Book Country is a website from Penguin Random House that enables thousands of amateur writers to exchange manuscripts and notes. Some even go on to get their work published. It's like an online MFA program from the comfort of your laptop. Bob speaks to Molly Barton the Global Digital Director for Penguin at Penguin Random House, and Carl E. Reed, an active Book Country user, about the site.
On the Media: http://www.onthemedia.org/2013/sep/06/book-country/
One of the things my father, Leonard Shatzkin, taught me when I was first learning about book publishing a half-century ago was that “all publishing houses are started with an editorial inspiration”. What he meant by that is that what motivated somebody to start a book publisher was an idea about what to publish. That might be somebody who just believed in their own taste; it might be something like Bennett Cerf’s idea of a “Modern Library” of compendia organized by author; it might even be Sir Allen Lane’s insight that the public wanted cheaper paperback books. But Dad’s point was that publishing entrepreneurs were motivated by the ideas for books, not by a better idea for production efficiency or marketing or sales innovation.
Phishing attacks targeting academia aren’t the most high-profile of attacks, though they’re more common than you might think. Student populations in themselves constitute a sizeable pool of potential victims for money mule recruitment and other job scams, in fact anything that promises an easy supplemental income, unfeasibly cheap or free trendy gadgetry, and so on. But I’m talking about attacks against the institutions, rather than their ‘customers’: for example, targeted social engineering attacks as a means of accessing intellectual property. Some academic research has appreciable monetary value in its own right, and much of it is developed in partnership with and funded by businesses with a direct interest in monetizing it: that makes it of interest to people with an interest in getting in first.
Chances are you have had contact with Scholastic Publishing at some point in your life: You might have read their magazines in school, or bought a book at one of their book fairs, or perhaps you've read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games? From its humble beginning as publisher of a magazine for high schoolers, Scholastic has become a $2 billion business and one of the biggest children's book publishers in the world.
At our Publishers Launch Conference on the Wednesday of BEA, Michael Cader and I introduced a new feature we think will become regular at our events: a candid 1-on-1 conversation between us. It went well.
In fact, it went so well that what reads like a pretty damn accurate verbatim account of much of it constituted a story for Ed Nawotka at Publishing Perspectives. So, now, thanks to Ed, much of the world knows that I made a number of pretty bold forecasts, probably the boldest of which is that we’ll see the US market boil down to one dominant trade publisher over the next 10 years.
There are a lot of unexpressed assumptions in that calculation. And, in the “predicting the future” part of my business, when I say 10 years I don’t count myself “wrong” if it takes 15. So, with thanks to Ed for reporting me accurately, it seems worthwhile to elaborate a bit more on what I said last week.
Some of the problem stems from tradition. The people drawn to publishing as a professional are, by and large, book lovers, and as such, often as attached to books’ physicality as to their text. More is paranoia: unlike music, whose digital age developed largely in response to an already thriving pirate industry, book publishing has held back, waiting for reliable DRM that seems unlikely to materialize.
On some levels, their reluctance is pragmatic. The technology of digital publishing is awkward and inconsistent. The closest thing to a single file standard, e-pub, is still far from platform-agnostic and notorious for destroying formatting elements, which limits what writers and designers can do structurally if they’re planning for digital.
But they found out the hard way that they were wrong. The prestigious, academically sanctioned conference they had in mind has a slightly different name: Entomology 2013 (without the hyphen). The one they had signed up for featured speakers who were recruited by e-mail, not vetted by leading academics. Those who agreed to appear were later charged a hefty fee for the privilege, and pretty much anyone who paid got a spot on the podium that could be used to pad a résumé.
“I think we were duped,” one of the scientists wrote in an e-mail to the Entomological Society.
"It’s not so easy to peruse the stacks because the tables with the computers are right there," Skaller said. "There's not a lot space away from those screens... For the 3-year-old, there's an immense opportunity to discover new things to read, and anything that's pulling her away from that gets in the way of the purpose of the trip to the library."
In book news, a recent report shows that book publishers received nearly 23% of their revenues from sales of ebooks (versus paper books) during 2012. That’s up from 17% the year before. That comes from full-year data by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). The AAP includes 350 publishers, including large ones such as Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Harper Collins, as well as independents like Sourcebooks.