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The wolf is falling!

(get it? get it?)

Anyway, this is just depressing. So many details of it...


THE END: The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after. With sales stagnating, CEO heads rolling, big-name authors playing musical chairs, and Amazon looming as the new boogeyman, publishing might have to look for its future outside the corporate world.

Brilliant article, and I'm just halfway through it.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)

"publishing might have to look for its future outside the corporate world"

I've been saying this for years -- that the corporate conglomerates might be dinosaurs who've not noticed the asteroid falling -- but . . . well, they laughed at Galileo, they laughed at Einstein, they laughed at von Daniken, they . . . Okay, so they were perfectly correct to laugh at von Daniken. Whatever, most thought I was talking bollox with the exception of a few shrewd UK small/midsize publishers.
Sep. 25th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
Print on demand books are not going up in price much, while mass published books are. I'm not seeing much difference in price between my heavily marked up poetry and comic books published through Lulu.com and those found on bookstore shelfs. Of course, my books have way less marketing and way fewer middlemen between them and their readers, but still...

It also reminds me of Larry Niven's description of the future of the book market in Ring World. As humanity's population grew and publishing got cheaper, the market became super saturated. Being an author meant nearly nothing.
Sep. 25th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)
If GUD were POD, it would be twice as costly. :/ My mind dances with thoughts that there will be a true ebook revolution (where eReaders will actually widen the class of readers), but ... I vacillate between optimistic pessimism and pessimistic optimism.

Being an author really does seem to count for nothing, outside a very small slice of people. I don't know if it's just POD, or teh intartubes, ... the ease of vanity press ... but ... yeah. The term-as-title has certainly been subverted.
Sep. 27th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
"If GUD were POD, it would be twice as costly."

Really? I've been extremely happy with Lightning Source and I find their pricing and distribution simply incredible. Far superior to Lulu.com, for instance. So much better.

I suspect I need to do a post on this, but time has been an issue for a proper in-depth post.

On book publishing:

It's not all doom and gloom in the book world and I agree with much of the opinion on the Book Square rebuttal, too. I did feel that the New York Magazine piece was too narrowly focused on literary publishing.

Books are fine. Books are just fine. And books aren't going anywhere. The publishing world has a number of practices and their usage has brought them to a crisis point. I have very little sympathy. It's remarkable to me that Proctor and Gamble can work in an innovative way (i.e.: automatic computerized ordering) with Walmart (both scum bag companies) and yet publishers can't do the same with their retailer partners. Book publishing, like the music industry, is in a time of re-adjustment. It'll take time but it will pass; what results will be new ways of selling books. At least I hope so.

People reading books just ain't going anywhere. And be careful with how you interpret what you're seeing - while someone on a bus or train may not have a bound book in hand, they could be listening to an audio book on their Ipod. There's no way to know unless you actually ask them. Books come in many forms and those forms are incredibly dynamic. The pleasure of reading, in all of its forms, will be around for many more moons to come.

Sep. 30th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
getting a quote from LS just to see. Lulu says $8.85 base cost for 216 pages, A5 size (which is the closest they have to what we publish).

Doom! Gloom! :)

I don't see a lot of people doing things other than watching movies or playing video games, but my mood (and thus vision) is admittedly colored by a lot of things, not least of which is, admittedly, a fair bit of anxiety and angst. :)
Oct. 1st, 2008 01:26 am (UTC)
My cost price from LSI for Li'l Kids is $3.25 US approximately. Online retailers are getting 20% off the cover price ($13.95 US). If you do the math, you'll find that my per copy revenue is extremely good. Now, that cost price doesn't include the upfront fee, which if memory serves was about $140.00 in total. Still, it's far better than Lulu and LSI offers vastly superior distribution options.

I need to do a proper post on this, but one very good resource is Aaron Shepard's Aiming at Amazon.


