Can The iPad Or The Kindle Save Book Publishers?

Fresh Air on WHYY

Interview with Ken Auletta

Ken Auletta's latest column asks the question, "Can the iPad topple the Kindle and save the book business?" The article, published in the April 26 issue of The New Yorker magazine, discusses the ongoing battle between publishing companies and Amazon for pricing e-books, which are projected to eventually account for as much as 40 percent of all books sold.

Auletta is also the author of 11 books, including World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies and Googled: The End of the World As We Know It, which tracked the development of Google from a search engine to the provider of all things Internet. He has written the "Annals of Communications" column for The New Yorker since 1992.

Listen to full piece or read interview highlights here.

Publisher misses out on e-book rights

A dead author is making a big splash in the publishing industry. William Styron wrote towering works of literature -- "Sophie's Choice" among them. Styron died four years ago. His work is about to be published as electronic books. But the author's long-time publisher will not be collecting the profits.


By now it must be clear to all but a handful of diehards that the business model based on returnability of books for credit, a practice instituted by the trade book industry some 75 years ago, is no longer viable. In fact it has proven to be a bargain with the Devil.

Some pundits ascribe the woes of our business to printed books themselves, saying that the medium is no longer appropriate for our times. In truth nothing is wrong with printed books. Everything is wrong with the way they are distributed.

Full blog entry at

The Open Access citation advantage?

advantage, schmantage "Who loses the shell game? Academics whose work is less widely available than it should be, and anyone who wants to read the primary literature. Who wins? Publishers, whose prices have been allowed to escalate because they have largely escaped scrutiny (except by librarians, who for no good reason that I can see have been largely ignored, at least until relatively recently, by academic and political decision makers). "

Can the iPad topple the Kindle, and Save the Book Business?

Ken Auletta of The New Yorker writes:

On the morning of January 27th—an aeon ago, in tech time—Steve Jobs was to appear at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, in downtown San Francisco, to unveil Apple’s new device, the iPad. Hundreds of journalists and invited guests, including Al Gore, Yo-Yo Ma, and Robert Iger, the C.E.O. of Disney, milled around the theatre, waiting for Jobs to appear. The sound system had been playing a medley of Bob Dylan songs; it went quiet as the lights came up onstage and Jobs walked out, to the crowd’s applause.

In the weeks before, the book industry had been full of unaccustomed optimism; in some publishing circles, the device had been referred to as “the Jesus tablet.” The industry was desperate for a savior. Between 2002 and 2008, annual sales had grown just 1.6 per cent, and profit margins were shrinking.

Panoramic View

Writer Dave Eggers’ publishing house, McSweeney’s, recently released a one-off newspaper called Panorama. The 328-page paper was meant as a celebration of the print form and a demonstration of why newspapers are still uniquely relevant in the digital era. Brooke interviewed Dave live onstage in Washington DC, and asked him about the future of print. You can play the file using the embedded player or you can download the MP3 of the piece here. Transcript here.

The Race Against Lord Mandelson

While you might not think so, the starter's pistol has metaphorically gone off.

Death of the 'Library Voice'

From the NYTimes City Room Blog, complaints from a patron who finds the new library a bit too noisy.


iPad Could Help Self-Publishers Kick Open Doors

Some writers hope that the iPad will make it easier for writers to bypass traditional publishers. They also can bypass the library. There is a book in the article that has sold 10,000 copies at Lulu. WorldCat has a record for the book but shows that no libraries hold it.

Full piece on Weekend Edition on NPR

WorldCat record for: Cloud : seven clear business models


A Housekeeping Note

Posted by request of the Producer at Erie Looking Productions, Gloria Kellat: As a reminder, the LISNews Bulletin will be released at Computers in Libraries 2010. Blake will be giving out copies at no cost to those receiving them as this is a market test to see whether or not there might be interest in a continuing print serial. Although Blake will be giving copies away, the printing cost remains real. We have a patron page in which for USD$10 you will be listed with your chosen affiliation statement in recognition of your support. We already had one benefactor throw down and show their support. To make this happen we need others who are brave enough to stand up as well. Send USD$10 with your name and affiliation via PayPal to [email protected] by April 5th. I will ensure that thank you notes are sent to benefactors but must stress that while such donations can come from anywhere on the planet they are not tax-deductible.


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