, I got angry calls from readers saying they were canceling their subscriptions because the Sunday issue no longer included the TV guide.

There's your newspaper demographic:  People who use a printed TV guide.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Cassander on May 05, 2009, 08:51:07 PM
WHERE THE FUCK IS MY JUMBLE?
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on June 02, 2009, 02:24:10 PM
Google wades into the ebook world:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/06/google-looking-to-be-the-next-e-book-outlet.php
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on June 10, 2009, 10:21:38 AM
This is big news...

Quote
Shaman Drum Bookshop, an Ann Arbor, Mich., institution for nearly 30 years, will close at the end of June. The Ann Arbor News
 
reported that in a statement, owner Karl Pohrt "said the shop is not a sustainable business anymore despite 'a first-rate staff, a fiercely loyal core of customers, a very decent landlord and my own commitment to the community of arts and letters in Ann Arbor.'"

For more than a year, in the face of a dramatically changing book industry, the economic meltdown and declining college textbook sales (Shelf Awareness
 
, February 17, 2009), Pohrt has explored alternatives with the community to find a way to keep his shop alive. These included a move to form a nonprofit literary arts center (Shelf Awareness
 
, February 4, 2008), a search for investors (Shelf Awareness
 
, February 9, 2009), and more recently the formation of a campus/community coalition (Shelf Awareness
 
March 16, 2009).

In his statement, Pohrt "pushed for Ann Arbor area customers to support other local independent book stores. While Pohrt said it was an emotional decision to close the store, he called himself lucky to have to have had 29 good years in the Ann Arbor book-selling business," the News reported.

"I feel like I've had this charmed life to sell books in Ann Arbor for nearly 30 years," Pohrt said. "That's a good run."

He told the News that "he plans to continue with the venture to create the literary arts center. The plan for the center is still in the works and does not have a planned location."
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: RottingCorpse on June 10, 2009, 07:55:30 PM
See, these are the type of stories that really sadden me. There have been a lot of them since the economy went south too. The city of Detroit voted a few days ago to tear down Tigers stadium (built in 1912) because the current owners couldn't come up with $34 million for a renovation project.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on July 24, 2009, 04:59:57 PM
Oh-ho!

Quote
Move over Kindle, there’s a new kid on the block
Plastic Logic, Barnes & Noble and AT&T have partnered up to create what could be the Amazon Kindle’s biggest competitor yet. With access to B&N’s massive book library and AT&T’s 3G system, the Plastic Logic e-reader will certainly give Kindle a run for its money. Some differences between the two:
- The Plastic Logic e-reader has built-in Wi-fi, unlike the current crop of Kindles
- AT&T's Wi-fi hotspot network also seems to be part of the deal
- U.S. owners will be able to get online for new books in many more locations
- For business-related documents on the web, the e-reader supports PDF and Microsoft Office format documents
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Cassander on July 24, 2009, 08:31:29 PM
so i haven't been keeping up with this.  is kindle version 2.0 good?  i think i might buy a device like these someday, especially if you can start downloading full color magazines for 50 cents.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on July 25, 2009, 08:19:29 AM
Wait for it.  They'll have to do a new Kindle now and let us use the internet instead of Amazon's Orwellian controls.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on August 25, 2009, 01:58:34 PM
I'll slightly shift the focus to generally useless publishing industry news.  Today's hot topic -- "Urban Fantasy" is the "coming thing" in the sci-fi genre:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_fantasy

Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Cassander on August 26, 2009, 03:53:08 AM
yes, it's been coming ever since White Wolf games released Vampire: Masquerade in 1992.  way to catch up, "publishing industry"!
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on September 30, 2009, 10:57:03 AM
Been reading about Richard Nash today...

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6673022.html

http://rnash.com/article/my-start-up-cursor/

Quote
    Cursor…represents a new, “social” approach to publishing. To call [it] “niche” or another “independent” publishing enterprise would be a poor approximation, because those terms fail to capture the organic gurgle of culture at the heart of the venture, the exchange of insight and opinion, the flow of memes and the creation of culture in real time that is now enabled by the Internet.

