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.

More Things to Read: April 12, 2012

  1. 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.
  2. 15 powerful reconversion opportunities for your welcome emails

    « Marketers have a huge opportunity with welcome emails. According to Skyline Technologies, welcome emails have an average open rate of 50-60%. It makes sense; as the double opt-in process has become more commonplace, people expect to return to their inbox and receive one or two emails that confirm their request and welcome them as a new subscriber.… »
  3. Beware literary snobbery: Why we should read bestsellers

    « From the early days of the form in the 18th century, novel reading required no special education beyond simple literacy. All comers were welcome. More offensive still, to elitists like Steele, was the raunchy tabloid sensibility characteristic of those first English narratives. They were fun; they were coarse; they appealed unabashedly to the heart. They were about social mobility, about demystifying the secret worlds of high society. They put their characters in agonizing jeopardy. All things that contemporary popular novels still do.… »
  4. Warning, executives: avoid social media at your peril

    « I’ve noticed that my 18-month-old grand-daughter already knows ‘the swipe.’ If you hand her an iPhone-like object, including her play telephone, she’ll swipe her index finger across it, expecting it to respond. This new technology, which I still find somewhat gee-whiz-ish and amazing, will be as ho-hum to her as television is to me, as radio was to my mom, and – I suspect – as the telegraph was to my grandmother.… »
    Via Forbes
  5. Organized bravery

    « The purpose of the modern organization is to make it easy and natural and expected for people to take risks. To lean out of the boat. To be human. Alas, most organizations do the opposite. They institutionalize organized cowardice. They give their people cover, a place to hide, a chance to say, “that’s not my job.”… »
  6. Google ends ebook agreement with indies

    « On Tuesday representatives of Google contacted the American Booksellers Association and Powell’s Books to announce that it will end its Google eBooks reseller program worldwide. In February, it had seemed as if independent booksellers were getting a reprieve when Google reinstated some affiliate stores that had low sales. But in yet another sign of industry consolidation, Google will start selling e-books solely through its recently launched Google Play beginning January 31, 2013.… »
  7. Indie publishing is getting better

    « First bold statement: The quality of indie books has improved. We’re maturing. Ludicrously, readers expected the indie ebook revolution to produce immediate perfection, some even demanding a higher quality than they get from trad publishing. As soon as I post this, I expect a deluge of naysayers racing to come up with examples to disprove my assertion. That’s a misguided instinct, by the way. Yes, you could come up with lots of examples both tragic and comedic and I’d counter with a plethora of examples in favour of the indies. So let’s skip that and settle on this: I have over 200 books on my Kindle and my impression is that there aren’t nearly so many grammatical errors or typos as one might expect if you believe all those rabid grammarians moaning over on the Kindle boards.… »
  8. Communication: The link between social media and sales

    « Social media has completely revolutionized how products are sold, and yet there are still businesses that only use social media outlets to spam their followers with coupon codes and pointless blog posts about how great their business is. Back in 2010, a WhiteHorse survey found that only 52% of B2C business, and a mere 32% of B2B marketers, are using social marketing despite over 80% of marketers in both sectors using social media. While numbers have likely gotten a bit better over the past two years, that still shows a serious discrepancy between companies that make a Facebook profile or Twitter account and let it stagnate versus companies that actively sell on these mediums. The sales game has changed, and any company looking to increase sales numbers need to change with it. Take a good, hard look at your social media outlets and make sure you are doing the following.…… »
  9. Religion and “christian” suggest shifting vocabulary of faith

    « “Religion” is a loaded word — not just in the minds of people who reject and/or resent religious belief altogether, but increasingly among people of faith. As Christians prepare to celebrate Easter and their belief in the resurrection of Jesus, some of them cringe at the word “religion.” Many go so far as to resist the term “Christian” because, they say, it carries too much baggage. “When some people use the word ‘Christian,’ they mean right wing, Republican, white, judgmental. They don’t mean somebody who sees their life’s goal as carrying on the work of Jesus in the world,” says John Mark Comer, 31, lead pastor of Solid Rock, a growing community of 6,000 adults that meets weekly in three locations in Portland and the suburbs. … »
  10. When execution gets cheaper, so should planning

    « If you’re going to build a $10 million skyscraper, by all means, plan and prototype and discuss and plan some more. On the other hand, if the cost of finding out is a phone call, make the call. No need to spend a lot of time planning how to call or when to call or which phone to use when execution is fast and cheap.… »
  11. Amazon: £7Bn sales, no UK corporation tax

