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Publishers in the U.S. released more than 291,000 separate titles in 2006. But one imprint that got its start just last year has already had a string of hits with a philosophy of "less is more."
"Nobody has any idea what's going to hit. I think that publishing is basically a corporate form of legalized gambling," says Jonathan Karp, publisher and editor in chief of Twelve, which only releases one book a month — 12 each year.
Karp had already ushered a string of books onto best-seller lists before starting Twelve; he began his career in 1989 as an editorial assistant at Random House and worked his way up to editor in chief. Among the hit books he worked on were Seabiscuit and The Orchid Thief
For writers, few steps in the publishing process are as strange as the state of suspended animation between submitting a manuscript and seeing the book appear in stores. The sudden change in cabin pressure from writing to waiting can be jarring — and can last a very long time. “It comes as a huge shock when it happens the first time,” said the Irish writer Colm Toibin, whose first novel, “The South,” appeared in 1990, a year and a half after he turned it in. “It was all slow and strange.”
Technology may be speeding up the news cycle, but in publishing, things actually seem to be slowing down. Although publishers can turn an electronic file into a printed book in a matter of weeks — as they often do for hot political titles, name-brand authors or embargoed celebrity biographies likely to be leaked to the press — they usually take a year before releasing a book. Why so long? In a word, marketing.
Steve Jobs said earlier this month that Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader was dead on arrival, since Americans have largely abandoned reading.
“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”
Now Amazon wants the naysayers like Mr. Jobs to listen up –- literally.
On Thursday it said that it had agreed to buy Audible, the Web’s largest provider of downloadable audiobooks, for $300 million. Amazon isn’t saying much about what it will do with the company, but bringing audiobooks directly to its Web site and to the Kindle is the obvious first step.
What comes after that? (Article continued here.)
Walking into Lightning Source's sprawling plant just outside of Nashville, Tenn., CEO J. Kirby Best recites a list of print-on-demand milestones: Lightning Source has grown from three employees in 1997 to more than 500 today; the company digitally scans about 2,000 books a week and prints 1.2 million books a month. “It took us seven years to print 10 million books,” says Best as we stroll through the 159,000-sq.-ft. building. “This year we published 10 million books in the first 11 months.”
Doubtful. Today's law students want their course materials in digital format. At Law Librarian Blog, I review the prospects for open-source publishing and explain why and (hopefully how) Lexis and Thomson-West will dominate the eBook market. I also explain why I think Thomson-West is in the best situation to capitalize on the growing demand for eBook legal titles.
Industry guru Mike Shatzkin foresees big gains in e-book sales, consolidation among literary agencies, a jump in customized book sales and much more. See article at Publisher's Weekly.
New Collaboration for Scholarly Publishing Five university presses have announced a collaboration that seeks to find a way to reduce costs of scholarly publishing and to allow more books to be released. The collaboration, created with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will set up a joint operation for copy editing, design, layout and typesetting for the work in American literatures. The presses will retain complete control over book selection and distribution.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Global Marketing Network and Emerald Publishing Enter Global Alliance
Emerald Management First provided to Global Marketing Network’s Membership
19 December 2007, UK and India
Global Marketing Network (GMN), the world’s newest membership and professional development community for marketing professionals, and Emerald Group Publishing Limited, the world’s leading publisher of management research, have entered into a long-term alliance to provide GMN’s membership worldwide with exclusive access to a bespoke version of Emerald Management First, one of the world’s leading business and management portals.
Speaking at the India launch of GMN in Mumbai, Darrell Kofkin, Chief Executive of Global Marketing Network said, “We are both proud and delighted to have entered into such an exciting agreement with Emerald. This alliance ensures that our global members will now have exclusive access to a bespoke version of Emerald Management First, one of the world’s most highly regarded business portals, supporting our core objective of providing global marketers with access to world-leading knowledge and resources to enable them to keep fully up-to-date and to support their continuing professional development”. -- Read More
When it comes to progress on the e-learning curve, one could easily argue that the music industry is well ahead of the book publishing industry. Napster and other illegal file-sharing tools forced the music industry to wake up and smell the coffee. Apple then stepped in with the iPod/iTunes combination and promptly ruled the world...for awhile...
As this BusinessWeek article notes, the pay-per-song model might be living on borrowed time. All you can eat subscription models like Rhapsody are gaining popularity. It makes sense to me. After all, I don't care how much music I "own"; I just care how much I have access to. Would I pay $12.99/month for the right to fill up a 30-, 40- or 80-gig MP3 player with all the music I could possibly want? You bet, especially since I'll know the door is always open to download even more as my interests and tastes change.
Now stop and think about how this applies to the book publishing world. Could you imagine a model where you pay $X/month for access to an unlimited number of books? It's never going to happen in the print world but I think this could be the killer app for the Kindle, a world where manufacturing and distribution costs are zero. Access to every single book in the entire Kindle library could be yours for a monthly fee. Assuming the monthly fee is reasonable this could be the model that really kick-starts the e-book industry.
Full blog posting at Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020 Blog