More Things to Read: May 10, 2012


In this extra issue: Wherein we read portents of doom to page-oriented composition and layout due to the rise of reading via display, not paper. And speaking of that, Logos/Vyrso announce adding 1 thousand new titles to it’s reading/ebook platform, plus a new epublisher joins the fray, spun off from well-known agency group, Alive Communications. We read that maybe your next book project will come from the blogosphere, we learn what’s wrong with book reviewers, and what’s up with February’s sales stats. With a very short long tail, WND is appropriately pround of their bestseller titles and open-source textbooks have never really been a threat…until now—a university will be curating a database of peer-reviewed, quality textbooks.

  1. Page-oriented authoring and design is about to become obsolete

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    « Matt McInnis asked our audience, “How many here have used Pagemaker? InDesign? Word?” His question targeted a 30-year evolutionary path in software that is about to become obsolete—page-oriented authoring and design. Publishing’s new default is not a page of paper, but a web page, which has dynamic sizes and shapes.… »

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  2. Vyrso makes grand addition to its offerings from major Christian publishers

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    « Vyrso: Christian Ebooks added more than 1,100 new titles from popular Christian publishers, including Tyndale, Barbour, Thomas Nelson & Harvest House. Graham’s The Heaven Answer Book and Dekker’s four-pack including Black, Showdown, Kiss & Heaven’s Wages are a few of these titles that now offer cloud-synced notes and highlighting. New offerings on the advanced Vyrso ereader app that features pull-up Bible verses by tapping references span a variety of topics for everyone to read on their iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, PC or Android-enabled device.… »
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  3. Literary agency Alive Communications launches epublishing company: Bondfire

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    « Leading literary agency for Christian and inspirational books Alive Communications has announced a separate “sister” epublishing enterprise, Bondfire Books.… Bondfire is a standalone epublishing company. Following the model of other epublishing start-ups, founder Rick Christian says in the announcement they are paying “a 50% net royalty” & “five-year renewable terms.”… »

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  4. Bloggers land traditional book deals by test marketing book ideas

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    « Writers must prove to publishers their ideas are highly marketable and readers are waiting at the book store doors eager to purchase them. To sell numerous copies of their books, let alone produce a bestseller, they must have a huge author’s platform. "A successful blog represents a successfully test marketed book idea," says Nina Amir, whose book will be released on April 21 by Writer’s Digest Books. "Publishers are looking for popular blogs because they are as close to a sure bet as they’ve ever had before."… »

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  5. The chief problem of book reviews is the humans who write them

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    « But the problem with book reviews is not that they reek of mediocrity, elitism, or nepotism; aren’t smart enough or are too pretentious; or are too negative or too positive. It’s that they come from a source—a human being—and we sometimes fail to take that into account. • The other issue is that these sources aren’t necessarily “experts” in the field of literature. Fiction and poetry reviews usually aren’t written by literature professors or scholars; instead, they’re written by freelance writers or columnists, some who are qualified and some who are not. • But what makes someone qualified to review contemporary poetry and fiction? Contrary to what many people may think, these qualities aren’t elusive or innate.… »

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  6. AAP StatShot report: Total adult sales up 6.9%

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    « Print sales for February continue to hold up with AAP’s Monthly StatShot reporting total adult sales up 6.9% over the same period February 2011 on sales of $437 million. Total Children/YA sales, however, were especially strong showing sales up 73% on sales of $170.9 million. … »

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  7. Controversial Christian publisher, WND Books, has top percentage of bestsellers

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    « Now with nearly 100 titles in print, the company boasts the highest percentage of New York Times bestsellers of any publisher in America. In all that time, Farah says WND Books has maintained a tight focus: To produce the best in current events titles, classic book reprints and edgy Christian works. The secret was “giving it time,” Joseph Farah says.… »

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  8. University of Minnesota compiles database of peer-reviewed, open-source textbooks

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    « Minnesota launched an online catalog of open-source books last month and will pay its professors $500 each time they post an evaluation of one of those books. (Faculty members elsewhere are welcome to post their own reviews, but they won’t be compensated.) Minnesota professors who have already adopted open-source texts will also receive $500, with all of the money coming from donor funds.… • Hildebrand said open-source materials can be acceptable if they rise to the standards of the publishing industry. But “If you don’t get results,” he said, “then you’ve lost your major investment and your goal of getting a quality education.”… »

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Note: This resource has been curated for your enjoyment and education. It is intended to reflect what publishers and leaders in the Christian publishing industry are thinking and talking about — it does not reflect the positions or opinions of Zondervan, its authors, agents, employees, or leadership.

