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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: digital publishing, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 61
26. Authors – Illustrators – Opportunity – uTales

Yesterday, Ariane briefly mentioned her book with uTales and I said I had info on this to share with you. uTales is in Beta testing right now, but anyone who wants to go on can use this link: www.utales.com/invitation  and use the password: kathy to get into their site. They will ask you to agree with their terms and agreement, but this is not giving any of your rights away.

This could be the answer to all you writers who would like to do something with your book, but can’t find an illustrator.  Below are some questions you might have.

What is uTales?

uTales is a world of digital picture books for kids, driven by a worldwide community of passionate and professional writers and illustrators.

uTales is both a website and an app, but more importantly uTales is one big disruptive idea. We’re a global community aiming to innovate and improve the concept of books in every way we can. We’re making picture books more modern and engaging. We’re making a greater variety of picture books more accessible for kids everywhere. We’re eliminating boundaries for talented storytellers to get published. And we’re trying to make the world a little better for kids, one story at a time.

How does uTales insure the quality of the books?

Only books approved by uTales will be featured in the uTales store and apps. uTales is proud to have an internationally diverse editorial advisory panel in place to approve all books before they are published to insure and uphold the highest safety and quality standards for our readers. This panel is made up of award-winning professional editors, authors, illustrators, and educators.

Our UQEP panel is led by children’s book editor and consultant, Emma D. Dryden, who has, over the course of the past twenty-five years, edited and published hundreds of books for young readers in her work with Margaret K. McElderry Books and Atheneum Books for Young Readers, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Emma oversees drydenbks, her own children’s book consultancy company, is a member of the American Library Association, and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Board of Advisors.

How do I support charity by using uTales?

We are very proud to have a partnership with Pencils of Promise, and that we, together with our uTalers, help them build schools in developing countries. Our uTalers have the choice to give up to 100% of their earnings to support Pencils of Promise – so every time you read one of their books, you bring education to a child in need.

Beyond that, we create specific uTales books with 100% of the earnings going to Pencils of Promise – and we hope to be doing even more together with PoP in the future. We’re building uTales for the kids.

For more information on Pencils of Promise, check out their fantastic website: www.pencilsofpromise.org

Can I end my uTales subscription at any time?

Yes you can.

For how long will I keep books I have purchased on uTales?

For as long as you have an account registered with us.

How do I create books on uTales.com?

Simply start a new book in our create tool on the website.
Once your book is approved by our UQEP panel (a process that generally takes from a few days up to two weeks), it will be available globally on uTales.com and in the uTales apps.

Do I give away all my rights as a creator?

No, of course not! We are trying to offer the most transparent and simple setup on the market. You’ll find al

1 Comments on Authors – Illustrators – Opportunity – uTales, last added: 9/10/2011
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27. Who can become a digital publisher?

  Answers from Elena Ornig.   If the answer is yes – than welcome aboard and good luck!     Before answering this question let’s take a look at the basic functionalities and the main aspects of digital publishing. There are similar aspects in both traditional and digital publishing – production, distribution, marketing and copyrights, however the methods of delivery for all these aspects in digital publishing are different because they are based on an electronic rather than a physical platform; therefore, operating in an e-commerce or digital economy sector, with its own particular rules and regulations, has its own specific approach.   Production of a digital book is easier, faster and cheaper. It is also quite flexible because an eBook can be downloaded, stored and read on a laptop, personal computer, mobile devices like tablets, e-book reader devices and even mobile phones. E-books require no printing expenditure for the publisher, no big stuff for day to day running ... Read the rest of this post

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28. Keynote: Emma Dryden on Traveling Through the Digital Landscape

Emma Dryden
If a career had a backlist, Emma Dryden's would be huge. She's edited more than 500 books and, as publisher of Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books, oversaw the publication of 100 more.

She's also got quite a bit going on in her current career list, so to speak. Since March of 2010, she's run her own editorial consulting firm, Drydenbks, working with people in every publishing discipline--including ebook and app producers. (Oh, and she even writes her own poetry and fiction and blogs at emmadryden.blogspot.com.)

She gave a keynote address on the digital future of publishing and started by talking about the most important aspect of the business:

"What I've learned first and foremost ... is that story matters most." And no matter what the platform, "I want to identify with the story, relate to something in that story, and have that story resonate long after I've finished it."

"The road we're on together has always in one way or another taken us into uncharted lands," she said. Today's digital upheaval is just one more example of this.

Children know the digital landscape intrinsically, she said. Adults re-educate and retool themselves--but kids have nothing to unlearn as they travel the digital landscape.

"I don't think we need fear for the survival of the book," she said. "Not in our lifetime. But the digital world is reshaping the very foundations of the book business and the book business has to adapt to survive."

Her keynote offered a comprehensive overview of the digital landscape, from platforms to pricing to piracy. A few of the many observations she shared:

How did we get here? The landscape is ever-shifting. Among other things: the iPhone and the Kindle, launched in 2007, spelled big changes. Then the economic recession hit publishing hard. In 2011, start-ups nosed in. There was also that big debate over pricing between Amazon and Macmillan. (Emma said we have to pay close attention to the debate about e-book pricing because more than 50 percent goes to the publisher.)

The iPad is a major development (and Apple is insisting that all book apps sell through its own bookstore). And there continue to be additional developments: better screen resolution, the ability to use it as a credit card... the list goes on.

What's the digital market look like? Ebook sales are up 170 percent in the first quarter of this year, and they're expected to go up 140 percent further later in the year. 

For enhanced ebooks (the ones with video, etc.), the ones working best are cookbooks, craft books, and language books. Ebooks and apps are different, Emma said. Apps are little programs designed to entertain and be useful. They have more features than books.

Finally, the digital platform can possibly supplement the picture book market (and not replace it).

Ebook royalties: The industry standard is 25 percent of net receipts published through traditional houses. Some pay more. For self published, it's 60 to 80 percent. It's critical for publishers, agents, and authors to work together the fundamental issues related to ebooks: rights, royalties, pricing, distribution, marketing and sales, she said. 

