Monday, 28 February 2011


American Booksellers Association Support Random House Agency Move


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This has been late breaking news and just come in the past couple of hours. Below is the response from the American Booksellers Association to Random House's move to finally adopt the Agency agreement on the sale of e-books to retailers. 

Logo of the American Booksellers Association.Image via Wikipedia
From the ABA's website:

"On Monday, February 28, the American Booksellers Association indicated its strong support of the decision by Random House, Inc. to adopt the agency pricing model for the publisher’s e-books in the United States. Under the agency model, a publisher sets a retail price for a specific book, which establishes a level playing field for all resellers.

“We have believed from the beginning that the agency model is in the best interest of not only the book industry, but the consuming public as well,” said ABA’s Chief Executive Officer, Oren Teicher. “We appreciate the careful and thoughtful deliberation Random House has brought to this issue, and applaud their decision to adopt agency pricing.”

With the move to agency, effective March 1, Random House joins a significant number of other major publishers that have already adopted the model. The agency model affects more than 200 ABA member stores with IndieCommerce websites that are now selling Google eBooks™ online, as well as other resellers of e-books. As America’s largest general interest book publisher, Random House, Inc. books are sold by most independent bookstores."
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World Book Day at the Irish Writers' Centre


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Thursday, March 3rd, 12 - 9pm.

 


World Book Day at the Irish Writers' Centre 
 

Peter Sirr, Gerald Dawe, and Jean O' Brien will join the World Book Day celebrations at the Irish Writers' Centre.  The day’s events are free and all are welcome to attend.

The celebrations will kick off at 12pm with a free Inkslingers creative writing session led by Andrew McEneff. This is a structured hour where participants will be given a series of writing prompts.
This will be followed at 1pm with Lunchtime Poetry Readings where celebrated poets, recent winner of the Michael Hartnett Prize Peter Sirr, Gerald Dawe, Paul Perry, winner of the Arvon Poetry Prize Jean O' Brien, Richard Halperin and Aifric Mac Aodha, read from their latest collections.
At 3pm the Irish Writers' Centre will launch a new series of Madaptations with a film screening of James Joyce's The Dead. The Madaptations series will be held once a month at the Centre and will showcase films that have been based on books.
The celebrations will conclude at 7pm with a dramatic performance of Patrick Kavanagh's The Great Hunger performed by Peter Duffy.  With echoes of the Great Famine in the title and in the text, the poem focuses on the life and struggles of the anti-hero and small farmer Patrick Maguire.
The Irish Writers’ Centre is a non-profit organisation that promotes contemporary Irish literature. Since its foundation in 1991, the Centre has welcomed many award-winning writers through its doors, including Nobel, Costa, Man Booker, IMPAC, and Pulitzer Prize winners. It has also served as an important platform for breakthrough talent, with many young writers giving their first public readings here.

Thursday, 24 February 2011


Barnes & Noble Digital Publishing Platform Goes From Strength to Strength


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Barnes & Noble, the world’s largest bookseller, is experiencing major growth for PubIt! (www.PubIt.com), its easy-to-use digital publishing platform for independent publishers and authors, and announcing the expansion of its program into its bookstores. Since launching four months ago, more than 11,000 independent publishers and authors have joined the PubIt! community of booksellers, adding more than 65,000 new works to Barnes & Noble’s expansive NOOK Bookstore™ of more than two million digital titles. In fact, there are currently 35 PubIt! titles among the Top 200 NOOK Books based on sales, and Barnes & Noble customers have purchased PubIt! works in more than 50 categories to date.
Continuing its strong tradition of author support, Barnes & Noble also announced its expanded promotion for PubIt! titles and authors into its retail channel. The company will host its first in-store event featuring PubIt! authors tonight in its Santa Monica, CA, store. The panel discussion will feature successful PubIt! author H.P. Mallory, Beth Orsoff, a traditional turned self-published author who has boosted her sales with PubIt!, and Lisa Cortés, President of Cortés Films and Executive Producer of the Academy Award®-winning film Precious. The discussion will explore new opportunities in do-it-yourself publishing, online and on-screen. For more information on the event, visit [here].“The variety and quality of the content we are seeing through PubIt! is beyond our expectations,” said Theresa Horner, Barnes & Noble’s Vice President, Digital Content. “We are thrilled with our initial sales for PubIt! titles as our millions of customers enjoy exploring newly added works from PubIt! writers and publishers.”
“This in-store PubIt! event is a continuation of Barnes & Noble’s strategy of bringing the digital and physical reading worlds together,” said Horner. “We recognize the importance of uniting the reader with the author regardless of the book format, and we look forward to conducting many more events to support our PubIt! authors in our bookstores.”
In addition to in-store events, Barnes & Noble offers PubIt! authors and publishers access to the unique marketing and merchandising opportunities through the NOOK Bookstore, a PubIt! bestseller list and additional exposure through the Read In Store™ program available for NOOK Color™ and NOOK™ device customers in the company’s more than 700 bookstores across the country.
Authors have found great success with PubIt!. H.P. Mallory, author of Toil and TroubleFire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, and To Kill a Warlock, calls PubIt!, “an incredible experience…one of the best decisions I ever made.” Mallory’s paranormal romance books have become such a hit that she just signed a three-book deal with a major publishing house. Lori Brighton, author of A Night of Secrets, The Mind Readers and The Ghost Hunter, says, “PubIt! places publishing in the author’s hands, which benefits not only the author, but also the reader.”
With clear and competitive terms – and no hidden fees – the self-service online PubIt! portal provides qualified content owners a simple and profitable way to bring their works to millions of new readers. PubIt! uses a Web-based platform for publishers to independently set up their accounts, upload their eBooks, set the list price and track their sales and payments from a competitive royalty based on the price. PubIt! publishers can be confident they will be compensated from the list price they set with no additional charges, regardless of file size. Publishers’ content is offered in ePub format, the industry standard that allows content to be enjoyed by customers on hundreds of the most popular mobile, computing and eReading devices.
Barnes & Noble offers e-mail support and a robust online community for those interested in PubIt!. More information on PubIt! can be found at www.pubit.com.
PubIt! titles can be enjoyed across the company’s entire family of NOOK products and software, including the award-winning NOOK Color, NOOK 3G and NOOK Wi-Fi® and NOOK software-enabled iPad™, iPhone®, iPod touch®, Android™ smartphones and tablets, and Windows-based PCs, laptops or netbooks. For more information on free NOOK software, please visit www.bn.com/nookapps.
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Wednesday, 23 February 2011


