Things to Read: May 10, 2012


Featured in this main issue: Wherein we read about how our technological culture is changing not only the way people read, but how people become readers in the first place. Meanwhile, Pottermore is magically changing the way the Amazon behemoth sells books while Target is transforming Kindles into thin air. Microsoft and Barnes & Noble will start sharing a Nook — perhaps they’ll find a way to let all those penniless iOS developers finally make a buck. Kid’s publishers are taken to task for being too white, DRM is on the ropes, and the Author’s Guild soldiers on in its quest to tilt against the Google windmill.

  1. The Reader & Technology: How technology is changing readers and writers

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    « I think writers will continue to occur but technology and its trivia will cause us to lose something, just as we lost something when we lost the classical education. We write worse because we cannot write classical prose. Yet classical prose is useless for describing the world of 2012, the world that is there – ready to buzz – in your pocket or bag. • Our perceptions outrun the sedentary sentence by much too much; just as we listen to mp3s to hear what an album would sound like were we actually to sit down and listen to it, so we skim-read the classic books to get a sense of what they would be like were we to sit down and dwell on them.… »

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  2. Pottermore’s Riddikulus spell transformed Amazon from a fierce ebook retailer into a tame ebook shop window

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    « In a similar way, Pottermore transformed Amazon from a fierce ebook retailer into a tame ebook shop window. Pottermore uses Amazon (and all other ebook retailers online) as an affiliate which attracts customers to their ebook store in exchange for a finder’s fee. Thus, Pottermore gains direct access to the end user details (alongside Amazon as both companies know that the user has purchased the ebook). This ‘charm’ is really transformative as it really shifts the power from the retailer to the publisher. The publisher gains are significant…… »

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  3. Target will yank Kindles by Mother’s Day

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    « According to a memo obtained by The Verge, Target will stop carrying Kindles in its stores or on its website after Mother’s Day… the change is due to a “conflict of interest. The memo says “Target has reviewed our product assortment and has made the decision to no longer carry Amazon hardware (i.e., Kindle). … »
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  4. Microsoft to invest in Barnes & Noble’s Nook

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    « Microsoft Corp. is pledging $605 million to help bolster Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook digital-book business.… As part of its investment, Microsoft is taking a 17.6% stake in a new subsidiary that will include the e-book division and Barnes & Noble’s college bookstores unit, which operates 641 stores.… Barnes & Noble committed to creating a Nook e-reading app for Windows 8—a forthcoming Microsoft operating system that will be used in tablet-style hardware and PCs—and for smartphones powered by Microsoft software.… The companies also will share revenue from sales of e-books and other content.… »

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  5. Apps usually fail: 60% of iOS developers lose money on apps (infographic)

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    « Nearly 60 percent of iOS developers don’t break even with the apps that they create and market, according to a recent study by App Promo. While we hear a lot about blockbuster hits like Draw Something or Angry Birds Space, it’s all too easy for apps to get lost in the crowd of more than 600,0… only 12 percent of apps earned $50,000 or more and that this “top earner” subset spent an average of 14 percent of their time on marketing. … »

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  6. Mainstream children’s book publishers do a sad, sad job meeting the needs of Latino readers

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    « In 2050, there will be more school-age Latino children than school-age non-Hispanic white children. … Yet, why haven’t these facts resonated with the one industry that is supposed to know children the best but has done the worst job of reflecting today’s playground reality — mainstream children’s book publishers? … There may be a simple reason: About 75% of children’s book buyers are white.… »

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  7. The DOJ’s Publishing Lawsuit May Doom Digital Rights Management

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    « In London this year, says Lorraine Shanley of publishing consultancy Market Partners International, more mainstream publishing executives are talking seriously about ending DRM restrictions. “It would allow individual publishers much more flexibility with their own content and in making it available directly to consumers,” says Shanley. “And it would allow consumers to access content without getting locked into one device—e.g., the Kindle.”… »

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  8. Latest developments from Authors Guild class action suit against Google

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    « From the questions he asked from the bench, it certainly seems like Judge Denny Chin wants to see the Authors Guild lawsuit against Google and its library book-scanning program proceed as a class action. But after a morning of oral arguments in Manhattan, it is unclear if that can happen.… After more than six years, the Authors Guild case against Google could now go to trial as early as September. Even if Judge Chin finds for Google and denies the Authors Guild associational standing, Authors Guild officials have said the case against Google will go on.… »

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  9. May 10, 2012 – More Things to Read

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    « herein 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.… »

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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.

"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.