Out-of-print titles/self publishing: Some agencies are

2 Comments on Keynote: Emma Dryden on Traveling Through the Digital Landscape, last added: 8/8/2011
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29. Digital Publishing – An Evolving Industry

Answers from Elena Ornig. Digital publishing is still evolving but some clarity is starting to appear. Whilst digital publishing is still evolving we are already observing some clear process specifics. We can now read and analyse deliberately collected data, trends and statistics in order to draw conclusions and therefore build stable systems and establish operational methods. What is becoming clear is that the traditional monopolisation of book publishing is gone; at least for now.  Millions of individuals are operating independently, as small flexible business units (individual enterprises), creating new ways of digital publishing.  This includes production and consumption economics. What is significant in this regard is the ultimate formula – locally owned small digital publishing companies operating globally via the Internet; directly communicating with consumers of their products and at the same time conserving the environment (reducing tree cutting and water wastage) but still providing employment.  How good is that?  And ... Read the rest of this post

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30. The Digital World’s Book Fair Has Begun

Digital World Book, known as the DBW is the key conference in the publication of books for publishers in the e-books. All the “big six” book publishers are present in quantities never before. Random House will have more than 40 participants, while fewer than 20 came from the publisher in 2010. The digital book world conference began quietly on Monday morning with three sessions focused for a long time, the official opening ceremony will begin at 17 hours, but despite the digital output cautiously DBW 2011 is just quiet – There are over 1,250 registered twice that last year 600.

Since book publishers are here at DBW, mainstream booksellers are also here. Who is here and what they are selling will be evident when the floor show begins 13:00

The session iPad / iPhone has provided an overview of applications and the Apple App Store. It was the kind of session that felt like it was presented to other audiences – do not publish specific, as the meeting of the e-book design and production. The meeting is followed very still ongoing as I write, shows an interest of people in book publishing companies. How they got out of it, maybe they acquired the interest in book publishing and literary agents and tell us later.

Sessions on the morning of Monday, three were in the design of e-books and production, online content strategy and the iPhone / IPAD strategies. It was the first, most of the screws and nuts, which was the subject key retailers were focused on. Speaking directly to the creators of books and production managers, the session included discussions on programming languages and workflow – which suggests that book publishers are now specifically and actively serious about integrating e-Books, e-book publishing, amazon kindle publishing etc into their business model.

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31. Journalists & Writers Banned In Egypt Amid Concerns About Media Blackout

Only a few weeks ago, the Cairo Book Fair was being welcomed onto the world stage and Egyptian book publishers forging new links with China and the West. Today, Aljazeera the major Arabic news outlet is banned across Egypt – including all of their writers and related book publishers, social media is banned, and Cairo is in flames. International press institutes and several christian book publishers have come out strongly against Egyptian authorities’ suppression of the media, following the withdrawal of Al Jazeera’s license to broadcast from the North African country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned on Sunday the information ministry’s move to shutdown Al Jazeera’s bureau in the country.

The CPJ described the move as an attempt to “disrupt media coverage by Al Jazeera and calls on them to reverse the decision immediately”.

The official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported that the order was to take effect on Sunday, and transmissions originating from Egypt ceased within an hour of the announcement. Nilesat, the satellite transmission company owned by Egyptian radio and television stopped the transmission of Al Jazeera’s primary channel and others.

Reporters without borders added to the condemnation of Egyptian authorities attempt to quell the media.

“By banning Al Jazeera, the government is trying to limit the circulation of TV footage of the six-day-old wave of protests,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said.

“Thus totally archaic decision is in completely contradiction with President Hosni Mubarak’s promise of ‘democratic’ measures on 28 January. It is also the exact opposite of the increase in freedom sought by the Egyptian population.”

‘Press freedom violation’

The Doha Centre for Media Freedom also criticised the move, saying it was following with major concern the Egyptian authorities’ obstruction of local and foreign journalists from performing their duties in covering the unusual events currently taking place.

“The DCMF considers the harassment a severe press freedom violation and urges the Egyptian authorities to respect international laws on freedom of expression and to allow Egyptian and foreign journalists to freely cover the current events there.” DCMF said in a press released issued on Sunday.

The withdrawal of Al Jazeera’s license came on the fifth day of protests that gripped the country and follows the authorities’ attempts to control the flow of self-publishing information after the internet and mobile phone services were suspended on Thursday.

Mobile services were partly restored on Saturday, though the CPJ says that 90 per cent of internet connections in the country remain disconnected.

On Friday, Reporters without Borders condemned the arrest of four French journalists and book publisher and around a dozen Egyptian journalists who had been arrested by authorities.

32. Amazon Continues To Stake Claim In Book Publishing

Amazon.com is showing every sign that its ambition no longer just to distribute books but also to publish them is very real and growing.

The company announced in the past two weeks a publishing list for the spring and early summer that includes 16 books in its AmazonEncore imprint and eight books in its AmazonCrossing imprint, which focuses on book publishing and translations.

Mining data to guide acquisitions

Both imprints use Amazon’s extensive sales data and customer reviews to help inform publishing decisions. For example, Amazon culled data from its French site to help guide its first foreign acquisition, which became available in November (Tierno Monenembo’s The King of Kahel, which won France’s Prix Renaudot in 2008).

“Our team of editors uses this data as a starting point to identify strong candidates, then applies their judgment to narrow the list and reach out to the authors,” Jeff Belle, VP, Amazon.com Books, told LJ. “We’re fortunate to have access to both a lot of sales information, as well as an editorial team made up of book lovers….” he said.

Emily Williams, a digital content producer at Book Publishers Marketplace and cochair of the Book Industry Study Group rights committee, told LJ that Amazon’s efforts were a new means of finding writers who were not “part of the traditional publishing food chain” and also filling in “some of New York publishing’s traditional blind spots.”

“Amazon has a lot of information from its millions of users that book publishers have never had access to in making acquisitions decisions. It was inevitable that someone would try to leverage this kind of platform to try to pick undiscovered best sellers,” she said.