iPad 2 Set To Be Unveiled March 2nd


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According to a number of technology sites, Apple has begun sending out industry and press invites for an event on March 2nd with a growing consensus that it will be the announcement of Apple's iPad 2 generation. Gizmodo speculate on what new features the 2nd generation iPad device might have.

The event will take place next Wednesday in San Francisco at 10am.
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Web Seminar Debates How Self-Publishing Will Lose Its Stigma | Publishers Weekly


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Web Seminar Debates How Self-Publishing Will Lose Its Stigma:

But first, about those aforementioned bestsellers? Panelist and author Jason Pinter expressed his frustration at always hearing the same few names repeated as examples of how lucrative self-publishing can be. “What annoys me is that the same names are always used: Godin, Konrath, Hocking, The Shack,” he said. “There’s a sense of people latching on to a couple of individuals who’ve found success and then those people get a lot of publicity. Then it’s, ‘They can do it; I can!’ There is a bit of a fallacy there; it’s not always the case.”

Publishing proliferates thanks to POD and digital | The Bookseller


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Publishing proliferates thanks to POD and digital The Bookseller

"Print on demand, digital and self-publishing are continuing to push up the number of books published in the UK and overseas, according to new output data issued by Nielsen Book. The statistics also reveal that the number of publishers has risen with 2010 seeing 3,151 new publishers registering for an ISBN, the highest for 10 years."

Monday, 21 February 2011


POD, Self-Publishing & Independent Publishing or Be Damned


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In the coming few hours POD, Self-Publishing & Independent Publishing will reach an historic and humble milestone - 100,000 unique visitors to the website. In reality, there has been many more visitors through the doors over the past three and a bit years, but I only began traffic analysis on the site in early 2008, so best to stick with the measurable figures. Back in the early months of the site, I really only ever intended this online adventure to record my own research, opinion and experience of writing and publishing. Little did I know what lay ahead.

Soon into the online life of POD, Self-Publishing & Independent, I felt it necessary to port over my own author ramblings to another site - simply because this site became more than I ever imagined it to be when I first started out. There has been several transitions and remodeling of the site, but at its heart, the site has always been a home and resource for authors considering self-publishing and looking at alternative ways to break into book publishing outside of the norms of approaching the big six publishers or seeking representation through a literary agent.

When I started out researching publishers and the publishing world, many years before I ever considered launching this site, I always had in my head what a good publisher was, and what a good writer should be. Little did I know back then (1980's) how much both aspirations, ideas and how the models of publishing would merge in the future. And yet, in many ways, one thing has been constant since the mid 1980's - change. The newsprint media were experiencing massive change forced by better offset print technology and public demand for diverse and immediate content delivered to their fingertips - all driven by chaotic economics. It seems, in that respect, nothing has changed - bar the fact that as we move though vast blocks of words, day by day, instead of wetting our index finger, we simply pause and click to move on.

Maybe I've just been around too long, and that the change we are seeing now is simply cyclical. If I have learned anything, it is to have as wide a view as possible about books and the publishing industry. In fact, my greater experience tells me that is true of the retail and consumer sector in general having spent so many years in that sector.