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"DRM" - photo by Rich Tatum

Things to Read: April 26, 2012


Wherein we encounter: the SciFi division of Macmillan, Tor, is dropping DRM; Dominique Raccah details a data-driven publishing model borrowed from software development; we tour book production timelines and are greeted with the resurrection of the novella. • We also have 3M announcing its ebook lending technology for libraries (in beta), explore ebook pricing, the need for publisher innovation and we explore controversy surrounding the Amazon recommendation engine. • The LA Times Festival of Books was wildly successful, design really matters, authors have a hard time marketing themselves, and self-publishing still hasn’t gone away—in fact, it’s practically democratic. • Brian Solis has a few words about social media engagement, Jeff Goins invites a guest to write about the spiritually transformative power of writing, and India is a fast-growing English market. • Also, Barnes & Nobel got a cash infusion, and, lastly, we learn that there are still fantastic career options for folks in publishing.

Enjoy!

  1. Macmillan imprint abandons DRM—other publishers to follow?

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    « The lure of DRM in the face of the piracy bogeyman has been hard for publishers to resist. But for the legitimate owners of ebooks it is an annoyance, preventing them from using their purchased files in perfectly legal ways. DRM also makes it incredibly difficult for independent retailers to resell ebooks, hampering any potential expansion into digital markets.… »

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  2. Publisher adopts "agile" publishing model
    CEO says, "Data works better than your gut."

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    « At the Digital Book World Conference in January, Raccah announced on stage that Sourcebooks would be engaging in agile publishing for its new book, Entering the Shift Age, by futurist David Houle. This method of publishing—modeled on agile software development where software is built incrementally using collaboration and self-organizing teams—seeks real-time reader feedback before the book is actually published; i.e., data.… »

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  3. An author’s perspective: Why it takes so long to publish a book

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    « Why does it take a year for a book to go from a draft to bookstore shelves? Is it to build anticipation? Because publishers are modern-day Neanderthals, trying to make e-books by rubbing sticks together? Because authors are so precious? The correct answer is: yes! In more detail, it’s because this* (*view of a process he actually knows little about, with gaps in knowledge filled with speculation and lies)… »

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  4. Is the novella staging a comeback…via Melville House Publishing?

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    « Now the beleaguered genre, at long last, has found a worthy and consistent champion: Melville House Publishing, whose "Art of the Novella" series is an ongoing celebration of the form. The Brooklyn-based press offers 47—and counting—novellas from writers like Cervantes, Jane Austen, Anton Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, and Virginia Woolf.…the series is the first of its kind.… »

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  5. 3M launches a cloud-based ebook lending service for libraries

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    «  The touch-based Discovery Terminals allow catalog browsing for visitors and selections can be checked out—along with 3M’s eReaders—like other library materials. Already have a mobile device? E-books will play nicely with your iPad, Nook or Android device via the Cloud Library app. If you find yourself needing to read a bit on your computer, checked out items are compatible with both PCs and Macs as well.… »

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  6. Consumers don’t understand ebook pricing issues

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    « Publishers are making a killing on e-books because they cost nothing to produce, distribute and sell and are almost 100% pure profit. At least, that’s what many consumers think.… What many people in publishing know that consumers generally don’t is that most of the cost of a book, even an e-book, comes from the cost of acquiring and developing the content—which, if the book is trade fiction, is mostly words.… »

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  7. There’s still some innovation needed before ebooks replace "pbooks"

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    « Now, I understand there are a few advantages to paper. But I see a lot more advantages to digital. The fact that I now carry about a hundred books with me, wherever I go, that I can read whenever I want, outweighs any advantage a paper book could give me. Well, beyond the shallow extremities of the paper book, like its smell. There are however a few technical challenges that could be overcome by Amazon and Apple that would make my digital books even better and would let me forget about paper altogether.… »

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  8. Amazon recommendations:
    Consumers like it—but does the house have the advantage?

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    « The fidelity of Amazon’s recommendation engine became a topic of conversation in the publishing world last week. PaidContent first reported suggestive remarks that Larry Kirshbaum, the head of Amazon Publishing, made during a public forum at the State University of New York’s Stony Brook Southampton campus. His remarks implied that the Amazon recommendation engine would favor books published by Amazon Publishing.… »

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  9. LA Times Festival of Books wildly successful
    Over 100,000 readers came—were your books there?