“It will be interesting to see how their books do, but…I don’t believe that the track record so far has shown that the data-driven approach offers any more sure bets than the old model of experienced editors making informed decisions,” she said.

Amazon discovers writers through several channels, Belle said, including Kindle Direct Christian Book Publishing (where writers can upload unpublished manuscripts), the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, and CreateSpace.

“We then work with the authors to introduce or reintroduce their books to readers through marketing and book distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Book Store, Amazon Kindle Store, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers,” Belle said.

.AmazonEncore began publishing in May 2009, and as of January 31 it was offering 54 titles on its site. AmazonCrossing was announced a year later, and the site now features 12 titles in all. For AmazonCrossing, Amazon acquires the rights and pays for their translation. Belle would not disclose financial details.

“We’re just looking for books our customers love,” he said.

Waiting for a breakout best seller

Michael Norris, a senior analyst at Simba Information, which tracks the book publishing companies and media industries, told LJ that the Amazon move mimics what traditional trade publishers have long been doing by mining data and giving book contracts to self-published authors. Amazon is simply trying to develop its own publishing ecosystem in order to bring more people to shop at its site, he said.

“[It's] a mechanism&hel

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33. Appraising Apps

J. A.'s previous post about apps got me to thinking about how to evaluate them. My first thought was that reviews are one method of separating the good apps from the garbage, a traditional way of bringing selectivity to the marketplace. In addition to professional journals, there are general audience websites that review apps for children - including Best Kids Apps. But will parents pay attention to reviews? Apps are an inexpensive and instant purchase. No more driving to the bookstore or the library. Is it just easier to purchase quickly and take a chance on quality?

Then wondering whether reviews will be heeded, led me to a more basic question: how do you judge an app?

Elizabeth Bird of New York Public Library, gives her answer in Planet App: Kids' book apps are everywhere. But are they any good in School Library Journal.

Do you agree with her criteria?

12 Comments on Appraising Apps, last added: 2/8/2011
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34. Amazon Kindle gets real page numbers

Amazon Kindle users will soon be able to navigate their e-books by way of old-fashioned page numbers, Amazon announced today in a blog post.

Kindle format e-books currently employ “location numbers,” which correspond to a specific block of text, and not the actual page numbers of the hardbound book. Obviously, this makes it tricky for those situations where multiple folks are reading from the same e-book, but at different font sizes. (In a book club, for instance, or in the classroom.)

“Our customers have told us they want real page numbers that match the page numbers in print books so they can easily reference and cite passages, and read alongside others in a book club or class,” Amazon reps wrote. “Rather than add page numbers that don’t correspond to print books, which is how page numbers have been added to e-books in the past, we’re adding real page numbers that correspond directly to a book’s print edition.”

The page numbers will arrive in a new Amazon Kindle software update, which is expected to be issued soon. Users will be able to view both location numbers and page numbers – and for at least one prominent book publishers and tech critic, that’s very good news indeed.

“Bottom line: enough criticizing the Kindle or the Nook for the way it handles page numbers,” David Pogue writes over at the website of the New York Times. “Neither solution is perfect – ‘locations’ or page numbers – because the problem is insoluble. The best we can hope for is a choice – and now the Kindle offers one.”

Last month, Amazon introduced a new e-book format called Kindle Singles, which the company describes as “compelling ideas expressed at their natural length.” The idea is pretty simple: For five bucks or less, users can download a 5,000 to 30,000-word piece of fiction or non-fiction. Among the first Kindle Singles releases are works by Jodi Picoult, Rich Cohen, Pete Hamill, and Darin Strauss.


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Bargain hunters were out in force this weekend as liquidation sales began at 200 Borders locations slated to close as part of the company’s bankruptcy filing.

The affected stores — about one-third of the bookseller’s locations — are expected to close by the end of April. Twenty-one underperforming stores in Southern California will be shut, including stores in Sherman Oaks, Century City, Long Beach and Orange.

Huge “store closing” and “everything must go” posters covered the windows at Borders in Pasadena and Glendale, which were bustling with customers Sunday. Many sections were already picked over, including from christian book publishers, with shelves left bare and items such as notebooks, journals and photo albums strewn about.

Most items were discounted 20% to 40%, with markdowns expected to increase in coming weeks.

“As long as there’s a deal, I’m going to take advantage of it,” said Jordan Francke, 27, who was checking out the games section at the Glendale store.

“It’s just the changing landscape of literature these days. It’s all electronic,” Francke, a children’s book publishers and television schedule coordinator, said of the chain’s bankruptcy. “I can only imagine it’s a struggle for a place like Borders to stay relevant.”

That’s a harsh reality for regular customers such as Kathleen O’Reilly, 52, who was at the Pasadena Borders carrying a shopping basket laden with discounted stationery and magazines.

The Pasadena resident said she was “old school” and enjoyed seeing and touching books before making a purchase. She said she would miss visiting the store with her teenage daughter.

“I spend several days a week here,” said O’Reilly, a self-publishing counselor at a high school. “I actually debated whether I even wanted to come because I was worried I’d be too upset to see the store torn apart.”

Business is expected to continue as usual on the company’s website and at stores that aren’t closing.

After a slew of competitive blunders and missteps in the last decade, Borders Group Inc. found itself in trouble and had to cut staff, shut stores and shake up its top management.

Critics said the company botched its move into the book publisher digital age, causing sales and earnings to plummet. At the same time, mass merchants including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. became major players in the book-selling market, often offering lower prices than Borders and rival Barnes & Noble Inc.

But Borders maintains it isn’t done for good. In a letter e-mailed to customers and posted on the company’s website last week, Borders President Mike Edwards said the company hoped to emerge from Chapter 11 as “the destination of choice.”

About 6,000 of the chain’s roughly 19,000 workers will be laid off as part of the closures. Among them is Rich Kilbury, a christian book publisher, who was pushing a cart stacked high with books at the Pasadena location Sunday.

“It’s depressing, but we kind of saw it coming,” he said. “Business had dropped off.”

