"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?

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « 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)… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    «  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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

  6. Consumers don’t understand ebook pricing issues

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « 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.”… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

  11. Self-publishing
    Is it democratizing publishing?

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

  13. How writing changed my life

    Story Image
    « 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.)… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « [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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

  16. Career options in book publishing: Top 10 tips

    Story Image
    « 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.… »

    Share This! Tweet This!

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.

Clay Shirkey

Things to Read: April 12, 2012

  1. In this issue: Clay Shirky, how reading is changing (and increasing!), consumer behavior and persuasion, DRM, Pinterest, social media and leadership, self publishing, email marketing, and earned media.
  2. How we will read: Clay Shirky

    « Publishing is not evolving. Publishing is going away. Because the word “publishing” means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button. There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done.… »
  3. iPad Found Accounting for 89% of Mobile Shopping Revenue

    « The iPad accounts for nearly two-thirds of all mobile shopping sessions, and an impressive 89% of all mobile shopping revenue, says RichRelevance in April 2012 study results. With mobile’s share of total retail climbing to 4.6% in March 2012 (from 1.9% in April 2011), this means that the iPad now account for more than 4% of total retail revenue. Meanwhile, other iOS devices make up 4% of the mobile revenue share, with other mobiles holding the remaining 7%. The study found that all mobiles combined now account for 9% of total online shopping sessions.… »
  4. The 6 pillars of social commerce: Understanding the psychology of engagement

    « One of the greatest myths in new media is that social networks facilitate conversations about you that would not otherwise take place if your organization weren’t present. As such, some business leaders believe that creating a presence in social networks eventually erodes the control of the brand, risking the governance they’ve theoretically held onto so triumphantly over the years. So, if that logic holds, by not engaging in social networks or by sharing only one dimension of your business online, you can control what people think and say. Well, this always seems to come as a surprise to those who think otherwise, but the truth is that new media did not “invent” conversations, experiences, or opinions. It seems imprudent and perhaps commonsensical to say, but, the truth is actually the contrary to popular belief.… »
  5. Publisher insistence on DRM harms smaller ebook stores

    « DRM doesn’t really stop piracy, Curry notes, comparing it to “the anti-theft sensors by the doors at the drugstore” that go off all the time but can’t stop the people who know how to remove a magnetic tag. It doesn’t stop dedicated pirates, but does prevent casual sharing—which suggests publishers are feeling pretty desperate if they want to take away such an integral part of the reading experience.… »
  6. The rise of ereading

    « The rise of e-books in American culture is part of a larger story about a shift from printed to digital material. Using a broader definition of e-content in a survey ending in December 2011, some 43% of Americans age 16 and older say they have either read an e-book in the past year or have read other long-form content such as magazines, journals, and news articles in digital format on an e-book reader, tablet computer, regular computer, or cell phone. Those who have taken the plunge into reading e-books stand out in almost every way from other kinds of readers. Foremost, they are relatively avid readers of books in all formats: 88% of those who read e-books in the past 12 months also read printed books.… »
  7. The next time someone says the internet killed reading books, show them this chart

    « Well, that time never existed. Check out these stats from Gallup surveys. In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, that number had shot up to 47 percent. I couldn’t find a more recent number, but I think it’s fair to say that reading probably hasn’t declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s.… »
  8. Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube & LinkedIn

    « Pinterest is social media’s rising star — and now has the traffic stats to prove it. The darling network of brides-to-be, fashionistas and budding bakers now beats YouTube, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace for percentage of total referral traffic in January, according to a Shareaholic study. Pinterest accounted for 3.6% of referral traffic, while Twitter just barely edged ahead of the newcomer, accounting for 3.61% of referral traffic. In July 2011, Pinterest accounted for just 0.17% of referral traffic, proving the site’s blockbuster growth… »
  9. Royalties & marketing: how publishing houses will compete

    « As competition for top author talent increases (and I believe it will with new digital-first start-ups like one and booksellers like Amazon clamoring for exclusive book content) a publisher’s ability to market books and what kinds of revenues make it back to the author may be the difference between a front-list filled with A-level talent and one populated by the B-team.… »
  10. How to use social media to help your company & not get fired

    « More publishing executives are using social media this year than last year and more of them are being careful about what they say on Twitter and in blogs, according to a recent survey. According to a Digital Book World survey conducted by Forrester Research, nearly half of publishing professionals are using Twitter and are blogging, up from about a third a year ago. More publishing executives are also conscious that they have to be careful about what information they broadcast using social media, 54%, up from 47% last year.… »
  11. What does a writer owe a reader?

    « As readers, do we have a right to act as if a writer owes us something? I think we do, but not in the way that we most often make the claim. As readers we are not owed something we like or with which we agree. But writers do owe us something,a whole combination of somethings, in fact.… »
  12. 6 reasons authors self-publish

    « On the heels of our lively debate the other day on my post “6 Reasons Authors Still Want Publishers,” today let’s look at the other side of the coin. Many of you are still trying to decide which path is right for you — or if maybe some combination of both might work. So hopefully these posts and the discussions in the comments will be helpful. So here are six reasons writers choose self publishing.… »
  13. 8 tips for increasing click-through rates

    « The most important thing to do to increase click-through rates is to be relevant, interesting and useful, said Mike Volpe, CMO at HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing software company, told ZoomInsights. “Your subscribers will click on what they are interested in, so make sure you have really good data about who they are, what they want and how they have interacted with your company.”… »
  14. Global consumers place highest trust in earned media

    « Global online consumers place the most amount of trust in earned media, and the least in ads served on mobile phones, finds Nielsen in an April 2012 report. An impressive 92% of consumers surveyed around the world said they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, an 18% increase from 2007.… »
  15. More Things to Read: April 12, 2012

    « All the extra stuff we couldn’t cram in the main post this week. Includes email marketing tips, a couple posts from Seth Godin, some stuff from “across the pond,” and an incredible infographic about consumer behavior.… »

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 agents, employees, or leadership.