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    « If there were any doubts remaining about the Los Angeles Times‘ decision last year to move the Festival of Books to the USC campus from UCLA, where it had been held for 15 years, they were dispelled this weekend by the enormous crowds of readers, booksellers, publishers, and authors that gathered outdoors on the grounds of USC near downtown Los Angeles. Total attendance was estimated at more than 100,000.… »

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  10. Typography matters:
    Good design nourishes, and sells product

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    « Sometimes the most appealing products are not those that are priced the most reasonably, but the ones whose packaging goes beyond functionality and crosses over to the artistic. Alberto Alessi said it best when he described his reason for his own aesthetic designs: “More and more people buy objects for intellectual and spiritual nourishment. People do not buy my coffee makers, kettles and lemon squeezers because they need to make coffee, to boil water, or to squeeze lemons, but for other reasons.”… »

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  11. Self-publishing
    Is it democratizing publishing?

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    « Not a week goes by without a new self-publishing success story being reported. This relatively new form of publishing is exploding in popularity and is fast becoming the avenue of choice for talented authors across the globe. For me, this will have a real impact on one social group in particular—young authors who face an uphill struggle against the traditional industry; an industry that, in my opinion, is in rapid decline. Aside from young authors wanting to find a less tortuous route to a publishing deal, self-publishing platforms are also being identified as an outlet for young people to write about issues that affect them.… »

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  12. Social Media Engagement
    Why 1% isn’t good enough.

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    « Engagement is measured by takeaway value, sentiment or feelings, and resulting actions following the exchange. Redefined engagement opens the door to new strategies and resulting metrics that lend to meaningful experiences and results. By designing more meaningful initiatives, businesses can now focus on causing effect, changing behavior, or reinforcing value where previous engagement metrics can now document the progress of progress.… »

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  13. How writing changed my life

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    « The last time I wrote anything was my freshman year in college for a history class. I was headed to medical school, a life dedicated to science. Writing was of no interest to me. In fact, I hated it. Fourteen years later, I finally put pen to paper again, and it changed my life. (This is a guest post by Jeremy Statton. He is an orthopedic surgeon and a writer. He blogs about Living Better Stories.)… »

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  14. Publishers are flocking to India
    English books published growing by 30% a year

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    « [T]he number of books published in English is growing by 30 percent a year. This growth explains the recent arrival of several international publishing houses. Earlier this year, Bloomsbury announced plans to set up a new publishing business in India, while last May Simon & Schuster announced its plans to open a new division in New Delhi. Hachette Book Publishing India, the Indian branch of Britain’s largest trade publishing company, began operations in 2008, while established houses such as Penguin, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Random House have all been in the country for many years.… »

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  15. Jana Partners hedge fund takes 12% stake in Barnes & Noble

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    « Jana Partners, described in various media reports as a hedge fund known for taking an activist role in companies in which it invests, acquired 6.59 million shares of Barnes & Noble, giving the firm an 11.6% stake in the company. News of the investment, made in a Securities & Exchange Commission filing Monday, resulted in an 18% boost in B&N’s stock price yesterday. Jana has an option to acquire another 250,000 shares.… »

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  16. Career options in book publishing: Top 10 tips

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    « There is so much going on in the digital space, so what skills do aspiring 21st century publishers need? Get inspiration with these top tips from our recent live Q&A about career options in book publishing.… Digital expertise can be learned on the job: At HarperCollins, we would not expect a formal qualification on the technical and digital side of things and particularly if you are looking at entry-level and graduate roles, we would say it’s better just to get a job and learn as you go.… »

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Note: This resource has been curated for your enjoyment and education. It is intended to reflect what publishers and leaders in the Christian publishing industry are thinking and talking about — it does not reflect the positions or opinions of Zondervan, its authors, agents, employees, or leadership.

panel 6_bottom, By Jan Poynter

More Things to Read: April 19, 2012

  1. In this issue: content creation, writing advice, social media self-promotion, new publishing models, the Blue Like Jazz movie, crowd-funded publishing, top authors to watch, Robin Meyers’ new book, trust and online content, digital content for kids, scratchboard design, a new book from Ross Douthat, and Wiley’s bittorrent piracy trial.
  2. 58 ways to create persuasive content your audience will love

    « Would you like to become a better writer? Would you like to create content that people will remember, tweet, and plus? How about content that inspires your audience to click, subscribe or buy? That’s the Holy Grail, right? It may sound difficult, but it really isn’t. You’re about to become a writer that’s incredibly persuasive and completely unforgettable. Ready? Let’s start with structuring your content so your message becomes irresistible.… »
  3. Free newsletters help aspiring writers and authors to publish

    « Dan Pointer is probably the leading authority in the world on publishing as he has authored 102 books. Among his books are Writing Nonfiction, The Self-Publishing Manual and others. His own personal mission in life is to be sure people don’t die with a book still inside them.… »
  4. Social media self-promotion scheme draws authors—including Margaret Atwood