The promise of discounts attracted Victoria Rose to the Pasadena store, where she was browsing mystery and thriller books. The 60-year-old high school English teacher said she was never a regular customer because she could find a better s

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36. Publishing and selling digital books?

// < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-15853096-2']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })(); // ]]> What are the advantages of publishing and selling digital books? Answers Digital books are books created using a computer, sold on the Internet and can be downloaded using software. There are several advantages of selling digital books like: There is no need to put-up a store. Orders and deliveries are easier to handle. There will ... Read the rest of this post

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37. An App Debut

My first app has been published! Or could I say my first app book has been published? Look, Ma, no paper, but it's still a book.

Why did I go this route?

TEN KINDS OF CHAIRS TO COUNT has a humorous, rhyming text aimed at toddlers. I wrote the story years ago and tried to peddle it as a board book, but individual board
books (from decidedly less-than-famous authors) are a hard sell. So when the app market opened, I started investigating companies. The first app publisher I submitted to loved the story, but they wanted it already illustrated. Then I discovered Okenko Books and learned they would supply illustrators. They bought TEN KINDS OF CHAIRS, a second manuscript called FALLING LEAVES AND FOOLISH BROTHERS, and plan to schedule a third.

As their website explains, Okenko Books works on a subscription basis - pay for six months, or for a year, and you receive one new title each month automatically downloaded to your reading device. Interesting concept. Some Okenko titles will become available as single purchases. They plan to give my TEN CHAIRS a voice over and eventually sell it as a standalone title - then I will get royalties.

I'll never get rich, and no publishing company is perfect, but it's an alternative for manuscripts dwelling in a dark drawer. I have favorites I've never been able to sell. My foolish brothers stories (in spite of numerous revisions for different big six editors) weren't bought as either picture books or easy-to-reads. Does the traditional publishing world have higher standards than the app world? Maybe, but I think each world publishes excellent, as well as mediocre material.

Has anyone else who writes for the 3-8 crowd considered entering the app market? What do you see as the pros and cons?

12 Comments on An App Debut, last added: 4/11/2011
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38. Good luck with that

I'm not sure just how sustainable e-lending e-books is going to be for public libraries. Three points made in yesterday's Times article about the practice moved my eyebrows higher and higher until they were indistinguishable from my hair:

“'People still think of libraries as old dusty books on shelves, and it’s a perception we’re always trying to fight,' said Michael Colford, director of information technology at the Boston Public Library. 'If we don’t provide this material for them, they are just going to stop using the library altogether.'”
Okay, so people don't care about books in libraries, but if we can give them something they don't even need to leave their bedrooms to obtain, that's going to keep the lights on?

". . . with few exceptions, e-books in libraries cannot be read on Amazon’s Kindle, the best-selling electronic reader, or on Apple’s iPhone, which has rapidly become a popular device for reading e-books. Most library editions are compatible with the Sony Reader, computers and a handful of other mobile devices."

Who wants to read a novel on a computer?

"Most digital books in libraries are treated like printed ones: only one borrower can check out an e-book at a time, and for popular titles, patrons must wait in line just as they do for physical books. After two to three weeks, the e-book automatically expires from a reader’s account."

Who wants to wait in line to read a novel on a computer?

I understand that libraries are doing the best they can, faced with restrictions from publishers (several of whom, big ones, will not license their ebooks to libraries) and the mercurial nature of electronic files. But I wonder if libraries are trying too hard to fit ebooks into a circulation model designed for physical media. While the reasons for borrowing a physical book from the library are several--it's free, you don't have to provide storage for something you'll only read once, browsing the shelves provides serendipitous discoveries--right now, anyway, the only reason to get an ebook from a library website is that it is free, albeit hampered by considerable restrictions. Are there enough people willing to wait in line for a digital copy of The Lost Symbol that they will have to read on their desk- or laptop or Sony Reader, when they can buy it for around ten bucks (digital edition) or fifteen (widely discounted hardcover)? This does not sound like a situation upon which to build a future.

8 Comments on Good luck with that, last added: 10/16/2009
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39. How do you buy books?

I'm perplexed by Amazon's statement about their showdown with Macmillan, where, after pulling that publisher's print- and e-books from Amazon.com, they (paradoxically) go on to defend the free market as the best friend to the little guy:

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book. We don't believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books as an alternative. (from the Kindle discussion board)

So the idea is that if a book from Macmillan costs too much, a reader will choose a less expensive book instead. Really? Is that how we buy books? I can see taking a risk on a book that is cheap (the top five Kindle best "sellers" are not cheap, they are free) but I can't see wanting to read, say, Finger Lickin' Fifteen, and settling for something else because Amazon wasn't selling it (the situation now) or because it cost more than some other book. I do understand the bookseller's reluctance to allow publishers to set prices (although I also kind of wish I was back in Germany, where book-discounting is verboten, thus allowing independent stores to compete) but I'm not buying its logic. Unless--the reading culture of e-books becomes a completely different thing from that of print books, where you don't care so much about reading the new Janet Evanovich as you do for reading whatever the hot e-book du jour is, whose price might only be a buck.

14 Comments on How do you buy books?, last added: 2/5/2010
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40. US Book Publishing Companies May Go the Way of Record Labels in Digital Age

According to the Wall Street Journal, authors in the age of the digital e-book might face much the same fate as musicians face in the age of the shareable MP3.

An in-depth analysis on the economy of book publishing shows that as sales of hardcover books continues to plummet, book publishers are signing fewer books, and giving ever-smaller advances to the authors they do sign. “The new economics of the e-book make the author’s quandary painfully clear,” writes the Journal. “A new $28 hardcover book returns half, or $14, to the publisher, and 15%, or $4.20, to the author. Under many e-book deals currently, a digital book sells for $12.99, returning 70%, or $9.09, to the publisher and typically 25% of that, or $2.27, to the author.”

Ultimately the smaller margins realized from e-books lead book publishers to consolidate their bets on fewer books that still have a chance of becoming bigger hits in hardcover editions. And as the odds on those bets become longer with hardcover sales in decline, publishers are curbing their risks by offering smaller advances to writers.

