A Modest Proposal For Publishers and Authors

A Modest Proposal For Publishers and Authors
So, what’s the future of publishing?

For both authors and publishers, it’s largely about who controls access to the tribe.

Because, they are no longer anonymous, random purchasers. They have faces, names, desires, interests and the ability to not only read what you create, but help craft, support, interact with and evangelize it…

Publishing in the Animal World: Going to the Dogs (...and a cat here & there)

From Publishers Weekly: A no-brainer: Americans love their pets. Moreover, they put their money where their hearts are.According to a March 2009 article on, U.S. consumers spent more than $43 billion on food, supplies, medicine, and health care for their pets in 2008, making that business the eighth largest in the country, ahead of the candy and toy industries. Consumers now spend more than $18 billion annually on pet food alone.

Yet publishing in the pets category is not quite the no-brainer it was a few years ago. Even this reliable market is somewhat saturated. St. Martin's editor Daniela Rapp says, "The sheer number of dog books submitted and published has led to a certain level of fatigue about these projects. This attitude seems to be limited to publishers, the sales force, and buyers for individual accounts and so far hasn't expanded to the consumer. By now I am familiar with the groan ‘Not another dog book!' in the sales reports, but in the end these books still find their audience."

Make no mistake; this category comprises largely dog books, even though cats are more common pets in the U.S. (about 82 million cats to 71 million dogs by the American Veterinary Medical Association's 2007 count). "Of the animal books we publish, dogs do seem to be the most popular," says Leslie Stoker, publisher of Stewart, Tabori & Chang/Abrams Image, which will offer photographer Daniel Borris's Yoga Dogs in March 2011.

A Look Back at the History of Print and Publishing (or It's Always Been a Tough Business)

Change of pace from the more frequent 'death of print' stories here on LISNews.

This one's about the birth of print; a discussion of the newly published book by Andrew Pettegree, "The Book in the Renaissance" with Tom Scocca of Slate and the Boston Globe.

In the beginning, before there was such a thing as a Gutenberg Bible, Johannes Gutenberg laid out his rows of metal type and brushed them with ink and, using the mechanism that would change the world, produced an ordinary little schoolbook. It was probably an edition of a fourth-century grammar text by Aelius Donatus, some 28 pages long. Only a few fragments of the printed sheets survive, because no one thought the book was worth keeping.

“Now had he kept to that, doing probably would all have been well,” said Andrew Pettegree, a professor of modern history at the University of St. Andrews and author of “The Book in the Renaissance,” the story of the birth of print. Instead, Gutenberg was bent on making a grand statement, an edition of Scripture that would cost half as much as a house and would live through the ages. In the end, struggling for capital to support the Bible project, Gutenberg was forced out of his own print shop by his business partner, Johann Fust.

The article continues in a question and answer format here.

Scholars Test Web Alternative to Peer Review

The Internet is calling into question one of academia’s sacred rites: the peer- reviewed journal article.

Full article


The printed book’s path to oblivion

Publishing industry consultant Mike Shatzkin has a blog post titled: The printed book’s path to oblivion

Excerpt: It is very hard for me to grasp why anybody would prefer a printed book 30 or 40 years from now. I’m sure by then screen technology will be able to simulate any aspect of the printed book that could possibly be of interest (except, perhaps, for the smell of the paper, ink, and glue, but, then maybe a companion air-wick would do the trick. I wonder if you can use the same aromas for all titles, or whether some customization will be required.)


A Mass Market Publisher's Bold Move

Publishers Weekly reports that Dorchester Publishing has abandoned it's traditional print publications in in favor of an e-book/print-on-demand model.

$200 Text vs. Free. You Do the Math.

Two founders of Sun Microsystems have created two nonprofits to bring open-source textbooks to kindergarten through high school classes.

Full story


Self-Published Books...Do They Suck?

Two robots, one of whom represents author Zoe Winters discuss the subject on the New York subway:

On the Media - show on books

This week - "On the Media" is rebroadcasting their show on books and the publishing business - with a few updates.

You can see all the episodes here.

Academic publishing is archaic

Academic publishing is archaic

What I find fascinating is the historical perspective: while still useful, the alphabetical index is hardly exciting anymore. It has been supplanted by full text search (in e-books). There are still reference books (such as dictionaries), but they are being replaced with online tools. Information overload continues to generate many inventions: the search engine (such as Google), the recommender system (as on, and the social networks (such as Twitter). Literally, these tools expand our minds. We become smarter.



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