    My business plan is now out with investors—I will spare you the P&L numbers and just offer the broad strokes. Cursor will establish a portfolio of self-reinforcing online membership communities. To start, this includes Red Lemonade, a pop-lit-alt-cult operation, and charmQuark, a sci-fi/fantasy community.

    The business will focus on developing the value of the reading and writing ecosystem, including the growth of markets for established authors, as well as engaging readers and supporting emerging writers. Each community will have a publishing imprint, which will make money from authors’ books, sold as digital downloads, conventional print and limited artisanal editions—and will offer authors all the benefits of a digital platform: faster time to market, faster accounting cycles, faster payments to authors. But the greatest opportunity is in the community itself. Each will have tiers of membership, including paid memberships that will offer exclusive access to tools and services, such as rich text editors for members to upload their own writing, peer-to-peer writing groups, recommendation engines, access to established authors online and in person, and editorial or marketing assistance. Members can get both peer-based feedback and professional feedback.

    Other revenue opportunities include the provision of electronic distribution services to other publishers; fee-based or revenue-share software modules, especially for online writing workshops or seminars for publishers, literary journals, teaching programs; fee-based linking of writers to suppliers of publishing services, including traditional publishers and agents; corporate sponsorships and site advertising; and events and speaking fees. Yes, I envisage Cursor obtaining a larger basket of rights than is the industry standard, but that will be in exchange for shorter exclusive licensing periods. Our contracts will be limited to three-year terms with an option to renew.

    The Cursor business model seeks to unite all the various existing revenues in the writing-reading ecosystem, from offering services to aspiring writers far more cheaply than most vendors to finding more ways to get more money to authors faster. It also will create highly sensitive feedback loops that will tell each community’s staff what tools and features users want, what books users think the imprint should be publishing, how the imprint could publish better.

    Cursor is not designed to “save publishing,” but simply to offer the kind of services that readers and writers, established and emerging, want and the Internet enables. I believe especially strongly that the model must be viable in a world where the effective price of digital content falls to zero, and paper becomes like vinyl records or fine art prints. After all, the world is littered with things that people won’t buy at the prices their producers want to charge—like, say, the contents of remainder bins.

    If recent experience is any guide, there is little reason for me to think that people, given so many other options for their leisure time, especially in the wired world, will continue to give up hours and dollars for the sake of our industry, any more than they will for big cars or daily newspapers. We are going to have to find new ways to earn those hours and dollars, and at the prices our readers—and writers—set.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on October 06, 2009, 01:10:36 PM
Old Guard Magazines getting executed...


http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/05/conde-nast-to-close-gourmet-magazine/

Quote
Condé Nast will close Gourmet magazine, a magazine of almost biblical status in the food world, it was announced on Monday. Gourmet has been published since January 1941. Also being shut down are the Condé Nast magazines Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride, according to an internal company memo that also was sent to reporters on Monday.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Tatertots on October 06, 2009, 09:15:28 PM
Quote
Modern Bride and Elegant Bride

Well... Good.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Nubbins on October 07, 2009, 01:05:56 AM
Quote
Modern Bride and Elegant Bride

Well... Good.

They're being replaced by Bride of the Zilla though... so it's kind of a wash.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on October 21, 2009, 03:06:33 PM
Attack on the Kindle! 

It's heavier, has a shorter-lived battery, still doesn't solve the #1 Kindle complaint (web capable), and lacks the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds or blogs.

But it has color icons!  Ooh... Competition!


http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/10/21/barnes.noble.nook/index.html


Quote
Barnes & Noble's Kindle competitor may have been the worst-kept secret since balloon boy's disastrous appearance on CNN last week.
Barnes & Noble has unveiled an e-reader called "Nook," which will sell for $260 in November.

Barnes & Noble has unveiled an e-reader called "Nook," which will sell for $260 in November.

But the advance hype doesn't seem to have hurt the launch of the Nook, an impressive-looking $260 device that will go head-to-head with Amazon.com's Kindle, currently the most successful product in a small but growing market for e-book readers.