When Johannes Gutenberg devised the first true print press machine in 1440, it was heralded as both a revolution and a renaissance for the spoken word. The mass arrival of the Internet in the late1980's was equally revolutionary - perhaps even more so. We just didn't see its impact then quite as we see it now. I remember in the mid 1980's buying my first desktop PC and my parents asking me what I got it for. 'I dunno, I haven't figured out really what I'm going to do with it, but I know it's important I have it so I can find out what I can do with it.' Maybe that's what Johannes told the first person who laid eyes on his print press. Sometimes we hold something in the palm of our hands and don't know quite what to do next, but we know we are lucky, have something of great value and innovation, and just need time to explore its potential without being taken over by fear of what it might do.

In the first year of POD, Self-Publishing & Independent I began writing a series of long articles, using the quote or alternative of it - Publish or Be Damned - originally a quote attributed to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, when the courtesan Harriette Wilson threatened to publish her memoirs and his letters. I tweaked the quote as Publish or Be Damned, in deference to the plight of self-published authors, frustrated with the difficulties of being published, and the fact that ultimately if they did not persevere and follow their calling, the worse damning voice would be their own and not their detractors. I suppose it was the clarion call of frustrated authors saying; 'to hell with it, I'm going to do it.'

I've taken my flak of unfair criticism here on the site, that I am a supporter or advocate of self-publishing. Anyone who has cared to peruse these pages or who have been clients of mine know that is not the case. I made the argument of where I stand on self-publishing and the publishing industry in my article Publishing: Advocate or Be Damned. I'll not repeat it here. I'm happy simply to say that no matter what I or others say about the complexity and difficulties that face self-published authors, more now than ever, that authors are still going to decide to self-publish. I'd just like to give them the best possible chance they can of success; by thoroughly reviewing print and publishing services and shining a light on the publishing industry as it develops and changes.

Over the three years I have thought about dropping the 'POD' reference in the site's title; I have thought about  dropping the 'self-publishing'; I've even though about dropping the 'Independent' from the title. Ultimately, they are all in reality desperate misnomers for what will be a printed and published book - whatever success and accreditation it will achieve. Here, we celebrate publishing, innovation and change wherever it comes from in the publishing world.

So, in short, for all of you who have hung in there from the start, joined along the way, thank you for you input and support. If I can nail down the 100,000 visitor to the site in the coming hours with my analysis reports, and you can validate your identity, I'll happily sent you a free copy of 'To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish' wherever in the world you are.

POD, Self-Publishing & Independent Publishing also has a Facebook page which you can follow for even more information on the publishing world, hour by hour, here.         

       
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Sunday, 20 February 2011


SelfPublishBooks (Lettertec) - Reviewed


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SelfPublishBooks.ie is a print solutions service owned by Lettertec Ireland, an independent Irish company with a design, print and book binding facility in Carrigtohill, Co. Cork. The company was founded in 1983 and has over 20 employees as well as a sales office in Dublin. Initially, Lettertec was a supplier of desktop document binding solutions, but quickly expanded its facilities and reach to become one of Ireland's foremost producers of customised hard cover books including Laboratory Notebooks, Homework Journals, Personalised Diaries, as well as full-colour capabilities for soft and hard cover books. The company offers a full design and printing service (traditional offset litho and digital short run) for authors and corporate clients.

Lettertec has a strong client list from the fields of education, the pharmaceutical industry and the publishing industry. It is not easy to build such a strong client list; many of these clients demand very high service standards and exceptional quality of product.

“We are not publishers, just printers with a very extensive range of digital and offset presses and a comprehensive bindery.
We are using our facilities to allow members of writing groups or interested parties to get their books printed and either perfect bound or hard case bound in small quantities, or short runs.
 We are just using our factory and facilities, in the main company, Lettertec to fulfil a need for the little guy who needs to get some books printed, not published, (he can take care of that himself), without him having to spend a whole bunch of money.”

Frank Kelly, MD, Lettertec Ireland


What impressed me most about SelfPublishBooks.ie is a no nonsense approach. There is no pretention or promise in their service; no endless romantic list of authors who self-published from bygone years; no complex ‘publishing packages’ cobbled together to entrap the naive or ill-informed author; no sales representative hard sell. What is on offer here is an exceptional and versatile design, print and bindery service of quality.

In 1983, when Lettertec was founded, the print industry was volatile and the Irish economy was in a poor state. This company has come through the many dips and ups of the print industry, not by mere survival alone, but by inward investment, developing a core business and client accounts at local level, before pushing forward and embracing larger industries and new print technology and opportunities. Examining Lettertec, over 28 years of business, each step forward has been carefully planned and indigenous of its locale and the opportunities in the print industry. This was never going to be a company that over expanded and overstretched its reach in deference to the quality of service and product offered. That takes a great deal of foresight and the sense to skip dessert some days when all around are indulging in a sugar rush.

