Things to Read: May 24, 2012


In this issue First up we have Amazon and its future in advertising, as well as a note that Amazon isn’t really the biggest dog in the fight —not reading is. The DOJ gets an open letter from Mike Shatzkin; the death knell of DRM continues being sung; and ebooks become fancy catalogs with excerpts. On the one hand, Amazon wants to be your ebook distributor, but on the other, Ingram is busy sewing up distribution deals with Christian publishing houses as fast as it can. Houghton Mifflin declares bankruptcy. And we read that social sharing around books ought to be focused on common interests, not our contact list. Meanwhile, Hachette dips its toe in the water with a Facebook app for book excerpts.

  1. Amazon
    Why advertising could become Amazon’s knockout punch

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    « It all started harmlessly enough with Amazon’s Kindle with Special Offers. That’s the cheaper Kindle that displays ads when the device is in sleep mode or at the bottom of the screen when paging through the owner’s catalog of books…. Make no mistake about the fact that Amazon would love to see ebook pricing approach zero. That’s right. Zero. That might seem outlandish but isn’t that exactly what they’re doing with their Kindle Owner’s Lending Library program? Now you can read ebooks for free as part of your Prime membership. The cost of Prime didn’t go up, so they’ve essentially made the consumer price of those ebooks zero. Why wouldn’t they take the same approach with in-book advertising?… »

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  2. Amazon
    Booksellers vs libraries? Publishers vs Amazon? This is the wrong fight.

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    « Today the real competition for booksellers, publishers and libraries is NOT READING. • Four months ago, it mattered if libraries were or weren’t a direct threat to booksellers. Today, this question is irrelevant. What matters is that the participants in the industry aren’t innovating at the pace readers are seeking and expecting solutions v. reading’s alternatives.… »

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  3. DOJ
    Letter to the DOJ about the collusion lawsuit and settlement

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    « My first concern is that there is a failure of recognition of the necessity for price-setting of individual titles across the ebook supply chain. Indeed, only by eliminating price as a basis of competition can we have any ultimately have balanced competition in the real world of publishing as digital change has remade it.… »

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  4. DRM
    E-books may take a page out of digital music’s book

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    « On Friday, an association of e-book publishers—including major companies such as Harper Collins, Random House, and Barnes & Noble—issued a statement suggesting an outline for a new “Lightweight DRM.” This proposed Digital Rights Management standard could increase interoperability of books on hardware like e-readers. • Don’t get excited yet—the outline was only an invitation to a conversation that the association, called the International Digital Publishing Forum, wants to have. Still, it suggests the traditionally conservative publishing industry is learning how to do business in the Internet era. Hopefully, publishing is realizing something that the music industry has known for years: DRM is dead.… »

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  5. ebooks
    Free Publishers Lunch e-book offers excerpts from hot fall titles

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    « Book publishing industry newsletter and website Publishers Lunch is previewing hot fall titles — by authors like Junot Diaz, Dennis Lehane and Barbara Kingsolver — in a free e-book, "BEA Buzz Books," ahead of major publishing fair BookExpo America in June in New York.… »

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  6. ebooks
    Disintermediating Amazon

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    « E-books, and the Internet, and with them the prospect of lightning-fast distribution, high efficiency, and minimal, or nonexistent, returns. Perhaps we in the industry are so used to being glum that we refuse to see the thrilling opportunity in front of us. We remain committed to doing business the way it’s always been done. Despite a computer on every desk and exciting new marketing tools online, we perpetuate the same old system, working through retailers and treating the electronic world as simply a tool to augment our presence in the real world. And it means wrestling with Amazon over how to sell. It’s a match that publishers are likely to lose—consumers like getting books for less money—but this is not a battle publishers have to fight, unless they refuse to evolve.… »

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  7. ebooks
    Simon & Schuster offers free ebook sampler

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    « Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., announced today that in celebration of five powerful, original new novels coming this summer, it will release a promotional fiction sampler as both an interactive app and in an ebook edition. The Free Press Summer Fiction Sampler app will include extended excerpts and extra content including videos, photos, and more from The Folded Earth by Anuradha Roy, Shelter by Frances Greenslade, Some Kind of Peace by Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff, Gone to the Forest by Katie Kitamura, and The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy. The free interactive app is available now for the iPad and will soon be available in editions for other tablet devices.… »

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  8. ebooks
    Cadre of Christian publishers do deal with Ingram’s CoreSource for sales & distribution