Basic details of the Nook were published by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday following leaked images that appeared on Gizmodo last week. And Barnes & Noble leaked product details hours before reporters filed into Pier 60 in Manhattan for the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.

"Simply following the leader is not in our DNA," said Barnes & Noble president William Lynch.

Indeed, Barnes & Noble's $260 Nook device differs from the Kindle in a number of ways. Most notably, it shares: A feature called LendMe lets users borrow certain books (depending on the publisher's wishes), the same way readers have traditionally traded paper books. The Nook's color touchscreen allows you to navigate titles and enter search terms using a virtual keyboard that goes dark once you're reading.

The Nook will be available for pre-order starting Tuesday night for $260 at Nook.com, and will ship in November. It has a 6-inch, "paper-like," 16-level grayscale display that supports up to five fonts and various font sizes. It can read a user's PDFs, as well as the 1 million-plus books, magazines and newspapers available in Barnes & Noble's eBook store.

The device connects to the Barnes & Noble eBook store using a free 3G AT&T connection, but lacks a web browser "because those are clumsy" on eReaders, Lynch says. It includes support for the ePub eBook format, FictionWise and PDF, as well as RSS feeds from the internet. However, you can't subscribe to any old RSS feed. Instead, Barnes & Noble selects certain feeds to convert to ePub, then sends them out each morning for a fee that varies by publisher.

Like Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook lets you highlight and annotate content. But Nook's battery life is 10 days, while the Kindle keeps you reading for 14 -- even though at 11.2 ounces the Nook weighs an ounce more.

Unlike the Kindle, the Nook has a Wi-Fi radio that customers will be able to use at Barnes & Noble's more than 700 physical locations and 600 college stores in 50 states. The current version does not allow connection to Wi-Fi networks outside the stores, but will allow Nook owners to digitally flip through books while they're in a Barnes & Noble store and read free content.

The Nook runs Android OS, which Lynch said "works really well for navigating on this small device." However, at this point, third-party developers cannot develop apps for the device, and no version of the reader for generic Android devices is available.

The device packs enough memory to hold up to 1,500 books (2 GB), with a microSD slot that lets you add up to 16 GB more. In addition to e-books in the three formats mentioned above, the device supports a user's pictures and MP3s (it includes a speaker and headphone jack, but there's no text-to-speech engine). Another nice touch: The virtual bookmark feature called Reading Now lets you pick up where you left off on the Nook or on more than 100 other devices with support for Barnes & Noble's eBook store.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Nook and the Kindle is cosmetic. The Nook, with color icons, a wide selection of designer cases and color-customizable back panel, looks like a fashionista compared to the more bookish Kindle.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on December 10, 2009, 01:22:43 PM
Holy shit... Kirkus and Editor & Publisher are kaput!


Quote
Subject: Kirkus Book Reviews Are Closing for Business!

'Kirkus' Closing

As part of the sale of its business to business publications, Nielsen Business Media has announced that it is closing its book review publication Kirkus Reviews as well as Editor & Publisher. No details on the closing have been released yet. Nielsen is selling its major publications, including The Hollywood Reporter and Adweek to e5 Global Media Holdings.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on December 28, 2009, 01:22:41 PM
Well, well...

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/12/amazon-sold-more-digital-books-than-printed-books-and-other-shocking-electronics-sales-stats.php

Quote
Looks like the switch to digital reading is more official than ever. Amazon reports that on Christmas day, for the first time in its history, it sold more digital books than physical books. Amazon also reports that the Kindle is "the most gifted item in Amazon's history." Not surprising considering it was on track to do just that as of November. But according to Forrester Research estimates, this is just the tip of the iceberg for next year.

Digital reading is most definitely on the upswing
Forrester Research estimates that 3 million e-readers will be sold in the US during 2009 (only a few days left to finish up that count), which is far more than the previous forecast of 2 million sold in 2009. But that's just the beginning of the e-reader wave. The group estimates that the number will double, with 6 million e-readers sold during 2010.

And more at the site.