SelfPublishBooks.ie presents their five step approach to having a book printed. The first, selecting what format you would like (hard or soft cover) and they are at pains to remind authors of the necessity of an ISBN and barcode if you wish your book to be sold through retail outlets. Step two requires the author to consider trim size and quantity of books printed for the first print run. Step three provides for design considerations including the interior and cover.

“Provide your own cover (to be confirmed with us on size requirements), or provide unique photos or illustrations and we will create a professional cover design that will get you noticed on the shelf. We may also create a design from scratch for you so you don’t have to worry about its marketing potential."

Again, versatility and options for the author are the order of the day. Ideally, SelfPublishBooks.ie probably best suits an author or writing workshop who can supply print ready files for the book. The company do have their own in-house design team, and while Lettertec has worked for Irish publishers, I’ve always felt it important that a book cover is produced by a specialised book designer. That’s just my opinion, and simple book covers can be competently produced by a print design department, but often that extra originality comes from a dedicated book designer who has immersed themselves in the project over a period of time. Step four includes considerations to internal layout, paper selection and colour insertions. Step five is the transfer of completed files to Lettertec. This can be done by CD Rom, email or file transfer (FTP).


We can accept a range of file types for printing books but prefer print ready PDF. We recognise this is not always possible so we accept files ranging from ready formatted MS Word files to applications such as Quark and Indesign.

When supplying PDFs please supply separate files for the:

a) The Cover:

Consisting of the back cover, spine and front cover. We can confirm the spine height for you and if needed, supply a template.

b) The Text

Should preferably be supplied as one PDF for the entire manuscript with one page to view. We will do the imposition for printing. Where manuscripts may be too large for one file then more than one PDF may be supplied.

c) Fonts and Graphics

Fonts should be embedded within the PDF, or provided separately.

d) Images

Images must be scanned at a minimum of 300dpi as lower resolution images may appear blurred when printed. (Please remember that images downloaded from the Internet are not suitable for printing as they are only 72dpi unless you have specifically ordered a high-resolution image)

e) Bleed

If you have an image that prints to the edge of the book (page) this image ‘bleeds’. For us to be able to print this part of the image gets trimmed off, so the artwork needs to be extended by a minimum of 3mm on each outside edge.

f) Colours – Litho printing

Please call to discuss.

g) Colours – Digital printing

We prefer to receive files created using CMYK.

“We publish our prices, 'cos lots of guys don't and I like to think people can check it out without signing up to a "Gold" or "Silver" service costing a heap of money, or having somebody in sales contact you, when you don't need that. We really want to support the [self-publishing] sector.”
Frank Kelly, MD, Lettertec Ireland


SelfPublishBook.ie provide a price matrix for soft and hard cover books with examples of trim sizes in A5 (148mm X 210mm) and A4 (210mm X 297mm). Prices are very competitive (delivery not included), though, for the serious self-published author, I would suggest they lean towards print runs of 200-500 copies to achieve realistic profit margins when taking wholesale and retail discounts into consideration. Broadly speaking, your retail price needs to be competitive at three times the print costs per unit – for example, if your book costs €4 to print, you are looking at a €12 minimum as a retail price to facilitate royalties and wholesale discounts.

There is on some occasions a set-up charge of €70 applied on very low print orders, but in most circumstances the company will waive the set-up charge on most reasonable orders and do not charge it on reprint orders at all. 

I like Lettertec’s SelfPublishBooks.ie service a lot. It’s well grounded and backed up by an innovative and dedicated company with many years of print industry experience. There are many printers who have expanded into self-publishing services. Some have offered such services purely as a way of generating additional revenue to try to survive as a dedicated offset printer, while others, like Lettertec, see it as an opportunity to develop and embrace change. Innovation and inward investment has been the key to success for this company. While the company sees itself as a dedicated printer, Lettertec is the one company, hand on heart, I could see as one to embrace and adopt all the opportunities occurring in the publishing industry. The print products they offer are versatile, illustrated books, books with a CD Rom insert, and books with large trim sizes and high grade paper.

I’d like to see them expand their print/self-publishing services, perhaps even develop a digital hosting/archive service online. There is only so long the existence of diaries, journals, workbooks, calendars, etc in a physical realm is going to continue with the advent of smart phones and electronic tablets. The print industry has long walked hand in hand with the advertising industry. The days of flyers, brochures and billboards are numbered. Information and images are disseminated, presented and published on digital platforms now. Nowhere is that change more evident than the publishing industry.

RATING: 8.2/10
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Saturday, 19 February 2011


Introducing the North American Big Six – The Shatzkin Files


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Introducing the North American Big Six – The Shatzkin Files:




"But from the perspective of publishers or booksellers outside the United States, there is a new North American Big Six. These are the companies that have direct relationships with publishers — all of them that matter in the US (with one noteworthy exception) and, increasingly, those that matter overseas as well — to secure the rights to distribute ebook files wherever in the world the publishers have rights."