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    « As Christian publishers develop new business models to succeed in today’s digital market, more, including David C Cook, R.H Boyd Publishing, Our Sunday Visitor, Abingdon Press, and Worthy Publishing are selecting Ingram Content Group’s CoreSource® products for the distribution, sales and management of e-books.… Ingram’s CoreSource is an easy-to-use, online solution for the storage, management, and distribution of digital content. CoreSource delivers a secure, searchable content repository and a high-capacity data distribution network, allowing publishers to move digital content easily and swiftly from their organization to any channel partner globally. Lightning Source, the print-on-demand unit of Ingram Content Group, is the leading provider of comprehensive print-on-demand and distribution services to publishers worldwide.… »

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  9. houghton mifflin
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt files for bankruptcy

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    « Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the book publishing giant, has filed for bankruptcy protection to eliminate $3.1 billion in debt. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt had been struggling with heavy debt for years. • Houghton Mifflin said its day-to-day operations will continue as normal under bankruptcy protection, and it expects to complete the process by the end of June.… »

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  10. houghton mifflin
    Houghton Mifflin: The dog ate our business

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    « HMH reiterates, as it has said before, that education comprises “approximately 90 percent” of sales, with trade/reference accounting for the rest. By that measure, the HMH trade division had sales of approximately $130 million in 2011. When the parent company considered–and then rejected–selling the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt trade unit in early 2009, those trade sales were roughly estimated as approximately $150 million. At the same time, in March 2009, the WSJ said the parent company was projecting sales of $2.2 billion for the year (bearing in mind that they rarely met any of their own projections.)… »

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  11. Social Media
    Social reading should focus on common interests rather than friend status

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    « Social reading is gaining momentum. There are quite a few startups involved in this space, and most of them simply assume your Facebook friends share the same reading interests you do. ReadSocial is different. In this TOC interview, we hear from ReadSocial co-founder Travis Alber (@screenkapture) on why they’re building their platform without tying it to your social graph. • Publishers play a role, too — Note that Travis talks about publishers as well as readers here. You can’t just have a “build it and they will come” mentality with social reading. Publishers need to take the initiative and add value by inserting comments, managing groups, etc. [Discussed at 2:00.]… »

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  12. Social Media
    Hachette launches ChapterShare Facebook app for book excerpts

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    « Michael Pietsch, Publisher of Little, Brown and Company and Executive Vice President of Hachette Book Group,announces the launch of ChapterShare, a new Facebook application designed to make the sharing of book excerpts a highly social experience. • ChapterShare createsa unique seamless, high-quality reading experience within Facebook. Using it, Hachette’s publishing divisions and authors will be able to post chapters froma forthcoming novel on their Facebook page. In addition to reading the excerpt, readers can then instantly preorder the book and share a link to the sample chapters with all their friends on Facebook.… »

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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.

Tyndale Publishing 50th Anniversary

Things to Read: May 03, 2012


THIS WEEK: We get to see the Christian Book Award winners, at last! Microsoft made waves with a $300 million investment in B&N. Which is just a little less than the total revenues for the total adult trade in books this past January (see the AAP report). So, there’s plenty of speculation as to what this deal might mean—especially for Apple and Amazon.

Jackie Collins made her own splash by diving into the deep-end of the indie-published ebook pool. (She’s not leaving her publishers, but she practically announced the death of physical book publishing.) Meanwhile, USA Today stands up a new book site, Bowker says the rise of the tablet is eclipsing the ereader, Amazon is “reshaping” publishing, and Huffington Post calls for more innovation.

To close out this week’s roundup we note that we’re wired for story and narrative, provide a fun infographic for story structure, and see that Tyndale House has been telling its story for 50 years.

Enjoy!

  1. Christian Book Award winners for 2012

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    « The 2012 Christian Book of the Year is Nearing Home by Billy Graham (Thomas Nelson). Other winners include: ESV Student Study Bible (Crossway); Dictionary of Christian Spirituality by Glen G. Scorgie (Zondervan); The Story for Children, A Storybook Bible by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, & Karen Davis Hill (Zonderkidz); The Queen by Steven James (Revell/Baker); Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews (Revell/Baker); Close Enough to Hear God Breathe by Greg Paul (Thomas Nelson); The Law of Happiness by Henry Cloud (Howard).… »

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  2. Microsoft invests $300 million in new Barnes & Noble ‘strategic partnership’

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    « The strategic partnership—Microsoft loves ’em—would come in the form of a new Barnes and Noble subsidiary that deals with all things Nook, in addition to its education business. The bookseller would hold onto the lion’s share at 82.4%, with the remaining 17.6% in Microsoft’s control. The first benefit posited would be a Nook app for the incoming Windows 8. Barnes and Noble’s Nook Study software would also benefit from a friendly boost on all that Windows hardware. Maybe all those other legal matches will resolve in similar warm-and-fuzzy business hook-ups—but we doubt it.… »

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  3. Soon you’ll be able to use your Nook to buy books in Barnes & Noble stores