This is the first time electronic sales have really hit the map.  Distributors and publishers have been hemming and hawing about how ebooks and so on have changed the market.  There hasn't been good research, and the sales numbers are low enough to allow some dismissal.

But, now, things change.

Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Nubbins on December 28, 2009, 02:54:43 PM
Yep, it makes sense.  The people I work with are saying that there are going to be Kindle killers coming in about 8 months time.  My brother got a Nook for Christmas because he's been on the road living out of a suitcase for the last 2 years and can't carry a bunch of books with him... he told me he's been reading books on his iPhone for a while now.  I think his Nook even has wifi on it, so this should be the death knell for newspapers as well.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on December 28, 2009, 03:21:43 PM
Yeah, it sure will be.  Hell, I'm surprised newspapers are still around.  That's even become a joke on TV and in movies: "Who still gets newspapers?"
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on December 31, 2009, 12:21:52 PM
The Washiington Times. They just cut 40% of their staff and are cutting several sections. Just politics and business now. So come their end days.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: Cassander on December 31, 2009, 08:27:21 PM
well, it makes sense that e-books would outsell normal books on christmas day because everyone unwraps their kindle then rushes to try it out.  unless you're like my mom, who put hers in the seat pocket in front of her on the plane to florida and forgot to take it out when she disembarked.  nice, mom.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on January 14, 2010, 05:11:01 PM
I'm an advocate AGAINST agents.  They don't do anything for you, except tie up your manuscript needlessly and nickle and dime you for your meager royalties.

Agents tend to adhere to an old school philosophy of publishing and will either dismiss or hassle small presses because the advance isn't big enough... Though as I've said for years, the advance is actually just a trap.  Quick money for the writer (and the agent) and then the book dies before it gets to paperback because of low sales.

Anyway... Here's a free e-book I just saw pop up in articles debating agents:

http://www.spywriter.com/dta/index.html
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: RottingCorpse on January 15, 2010, 09:32:44 AM
I'm an advocate AGAINST agents.  They don't do anything for you, except tie up your MOVIE needlessly and nickle and dime you for your meager royalties.


What he said.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on January 15, 2010, 10:16:49 AM
It really boils down to logic:  Never trust your art to someone whose only motivation is to make as much money off of you as possible.

They'd rather turn opportunities down that would otherwise put you in front of an audience if those opportunities don't pay enough to cover the work they put in.

Fair enough, of course.  That's their job.  But, in modern publishing, holding out for a big contract with a big publisher is both short-sighted and just plain wrong.  The big publisher will drop you as soon as the book makes under X dollars a year.  But, in many cases, even though they let you go out of print, they'll sit on your book for years.

People ask me daily about agents and publishing, and I always say avoid them.  Work with the small presses, and hire a contract lawyer for negotiation.  That'll cost the writer $500 to a grand in legal work, but then the lawyer goes away and everything else you make off the work is 100% yours.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on January 21, 2010, 09:05:29 AM
As predicted, the fall of Borders begins...

Quote
Several publishers say payments from Borders have been delayed and they have retained a bankruptcy group as legal counsel, according to Barron's, which quotes a Debtwire report. Borders told Debtwire that it is paying vendors and "is not aware of any material dispute related to its December 2009 payments."

Borders is lying.  I've been warned by the distributor (and so have the hundreds of other publishers they represent) that selling to Borders will probably mean non-payment and, so, lost merchandise.  We've been encouraged to refuse Borders orders.

Of course, Borders talks a big game.  So everyone who shrugs and hopes for the best is selling them merchandise on credit.

When they were closing the UK stores, it took them six months to build up enough money to pay off their debts. 

Now they're in the same pattern...and no way to get a quick influx of cash. 

Borders falling will leave lots of holes in America's strip malls, eh?  And, more disturbingly, they'll take many small presses down with them.  Everyone who blindly sold them inventory, or went against the advice of their distributor or rep, will lose.  Not a fun game to play in a business where every dollar counts.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on July 14, 2011, 11:16:31 AM
Oh, good! We do have a "death of print" thread... Sort of.