“They offer, on average, $1,000 to $5,000 for advances, a fraction of the $50,000 to $100,000 advances that established book publishers typically paid in the past for debut literary fiction,” the Journal reports.

Of course, there will always be fiction. The economy of book publishing companies will likely not stamp out writing itself any more than the decline in music sales has rid the planet of music.

But it could amount to a literary race to the bottom, in which the potential Jonathan Franzens of tomorrow simply won’t have the financial incentive to spend 7 years working on their novels, and Franzen did with both “The Corrections” and “Freedom.”

One of the hallmarks of a digital world is supposed to be proliferation: in an age when anyone can distribute content for free, content is supposed to flourish. When any band can record themselves cheaply upload their music to a Schiel & Denver page for free, music is supposed to unfurl out of the confines corporate record labels. And indeed, over 13 million bands have registered pages on Myspace.

But the question remains, How many of those bands are any good? The landscape of bands with national followings doesn’t seem particularly more diverse now than it did in decades past—the difference is that in the self-publishing digital race to the bottom, fewer than ever are being rewarded financially.

The e-book market however, at least at this point, is different than a Myspace-style digital climate in that authors don’t upload books directly. Digital or not, the environment is still governed by publishers looking to stack their chips on a few possible hits. And the returns from those few hits offer smaller returns than ever.

Ironically rather than letting a thousand flowers bloom it seems that in the digital book space attention is more than ever weighted toward a few select hits rather than a diverse offering. Franzen’s “Freedom” has sold 35,000 copies in just two weeks. Meanwhile the Journal cites 2009 breakout novel “Woodsburner,” which won a number of awards including the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize—it has sold 351 copies to date.

In all of this the one thing that’s still not clear to me is that the cost of producing and shipping the books themselves isn’t addressed. The sale of a hardcover bo

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41. Xerox Expands Collaboration with Espresso Book Machine By On-Demand Books

Beginning in the first quarter of 2011, Xerox will move into print-on-demand book publishing in a bigger way through an expanded relationship with On Demand Books, creator of the Espresso Book Machine (EBM), which has been described as an ‘ATM’ for books, allowing readers to wait for books they buy to be printed in a bookstore thereby transforming how books will be bought in the future.

The EBM channel is currently available to indepedent authors through Schiel & Denver Book Publishers. Learn more about the Espresso Book Machine (includes video footage):


While the Xerox 4112 will continue to serve as printer for the EBM, the Fortune 500 company will now market, sell, lease, and service the rechristened machine, co-branded as the Espresso Book Machine, a Xerox Solution. The “solution” includes both hardware and On Demand’s EspressNet software that connects to the machine and enables it to print a library-quality paperback book at point of sale in a few minutes.

With its 4,000-person sales force, Xerox could significantly extend On Demand’s reach and its vision of making any book ever written available as a printed book for consumers. “Certainly they are going to take us to the next level,” said On Demand CEO Dane Neller, who is looking to Xerox to help On Demand overcome the chicken-and-egg problem faced by many startups.

Currently there are close to 50 EBMs in bookstores and libraries worldwide. McNally Jackson in New York City and Flintbridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in La Cañada Flintbridge, Calif., are among the bookstores slated to add machines later this year. Schiel and Denver UK Book Publishers also offer access to the technology for authors.

“For independent bookstores, the EBM is an extraordinary technology,” said Jeff Mayersohn, owner of Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. “And now the added value Xerox brings will help us secure new business while satisfying book enthusiasts instantly.”

In other news, On Demand is in the midst of readying a new edition, version 2.2. The fundamental self-publishing a book footprint will remain the same as that of its predecessor. But rather than being raised up, the printer will sit on the floor next to the machine.

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42. E-publishing’s ‘pure play’; Upstart Kobo is holding its own by sticking to digital books

Michael Serbinis likes to think of himself as a David, but on this recent evening he looks more like a Steve — Steve Jobs to be exact.

It’s a rainy night in Toronto and about two dozen members of the city’s book publishing companies and media circles have gathered in a basement theatre at a swanky Yorkville hotel to hear from Mr. Serbinis, chief executive of Canada’s e-publishing startup, Kobo Inc.

As he stands at the front of the darkened theatre clutching a can of Red Bull, Mr. Serbinis is trying to do his best impression of the Apple Inc. CEO. There’s even an Applelike air of secrecy to the event, with everyone in attendance being asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement on the way down in the elevator.

In typical Steve Jobs fashion, at a methodical pace he walks the audience through a series of eye-popping stats to illustrate Kobo’s growth over its nine-month history before taking a few subtle digs at his competitors.

Finally, he tops it all off with the unveiling of a new product: Kobo’s new wireless eReader, the latest addition to the company’s arsenal in the battle for control over the exploding market for electronic books.

“I know what you’re thinking, ‘Now I have to sign an NDA to go to a Kobo event? What is this, Fight Club?’ ” he says with a laugh. “Well, when you’re David and you’re fighting Goliath, every day feels like Fight Club.”

The Goliaths of which Mr. Serbinis speaks are indeed the titans of the technology industry and present a formidable challenge for the young company. Kobo’s eReaders and digital bookstore compete with Amazon.comInc.’s Kindle reader, digital offerings from Google Inc. and, of course, the iPad and iBookstore operated by Apple. But so far, Kobo is holding its own. Since launching in December, Kobo has attracted more than a million users to its service. Each week, its applications, which run across multiple smartphones, on book publisher websites and various e-readers and tablets, are accessed from more than 200 countries. There are now more than 2.2 million digital books available in the Kobo store. Its eReaders are sold in bookstores across North America and around the world.

When the company, which is privately run and does not publish financial details, launched it had just 20 employees; by the end of this year, Kobo’s head count will be close to 200, said Mr. Serbinis, who allows that net revenue is growing at between 300% and 500% per quarter.

What separates Kobo, whose parent company, Indigo Books & Music Inc., owns 60% of the Toronto startup, from its competitors is its singular focus on digital books and digital books alone, Mr. Serbinis said in an interview.

