PW reports it, and I heard it from Capstone themselves – they bought Heinemann-Raintree and have added 6000 titles to their list (which is already considerable). HR is based in the UK and serves a similar market to Capstone – school libraries.
Sharedbook.com is announcing today that it’s launching a program of personalized books – mostly aimed at the kids’ book market – where gift-givers can log in, upload a photo and a personal message, and choose a book to personalize. Publishing partners include Random House, HarperCollins, DK, Sterling and Bloomsbury. I spoke with Sharedbook CEO Caroline Vanderlip on Friday, and got more of the lowdown.
Last year, Sharedbooks did a pilot with Random House’s Poky Little Puppy. Parents (or grandparents, uncles/aunts, etc.) could upload a photo and a personalized message, and Sharedbook would, essentially, print that book on demand. Sharedbooks has now taken that model to 5 publishers, offering classics and favorites that gift-givers will remember from their own childhoods.
You can visit the online store here.
Kassia Krozser bitch-slaps your idealism in this post on her Booksquare blog. Kassia’s got a great outlook on publishing, and she skewers that NY Mag piece on the end of publishing quite nicely:
You don’t have to read Danielle Steel, but you have to accept this fact: people buy her books and people read her books. There was never a Golden Age of Publishing where people bought only high-brow fiction that elevated the mind. It’s a figment of your imagination. When it comes to fiction, readers flock to books and authors for varying reasons, one being the deep satisfaction that comes from a story that touches them.Don’t insult the readers, man. It’s just bad form, and you really, really need people to buy your books.
Honestly, I think I am in love.
I can’t keep ignoring this one.
I was a writing student at Mount Holyoke in the mid-1980s. I took every writing course they offered, went to the Bennington Writing Workshops, and ran out of writing courses by my junior year. I was going to come to New York and Be A Writer. Ambitious as I was, I also wanted to Be An Editor and pretty much run my own publishing house – world domination!
My kids’ dad went to Amherst…with David Foster Wallace – an English major, he was a year behind DFW. When "The Broom of the System" came out, I read it (at my ex’s behest) and loved it. Loved. It.
Reading these obituaries hurts. DFW was 3 years older than I am. He did things – built up English departments, wrote jaw-dropping works of genius, inspired and motivated hundreds if not thousands of students.
And suffered from debilitating depression. I know a few things about that as well. It runs in my family, and I have had numerous friends who suffer from it also. Depression is not romantic – it is a physical disease. Few who have it actually run out of options, but I found Wallace’s father’s observations to be most haunting:
He’d been in the hospital a couple of times over the summer and had undergone electro-convulsive therapy. Everything had been tried, and he just couldn’t stand it anymore.
For those of us who are intimate with the ravages of depression, this is terrifying. Because some people do – truly do – run out of options, and find themselves with utterly no relief. And some of these people are extraordinarily gifted and inspirational and shine a beam of light onto life in a way that nobody else possibly could.
So how do publishers stay alive when the business is tanking?
I’m fortunate to be part of a project called Start With XML. Conceived of by Mike Shatzkin, sponsored by O’Reilly’s Tools of Change, Start With XML aims to help publishers consolidate costs (so that long tail publishing is more profitable) and monetize content in new ways. The Start With XML team consists of Mike, Ted Hill, Brian O’Leary, and myself.
There are four components to the project:
- A research report, which will be made available to all attendees of the forum, and which will be for sale on O’Reilly’s site
- The forum itself – which will take place on January 13, 2009 in New York, with dates to be announced soon for other US locations and Europe
It’s inconclusive – only saying what those of us in the business are already saying – things cannot continue as they are:
The kind of targeted, curated lists editors would love to publish will work even better in an electronic, niche-driven world, if only the innovators can get them there. Those owners who are genuinely interested in the industry’s long-term survival would do well to hire scrappy entrepreneurs at every level, people who think like underdogs.
I’m tackling this in more depth in The Big Picture tomorrow. You can sign up to get it delivered to you free here.
Publishers Lunch has a brief item about Globe Pequot’s decision to release the bios of Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain on the Kindle today. The Obama biography will be available in print on November 26th.
The McCain biography? Well, it’s never going to be out in paper if the Republicans lose the election.
Let’s save some trees.
With essentially the same dimensions as a notepad, the new gadget offers a letter-sized screen, which may make it more suitable to read newspapers and magazines that are delivered wirelessly….A New York Times article detailing Plastic Logic’s device points to the eventual future when E Ink’s black-on-white display gets colorized and ads are clickable and multimedia. Cool, right? Just like a high-tech version of those Harry Potter movie newspapers, no?
Psst. We have that already. It’s called the Internet. With laptops becoming even more portable, cheaper, and wirelessly accessible, isn’t tomorrow already here?
A commenter on our Ravenous Romance post notes that other erotic romance publishers are heavily invested in a digital publishing strategy – Ellora’s Cave, for example – and wonders "what new twist is RR bringing to the game?"
I got in touch with Holly Schmidt and Lori Perkins, two of the founders, and they responded that they are still in development, and there will be further press releases that will address RR’s market differentiation. Launch, they state, is 3 months away – and invitations for beta testers will be going out soon. Stay tuned!