Publishing

The Bush memoirs: Would you buy a book from this man?

Bill Clinton got a $15-million advance to write his memoir, "My Life." And he was a president who'd been impeached for an embarrassing dalliance in the Oval Office.

But publishers told the Associated Press' Hillel Italie that George W. Bush was unlikely to get anything near that kind of advance if he decided to write his own version of his tumultuous eight years in office.

For one thing, he's not known as an introspective guy given to self-criticism, seen as key to sales.

"I think any success will depend to a very large extent on [the content of] the book," said Peter Osnos, founder of PublicAffairs, which published former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan's tough take on the White House.

For another, foreign rights would be unlikely.

Full article here.

Publishers rush to get crisis books out

Marketplace on American Public Media:
As readers hunger for information about the financial crisis, publishers are hurrying to get new business books on the table. And old ones, too. Sally Herships learns that's not so easy to do.

Listen to story.

If You Win the Nobel Prize, You Might Just Get a Publishing Contract

Publishers Weekly reports that three small presses have benefitted from last month's news that French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

While David Godine, University of Nebraska Press and Curbstone Press all upped or rushed copies of their single backlist Le Clezio titles, Anne-Solange Noble, foreign rights director at Le Clezio's French publisher Gallimard, has been working feverishly to get more of the author's titles on American bookshelves. And, although there were seven Le Clezio titles which were published by Atheneum in the 1970's, bringing those books back into print has proven complicated.

At Simon & Schuster, where Atheneum (no longer an active adult imprint) is housed, a deal has just been finalized to bring Le Clezio's first book published in the US the 1965-released The Interrogation, back into print.

The title is not yet on the S&S site.

Mourning Old Media’s Decline

The print media do not have an audience problem, but a consumer problem. The Christian Science Monitor will end its daily print paper and publish a magazine.

From article: The auto industry and the print industry have essentially the same problem,” said Clay Shirky, the author of “Here Comes Everybody.” “The older customers like the older products and the new customers like the new ones.”

Full article in the NYT.

Publishers, enough with vapid hype

Let's set aside the economic sound and fury and focus on the writing rather than the noise. Since the late 1990s, when computers began to enable publishers to track book sales to the copy, the industry has been numbers-dominated, less about the aesthetics of the language than of the spreadsheet. This is problematic, say, if you're a first novelist who gets a good-sized advance and a decent publicity push but only goes on to sell 1,000 copies of your book.

Open Source Text Publisher Gets More Financing

Flat World Knowledge, a year-old company that plans to publish free open source college textbooks, has received $700,000 in new financing, bringing total investment in the startup to $1.4 million. The company has also announced a number of new appointments, including that of former Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Newcomb to its board of advisors.

Flat World co-founder Jeff Shelstad said that given the current economic climate, he was “pleased” to complete the new financing deal. A larger round of investment is expected to be completed within the next six months.

Under the Flat World model, the company will publish open source textbooks that students can download for free; it hopes to make its money by selling various options to the online text, ranging from print-on-demand print versions to audio downloads. No advertising is accepted. The texts, which are written by authors signed by Flat World, can be customized by instructors.

Full article at Publisher's Weekly

What Do a Hockey Mom and a Terminatrix Have in Common?

Harper Collins answers your questions with their new title...Terminatrix, the Sarah Palin Chronicles.

TextBook Torrents Turns The Final Page and Closes Down

From relative obscurity, Textbook Torrents, the world’s largest BitTorrent index of textbooks, found itself in the world spotlight during July 2008 and was forced to close down by its host. The site returned weeks later, growing massively in the process, but now, just a couple of months on, the site has closed for good.

Full article here

Wal-Mart's DRM Nightmare Just Won't End

Wal-Mart has decided to keep the music that it sold wrapped in a layer of copyright protection playable, following a flurry of customer complaints about legally purchased music becoming unplayable. The probably wishes it had never tangled with digital rights management, because it's going to keep paying for it long after its switch to selling DRM-free MP3s.

An e-mail sent to Wal-Mart digital music store customers said the company will continue to support the DRM-ed song files sold on walmart.com starting in 2003. The e-mail reversed last month's announcement that Wal-Mart would shut down the servers that authenticate the copyright protected music it no longer sells. Unfortunately, doing so would render all protected music purchased from the store in the past five years unplayable.

Full story at Wired.com

This story is something to think about for libraries that collect materials that have DRM.

Publish and be wrong

One group of researchers thinks headline-grabbing scientific reports are the most likely to turn out to be wrong

See: http://nonstopbooks.blogspot.com/2008/10/publish-and-be-wrong.html

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