Jeffrey Toobin has a piece in this week’s New Yorker
about Google Books – he was at the Google conference a couple of weeks ago. Not much from the conference made the article, however – it’s mostly "what has Google been up to in the books world over the last little while". One sentence that leapt out: "Google intends to scan every book ever published." Just like, cracks a friend of mine, a distributor "book-in-hands" every book that comes through its warehouse? (Remember those much-vaunted book-in-hand
programs that promised clean and accurate book data because staff were taking it RIGHT OFF THE ACTUAL BOOK?) Keep moving, nothing to see here, people.
Awesome article about Judith Regan in this week’s New York Magazine – called "Even Bitches Have Feelings" – it almost…ALMOST…tugs a heartstring. Almost. Gotta wonder what’s next for this piece of work.
Otherwise…it’s shaping up to be a quiet week in Bookland. ISBN-13 has come and gone with nary a whisper…further drawing comparisons to Y2K. ALA Midwinter came and went with no earthshattering announcements. No news is…just a lot of blather.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 11:24 am, Comments (0)
At last PW has a major editorial on…distribution. While not the sexiest part of the business, it is the part that is most profoundly important when, as in the case of Dave Eggers’s new book What is the What, stores find themselves scrambling to order a "sleeper hit", and no one can supply it due to arrangements with a major distributor who…goes bankrupt.
And while the PGW/AMS debacle is in its own way as complicated as Enron to explain, the upshot is this: all those publishers that PGW distributed, which AMS took on when it bought PGW? All those publishers who suddenly had half a prayer of getting into Costco and Wal-Mart? Well, their money’s all tied up in court. Meaning…the authors ain’t gettin’ paid, the stores ain’t gettin’ the books delivered – and it ain’t just the mid-list/small pubs who are affected. Major publishers like Random supplied books to AMS as well – massive quantities of books. And those sales aren’t happening, those books aren’t getting delivered either.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 3:32 pm, Comments (0)
Silly Microsoft. Reports today state that MS has paid a consultant to edit some Wikipedia entries – and Wikipedia, of course, won’t have that. Every so often MS does something clumsy like this – proving that it is not as market-savvy as its competitors. It’s fun to watch.
On a personal note, I’m delighted that Sun is doing well (relatively well, anyhow – not in debt) – my brother is a hardware engineer there. Go, stock, go! Above the waterline!
While we’re flogging things, here, Bloggapedia is up to 1472 registered users!! Categorize your blogs, folks – make it easier for people to find your work!
Posted by Laura Dawson, 4:08 pm, Comments (0)
I think the so-called tipping point of libraries from hard copy to digital has passed. At least in the minds of those in the marketplace, if not the users. While there were a significant number of publishers at this ALA Midwinter, most of the booths were concerned with digital delivery in one form or another – journals, books, audio (Playaway had a big co-branding push with BWI), and ILS systems.
A major announcement is that the head of Coutts Library Services, James Gray, is now the CEO of Ingram Digital Ventures – a move that will have some extremely interesting results.
As with most midwinter conferences, this one was primarily about solidifying deals, exploring new product, and networking – the big launches tend to come at the summer shows. Of note is that Overdrive is now offering downloadable video games to libraries.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 8:49 pm, Comments (0)
What publishers don’t want to say, and what they will never say but which is nevertheless the truth, is…they hate libraries.
The business model between libraries and publishers is not a favorable one for publishers. It’s a one-to-many relationship – in other words, a library orders 50 copies of Harry Potter from the publisher, and 5000 people get to read it. Diluting the value of each copy significantly. If you are a publisher, this is not a business model you want to encourage.
Increasingly, this is going to become an issue. Digital downloads – audiobooks, ebooks – are hitting libraries like…well, less like a tidal wave than like a really good Maui pipe. And the one-to-many relationship will explode. What then?
Posted by Laura Dawson, 8:48 pm, Comments (0)
Folks, the valiant supergoddess Tess has – well, I’ve tapped her out, poor kid – she’s handed the reins of this blog back to me. So strap on your seatbelts – let the snark begin.
Today Google held an all-day seminar at the New York Public Library called “Unbound”. Attendees were, largely, from the publishing and e-commerce industries – the usual suspects, in other words.
Moderated by Mike Shatzkin (of Idea Logical at the moment), the seminar began with a baseline of statistics about the amount of content that’s becoming available digitally – with the general consensus that the bulk of it is in the STM market, with the traditional textbook market seeing the big increases. Angela D’Agostino (from Bowker) gave a great set of figures.
Then came what Tom Turvey referred to as “the fun stuff”. Chris Anderson spoke about the process of writing “The Long Tail” collaboratively (virally?), through blogging and receiving instant feedback about his ideas. Seth Godin attempted to explain that audiobooks cost nothing to make (thus earning many eye-rolls from the audience). Cory Doctorow spoke about how social networking has increased his sales – and later we heard from a panel of authors saying much the same thing. MySpace has become the artist’s best friend.
I remember when I was at Doubleday, right out of college, encountering a very stubborn copy editor there. The editor I reported to was quite a maverick, and at least once a week this copy editor would moan his mantra to me: “But we just don’t do it that way.” He would look at me, unblinkingly, and moan this. As if that were going to change the way my editor and I were doing things. There’s a lot of that mentality out there.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 8:44 pm, Comments (0)
From Red Herring: a very interesting look at how some book publishers are making digitization work for them in hopes of keeping up with the technological trends that are affecting the industry – addressing the "new competition – and new opportunity - online."
Quoting the article: "The area of bookselling known as ebooks – books online, on cell phones and PDAs, on book-only electronic devices – is still a very small segment of the book publishing industry. Ebooks brought in $22 million through October last year, according to the American Association of Publishers. That was a 26 percent jump over the previous year. Overall, book sales were down 0.3 percent for the year."
Read the entire article here
Posted by Laura Dawson, 6:41 am, Comments (0)