Something a little tongue-in-cheek from the New Yorker:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/magazine/bill-keller-wants-to-ban-books.html

Quote
For years now the populist prophets of new media have been proclaiming the death of books, and the marketplace seems to back them up. Sales of print books in the U.S. peaked in 2005 and have been in steady decline since, according to publishers’ net revenue data reported to the Association of American Publishers.

Watching that trend, I find my grief for the state of civilization comes with a guilty surge of relief. Sure, I would miss books — and so, by the way, would my children — but at least the death of books would put an end to the annoying fact that everyone who works for me is either writing one or wants to. I would get my staff back!

Every month, it seems, some reporter drops by my office to request a leave of absence to write a book. I patiently explain that book-writing is agony — slow, lonely, frustrating work that, unless you are a very rare exception, gets a lukewarm review (if any), reaches a few thousand people and lands on a remaindered shelf at Barnes & Noble. I recount my own experience as a book failure — two incompletes, and I’m still paying back a sizable advance with a yearly check to Simon & Schuster that I think of not as a burden but as bail.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: RottingCorpse on December 27, 2015, 12:06:15 PM
Maybe just flu recovery, but this article made me really happy.

We have and excellent used book store near us that's been here almost thirty years. It's an amazing place with that indescribable smell that only used bookstores have.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/in-the-age-of-amazon-used-bookstores-are-making-an-unlikely-comeback/2015/12/26/06b20e48-abea-11e5-bff5-905b92f5f94b_story.html (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/in-the-age-of-amazon-used-bookstores-are-making-an-unlikely-comeback/2015/12/26/06b20e48-abea-11e5-bff5-905b92f5f94b_story.html)

Quote
In the age of Amazon, used bookstores are making an unlikely comeback

Early next month, Pablo Sierra is opening a used bookstore in Northwest Washington — an unlikely bet in the digital age made even more inconceivable, given that his only experience with books is reading them.

“I guess it is pretty crazy,” Sierra said, echoing an observation shared by some of his friends.

Or maybe not. Sierra, like ­other book lovers, has read articles about slowing e-book sales and watched as independent bookstores such as Politics and Prose thrive, catering to readers who value bookish places as cultural hubs and still think the best reading device is paper.

Used bookstores, with their quintessential quirkiness, eclectic inventory and cheap prices, find themselves in the catbird seat as the pendulum eases back toward print. In many cities, that’s a de facto position: They’re the only book outlets left.

While there are no industry statistics on used-book sales, many stores that survived the initial digital carnage say their sales are rising.

“It gets better and better every year,” said Susan Burwell, the co-owner of Reston’s Used Book Shop, the only used-bookstore left for an intellectually diverse Northern Virginia city of nearly 60,000 people.

Riverby Books D.C., a used-bookstore on Capitol Hill, closed last year after owner Steve Cymrot was hit by a truck and killed. His son Paul reopened the store in the fall — and didn’t hesitate. “The business side of it never gave us a moment’s pause,” he said. “We’ve never had better business.”

And it’s a business with good economics. Used bookstores can beat Amazon and other online booksellers on price, offering shoppers both a browsing experience and a money-saving one. Also, profit margins on used books are better than new ones — so good that many indies are adding used sections.

Sensing a good deal, entrepreneurs are jumping in.

Sierra, 38, is a former Navy officer with an MBA and experience in government contracting. His new store, in a small strip mall on Georgia Avenue NW in Park View, is called Walls of Books, a chain started by ­Gottwals Books in Georgia. The company has opened eight locations since 2012, including one in New Orleans, and offers a training program for owners. The investment is significant: Start-up costs can approach $85,000.

Shane Gottwals, the chain’s co-founder, said some franchisees are fulfilling lifelong dreams to sell books. Others are in it solely for the money. All of them see unmet demand.

Pablo Sierra, who has no background in the books business, is preparing to open Walls of Books in Northwest Washington in January. He says the demand for used books is strong.