Unlike Amazon, the company doesn’t sell physical products — except its eReaders — and its devices aren’t multi-purpose machines such as Apple iPads.

“We’re the only pure play that’s in this game and from the very beginning we’ve focused on being global, being open and being the best partner for all the device manufacturers for booksellers,” he said. “Those three things combined with the fact that the market has just exploded, that’s a recipe for massive growth and scale.”

Digital books aren’t a new business, but the increasingly popularity of smartphones, tablet devices and Web-enabled e-readers such as Sony Corp.’s Reader — all of which support Kobo’s e-book store– is beginning to prompt book lovers to think about going paperless.

Sales of electronic books are rising at such a breakneck pace that they’re beginning to take a significant bite out of traditional and self publishing revenues. Mr. Serbinis said that when the company launched, it

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43. The medium is the question

by Michael

I was very taken by this article I read on mocoNews.net yesterday. It features an interview with Scott McDonald, SVP of Market Research at Condé Nast, who talks about the results of the surveys of iPad users. Some of the results were a bit surprising: people spend more time with the iPad version of the magazine that a print one; most people leave their iPad at home, making it more of a personal computer than a mobile device; people didn’t understand what in the magazine was interactive or how to use it.

This interests me for several reasons. First, hearing that the device is not a mobile device for most people changes how developers and content providers should be thinking about their material. How you craft your material for someone on the go is very different from what you’d make for someone sitting at home. For instance, it seems that location-based apps or features aren’t as necessary on the iPad, whereas on mobile devices, they’re pretty much required. Travel publishers, it seems would be better off spending their time developing their material for the small screen than the big one. I think that’s actually pretty big news as we all consider what the future holds for “content providers.”

The other part that really stood out was that people didn’t know how to use the interactive features and ads, and they need to be taught how to interact with them. As publishers begin thinking about how to add value to e-books through doohickeys and gizmos, this is something they need to keep in mind. We know that e-book readers are not all techies and kids, and publishers should think very carefully about their audiences as they consider “enhancing” books. I know I’ll be thinking about it as we discuss new avenues for our authors.

4 Comments on The medium is the question, last added: 10/15/2010
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44. Five years?

by John

If you’re like me, you’re probably getting tired of the whole ebook/print debate. But even so, I had to take note of this assertion from Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop per Child, on CNN that not only will physical books disappear, but that they’ll be gone in five years.

Five years? Really? To be fair, while Negroponte appears to mean this statement generally, his evidence rests firmly on his work in Africa, where he sees ebooks following the ubiquity of cell phones in developing nations. And indeed, if a society with no access to or history with any book format is suddenly given the choice between a bunch of dusty old tomes or a laptop with thousands of titles, the winner seems obvious.

But again—five years? While I’m sort of impressed by the sheer brazenness of Negroponte’s prediction—this is the first time I’ve seen an actual expiration date for the printed book—it does seem a bit hard to swallow, for any number of well-discussed reasons. I guess the only true way to test Negroponte’s theory is to check back with him on October 2015 and see what formats we’re reading. But then again, maybe Negroponte’s talking head days will be over in, oh, 2 ½ years? Maybe CNN will be gone in 4? The internet in 3 ¼?

8 Comments on Five years?, last added: 10/20/2010
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45. Book Publishers gear up for Giller Prize effect

Win or lose at the Scotiabank Giller Prize on Nov. 9,it will be business as usual at Gaspereau Press.

For the first time in its 13-year history, the small, Kentville, N.S. book publishers and printing business has a book in the running for Canada’s most prestigious literary award, Johanna Skibsrud’s debut novel The Sentimentalists.

About 800 copies of the book were printed when it was first published a year ago; roughly half sold prior to the novel’s unexpected appearance on the Giller longlist at the end of September. The remaining copies were gobbled up by the time the title made the five-book shortlist in early October. Since then, Gaspereau’s five-person operation has been printing about 1,000 copies a week — the maximum it can handle, given other demands and book publisher responsibilities.

“Whether we win or lose, I’ll continue to make about 1,000 books a week, as long as there is a demand,” says co-owner Andrew Steeves, who runs the business with partner Gary Dunfield.

“One of the problems is that you can’t just drop everything else you do. We’re a local print shop. Long after the Giller goes away, I’ve got other clients. I can’t afford to alienate them. So I have to balance all that stuff.”

This is not remotely the way it will go down if any of the other four publishers with a book in the hunt cashes in.

The Giller, in addition to rewarding the winning author with a cheque for $50,000, is an instant boon to sales. Linden MacIntyre’s The Bishop’s Man, the most recent beneficiary of what is commonly known in the book publishers industry as the “Giller Effect,” moved 75,000 hardcover copies after winning last year and continues to sell well in paperback.

Publishers are ready to capitalize, sometimes within minutes of the announcement of the winner just before 10 p.m. at the gala’s live telecast.

Windsor’s small Biblioasis, which also has never produced a previous Giller finalist, already has a plan to print as many as 25,000 additional copies of Alexander MacLeod’s debut short story collection Light Lifting.

“As I understand it we won’t even have to call the printers, if against all odds we win,” says publisher Dan Wells. “They’ll be watching at the same time and when it’s announced, they can flick a switch and start printing.”

House of Anansi, a mid-sized Toronto publisher, has produced seven Giller finalists but no winners. The company hasn’t settled on a firm number yet for Kathleen Winter’s Annabel, the only book this year to also be nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize and Governor General’s Literary Award, but president Sarah MacLachlan expects to order a print run of 40,000 copies, if the book wins.

“You talk to basically everybody that would sell a Giller book — the wholesalers, the chain, the independents — and you ask them what they think they will go through,” MacLachlan says.

“We are making a calculated decision. We’re not doing it because that looks like the right number in our heads. Historically, the repercussions have been big, so we’re like lawyers: We work on precedent.”

HarperCollins Canada, a rarity this year as the lone multi-national subsidiary in the mix, will undertake a similar reckoning in the event that David Bergen’s The Matter with Morris takes the prize.

