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When customers love the product, but hate your mission, it’s time to change publishing

I recently had the pleasure of presenting a vision for the future of publishing to a group of publishing professionals in New York. Can’t say where it was, yet, but suffice to say it was worth saying and that the message was well received by the thoughtful, albeit skeptical, audience. Despite the increasingly rapid changes […]

The Bookends, Pt. IV

….continued from previous entry In this maddened and maddening stream of real-time communication, from which occasional works of startlingly genuine value do surface, are authors required to engage a community? Is this community-building a keystone service for publishers seeking to survive by adding real value for authors? Can publishers thrive by providing community-like engagement with […]

Amazon strikes UofMichigan reprints deal

Amazon’s BookSurge print-on-demand (POD) service has agreed to make up to 400,000 out-of-copyright titles in the University of Michigan library system available for sale as reprinted POD books. “This agreement means that titles that have been generally unavailable for a century or more will be able to go back into print, one copy at a […]

Making a paper book e-lectric: Selected great histories of the book

Bill Hill, who has been part of the digital publishing world for decades now, tells about his reading of Elizabeth Eisenstein’s The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, one of the definitive texts about the evolution of books. Throughout his studious reading, he turned to his computer to find more information: In other words, […]

Excerpt from The Book Ends

Here is the first of a series of excerpts from my early drafts of a book I am writing about the future of books. Not the future of e-books, which we will eventually recognize as another dimension of recorded thought that lives within the continuity of the idea we call “books,” though outside the confines […]

Asking the wrong question about Kindle

The Salt Lake Tribune, with a Denver Post article by John Wenzel, asks the wrong question about Amazon’s Kindle (or any e-book reader device, including software readers): “Is Kindle the right device to put books behind us?” It’s the kind of provocative headline that gets readers, but it gets readers thinking the wrong way about […]

Book people must watch Sputnik Moment

David Hoffman, a filmmaker and friend of mine (he once followed me around with a camera for an AT&T “vision video”), has released on YouTube his new film, Sputnik Moment. Everyone should see this, but book lovers in particular, because books found a new vitality after the USSR launched the Sputnik satellite into space. The […]

Surprisingly, I agree with Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, was speaking to the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival yesterday, when he said: “There won’t be newspapers, magazines and TV programs. There won’t be personal, social communications offline and separate. In 10 years it will all be online. Static content won’t cut it in the future.” That’s true, but what […]

Author mills and first-time novelists

Ashlea Ramey writes about the risks of working with companies that promise to publish or sell your books. She suggest that some of these services can be helpful, but that many are running on empty promises. Relates to my posting, A million little author presences, on the emerging class of services hoping to attract authors […]

A million little author presences

As writers, we seek to develop a relationship with our readers. It can be a relationship of service, one that entertains, one that informs or that argues, among others. Without the relationship, there’s no next step, no story to be told. If you can’t keep the reader’s attention on the first page, they won’t get […]