The Shadow Industry

While traditional publishing counts for the bulk of all books that reach bookstores – brick-and-mortar or virtual – there is a significant shadow industry of self-publishing that accounts for, by some estimates, around $1 billion a year in sales.
That’s a long shadow.
But, as J.A. Konrath points out in his always-excellent and thought-provoking blog, A Newbie’s…


The Non-Existent Amazon War

Some writers should have it so good.
Stephen Colbert, who happens to be a Hachette author (Hachette is a giant publishing company, for those who may not yet know this, or even care about it) in addition to being a television personality, has been very pro-Hachette, naturally, in remarks concerning the so-called war between Amazon and…


Publishers Have No Time for the Slow Build

Traditional publishing waits for no one, least of all authors. The bestselling crime writer Val McDermid, would have a hard time starting out today, she says in an interview in Britain’s Telegraph, because publishers don’t have time to build an author’s career. She’s gone on to sell more than 10 million copies of her tough-minded…


E-Book Strengths, Publisher Anxiety

E-books account for a healthy portion of total book sales, and growing. The market for books – estimated to be about $15 billion, according to the Association of American Publishers, a 14% increase since 2008, when e-books starting really taking off. Now, e-books make up about $3 billion of that total.
But if you take e-books…


E-books and the Future of Publishing

The publishing industry is doing well. In fact, last year it had $27 billion in net revenue, according to the Association of American Publishers, and sold something like 2.7 billion units.
What’s most surprising is that, although trade paperbacks remain the number-one format for books, the greatest strength comes from the growth of e-books, which had…


Amazon the Goliath

“We don’t shop Amazon anymore,” said one agent at a gathering I attended last night. I have a feeling this agent was exaggerating just a little bit. But she wanted to make the point that she’s trying to get her books the old-fashioned way, in a brick-and-mortar bookstore.
The point beyond that was that Amazon was…


Quality-Control: A Self-Publishing Must

A friend at a traditional publishing house just bought a novel from a self-published author. A friend had recommended it, and he liked it himself on reading it, and will publish it as a paperback. He said it was a surprisingly good book, but was appalled at how badly it was copyedited, and how the…


Publisher and Retailer Tug-of-War

The ongoing dispute between Amazon and Hachette – the big publisher – hasn’t yet been resolved. It seems that, in addition to its being about the price of e-books (always too high), it centers on what Amazon is demanding of publishers, according to a publishing-industry friend.
What Amazon is requesting is the online equivalent of co-op…


Summer Reading

You see a lot of summer reading stories around at this time of year. Do people still have time to laze away on a vacation with a bagful of books they can pore over while swinging in a seaside hammock?
Not so much. Still, folks like to think they will have the time to get to…