The decision on how many copies to print will be made early Wednesday morning, but company sales and marketing vice-president Leo MacDonald anticipates something on the order last year’s Man Booker winner, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which sold 40,000 copies in Canada. The company’s previous Giller wins came in 2001 with Richard

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46. Time doesn't matter

by Jane

So, this week I talked with a number of editors in our business who are complaining about recent poor bookstore sales and it caused me to consider again how our industry is changing and how I wish publishers would begin to “rethink.”

Traditionally, books are launched and shipped in a certain season and then, in subsequent seasons, these books are considered “backlist” and hopefully continue to sell (with virtually no support from the publishers). So, if the book doesn’t “take off” in its first few weeks, the publisher literally abandons it and moves on to the next one.

The beauty of this new “electronic publishing age” is that books are always there and available. And they can easily continue to be publicized and promoted during the course of the year with very little additional cost and effort. Publishers, in the acquisitions process especially, are totally losing sight of this phenomenon and they certainly aren’t taking advantage of it.

If a novel, say, which contains a story line about breast cancer and also takes place in a highly trafficked summer vacation area is published in March, there is the initial publicity for the book. But then there can be a solid push in May or June because of the location of the story and then again in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month. And this can go on year after year. The novel doesn’t just have one season.

I am currently trying to sell a book with a graduation market; but it is also a great gift title. Publishers are passing because they say that there are too many books aimed at the high school or college graduate, but to my mind that is limited thinking. Why not take advantage of the enormous marketing ability of the internet and not only publish this for that graduation market but also for September when kids leave for school and for Christmas? And what about birthdays? Why just limit the publication to a single event?

Time simply doesn’t matter any more in our business. Backlist can become front list again at a moment’s notice. If only publishers would realize this. I think they simply don’t take the time to consider the inherent possibilities that electronic publishing affords and that, I’m afraid, does matter.

What do you think?

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47. Book Publishing Challenges in the 21st Century: A New Electronic Book (eBook) Law Sweeps France

The bill, which is expected to pass the National Assembly later this month, would let book publishers set e-book prices. The idea is to prevent publishers from being undercut by the likes of Amazon or Apple.

The French Senate has passed the first reading of a bill that would allow book publishers to set a fixed price on e-books, in a bid to try to protect publishers and smaller retailers as the e-book market takes off.

But since the first reading on October 26, several objections have been raised – not least of which are whether the law is even legal.

An extension of a 30-year-old law

The law proposed by centre-right senators Catherine Dumas and Jacques Legendre aims to replicate the 1981 Lang Law, which prohibits the sale of physical books for less than five per cent below a cover price set by the publisher.

This law has proved popular in France, helping to maintain one of Europe’s best networks independent bookstores by protecting them from competition from large chains.Dumas and Legendre’s bill was the result of a year of consultations with writers, publishers and retailers, who are concerned that their revenues will be hit by the expanding online market. But for now, industry figures show that e-books make up less than one per cent of France’s book market, but that is expected to double in the next year.

“In 2011, we will see the beginning of a really strong market,” said Clément Hering, an analyst with Gfk, in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

“Till now, it’s been quite a tiny market because of the price of products, which is quite high in France, and the number of platforms that are selling e-books which is quite tiny too, but that is changing.”

According to Hering, the e-book market so far has been a way of generating extra revenue for publishers rather than something that erodes profits, but that could change. In the US, digital literature accounts for more than eight per cent of the book market.

Enforcability remains an issue

But as the Internet is international, it is difficult to see how this law will work in practice. There seems little to stop a French consumer buying a book from a website based in another country, unless the government decides to geo-block e-book retailer websites. Otherwise, a French consumer could just as easily buy the same title at a lower price from Belgium or Luxembourg.

Another more serious obstacle is the European Court of Justice - this protectionist measure might turn out to run contrary to the idea of a single European market.

The Court has dealt with similar cases, including ones resulting from the Lang law, by determining whether the rule would be discriminatory against imports.”If they would be discriminatory then, prima facie, they would be unlawful unless the state imposing the restriction would be able justify it in some way.” said Angus Johnston, an EU law specialist at Oxford University.

The protection of national culture can be adduced as a justification, but Johnston says it is difficult to argue that a country’s literary heritage is protected by allowing the country itself rather than the importer to set the price of a book.

“On the face of it seems it would be challengeable successfully under EU free trade law,” he added.

Slowing innovation

The French parliament will take up the debate again in the next few weeks, when an amended version of the bill will be brought before both houses a final time before it can be signed into law.

Another problem with the proposed law, industry watchers said, is that it may inhibit innovation in this relatively new marketplace. The bill doesn’t make a distinction between books that are distribut

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48. Borders’ Books, Inc financial troubles cast ominous shadow over independent booksellers

Gayle Shanks has fought a sometimes frightening battle against national book chains (mainly in the business to sell and publish a book) for 36 years, so one might expect the independent Tempe bookseller would be overjoyed at news that the goliath Borders is in dire straights.

But that would be like judging a book by its cover.

Sure, Shanks figures the chain’s death would lure its former customers to her Changing Hands store in Tempe.

Yet she sees peril for bookstores, for readers and for the nation’s culture.

Michigan-based Borders is the nation’s second-largest book retailer and its large debts to vendors could take down small book publishers and hurt the surviving ones, Shanks said. That could limit what even the most independent-minded bookseller could offer adventuresome readers.

“I think my biggest concern, really, is what it means for the book publishing world and ultimately what it means for diversity and finding a marketplace that will be diminished,” Shanks said. “We will have fewer authors finding publishers for their books. We’ll find fewer books being published and that might in fact mean that only huge, commercially viable authors will find their books going to market. That worries me.”

Borders has stopped payments to some children’s book publishers, who have in turn cut off shipments of new merchandise. Published reports include speculation that Borders will be forced to reorganize under bankruptcy protection or that its declining sales, market share and stock value will doom it.

Border’s troubles became more apparent after the holiday season, Shanks noted, when it reported disappointing sales even as most retailers and rival Barnes & Noble saw small to large improvements. Amazon.com would likely benefit from a Borders’ failure, but Shanks finds that troubling, too.