    « Amazon.co.uk, Britain’s biggest online retailer, generated sales of more than £3.3bn in the country last year but paid no corporation tax on any of the profits from that income – and is under investigation by the UK tax authorities.… »
  12. Waterside literary starts digital publishing division powered by Vook

    « Another literary agency is entering the digital publishing arena. William Gladstone, founder and owner of Waterside Productions in San Diego County, has entered a partnership with Vook and its new e-book program to create Waterfront Press and offer its authors a 75% e-book royalty. “My goal has always been to generate the maximum amount of income for Waterfront’s clients,” said Gladstone, who established his company in 1982 and represents such bestselling authors as Eckhart Tolle and Dr. Bonnie Eaker. “It’s all or nothing in New York, where the big houses either pay advances of a million dollars or ten thousand dollars, and offer e-book royalties as low as 25%. I hope to change that landscape with my own digital publishing division.” … »
  13. You’ve read Cameron’s easter speech, now read President Obama’s

    « Yet again I’m failing to stick to my blogging break, but having posted David Cameron’s Easter Speech yesterday, I thought it would be good for comparative purposes to post the transcript of Barack Obama’s Easter speech he gave today at the White House Easter prayer breakfast for church leaders. If having read David Cameron’s speech you’re left wondering which bits of the Easter story he actually believes, you’ll have no such doubts with President Obama’s blatantly Christian message… »
  14. Christianity isn’t the only thing in crisis: A reply to Andrew Sullivan

    « Andrew Sullivan has written a cover story for Newsweek (disclosure: where I also work) that I think deserves attention and scrutiny. It could not be more timely, and in many ways more needed. But even as it advances some crucial criticisms of the contemporary monstrosity that presents itself as Christianity, I think there is a lot more to be said. Specifically, I’m not sure Andrew’s political framework is up to the task of diagnosing the real crisis we face as inhabitants of Western democracy. If only things were as easy as putting a mutant political Christianity back in its cage. I have read Andrew’s bracingly honest writing about his own faith enough to know that his Christianity is deeply considered and deeply sincere.… »
    Via Patrol
  15. What content marketers can learn from publishers

    « Content marketers can learn a few fine lessons from traditional publishing companies, though they shouldn’t completely emulate them, says the Content Marketing Institute. “The key for both publishers and content marketers is to listen to your audience,” writes Blogger Rob Yoegel. “Look at which sections of your website they spend the most time on and which stories they read, share and comment on, and then write more about these topics and share this information throughout your organization.”… »
  16. Using social media to be a better leader

    « “Join a new online network? I’d love to!” In 15 years of helping business, government and nonprofit leaders make strategic choices about digital technology, I’ve yet to hear an executive utter those words. Sometimes that’s due to the risks of public embarrassment or conflict that come with online engagement. Sometimes it’s painful memories of previous tech projects that ran over budget and behind schedule. And sometimes it’s because executives would rather interact face-to-face than keyboard-to-keyboard.… »
  17. Culture shift: User to client

    « Fifteen years ago, Louis Gallois, the SNCF (French Railways) chairman decided to change the company’s lexicon: passengers were to be referred to as “customers” instead of the old bureaucratese “users” (in French: “clients” vs. “usagers”). The intent was to convey notions of choice and consideration for the rider. This being France, the edict led to convoluted debates. The upper management old guard held the company was on its way to betraying its traditional mission of service public. Unions—notoriously opposed to any forms of competition threatening their fiefdoms—saw the new word as a portent of evil mercantile designs. … »
  18. Are apps the future of book publishing?

    « We’re at the dawn of the tablet era now. Earlier this month, Apple sold 3 million of its new iPad during the opening weekend, with some analysts expecting over 60 million of the tablets to be sold worldwide. What’s more, e-book readers are selling even more briskly than tablets. People are using those e-readers, too. On Amazon.com, books for its Kindle outsell its paper books.… »
    Via Forbes
  19. Book marketing & publicity: Advice from three experts

    « A smart marketing consultant can be the secret weapon in an author’s campaign to market and promote a book. That’s according to Adrienne Biggs, one of three experts interviewed for this post…. I surveyed three veteran book marketing pros and here’s what they said about the changing world of promotion and publicity.… »
  20. Social commerce psychology of shopping [infographic]

    « When you combine the power of the mind and the force of social shopping, you have a mighty confabulation of social rules and subconscious needs. Together, these things play into the psychology of social commerce. Psychologists have defined six universal heuristics or learning methods that have been seen in shoppers and are now being seen in social commerce.… »

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.