Get LISNews via email! Enter Your Email Address:
Over at the Scholarly Kitchen, a blog of the Society for Scholarly Publishing, the question is asked as to why scientific publishing hasn't been "disrupted" yet. Everybody else saw changes erupt since Sir Tim Berners-Lee let the genie out of the bottle in 1991 so why not the scholarly publications?
1. 95% of all reading will be on screens.
2. There will be fewer bookstores, though books will be more plentiful than ever before.
3. The entire book supply chain from author to customer will become atomized into its component bits. Value-adders will continue to find great success in publishing.
4. Most authors will be indie authors.
5. Successful publishing companies will be those that put the most net profit in the author's pocket.
6. If the big six NY book publishers (the fat head) today publish 50% of what's sold, and the long tail of thousands of indie publishers comprise the rest, then 10 years from now the fat head will shrink to 10% and the long tail will get both taller and longer.
6. There will be more published authors than ever before, and collectively they will earn record revenues, yet individually the average "published" author 10 years from now will earn less than the average "commercially published" author today.
7. 10 years from now, we will all be authors, publishers and booksellers
8. Digital books will most commonly be referred to as "books," not ebooks.
9. For those who still call books ebooks, it'll be spelled "ebook," not E-Book or e-book. Who today still calls email E-Mail?
10. Authors will write for a global market.
But what is a magazine?
If you’re holding one, you can turn the page. But it’s very possible that you’re nowhere near a turnable page now. You’re reading on a computer or a hand-held device, even though this column was intended for a magazine — a Sunday newspaper supplement that started in 1896. Like hardcover books in Kindle editions and “Daily Show” clips on the Web, this column is produced in large part for a medium other than the one in which it is consumed.
That creates some dissonance. Magazine-making is a 20th-century commercial art, with time-honored conventions, protocols and economics. But the effort that goes into making a print magazine — lighting photo shoots, designing layouts, affixing page numbers — produces little value for those who find its elements deracinated on the Web. If you’re reading these words online, why should you know, or care, that they are meant to follow an illustrated cover, a table of contents and some feuilleton pieces? You don’t expect it to precede a “well” of reported stories. Nor do you anticipate a first-person essay or a crossword puzzle.
Full piece in the NYT Magazine
Here is the first prediction:
1. At least one major book will have several different enhanced ebook editions. This will result from a combination of circumstances: the different capabilities of ebook hardware and reader platforms, the desire of publishers and authors to justify print-like prices for ebooks, the sheer ability of authors and their fans to do new things electronically, and the dawning awareness that there are at least two distinctly different ebook markets: one just wants to read the print book on an electronic screen and the other wants links and videos and other enhancements that really change the print book experience. (Corrolary prediction: the idea of an enhanced ebook that is only sold “temporarily” in the first window when the book comes out, which has been floated by at least one publisher, will be short-lived. Whatever is made for sale in electronic form will remain available approximately forever. Or, put another way, if you have a product that requires no inventory investment that has a market, you’ll keep satisfying it.)
Twelve more predictions at the IdeaLogical blog
Shelf Awareness contributing editor Jenn Northington, general manager at breathe books in Baltimore, MD offers her opinions on the pros and cons of a variety of e-readers, particularly as they pertain to booksellers:
"The first order of business was to pick my weapon of choice. Lord knows, there are umpteen million e-readers. However, I tend to ignore reviews in favor of my "poke it before you buy it" policy--if a piece of software or hardware doesn't do what I want or expect it to do, I move right along (unless I am absolutely forced to use it for some reason). This puts 90% of e-readers out of the running; the only ones you can try before you buy are the Sony Touch and Pocket Editions, and Barnes & Noble's nook. (The Kindle was out of the running automatically because--need I say it?--if it doesn't support the ePub format, it doesn't support independent bookstores. Plus, you can't get your hands on it without purchasing it.)"
She concludes "Because of the high demand for e-readers, the only one available immediately (when I went looking; things may have changed in the past week) was the Sony Pocket. So I'll be waiting until February for my nook to arrive. But not to worry! The next of the installment of her column in Shelf Awareness (the Nitty Gritty): what to do while you're waiting for your e-reader."
"So that's your advice is it? As my agent? On the week my book comes out in paperback, I should produce my own pirated version and give it away free? Why don't I just punch my publisher in the face? That would be less work."
My agent rocked back in his chair (a chair bought with 15% of my earnings) and laughed. "I didn't say it was my advice, I just said there's nothing they can do to stop you."
Full piece in the Washington Post
Dave Eggers, McSweeney's founder and Panorama's mastermind, wanted to prove that print is not dead.
On the morning of Dec. 8, several dozen volunteer newsies spread out across San Francisco to hawk copies of the city's brand new newspaper, the San Francisco Panorama. The 320-page doorstop, printed in full color on old-fashioned broadsheet paper, sold for $5 on the street and $16 in bookstores. With articles by Stephen King, Michael Chabon and Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Robert Porterfield, the Panorama was an homage to the increasingly threatened — some would say obsolete — institution of print journalism. The paper's entire print run sold out in less than 90 minutes. More from Time.com.
Publishers and authors are squaring off over who owns the digital rights to books on the lucrative "back list," works by well known authors that have a long shelf life. As digital books become more popular the resolution of this issue will be crucial for publishers because the back list is a major source of income.
Story on Morning Edition on NPR
There are plenty good vendor reps "out there" deserving our recognition, particularly these days. I've identified a couple of mine, complete with stories about their hard work on my library's behalf. Readers have added their own contributions in comments to the post. Feel free to chime in with your stories.
Analysis of yesterday's news story by Jerome Kramer, an independent publishing consultant in his blog, Publishing Perspectives.