“That’s just the best-sellers and one level below,” said Shanks, the store’s co-owner and book buyer. “Unless you know exactly what you want to read, it takes the adventure and the curiosity factor out of what’s involved with finding a new author.”

Borders was the chain that mostly directly challenged Changing Hands, a store Shanks helped found in 1974 in downtown Tempe. Her initial 500-square-foot store expanded multiple times on Mill Avenue, where, roughly a decade ago, Borders opened a 25,000-square-foot store three blocks from Changing Hands.

The independent store opened a second location on McClintock Drive and Guadalupe Road in 1998, closing the downtown one in 2000. Borders later shuttered the downtown store.

Shanks believes Borders’ woes are a typical example of a chain not keeping up with e-book publishing industry trends — especially electronic readers — and not a sign books are obsolete. She’s seen an interest in people reading, whether its books on paper or on e-readers. Even on a weekday afternoon, Shanks said, Changing Hands can be full of customers.

“We really have been doing fine and 2010 was close to a record year for us,” Shanks said.

Borders and Barnes & Noble overbuilt, she said, adding it’s impossible for them to sell the number of books required to pay rent on all the square footage they occupy in the Valley.

A Borders failure would leave three empty stores in the East Valley, at Superstition Springs Mall in Mesa, at a mostly empty shopping center east of Fiesta Mall in Mesa and at the Chandler Pavilions. By comparison, Barnes & Noble operates five East Valley stores.

It’s unclear who would win Borders’ customers – especially from

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49. What’s going on with Borders?

For the book publishers and authors perspective, Borders was once a worthy rival to Barnes & Noble. Perhaps even bigger than B&N. The two brick-and-mortar chain bookstores were able to offer better prices than independent bookstores and drove many out of business. But that was before the success of Amazon and other online retailers brought the phrase “brick and mortar” into regular use — and once that happened, everything changed; indeed many UK book publishers watched in horror last year the UK divison of Borders hit the wall.

Barnes & Noble, if buffeted by Amazon’s success, has remained afloat; Borders has been taking on water.

On Dec. 30 Borders announced it would not make payments owed to some publishers, without specifying whom. Hachette confirmed that it was among those who would not be paid by Borders.

Borders has nearly 200 Waldenbooks and Borders Express outlets slated for closure before the month of January is out. Additional Borders stores are also set to close, including Westwood’s.

Borders is also cutting back on staff. On Wednesday, Borders announced that it would close a distribution center in Tennessee, eliminating more than 300 jobs; 15 management positions were eliminated Friday. And the resignation of two top executives — the chief information officer and general counsel — was announced at the beginning of 2011.

Meanwhile, Borders is seeking to restructure its debt like the frantic chess of a brutal endgame. On Thursday, Borders met with publishers and proposed that the payments owed by the bookseller be reclassified as a loan, as part of that refinancing. “But on Friday, publishers remained skeptical of the proposal put forth by Borders,” the New York Times reports. “One publisher said that the proposal was not enough to convince the group that Borders had found a way to revive its business, and that they were less optimistic than ever that publishers could return to doing business with Borders.”

Nevertheless, Borders — which lost money in the first three quarters of 2010 — remains the second-largest bookstore chain by revenue. Its loss would have a significant effect on book publishers across the United States.

Investors, however, seem cheered by the recent news swirling around Borders. Shares rose 12% on Thursday after reports that the bookseller was close to securing financing.


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50. The importance of keeping the traditonal book in paperback and hardback forms

Rubbishing those who hail the digital age as the end for books, book publishers industry players and best-selling authors on Saturday hailed a new dawn for publishing, with India’s voracious readers at its forefront.

Book sales have been squeezed in recent years by e-books and the huge success of Amazon.Com’s Kindle reader, but India’s booming book publishers market is proof of the physical book’s staying power, said participants at Asia’s largest literary event, the DSC Jaipur Literary Festival.

“You read something on Twitter and you know it is ephemeral,” said Patrick French, a best-selling historian and biographer who has written extensively on Asia. “Yet the book is a solid thing. The book endures.”

Regional language novelists and poets rubbed shoulders with Nobel laureates and Booker Prize winners at the seventh festival to be held in the historical pink-tinged city of Jaipur, the capital of India’s northwestern Rajasthan state.

Hundreds of book lovers attended a debate on the fate of printed books in the sun-drenched grounds of a former palace as part of the free five-day event.

“The idea of the book dying comes up all the time. It’s wrong. I think this is a wonderful time for books, to enlarge the audience of the book and draw in more readers,” said John Makinson, Chairman and CEO of the Penguin Group of publishers.

“Books matter more in India than anywhere else we publish them,” added Makinson, whose Penguin Group is one of the world’s largest English-language book publishers.

While book sales slip in most western countries, the non-academic book market in India is currently growing at a rate of 15 to 18 percent annually, as rapid economic growth swells literacy rates and adds millions to the middle class every year.

At the festival, schoolchildren from around the country chased their authorly heroes through the lunch queues to get autographs on newly-purchased books.

Makinson noted that the pressure on physical bookshops in countries like the United States — where bookseller Borders Group Inc is in talks to secure a $500 million credit line — doesn’t exist in India, adding that books have a key role to play in Indian society.

“In India books define and create the social conversation amongst christian book publishers and children’s book publishers. In China, the books that sell well are self-improvement titles. Popular books in India are of explanations, explaining the world. The inquisitive nature of India is unique.”

Indian critic Sunil Sethi, who presents India’s most popular television program on books, said the digital age presented an opportunity, rather than a threat, for printed matter. “Even before I finish my show, the authors are on Twitter to say they are on TV talking about their book. Technology is merging things, but the book is still at the center,” Sethi said.

French agreed that technology, if well-managed, could actually help win books new friends and wider sales.

“Digital e-books have created a space for discussion. Books now have websites and forums, and so reading books on electronic devices has created communities and interaction,” he said.

Nearly 50,000 writers, critics, publishers and fans are expected to attend the festival.

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