    « Audible opens $20m fund that will reward authors using social media to help sales… »
  5. Rolling up the rim on new publishing models

    « The increasing popularity of self-funding creative projects raises interesting questions about the future of publishing, especially when someone like McKay—who was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 1995 for his short story collection Like This—is abandoning traditional publishing models for ones like this. "I am one of the first Canadian literary writers with an established record in old-school publishing to make the giant step in the direction of going Indie," McKay writes on his Indiegogo campaign site. "You can help make this happen."… »
  6. Making Blue Like Jazz required faith and a little improvisation

    « It took a miracle, and fans’ financial support, for Donald Miller’s best-selling memoir Blue Like Jazz to reach theaters.… »
  7. World’s only book-centric crowd-funding site helps authors get paid to write their books and raises money to promote their work

    « Authr.com today announced the official launch of its crowd-funding site for aspiring authors to raise funds to get their books published. With the increased popularity of crowd funding for business ideas and projects, Authr.com is currently the only site to concentrate entirely on book funding for authors and writers. The Authr.com fundraising platform differentiates itself from other crowd-funding sites by continuing to support authors beyond fundraising as their book project transitions to pre-orders and sales once their book is published.… »
  8. Time 100: Authors to watch

    « The Time 100 Most Influential People in the World is, by and large, a grab-bag of politicos, entertainers and technology entrepreneurs. But it also gives a nod to the publishing world. Among the Time 100 are…… »
  9. Author Robin Meyers looks for link between liberal, conservative Christians

    « Robin Meyers, author of "Saving Jesus From the Church," grew up the son of a Church of Christ minister who was a Shakespearean scholar with a doctorate in English literature. Like his father, Meyers became intensely interested in the Bible as a work of literature, full of metaphor and deeply symbolic spiritual messages. In his latest book, "The Underground Church," Meyers looks for common ground between liberal and conservative Christians.… »
  10. Consumer Search Insights: Which source do you trust most?

    « People tend to trust friends & family and the mainstream media far more than they trust websites & search engines. Relative to one another, men tend to trust newspapers, search engines & weblogs more; whereas women tend to trust friends & family and social media websites more. The youngest age group tends to trust social media a bit more & newspapers a bit less than other age groups do. Outside of that, it is somewhat hard to see other age-based patterns.… »
  11. Penguin, Macmillan, and Nosy Crow talk digital books for children

    « How publishers can make reading experiences that parents feel ‘more positive about than Angry Birds’. For much of the book publishing world, the move to digital is all about e-books. That brings big challenges (and regulatory scrutiny) around distribution deals and pricing, but less around the actual content and design. For children’s books, it’s a different story. The text-centric e-books market has seen children’s publishers turning their picture-books into apps.… »
  12. Talking to the End-User—A Publishing Paradigm

    « For many publishers of academic and professional literature, focusing on the end-user is something of a dislocating thought process. A good part of the sales of professional publishers tend to be through intermediaries. For example, some portion, in some cases the largest portion, of professional publishing is sold to libraries. It’s hard to be user-focused when the library stands between you and the user. In other instances, you might reach the end-user through channel selling. For example, a book publisher might ship books to Baker & Taylor and not know where those books ultimately end up, whether in a library or in the office of an anesthesiologist. The common theme of all these methods of marketing publishing materials is that little is known about the people who actually read the works.… »
  13. What is Scratchboard Design?

    « Scratchboard was developed in nineteenth century England and France, where printers were looking for new ways to reproduce illustrations. Wood, metal and linoleum engraving all had their faults, and scratchboard seemed to be the perfect solution.… »
  14. Why Ross Douthat thinks we’re a nation of heretics

    « Since the 1960s, Douthat argues, institutional Christianity has suffered a slow-motion collapse, leaving the country without the moral core that carried it through foreign wars, economic depressions and roiling internal debates. In its place heresies have cropped up—from the "God-within" theology of Oprah to the Mammon-obsessed missionaries of the prosperity gospel, says Douthat, a Roman Catholic. … »
  15. Wiley seeks piracy trial

    « John Wiley has filed papers in New York demanding a trial by jury of four defendants accused of copying its books through BitTorrent, according to a BBC report. The publisher said the amount of revenue lost through illegal copying of its For Dummies guides was "enormous", with over 74,000 copies of its Photoshop CS5 All-In-One For Dummies guide pirated.… »

Note: This resource has been curated for your enjoyment and education. It is intended to reflect what publishers and leaders in the Christian publishing industry are thinking and talking about — it does not reflect the positions or opinions of Zondervan, its authors, agents, employees, or leadership.