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The Times (Dec. 9, 2009) has an interesting article on the 10 strangest books ever published. Titles include: "The English- Are They Human", "Toilet Paper Origami", "Paint it Black: A Guide to Gothic Homemaking" and "Jewish Chess Masters on Stamps."
Too many books, not enough profits. That is the lament of many publishers these days. Plus, there's the fear and loathing engendered by e-books. So, what is the state of the book industry and what can we expect in the coming years? Brooke takes a look at the present and future of books.
You can download MP3 here.
Blog entry by Mike Shatzkin a publishing industry consultant:
The “ebook tipping point” has recently been a frequent subject of discussion for me. I started out thinking about the business implications and that’s the main focus of the panel discussion on the subject at Digital Book World.
As I mentioned briefly in my last post, I have lately been turning my thinking to a huge shift I think might just be around the corner: that editors and authors will have to start thinking “ebook first”. When we get to that point, it will cause huge upheaval. And personnel changes.
The man behind the modern pop-up book, Waldo "Wally" Hunt, has died at age 88. Hunt, a Los Angeles advertising executive, sold his company and traveled to New York, where he became disenchanted. He was charmed by a pop-up book imported from Czechoslovakia. "I knew I'd found the magic key," he told the L.A. Times in 2002. "No one was doing pop-ups in this country." Hunt's first pop-up company was so successful that Hallmark purchased it. Then Hunt returned west and started another company -- making pop-up books, of course.
Check out this LA Times blog, and particularly the wonderful video of "ABC3D," a design favorite of 2008--wonderful book (maybe not the best for libraries, but a unique book for sure).
A new machine at the MU Bookstore makes the book publishing process faster and cheaper.
The University Bookstore showed off its new Espresso Book Machine at an open house on Wednesday. This machine instantly prints, binds and trims paperback books for just six cents a page. It is open to students, faculty and the community during bookstore hours.
The University Bookstore bought the machine in the summer and installed it in September. The staff has spent the last month and a half learning how to use the machine and work out any problems. The machine cost about $75,000, and all of the money made goes back to the University.
Mike Shatzkin has a blog post called A coming new obsession: how to handle a smaller print-book business
Tim O'Reilly said this about it: This is the best post I've seen on the problems facing publishers, bar none. Mike hit almost every nail square on the head. (In the discussion of Shatzkin's post you can see the comments by O'Reilly)
Librarians need to be aware of what is going on in the book publishing ecosystem.
The state of China's book industry: always marveled at the immense chasm between the Chinese book market and the rest of the world. Of course, issues of translation and appeal abroad have kept the market pretty domestic, but that seems to be changing slowly.
A tit-for-tat price war between Wal-Mart and Amazon accelerated late on Friday afternoon when Wal-Mart shaved another cent off its already rock-bottom prices for hardcover editions of some of the coming holiday season’s biggest potential best sellers, offering them online for $8.99 apiece.
“If readers come to believe that the value of a new book is $10, publishing as we know it is over,” said David Gernert, Mr. Grisham’s literary agent. “If you can buy Stephen King’s new novel or John Grisham’s ‘Ford County’ for $10, why would you buy a brilliant first novel for $25? I think we underestimate the effect to which extremely discounted best sellers take the consumer’s attention away from emerging writers.”
Electronic “is going to be the center of the universe,” said Ms. Friedman, a flamboyant and relentless booster of authors during her four-decade career in New York publishing. “We really think that what we’re going to do is to help transform the industry, which is built on models that we all know are broken.”
When traditional publishers reissue print editions, they tend to do so with little fanfare. Ms. Friedman, by contrast, plans to push a torrent of online marketing on new readers in the hopes of reigniting the backlists of well-known authors in the digital world.
BERLIN — Organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair worked for 15 years to secure China as the guest of honor at their five-day showcase of global trends and best sellers that opens to industry delegates Wednesday. Organizers are steeling themselves for lively discussions and the possibility of protests at the fair, which boasts about 6,900 exhibitors from more than 100 countries.
In her speech inaugurating the 61-year-old event, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "There can be — and I am sure there will be — no taboos in discussions" at the fair. But the director of the German Book Sellers Industry, Gottfried Honnefelder, went one step further insisting that: "We view freedom of opinion as an inalienable right."
In September, members of the Chinese delegation walked out of a pre-book fair symposium after two authors they had insisted not attend showed up anyway. Yet China's appearance this year is expected to generate the most buzz, given censorship in China. The September spat erupted when dissident writers Dai Qing and Bei Ling attended the symposium, despite a Chinese attempt to block them.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping praised the fair for presenting a chance for an exchange in learning about each other's cultures. -- Read More