Readersforum's Blog

August 17, 2011

What Will Publishing Look Like in 2021?

Posted by Anne R. Allen
In the comment thread of my post on What Readers Won’t Miss from Corporate Publishers When They’re Gone, “Ghostly Girl” asked the above question. It sure is a hot topic..
What will happen in the next ten years? Will corporate publishers stumble along into dodoland? Will bookstores become a faded memory? Will all writers become entrepreneurial self-publishers? Will everybody who’s got a novel in him/her get fifteen Warhol fame-minutes on a bloated, crap-laden Amazon.com?
Things do look dire for corporate book publishing and brick-and-mortar retail sales at the moment. Early in the week we heard the Borders chain has finally shuffled off its mortal coil, and on Thursday, Publisher’s Lunch reported book sales suffered another huge monthly drop—especially for adult hardcover and mass market paperbacks.
This has made the future of publishing a hot topic of discussion everywhere I go. On Wednesday night, a friend in my critique group asked what the Barnes and Noble of the future might look like. Most said “Barnes and Who?” or “What’s a bookstore?”
But I disagreed. I predicted Barnes and Noble will survive—in a rather different configuration—maybe a combination of a much-expanded Starbucks café and an Apple-like outlet, displaying a variety of Nookish products, X-boxy things, coffee-related paraphernalia—and one book.
Written by Snooki.
Turns out I might be something of a clairvoyant. In that same Thursday issue of Publisher’s Lunch there was also news of a big-money auction of a hot new literary property, shorthanded as, “Pippa Middleton’s Pilates Coach.”
So. Maybe publishing isn’t so moribund after all. At least some Big Six guys are still partying like it’s 2009.
I had to look into it. Pippa Middleton’s Pilates Coach sounded like a brilliant satire of our shallow, celebrity-obsessed culture—maybe some uproarious comedy about fictional idiots spending millions to learn Pilates from the coach, “who’s coaching the girl, who’s related to the girl, who danced with the son of the Prince of Wales.” (Paraphrasing the classic song from 1927.)
But a quick Google showed the celebrity-crazed idiots aren’t fictional. And the book is not meant to be funny. And it’s coming soon to a Barnes and Noble near you.
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August 16, 2011

What Is Book Piracy?

By Andrew Losowsky

Books Editor,

Book piracy is nothing new. In the mid 500s, so the story goes, St. Columba copied by hand a manuscript St. Finnian had lent to him. The king was invited to call on the legality of the act; his judgement, “To every cow belongs her calf, to every book belongs its copy,” would certainly please publishers (and dairy farmers) today.

Yet the rulings of kings and judges do little to stop people trying to get hold of information. A few years ago, the main reason for piracy was because publishers were not keeping up with the needs of their readers; the Harry Potter books are only now appearing in a digital format via the Pottermore website, but back in 2005, people made their own digital versions instead.

Today, most major titles are available in digital editions as well as print. However, many people question why e-books are so expensive. They are often the same price, or close enough, as the print editions, despite the lack of paper, printing, warehousing, physical distribution and retail sales costs involved in their creation.

As more people start to use e-readers, the issue of piracy is only going to become more pressing for the industry. It is becoming a serious legal and professional concern, as the BBC recently pointed out in a radio documentary. Will illegal downloading lead to the collapse of publishing as we know it?

In an interview last year on the website The Millions, a book pirate going by the name The Real Caterpillar suggested a simple solution:

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April 14, 2011

How to Write and Publish the (almost) Perfect Book

By Penny C. Sansevieri

CEO, Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

When it comes to publishing, there is a certain recipe for success. And while nothing is guaranteed, there are significant activities which must happen in order for your book to have a chance at success. I often speak of promotion, websites, and gathering a social media footprint. Today we’re taking a look at the equally important back-end issues. Now, I can’t guarantee if you follow this that you’ll come out leading the charge with the most perfect book, but you’ll certainly be close. Writers never intentionally write a bad book, or a book that’s not marketable. We do our best, and we often hope for the best. But in a world full of clutter, you have to do more than that. You have to step out to succeed and you have to learn the ropes of your market and the publishing industry. Here are 11 points for you to consider:

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