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    « B&N CEO William Lynch says that the company plans to embed NFC (near field communication) chips into Nooks. Users could take their Nook into a Barnes & Noble store and wave it near a print book to get info on it or buy it. That could help someone gain quick information on their Nook about a book, making it easy to go from browsing to buying.… »
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  4. Jackie Collins decides to self-publish

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    « Let me say up front that I will personally always love physical books. I love how a new book feels in your hands. I love turning the pages one-by-one as you curl up in a chair and engross yourself in the story. But I also know that to stay successful, you’ve always got to be thinking two steps ahead of the game. And by all counts, the book industry is going the way of the CD industry. Almost nobody buys CDs anymore; we get our music fix on iTunes.… »

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  5. USA Today launches books.usatoday.com to expand coverage of books

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    « Unique to the books.usatoday.com site is the opportunity for consumers to now preview a book from the USA Today Best-Selling Books list and purchase it from a vendor of their choice, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iBookstore or IndieBound, an association of independent booksellers.… »
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    See Also:
    USA Today Books via USA Today

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  6. The dark side of free

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    « The other negative I’ve seen is that the fringe buyer for indie books, the reader at the margins who might have been willing to give a new author a test drive in exchange for a few bucks, now doesn’t. Instead, they download free books. Their kindles are clogged with books they will never have the time to read, but they can’t help themselves.… »

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  7. Another publisher rejects DRM

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    « Duncan Baird Publishers (& Watkins Publishing) has taken the decision to put our readers at the heart of our digital publishing by removing Digital Rights Management (DRM) from our trade epublishing list.… DBP, and our authors, believe that our readers should be able to read their book in whatever format and on whatever hardware they choose, so we are taking steps to make sure that our ebooks are, as much as humanly possible, not platform-specific.… »

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  8. Consumers choosing tablets over e-readers, e-book sales to suffer

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    « As tablet popularity rises and e-readers falls, the e-book business could suffer, according to Kelly Gallagher, vice president of publishing services at Bowker Market Research…. &Quot;Tablets will adversely affect the e-book business in that the tablet is a multifunction device and will therefore draw the reader into non-book activities and therefore cause them to consume books slower and therefore buy fewer books versus a single function e-reading device," said Gallagher.… »

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  9. Amazon aren’t destroying publishing, they’re reshaping it

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    « Google, Apple and Amazon are vying to become literature’s new gatekeepers. But good publishing is about more than market share… If Amazon was truly consumer-centric, it would do away with DRM and adopt the ePub format, allowing users to consume their media on any device and through any software they choose, securing them from obsolescence and errors in DRM servers, accidental deletions and the rest. And that it most emphatically does not do. … »

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  10. Publishing industry has strong January revenue growth in print books & ebooks for all audiences

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    « The US publishing industry saw dynamic net sales revenue growth in Adult, Children’s, Young Adult and Religious categories in January 2012 as compared to January 2011, according to the monthly industry snapshot report produced by the Association of American Publishers. These figures are part of a significant expansion of the AAP monthly new sales revenue report also launching this month. The report now has a name — AAP Monthly StatShot — and now includes a considerably larger base of participating publishers (from an average 75-90 in the past to 1149 this month) and additional categories including eBook data for Children/Young Adults and Hardcover, Paperback and eBook data for Religious Presses.… »

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  11. The big six book publishers need to innovate like the good Americans that they are

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    « When creating hardcover books, start with customized end pages that reflect the scenes the author is writing about. Hire some graphics guru to throw together a tasteful color insert that makes readers tear up with their emotional connection to the story. Craft eye-popping flap jackets and cover art that captures the original enthusiasm; make us feel the magic that inspired the author to start writing the book in the first place. Simply, create a product where the book production is integrated with the narrative, and where the product as a whole reflects the spirit of the thing. Amazon’s e-books can never compete with that.… »

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  12. Why storytelling is the ultimate weapon

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    « [H]umans simply aren’t moved to action by "data dumps," dense PowerPoint slides, or spreadsheets packed with figures. People are moved by emotion. The best way to emotionally connect other people to our agenda begins with "Once upon a time…"… Until recently we’ve only been able to speculate about story’s persuasive effects. But over the last several decades psychology has begun a serious study of how story affects the human mind. Results repeatedly show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are strongly influenced by story. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than writing that is specifically designed to persuade through argument and evidence.… »

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  13. Infographic: Mapping popular story plot lines