From Mike Shatzkin of Idea Logical.

It is hard to argue with Shatzkin that we may very well be seeing the emergence of a new 'big six' in the book publishing industry. These six companies could ultimately prove to be the real game-changers. You could also argue the first three have already proved to be game-changers. For the record, the 'new' big six are:

Amazon
Apple
Kobo
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Lulu Blog | Lulu Support and Connect Update


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"As many of you are aware, a couple weeks back we launched a new forum and knowledge base platform, Lithium. Since then, we have been monitoring the feedback from our users, and thus far the new platform has been received quite positively. In fact, we’ve even seen some of our longtime customers return to the forums that we haven’t heard from in quite sometime – praising the new system."
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Friday, 18 February 2011


Publishers, Stop Being Craven, Forge Your Own Future | Eoin Purcell's Blog


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Publishers, Stop Being Craven, Forge Your Own Future



"It’s time for the industry to stop worrying about Apple, Amazon and Google. It is time for the industry to just forget about all of them and to decide how it is going to bring stories to readers in a way that keeps it relevant, interesting and hopefully profitable or else to decide that it is going to grow old and die gracefully. In either case, I’m pretty sure it’s time to shut up and do it."
Eoin Purcell's Blog

December Stats Press Release | AAP


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December Stats Press Release

AAP Publishers Report Strong Growth in Year-to-Year, Year-End Book Sales
$11.67 Billion Sales Mark +3.6 Percent Increase vs Calendar Year 2009,December Sales Rise +2.4 Percent;E-book Sales Continue to Break Records with +164.4 Percent Gains for 2010


New York, NY, February 16, 2011— US publishers’ book sales across all platforms increased +2.4 percent in December 2010 vs December 2009 and +3.6 percent for the full year vs 2009, it was reported today by the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

Virtually every book publishing category showed growth in one or both comparisons, with the phenomenal popularity of E-books continuing. “As more formats have evolved and are served by the publishing community, consumers have more choices. These strong sales numbers reflect the efforts of AAP publishers and the response of book audiences,” said Tom Allen, President and CEO, AAP.

Among the highlights*:

• Total sales for December 2010 were strong, showing a +2.4 percent gain vs December 2009 ($1.58 Billion vs $1.54B).

• Total sales for calendar year 2010 also jumped +3.6 percent vs calendar year 2009 ($11.67B vs $11.25B)

• E-books grew a dramatic +164.8 percent in December 2010 vs the previous year ($49.5 Million vs $18.7M). In the AAP’s ninth year of tracking this category, E-books once again increased significantly on an annual basis, up +164.4 percent for 2010 vs 2009 ($441.3M vs $166.9M). E-book sales represented 8.32 percent of the trade book market in 2010 vs 3.20 percent the previous year. A chart tracking nine years of E-book sales is included below.

• Books on other digital platforms also experienced healthy sales growth. For December 2010, Downloaded Audio Books increased +56.7 percent to $8.9M and Physical Audio Books increased +34.5 percent to $15.8M. For the calendar year, Downloaded Audio Books sales rose by +38.8 percent to $81.9M (vs $59.0M in 2009), while Physical Audio Books fell 6.3 percent, at $137.3M for 2010 vs $146.5M for the previous year.

• Children’s book categories saw higher sales in December 2010 vs the year before: Children’s/Young Adults Paperbacks were up +4.5 percent (to $48.9M) and Hardcover Children’s/Young Adults grew +0.2 percent (to $59.7M). Year vs year sales of children’s books fell somewhat; the former decreased 5.7 percent (to $546.6M) and the latter declined 9.5 percent (to $694.3M).

• All three Adult book categories also showed gains vs December 2009: Adult Hardcover was up +23.1 percent (to $148.2M), Adult Paperback grew by +4.5 percent (to $127.6M) and Adult Mass Market rose by +14.6 percent (to $57.1M). The categories fell slightly for 2010 vs calendar year 2009 with Hardbacks sales at $1.57B vs $1.65B in 2009 (-5.1 percent); Paperbacks reaching $1.38B vs $1.41B in 2009 (-2.0 percent) and Mass Market at $673.5M for 2010 vs $718.9M (-6.3 percent).

• Educational book sales saw full year-to-year increases: Higher Education grew +7.8 percent in 2010 (to $4.58B) and K-12 Elementary/High School posted a +3.2 percent gain (to $3.59B). K-12 El/Hi also hit a +1.4 percent increase for December 2010 (to $147.0M) while Higher Education reached $890.2M for December (-3.6 percent).

• Sales of University Press Hardcover books decreased 8.2 percent in December (to $6.0M) with a 0.5 percent decline for 2010 ($57.8M). University Press Paperbacks grew for 2010 by +1.3 percent (to $61.6M) and fell 2.5 percent for December ($8.9M).

