Category Archives: Book Publishing

Amazon, Ebooks, and Advertising

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There has been a lot of mixed reactions toward Amazon putting advertisements on Kindle, especially when it was first launched in 2011. Today I wish to bring this issue back into the spotlight and invite you to re-examine it together.

In the article Why Advertising Could Become Amazon’s Knockout Punch attributes Kindle’s popularity partially to Amazon’s Special Offer, as it “lowered the price of the device” and presumably would not interfere your reading experience (which the advertisers find very reasonable and worthy of their money, of course).  Wikert then predicts that Amazon’s next step might be making money on in-book ads. He explains his theory by explaining Amazon’s wholesale model of publishing, and even goes on predicting that Amazon “would love to see ebook pricing approach zero” — which can be realised with in-book advertising strategy. All of this will eventually help Amazon “eliminate competitors” and obtain to market dominance”, as it has been doing in the past four years.

Jamie Lending takes a quite strong stance and describes Amazon Kindle Special Offers as a disgrace. “Unobtrusive” and “never in your reading experience”, says an Amazon spokesman in response to Lending’s complaint, but many readers still find the ad-free version irresistible despite the fact that they have to pay extra 30USD. While Amazon frames it as a Kindle user’s choice, Lending argues that the company takes away the “ultimate control” over ad exposure.

, in his article Ads on Kindle Fire HD tablets: Bad news or just business?, presents argument from both sides and comments that the subsidy of being able to control “is financial in nature”. Tofel’s opinion differs from Lending in the sense that he believes readers still retain some choice.

Is this really a question of whether consumers are willing to pay or whether they can afford it? And what exactly does it mean to publishers and authors?

Image Credit: Yahoo

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Why I Heart the Bookternet

“At your average book publisher, 10 years ago was a time before the internet.” Rachel Fershleiser, who now works on Tumblr’s outreach team, helps authors and publishers reach new audiences. Rachel takes us through an evolution from reading and writing as entirely “solitary pursuits” to the development of online tools that enable collaboration and community. She shares great stories and innovations that connect readers and writers like never before, in a publishing industry that is becoming more democratized and accessible.

What has actually happened in the past ten years of publishing, with the emergence of digital community? Are books and the Internet really in opposition to each other? And what will the next ten years of publishing be like, with the technologies that are here to stay and more business models on the rise?

Video Credit: TEDxGowanus

Infographically Explained: Should You Self-Publish or Go Traditional?

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The Write Life publishes an infographic to help authors decide whether they should pursue self-publishing or follow the path of traditional publishing.

In a discussion of this infographic, Mutterings of a Fantasy Writer refers to July 2014 Author Earnings Report which reports some statistics about “emerging trends in the world of digital publishing”

One thing that I’ve wanted to point out is that I think there is a general misconception with traditional and self publishers about “getting the book out there.” There is no “out there.” There is only “who is for” and “how is the author cultivating and adding value for readers.” People read and share information based on trust in relationships, and we should bear that in mind when we write/publish a book.

Image Credit: The Write Life

Future of Audiobooks & Global Trends for 2015

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, a Publishing student at Bath Spa University, explores the future of audiobook publishing in a module Digital Publishing. She examines the unpopularity of audiobooks among publishers (in comparison with ebooks), and claims that it may be attributed to “a lack of adequate financial return”. However, Maynard points out that audiobooks are not yet doomed because they are easy to incorporate into people’s busy lifestyles, and publishers who identify audiobooks’ potential have been attempting to overcome many hurdles. She evaluates the current situation of a few major audiobook publishers, and brings our attention to the importance or good narrators, who can “breathe life into stories”.

Additionally, Michael Kozlowski sheds light on Global Audiobook Trends for 2015. He also introduces some interesting facts and figures about the current audiobook industry, with a focus on the industry leader Audible, and shares his views on how audiobooks works  differently than e-books on a business level.

The audiobook market is still booming, although it is yet to arise as a popular form of “reading” when the whole world is eager to witness the competition between print books and ebooks. But there’s one thing that we can be sure about: the development of audiobook industry is transforming itself, and it may even transform our definition of publishing and reading once again.

Image Credit: Good E-Reader

Developmental Editor Speaks on Traditional Publishing

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Developmental editor Susan Mary Malone speaks on the Constant Changes of the Literary Field, covering both bright and dark sides of the changing landscape of literature.

Malone calls our attention to one aspect of the publication process that is often “neglected” — the writing itself. Authors often leave their manuscript to be taken care of by the agent/editor once it’s “done”. And indeed it is a traditional publisher’s responsiblity to oversee the entire publishing process, except for one thing: the writing is never done. While authors in traditional publishing have to wait anxiously for months before they can move on to the next step, Malone suggests that they should take the time to “focus on the book” by joining critique groups, working with an editor, and writing some more, perhaps not for adding to the quantity but reflecting on the quality of your previous drafts. She makes a final comment by saying:

“the publishing world is changing… it’s important we know what those changes are and what does it mean for authors. How will these changes affect my chances of publication?”

There’s no need to rush when it comes to publishing. And if I have learned anything from the discussions that I have with fellow authors/publishers since this site was launched, here are two things: (1) books doesn’t just sell themselves; the quality of writing should always be your priority thing, particularly if you intend to self-publish, and (2) don’t panic over “knowing nothing about publishing” as it is not going to help you get published. No one is born with a knowledge of the ins-and-outs of publishing, but it’s never to late to start learning, especially when it is so essential to the authors, because not only will it protect your rights, but it may also help you succeed in the highly competitive literary world.

Image Credit: Susan Mary Malone

Publishing Facts: Featuring US & UK Publishing Industries

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Pete Klein writes about some Publishing Facts which features the U.S. publishing industry in 2014. He provides statistics about books being published and sold, as well as information related to traditional publishing, Amazon publishing, and Print on Demand (POD) publishing

Creative Industries UK quotes from Publishers’ Association website and reports a series of informative facts and figures about UK publishing industry, which is said to be “highly productive”, “highly successful in overseas markets”, and innovative.

 

Image Credit: DomGreco.com 

 

The Life Cycle of A Book

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This picture illustrates the (traditional?) publishing process, which involves four major parties and twelve steps. If authors take the self-publishing approach, some steps (e.g. Agent) might be optional; if only e-book version is produced (whether on the author’s own website or under contract with publishing platforms like Amazon), then details of the Distribution step will also alter. In addition, the “Print on Demand” (POD) model is bound to have a great impact on the distribution process.

I personally think that these days it will be necessary to draw a direct link between “Writer” and “Book Buyer”/”Reader”. With online platforms like Goodreads, Amazon, and various blogging sites, writers and readers now can easily engage with each other in the life cycle of a book. Wouldn’t it be a great way to promote book sales if reading becomes more interactive?

Image Credict: International Book Promotion

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Challenge

Ursula K. Le Guin accepts the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014.”

This video went virus within the online author/publisher community when it was first released. Now a discussion in retrospect, we can refresh our memories of how Le Guin informs us once again the “dangers to literature” and schools us on creative freedom. While our community need people who know the difference between “the production of a market commodity and the practice of an art”, we should also bear in mind that books, whose profit motive often conflicts with the purpose of art, “are not just commodities.”

At the end of the speech Le Guin says, “But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.” Spirits of the writing and publishing community — a belief in resistance and change in “the art of words” — shall stay alive.  That’s really all we need to hear.

Video Credit: National Book

Source Credit: Write Through It, The New Yorker