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    « Finally! The secret ingredient to writing a good book has been revealed. Plot Lines, the infographic from Delayed Gratification, the slow journalism magazine, shows the dominant themes in last year’s books nominated for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.… If you want to write a hit novel, it pays to stick with the tried-and-true plot lines. DEATH of your characters is clearly the overall winning theme, with every one of the novels listed from 2011 including death as a theme. Other classics like WAR, LOVE, BETRAYAL and CORRUPTION followed closely. Obscure plot points like AN ESCAPED TIGER and HOMICIDAL COWBOY BROTHERS are certainly much more of a risk.… »
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    See Also:
    Infographic: Meet the 19% via Media Bistro

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  14. Tyndale House Publishers celebrates 50 years

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    « Tyndale is compiling a commemorative gift book, The Tyndale House 50th Anniversary Reader, as a limited edition for private distribution to employees, key retailers and industry leaders. A special online page—Tyndale.com/50th—affords friends of the company an opportunity to learn about the company’s history and share greetings or upload a picture or video through a virtual birthday card.… The company—a corporation owned by the Tyndale House Foundation—operates under its longtime mission statement: "To minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles."… »

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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.

Things to Read: April 19, 2012

  1. In this issue: The DOJ ebook lawsuit, The Story and Zondervan’s new UK distribution plans, BookShout, Thomas Nelson’s new Bible, Westbow Press, Spring book buzz, publishers & digital evolution, J.R.R Tolkien’s & Charles Dickens’ descendants, libraries & book discoverability, and ABS Bible survey results for 2012.
  2. Everything you need to know about the DOJ ebook lawsuit in one post

    « This is a big story and publishers, consumers and retailers may see the ramifications of today’s lawsuit for months or even years to come. Here’s what you need to know now.… »
  3. Introducing The Story as Zondervan partners with IVP for UK distribution

    « IVP will take on exclusive distribution rights for Zondervan’s range of CCARR resources, with product shipping via IVP as from July 1st.…The IVP distribution agreement also introduces The Story, a joint Hodder & Stoughton-Zondervan project, to the UK marketplace.… »
  4. BookShout! platform to make ereading interactive

    « Developed over the last 2 years for the Christian market—where small groups are part of the DNA—BookShout! allows users to not only read a book but to further experience, discuss and dialogue about it with others.… »
    See Also:
    What is BookShout!? on YouTube
    BookShout on Twitter
    BookShout on Facebook
  5. The Bible gets new voice: Thomas Nelson translation formatted like a screenplay

    « Seven years in the making, The Voice is the latest entry into the crowded field of English Bible translations. It’s aimed at people who haven’t read the Bible much before and aren’t familiar with church jargon. Unlike the updated New International Version and the Common English Bible—both released last year—much of The Voice is formatted like a screenplay or novel. Translators cut out the "he said" and "they said" and focused on the dialogue.… »
  6. Westbow Press features signing author at the 2012 LATimes Festival of Books

    « Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson, is showcasing author Douglas F. Grady, writer of the Christian title, Where’s Your Light?, at the 2012 "Los Angeles Times Festival of Books" being held at the University of Southern California campus. "Where’s Your Light?" contains numerous verses from the Bible regarding issues salvation. It also shares where the sources can be found so the Christians can understand the stories from the Bible better.… »
  7. Christian fiction Spring book buzz webcast

    « There’s more to Christian fiction than "gentle reads", which explains its expanding appeal to a more sophisticated and demographically diverse readership. Join us on May 10 for our Spring 2012 Christian Fiction webcast. We’ll be talking about the latest and upcoming titles, the ones you’ll need to know about. (Sponsored by: WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Zondervan, Baker Publishing Group, Abingdon Press and Library Journal.)… »
  8. London Book Fair: publishing world struggles to adapt to new lines

    « New formats and self-publishing are changing the industry.… According to George Lossius of Publishing Technology, which provides digital portals and sales systems, non-academic publishers still do not understand the digital world. "It’s not because they are not trying to, it’s not because they are not open to it. It’s because they’ve been dazzled by Amazon and Apple and Google, rather than thinking what they can do with their digital content," he said. "They’ve just reproduced the book in a Kindle."… »
  9. Match made in literary heaven: descendants of Dickens and Tolkien to collaborate

    « A London imprint said it would publish two fantasy novels by Michael Tolkien, a grandson of the Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien, with audiobooks to be narrated by Gerald Dickens, a great-great grandson of Charles Dickens.… »
  10. OverDrive study on how readers use libraries to find books

    « Looking to support the contention that libraries drive book discovery and sales, library digital vendor OverDrive compiled data on patron use from its 18,000 library client sites during the month of March.… »
  11. American Bible Society: The State of the Bible 2012

    « American Bible Society released in-depth findings from its State of the Bible survey, which details Americans’ beliefs about the Bible, its role in society, its presence in U.S. homes and more.… »
  12. More Things to Read: April 19, 2012

    « Featuring: 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.… »

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.