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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: books = buggy whips?, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 9 of 9
1. How do you judge a book without a cover?

I’ve been thinking recently about how things I always thought of as one unit really may not be.

A few years back, a lot of papers were bought, not for their content, but to look at the want ads. Craigslist showed that you didn’t need the newspaper part.

It used to be that if you wanted to know what was going in the world, you would wait until the 6 pm news. If I wanted to know the traffic report, I would tune in to a certain radio station that promised reports at certain times. Now you go to the Internet at any time for news. You can get live traffic updates on your GPS device. Weekly news magazines are trying to re-imagine themselves in a wold where no one waits a week for anything, which is how you get Newsweek selling for a $1 (literally) and Tina Brown putting a story on sadomasochism (basic premise: if you’ve fooled around with velvet handcuffs, you’re a wannabe - you really need to be beaten) on the cover.

And for a long time, a book was a unit. I didn’t think about how it was made of paper and had a cover and maybe those things weren’t necessarily part of the book itself. Heck, I remember when trade paperbacks were a crazy new idea.

As that Atlantic reports A digital book has no cover. There's no paper to be bound up with a spine and protected inside a sturdy jacket. Browsers no longer roam around Borders scanning the shelves for the right title to pluck. Increasingly, instead, they scroll through Amazon's postage stamp-sized pictures, which don't actually cover anything, and instead operate as visual portals into an entire webpage of data (publication date, reader reviews, price) some of which can also be found on a physical cover and some of which cannot.

Read all of The Atlantic’s story about the future of book covers.




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2. Another self-pubbed author hits best-seller lists

The Wall St. Journal says that last year, 133,036 self-published titles were released. And that about 30 people sold more than 100,000 copies of their self-pubbed books on Amazon. So a lot more folks are putting out self-pubbed books than are making huge amounts of money from it.

But then there's Darcy Chan, an author whose book got turned down by many agents, and then when she got an agent, by a dozen publishers.

This past May, Ms. Chan decided to digitally publish it herself, hoping to gain a few readers and some feedback. She bought some ads on Web sites targeting e-book readers, paid for a review from Kirkus Reviews, and strategically priced her book at 99 cents to encourage readers to try it. She's now attracting bids from foreign imprints, movie studios and audio-book publishers, without selling a single copy in print

Read more about Chan's story here.

Publishing is changing so much. Sometimes I wish I was 10 years older or 10 years younger, so I didn't have to straddle the change.






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3. "The plural of anecdote is not data"

Over on the other side of the pond, a writer argues in The Guardian that the death of books has been greatly exaggerated.




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4. Mass market paperbacks fall by the way side

“In some ways, the e-book is yesterday’s mass market,” says an executive at St. Martins in an article in the New York Times. Although I think he means "today's mass market." But it somehow makes sense in the context of the article, which looks at one more facet of the changing book business. It's hard not to feel that everything has changed, and that "yesterday" is about as fast as it's changed.

I have signed lucrative contracts for paperback rights to books that originally had only the hard cover rights sold. Although the royalty on the ebook, at least according to this article, is better than it is on a paperback.

You can read more here.


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5. "Writing, as a profession, will cease to exist"

These are the (I'm sure deliberately) provocative words of novelist Ewan Morrison in The Guardian: "Ebooks, in the future, will be written by first-timers, by teams, by speciality subject enthusiasts and by those who were already established in the era of the paper book. The digital revolution will not emancipate writers or open up a new era of creativity, it will mean that writers offer up their work for next to nothing or for free. Writing, as a profession, will cease to exist."

You can read more here, although he takes some liberties, such as claiming that the NY Times endorsed downloading ebooks for which you already had a physical copy, when that was a single columnist, not their editorial board.

Author Holly Lisle - who has gone to epubbing only - takes issue with his ideas here




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6. What do you do with paper books if all the world goes digital?

A paper book can be the starting point for some really cool crafts, like this purse made from a Nancy Drew book (hint: Christmas is not that far away, folks).



See more cool things made from recycled books here.

One man who makes furniture out of old books says that now, "Few people have that shocked reaction, 'My God, he cuts up books.' "

An article in the Boston Globe says, “fashionistas have been snapping up the handbags that Caitlin Phillips of Rebound Designs crafts from such beloved novels as "Sense and Sensibility" and "Jane Eyre." In 2004, when Phillips first realized that a hardback book was the ideal size and shape for a purse, she initially feared consumer backlash. "I made my first purses from Reader's Digest Condensed Books because they are the lowest form of books," she says. "I had no idea how popular they would be. But the market really exploded. I quit my job three months after making the first one."
Read - and see - more here.



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7. How many years until kids don't understand this video?





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8. The smell of books may be vanishing

The smell of books may be vanishing. But one woman is cataloging it, book by book. “Rachael Morrison is an artist and a librarian who is currently working at smelling all the books at the MOMA library.”

Read more here - and see some examples of her olfactory notes. She certainly has a discerning nose, noting such elements as “smoke,” “under the couch,” and “armpit.”



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9. What will happen to books?

This week, Time Magazine incorporated laid off 300 people. Magazine ad revenue is down, as people spend more time on the Internet and less time turning glossy pages. Newspapers have it worse, as people turn to the Internet for breaking news. This week the Boston Globe laid off 125. The company that owns the LA Times can't get a decent offer.

Music would be in more trouble if the iPod hadn't come along.

But what will happen to books? Bookstore sales numbers I've seen lately have been on decline. Sometimes I wonder if I'm really in the business of making buggy whips.

Cheer me up, people!



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