• Professional books sales increased +5.0 percent for 2010 over 2009 (to $812.9M); for December, they fell 3.5 percent (to $108.9M).

• Religious Books showed 0.5 percent decline for 2010 vs 2009 (at $585.4M) and -11.8 percent for December ($49.9M).

*All figures cited above are domestic net sales.

About AAP
The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the US book publishing industry. AAP’s nearly 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer software, and electronic products and services. The protection of intellectual property rights in all media, the defense of the freedom to read and the freedom to publish at home and abroad, and the promotion of reading and literacy are among the Association’s highest priorities.

Contacts: Tina Jordan – tjordan@publishers.org – (212) 255-0275Andi Sporkin – asporkin@publishers.org – (202) 220-4554


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Thursday, 17 February 2011


2010 State of the Computer Book Market, Post 3 - The Publishers - O'Reilly Radar


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2010 State of the Computer Book Market, Post 3 - The Publishers - O'Reilly Radar:

There really is some terrific data here provided by O'Reilly Radar, but what baffles me is why Lightning Source is lumped in with the top 'publishers'. LSI is a printer, though the comparison is at least helpful to see the extent the printer has become in the publishing industry.


"In this third installment, (see Post 1 and Post 2; Post 4 & 5 to come soon), we will look at how publishers fared in 2010, as compared to 2009. The chart below shows our dashboard view of the large publishers' results for 2010. The most notable piece of information is that Wiley continues to hold the leading spot as the largest publisher (with 32% market share of units sold), while Pearson and O'Reilly both lost 1%, which is picked up by Cengage and McGraw Hill. (We'll look at revenue share later in the analysis.)"
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Guest Post | Towards a National Strategy on Literature - Jack Harte, Chairman of the Irish Writers' Centre


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Towards a National Strategy on Literature

A Discussion Document issued by the Irish Writers’ Centre

In good times and in bad times, in economic prosperity and in national recession, Ireland’s writers have achieved excellence, have distinguished themselves, and have brought distinction to their country as a place where such excellence is achieved, generation after generation.

The enduring positive image of Ireland in the eyes of the world is largely due to the respect people have for our enormous achievement in literature.

The soul of a community is embodied in its art and in Ireland’s case in its premier art form, literature. But the soul, like the community, is an evolving entity, and a vibrant literature is essential to assist in the evolution of spiritual, cultural, intellectual values.

Ireland’s economy has benefitted in multiple ways from literature. For example, sales of books abroad and other foreign earnings of writers have assisted our international balance of payments. However, through cultural tourism, literature has been and will continue to be, a major contributor to the Irish economy. 55 % of tourists who come to Ireland cite Culture and Heritage as the chief attraction of the country for them, and the primary reason for their choice of Ireland as a holiday destination, and tourism is worth €5 billion a year to Ireland.

The literature sector recognises that the exploitation of writers and writing yields this monitory dividend for the country, much needed in current circumstances, and is happy to facilitate and collaborate in such exploitation, but under certain conditions. Exploitation must be accompanied by re-investment. The designation of Dublin by UNESCO as a ‘City of Literature’ is the result of an initiative from the literature sector, and if carefully and sensitively managed can further enhance the image of our capital as a place where great literature is created, nurtured by the rich cultural life of the country.

Literature is the hen that lays the golden eggs. We must not take the eggs for granted. And in our anxiety to bring them to market we must not forget to feed the hen, or, worse, begrudge her the handful of meal she needs to keep body and soul together.

The myth that writing thrives in adversity is a cosy lie we tell ourselves to assuage our conscience when we realise how little we contributed as a community to the nurturing of the writing we are so ready to exploit. Would an economist do his job better if he got little or no reward for his labours, if he was constantly beset by financial anxieties, had to take on another employment, perhaps, to finance his economic theorising? Great literature is sometimes created in spite of adversity, but never because of it.

A national strategy on literature must address the conditions that prevail today for the literature sector, must identify the means whereby objectives can be met, and allocate the necessary funds by way of re-investing a share of the income generated through literary tourism.

The conditions affecting the literature sector in 2011 can be described without exaggeration as disastrous. Book sales have slumped, bookshops are closing, publishers are going to the wall. Opportunities for secondary earnings by writers are being curtailed when festivals are closed and literary events in the community are discontinued.

The interdependence of all the participants and factors that constitute the national literature project must be recognised. Writers need readers. Universal literacy must be an absolute aim and, therefore, dedicated resources made available to schools to achieve this. Investment in school libraries and public libraries will not only inculcate a love of books and assist the drive towards superior literacy, it will also assist publishers and writers through the sale of books and the creation of a wider readership.

Direct support for the individual practising writer must be maintained and developed, whether through bursaries, residencies, awards, cnuas, or other means, as this gives the writer the opportunity of concentrating on work in progress.

