In my previous post I discussed how eBook subscription services such as Oyster and 24symbols are receiving a lot of attention with their promise of becoming the “Spotify for eBooks”. But publishers are getting in on the act as well, with a number of niche publishers in particular offering discounted access to their list of titles to subscriber members.
Last week I questioned whether a post-bookstore world was inevitable and suggested 5 ways bookstores might be able to fight back. The future of bookselling has be en a hot topic for a number of years now but with each fresh round of store closures the prospects for our remaining bookshops seem bleaker and bleaker. So what’s the industry buzz about bookstores in 2013? Here’s a quick round up of some of the views put forward by publishing commentators in the last week.
A local cinema has been showing classic movies recently and I had the great pleasure of watching The Philadelphia Story on the big screen – the original 1940 version with a very young Jimmy Stewart playing a tabloid journalist, Macaulay Connor, and Katherine Hepburn as the reclusive heiress, Tracy Lord. Both characters despise each other on contact but there follows a wonderful scene in a library that illustrates beautifully the complex relationship and dialogue that exists between author and reader and I couldn’t help thinking about how true it still felt 72 years later.
In Part 1 of our discussion of book distribution options in Australia we examined why self-published authors should not limit their sales channels to a small number of online retailers at the expense of brick & mortar bookshops. Today we are going to dig deeper into the book distribution options in Australia and take a look at three of the leading book distributors that are worth partnering with.
As any regular reader of Digireado will know, it’s an exciting time to be an author. Yet, as the ranks of independent authors rapidly grow, very few self-publishers are bothering with brick and mortar bookshops anymore. It’s not difficult to see why—sales and distribution into bookstores has always been a notoriously difficult and costly task, while the closures of large chains and cherished independents alike have led to widespread speculation that high street bookselling is obsolete.
Spare a thought for the humble paragraph, the unappreciated middle-child of book structure. While authors lavish attention upon each sentence and fuss over chapter headings and cliff-hangers, the paragraph is often just an afterthought—a bite-sized chunk of text defined by line breaks.
A lot of first time authors are opting to self-publish digitally rather than go through the traditional print process. In fact, the number of writers taking up the opportunity has created an entirely new market in self-publishing services, as I’ve often discussed. With so many people offering their opinions and recipes for success, it can be hard to sift out the good advice from the bad, but I wanted to highlight this particular podcast episode from The Creative Penn as a great example of GOOD ADVICE.
The publishing world is abuzz with the news that two of the world’s largest publishers, Random House and Penguin, have agreed to merge, potentially creating a mega-sized publisher that looks to dwarf its competitors. Monday’s announcement confirmed several days of rumours and speculation following the Financial Times report on Thursday that Random House and Penguin’s parent companies, Bertelsmann and Pearson, had entered merger talks. The size of the deal and its implications for the industry have sparked frenzied discussion on everything from the fate of existing staff to the design of the new logo
The growth in self-publishing over the last five years is well recognised but an analysis released yesterday by Bowker, has put a startling figure on that rise, indicating that the number of self-published books produced in the USA has grown 287% since 2006. The gross figures give a sense of the scale, with 235,625 self-published print and eBook titles released in 2011, including 148,424 print books and 87,201 eBooks. But dig deeper in Bowker’s Press Release and you’ll find some even more interesting stories.
I read a huge number of blogs and articles each week about the book industry, including thoughts on creative writing, publishing, book reviews and everything in between. With so many very talented people approaching these subjects in so many new and interesting ways, I wanted to share some of the posts and articles that I find most thought provoking and insightful each week. It’s also a great chance to meet new writer’s, bloggers and publishing professionals.
The 2012 Booker shortlist is out and the big winner this year seems to be Small Independent Publishing. This year there are three novels from publishers that have never before had a Booker shortlisted title to boast about. Amazingly, this is the first time that this has happened since the third annual Booker Prize way back in 1971.
Self Publishing Part 5: The Fiscal Art of Book Design (or people judge books by their covers – work with it!)
The long-term success of any publishing venture will always hinge on the quality of the writing, but without great packaging you are severely handicapping your book’s ability to sell in almost any channel you can think of. We are conditioned as consumers to make inferences about the quality of a product by the aesthetic promise of its design and wrapping. It’s a psychological loophole that marketers have been exploiting with every increasing precision.
Many reviewers have already pegged this book as the biggest fantasy release of 2010. That’s a big claim only days into the New Year but it’s not hard to see why this is book is getting so much hype. From its opening lines we are drawn into an intense, almost urgent atmosphere as Hoffman cleverly hints at the depths and layers of the story to come. This is a world where nothing and no one can be trusted, where words can have great power but little meaning and where cynicism and dark humour are essential to survival.
Let me just put this out there straight up: I would knock down my own Grandmother if she stood between me and a new Jasper Fforde novel. There are few authors I idolise as much as Jasper Fforde, the man who brought us, Jurisfiction, the Chronoguard, full body-contact croquet and the ingenious Footnoterphone! Imagine, then, my hand-trembling excitement as I explored a world utterly different from that of the Thursday Next series, a vision of the future I guarantee you’ve never even dreamt about before, and yet still so unmistakeably Ffordeian.
The follow up to one of my favourite debut novels from 2009, The Poison Throne – the first book in The Moorehawke Trilogy. The series is light fantasy, with a strong historical fiction feel – the action takes place in a medieval kingdom in an era very reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition. The world building in the series is quite economic, however, and The Poison Throne was a book that took place entirely within a single castle and its grounds. Its strength was the intense, claustrophobic drama that built up within the royal court as the young Wynter, or Lady Moorehawke, and her ailing father attempt to find out why their enlightened kingdom has fallen into superstitious tyranny in their five year absence.
You have never seen the Peter Pan story like this. Surprised by the underlying darkness of J.M Barrie’s original Peter Pan stories, Brom was struck by this line in particular:
The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out; but at this time there were six of them, counting the twins as two.
This is a welcome return to the classic sagas of King’s early career with powerful human drama, a sprawling cast and constant action, all choreographed by a master storyteller. It’s a book that’s been over 25 years in the making, mixing beautifully some themes and ideas that have been simmering away in King’s potent subconscious mind with current world events and even some very entertaining pop-culture references.
NZ born author Juliet Marillier has achieved a huge international audience with her elegant historical fantasy novels. Like some of her previous series, Heart’s Blood takes inspiration from a traditional fairy tale. In this case it’s Beauty and the Beast – and no, you can forget that saccharine sweet Disney version, this is a story with a lot more guts to it.
Jack Vance wrote the Tales of the Dying Earth series over a period of 34 years from 1950-1984. It is still regarded as one of the most distinctive and influential creations in the fantasy genre and the Cugel volumes in particular are still as fresh and entertaining as ever. Set in the far far future, Vance imagines an Earth populated by humans capable of both powerful magic and impressive technology. Yet this advanced society lives with the inescapable knowledge that our Sun is in rapid decline and will soon die, dooming all life on Earth with it.
Gail Carriger describes her first novel as “urbane fantasy” – an apt description for this paranormal Victorian comedy of manners.