“One of the first comments we hear is that the bookstore down the road closed, and there’s no place to buy books anymore,” Gottwals said. “It’s like having a museum or a theater. It’s a cultural center. It’s a place people want to go. And that’s why it’s a good investment.”

It is by no means an easy business. Many used-book retailers — with either bad management or bad locations (or both) — still struggle against the digital headwinds.

For one, Amazon is still just a few clicks away. But some used-bookstore owners have made a shrewd move: widening their customer base by listing their inventories on Amazon’s third-party marketplace, an idea many new-book retailers despise. ­­(The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeffrey P. ­Bezos.)

Wonder Book & Video, with three retail locations in Maryland, sells its used books online through Amazon and other retailers. Sales are so strong that it moved into a three-acre distribution center in Frederick, where 4 million used books line row after row of shelves. It even sells books by the foot, which TV shows and interior designers use for decorating.

And then there’s the inventory: Used bookstores rise and fall based on the books they’re able to buy. They’ve been both savvy and lucky in that department.

Savvy: locating themselves in culturally diverse and book-friendly neighborhoods.

“Everything we have comes from the neighborhood,” said Cymrot of Riverby Books, which also has a store in Fredericksburg, Va. “Our shops are built on the neighborhoods, and the neighborhoods are full of neat people.”

Lucky: Baby boomers are downsizing. (Downsizing is one of the four D’s in how used books surface, the others being divorce, departure and death.)

“We get a lot of our best books that way,” Burwell said. “People are often sad about leaving their books when they move. I tell them they can visit them until they are sold.”

Owners still have to get people in the door. For that, readings and other events have been helpful. Sierra, whose bookstore is in a changing neighborhood with many Hispanic residents, will host bilingual events.

But nothing provides a stronger pull than the experience of browsing — getting lost in the stacks, making serendipitous finds, having chance conversations with interesting people. And with information so easy to find these days, used bookstores offer the thrill of the hunt.

Lori Hamrick, 40, stopped by Reston’s Used Book Shop recently. The store, which opened in 1978, is set among shops and restaurants at Lake Anne Plaza. There’s an old wooden card catalogue in the corner, with cards tracking store credits for customers. The floor creaks. The stacks are unintentionally whimsical: There’s Philip Roth next to Terry Southern.

“I like this,” Hamrick said. “I like books.”

She was looking for several titles — written in a notebook — in a series of historical fiction called “White Indian” by Donald Clayton Porter, a pseudonym for Noel B. Gerson.

Hamrick nosed around the historical fiction section. Nothing. Drat. On a hunch, she checked in westerns. Bingo. She found book #3, “War Chief,” in paperback. She took it home for $1.38.

“I can find these books online, but I don’t want to,” she said. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment. And if you don’t support the little guys, they won’t be around anymore.”

A buck thirty-eight won’t make Burwell and her husband rich, but the economics are good enough for them to pay the bills and do what they love.

Paperbacks, for instance, are bought at 10 percent of their original price, then sold for half the cover price. So they’d buy “Gilead,” Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitizer Prize-winning novel, for $1.60 (10 percent of $16) and then sell it for $8. That’s a 400 percent markup and vastly better than profit margins for new books — or just about any product, for that matter.

Oren Teicher, chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, said dozens of independent bookstores around the country are featuring used books, and interest is growing.

Jamie Fiocco, the owner of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., said selling used books — they make up about 6 percent of inventory — gives readers a chance to try a new author for a lower investment. If they find an author they like, they are more likely to buy their next book in hardcover.

And you never know what you’ll find in a used book.

Chacko Chakiath, shopping ­recently at Wonder Book in Gaithersburg, Md., said he seeks out books with plenty of notes in the margins.

“You can go, ‘What were they thinking here?’ ” he said. “Or sometimes I have the same issue they had.”

Wonder Book staffers find postcards, bills, love letters, ­prescriptions — markers not just of pages, but the endurance of print.
Title: Re: The Changing Face of Publishing
Post by: nacho on December 27, 2015, 12:11:51 PM
George Pelacanos predicted this about five years ago...and in fact only does the bulk of his events in used bookstores.