Comments are invited and can be addressed to the Chairman, Jack Harte at jack.harte@writerscentre.ie


[This post is published by permission of Jack Harte, Chairman of the Irish Writers' Centre]

Becoming a Member of the Irish Writers' Centre
We already have three hundred, we need a thousand. At €50 per year it is not an inconsiderable amount especially for struggling writers, but it would provide a financial base towards meeting our overheads. It would also ensure that ownership of the project is in the hands of writers and readers. Yes, don’t forget that membership is open to readers as well as writers. For more information, click here.

Irish Writers' Centre - Supporting Events
Every week we have literary events, all exciting and enjoyable. Come along and show your support for and interest in writers, whether they are internationally acclaimed authors or writers taking their first tentative steps into the literary world. For information on our forthcoming events, click here.
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Borders US: What we hear and need to hear


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Today was one of those days at the office. You know the ones. Nothing seems to stir beyond the hum-drum, and then, all of a sudden, the floodgates open.

No. Today’s news that the economic doctor – with defibrillator in hand – had finally glanced up at the clock and called the ‘time of death’ on Borders US was nothing unexpected. For the relatives and staff in the nearby waiting room; well, it was painful to watch. Borders US has been holding crisis discussions over the past few weeks with the ‘big six’ publishers its major creditors. The relatives can’t be happy with all of this. It simply went on too long with sickening inevitability. The same death throws were played out almost two years ago with fellow cousin, Borders UK. Will something come from the ashes of Chapter 11 protection of Borders US? Perhaps – perhaps not. Right now, what we do know is that some 200 of 642 stores will close.

As always, Publishers Marketplace was ahead of the posse after the court filing of bankruptcy in New York this morning, and it was quick to reveal the Borders US creditors list in regards to publishers. It revealed a patient in cardiac arrest for quite some time – a case of multiple stokes and seizures. It’s a medical record from hell that even your obese uncle feasting on burgers, fries and pizza for years could not have topped.

Penguin $41.1 million
Hachette Book Group $36.9 million
Simon & Schuster $33.75 million
Random House $33.5 million
HarperCollins $25.8 million
Macmillan $11.4 million
Wiley $11.2 million
Perseus $7.8 million
F+W Media $4.6 million
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $4.4 million
Workman $4 million
McGraw-Hill $3.1 million
Pearson Education $2.8 million
NBN $2 million
Norton $2 million
Zondervan $1.9 million
Hay House $1.7 million
Elsevier Science $1.6 million
Publications Intl. $1.1 million

Either publishers today are so full of good faith and a wish that the never-ending circle of ‘let’s keep it in the family’ takes paramount importance over every the niggling whisper in the ear that says; isn’t it about time we reviewed our terms with Borders? It’s not shocking that Penguin at the moment is out to the tune of $41 million + in credit due from Borders, or that Zondervan are short over the coming months $1.9 million from the leather wallet, but there are smaller publishers owed a lot less and cannot survive long term without that $50,000 payment met.

How the fuck were Borders allowed to push the boat out this far – let alone actually manage to stay in business this long, order stock, maintain stock and pay their staff?

The reality goes deeper – and it is not exclusive to the book industry – it is what is wrong with banking and business, and got us where we all are now. Running a business has become arbitrary figures on paper and nothing to do with stress testing the real value of commerce in the here and now.

I’ve little sympathy with the $10+ million club – you bargained, you risked, you negotiated, and you extended credit on the proviso that it would all work out in the wash. Eventually, the sun would shine, and sure $40 million would become $30 million, and in turn become a $.

Publishing Perspectives garnered some opinion in New York at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference among delegates. This was at least constructive – how do we fix this – can we – how do we move on?

Mark Coker of Smashwords suggested that borders could only save itself if it developed an e-bookstore like Barnes & Noble.

Robin Lenz of Shelf Awareness suggested Borders should consider the option of running a franchise operation - bring in individual booksellers in specific locales.

Richard Nash of Cursor, pointedly, said; “anything that needs to be saved isn’t worth saving” and that if Borders was to survive, it needed to radically scale-down.

Patricia Arancibia of International Content at US bookseller Barnes & Noble’s Digital Group, suggested something similar to Nash, and provided examples of what was happening in the Borders stores in Puerto Rico. “The one on the Plaza de Americas is the bestselling Borders in the entire world and the bestseller of Spanish-language books in the United States protectorate. These two stores in Puerto Rico have their own staff of buyers and they have an avid audience for their books and they sell very well. So what I suggest is they work together with some of the very interesting independent publishers in Puerto Rico, and with help from here, set up a co-op to sell titles in English and Spanish and provide for the whole island.”

There was a lot of discussion today of what Borders should have done – what they could still do to save themselves, but I got little sense from reading borders own statements that they could adopt anything of what the analysts were saying. In short, this was a company who so corner themselves – they had no visible plan of flexibility. That’s a problem affecting not just bookseller, but publishers in the challenges to confront a changing industry. It’s like travelling to the darkest places of the world and not bothering to inoculate against prevalent sickness and disease.