Oct. 2nd, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC)
Well, apparently I have to have an ISBN for LSI (they don't do magazines, so I'm going to do a little experiment with a friend's "spare" ... hoo boy.) Issue 3 is going to be a "book"!
Sep. 25th, 2008 12:02 am (UTC)
Us small publishers aren't having a much easier time of it, so far as I know. Just back to the basics, except with shallower pockets than the folks who started things back in the day, and with a public less interested in reading, it seems.
Sep. 25th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)

Um, there's small and small. I meant it when I used the term "small/midsize": the publishers I had in mind are relatively well financed, but they're not HarperCollins or even Tor . . . more like Four Walls Eight Windows.

I think it's a myth that people are less interested in reading than they were.

I was recently at FantasyCon in Nottingham, UK. There was a problem with pilferage: cash, a projector, other valuables went missing, presumably thanks to infiltrators. What was astonishing was that these thieves were also filching books from the dealers' room -- small press books, at that!

In trains in the UK and on the plane both ways there were people like me immersed in books . . . and you can see the same in any subway carriage in NYC or London. I think I saw one Stephanie Mayer during the trip; most of the rest were books with which I was unfamiliar.

Obviously this is all anecdotal stuff, but I've seen proper scientific research that suggests people are if anything reading fractionally more than they used to.
Sep. 25th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
I'd love to see proper scientific research. On trains in the US, I've seen other readers, but not a good percentage (maybe 1 in 50, maybe less?). Planes and buses less so, still, excepting semi-recent existence in a college town where, if folks were reading on the bus, it was generally a textbook. :)

But my glasses are currently also tinted by living in a town that gets serviced by a bookmobile instead of having a proper library, and doesn't have a bookstore. Plus it's a Wednesday that feels like a Monday. ;)
Sep. 25th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)

"But my glasses are currently also tinted by living in a town that gets serviced by a bookmobile instead of having a proper library, and doesn't have a bookstore."

That may offer a false picture. Our burg likewise doesn't have a bookstore; we have a library, but it's smallish and not especially well stocked. (They waste too much of their funding on buying multiple copies of the new Danielle Steele, John Grisham, whatever.) Yet whenever there's a book/library sale the locals descend upon it like a plague of locusts. Clearly there's a demand that a bookshop could meet; it's just no bookshop has yet taken the plunge.
Sep. 25th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC)
Ah, but here is a reply which makes one think that there may well be a trampoline for the wall to fall upon :-) http://booksquare.com/its-only-the-end-of-rose-colored-glasses/
Sep. 25th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Thanks for that. Makes me wonder what the poster--and most folks in the comments--would think of GUD. I didn't see the NY article as quite so "just literary" as Kassia's take on it--but I also didn't recognize most of the names involved, on the publishing end, so I could have missed a lot there. I did notice the bash on Danielle Steel's writing, but felt that that was just one segment of the piece (and it stuck out as an odd thumb).

As a bit of a tangent from that--I do think that the book world could do with more celebrities--at least as an attraction for more readers, they're a sight more pleasant than spam. ;) I know that in-world there are plenty of them, but they don't seem to break the fourth wall much. Then again, I could have skewed perceptions on that.
Sep. 25th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
All good points! :-)
Sep. 25th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC)
That's just so chicken little ;) Good news is that folks will still want to buy books for a little while.
Sep. 27th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
The book industry will never die completely...it'll just evolve. We'll have books in one form or another (probably hard-bound AND digital) for a long time.

People like us, the book lovers and the writers and the people who love a story, have to...well, keep the faith. Somehow.

(Also, it amuses me that Von just commented to me that ":nentwined: has a great entry..." And that's the name I happily went to. Hello, slow learners!) :)

Edited at 2008-09-27 12:41 am (UTC)
Sep. 30th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
:hehe: also funny to see how LJ kept trying to correct you so you couldn't say what you meant. so helpful it is! ;) :)

faith. keeping. yes. must.

Need to do more story trailers.

And you owe me some questions or something for that quiz. ;) :)
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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