But the real scour of today wasn’t the intensity of the debate – or that we had seen the same reel of film was playing once again in another economic circumstance – but that so many could not see beyond the walls of their own industry. This sad story made Bloomberg, CBS, MSNBC, BBC World and many other networks, not because it was a publishing story, but because it was a story – and reflective of another industry struggling to adapt to changes in its own back yard by external forces. If the publishing industry cannot deal and adapt to changes in its own back yard, it is never going to deal with the current economic forces aligned against it.

Just as there is a commercial tragedy in the fall of a leading retailer in the US, I would have liked to have seen a great deal more discussion about the human tragedy in all of this. The consumer ends up ultimately with less choice – competition becomes polarised – and we gloss over the fact that 200 retail outlets, and maybe more, will close in the US, bringing untold distress and financial difficulty on so many families across the entire country.

Let us not forget those people tonight, who were the face of Borders US, whose futures are uncertain, not because they gave anything less, but because they gave everything their company allowed them to give.

If I have learnt one thing in retail business over so many years – it’s that the loudest voices repeat what has already been heard, but the quietest voices tell you what needs to be heard.
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Xerox Make Espresso Book Machine Available for General Purchase or Lease


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Xerox in conjunction with On Demand Books formally through a press release are making the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) available by purchase or lease to retail outlets, libraries and universities.

From yesterday's press release:


ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Self publishers can print their latest manuscripts at the corner bookstore, classical books are now available for purchase on demand at libraries, cruise-goers can leave their books at home and print reading materials on the ship. All of this is possible with the Espresso Book Machine®, A Xerox Solution. Available for installation starting today, U.S. bookstores, libraries, universities and other retail outlets can purchase or lease the Espresso Book Machine. The print on demand device can produce a book in minutes. 
The Espresso Book Machine gives businesses new ways to drive revenue and serves readers hungry for content on demand. The machine is powered by the Xerox 4112® Copier/Printer, which can quickly print, bind and trim bookstore-quality paperbacks with color covers.
Developed by On Demand Books, the print-at-retail model includes the EspressNet™ software system, which connects the machine to a vast repository of content, allowing consumers to print millions of copyrighted, public-domain and self-published books on demand.
To help drive business, Xerox offers the ProfitAccelerator®Espresso Book Machine Essentials kit that provides marketing and sales tips – as well as a “how to” guide familiarizing owners with technical aspects of the solution.
The Espresso Book Machine will be available in Canada beginning next month and other select markets in the future.

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Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Borders US Files for Bankruptcy with $1.29 Billion Debts (Updated)


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Borders US formally applied for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 protection in the New York courts this morning. Borders listed debts of $1.29 billion and assets of $1.275 billion in documentation lodged with the court. Unsecured creditors listed include many book publishers and distributors, estimated to be owed $230 million.

[Publishers Weekly]


UPDATE (5PM, GMT):

Publishing Perspectives has a nice round-up of the current news on Borders and the situation facing the company. Communications itself from Borders with accompanying files and documentation can be found at their reorganization link here.

This is a list of stores that will be closed by Borders US (200 of 642 stores) contained in documentation lodged in court this morning.

...and the Borders US statement on filing for bankruptcy this morning in New York:


Borders' Business Operations Continue As Normal



In light of the ongoing impact of the difficult economy of the past few years, and the rapidly changing retailing environment for books and related products, it is essential that Borders restructure itself to reposition its business to be viable and successful over the long term.


To that end, we have determined the best route to undertake the necessary reorganization of our business is through the filing of a petition for reorganizational relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.


Please be assured that during this reorganization period:



•Borders stores are open for business. We will continue to provide our customers with a vast assortment of books in a warm and relaxing environment - and we intend to build on this. Our stores will continue to be places where families can gather to enjoy enriching events including author readings and signings, book clubs as well as kids storytime and parties.

•Borders.com is operating as usual. We are fulfilling online orders as customers choose from among more than two million books, music, movies as well as other entertainment items.

•Our Borders Rewards programs, including Borders Rewards Plus, remain in effect. Customers can continue to earn and redeem their Rewards in stores and on Borders.com and they'll also continue receiving coupons. As always, we are honoring gift cards, which can be redeemed in stores and online at Borders.com.


•Borders will continue to maintain its strong national presence. Our nationwide network of stores is a key foundation of the Borders brand. Borders, however, will be closing underperforming stores within our network over the next several weeks. Should your local store be affected, please visit Borders.com to find another Borders store near you, or to purchase our vast selection of books and other merchandise on-line.



Through this process, we intend to put in place a sound financial structure, enhance Borders' technology to better benefit you, our customers and introduce new and exciting products related to our book offerings - all while providing you with great customer service






If you have questions, please contact the Borders Customer Care Center at (800) 770-7811


or contact them at ccare@borders.com

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