DBW Weekly Roundup: 10/1/2010

DBW News RoundupDigital Book World presents a weekly round-up of some of the most interesting news, commentary and tweets related to publishing that you may have missed, from all over the digital book world:

RUSHKOFF: Why I Left My Publisher in Order to Publish a Book
Douglas Rushkoff, Arthur Magazine

Luckily for writers, however, the editors, marketers, and publicists booted from the corporate publishing industry are starting up little companies of their own. The corporate book industry can’t grow at the rate required by publicly held companies, anyway. This is why it is failing. Publishing is a sustainable business, not a growth industry. So it needs to be run by people looking for sustainable projects and careers—not runaway profits.

One of these companies, O/R books, is run by an old friend of mine, John Oakes. He’s been asking me to work with him for 20 years. So I figured it might be a good idea to take the book I’ve been working in one way or another for the past 20 years and publish it with his fledgling company.

Ebooks Don’t Cannibalize Print, People Do
Evan Schnittman, Black Plastic Glasses

This example doesn’t show ebooks cannibalizing print books — it shows something far more revealing.  Going back to the Brantley list, f you asked those on the list who consider themselves ebook consumers if they would buy Merchants of Culture in print form, the inevitable answer would be “probably not.” This is a critical understanding of ebook customers. They invest in a device and platform to read books and therefore become dependent on those channels of ebook distribution for their content.  They don’t go into stores and are not very likely to shop in online environments that feature ebooks and print books.  Ebookstores on ebook reading devices sell only ebooks. Print is not part of the experience.

Texas ed board adopts resolution limiting Islam
April Castro, Associated Press

The resolution cites world history books no longer used in Texas schools that it says devoted more lines of text to Islamic beliefs and practices than Christian ones. Chairwoman Gail Lowe said the resolution cites old books because board rules prohibit them from discussing current books more than 90 days after their adoption. “I believe that it’s happening in the current (social studies books) even though we can’t cover that in the resolution,” said board member Terri Leo, a Republican from Spring. The resolution sends a “clear message to publishers that it should not happen in the future.” The resolution also claims “more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are doing now.”

Comparing Apples to BMWs: What Does it Mean to be a “Best Bookstore” Anyway?
Patrick Brown, The Millions

These stores are succeeding not because they are the biggest stores, but because they are the right stores for their areas.  We’re seeing a resurgence of the neighborhood bookstore, something many had considered dead in the heyday of the super stores.  Technology has actually leveled the playing field between big stores and small stores; anyone with enough capital and the space for a large copy machine can have a Book Espresso Machine, giving them access to hundreds of thousands of titles, as well as custom-printed books. And web applications like Foursquare and Facebook Locations don’t discriminate between businesses based on size; anybody with a good hook can lure people to their store and capitalize.

Even businesses that made money with Groupon hesitant to try again
Jacqui Cheng, ars technica

However, when asked whether they would run a promotion again, almost half (42 percent) said they wouldn’t. That number includes one in five of the businesses that ran profitable Groupon promotions. “There is widespread recognition among many business owners that social promotion users are not the relational customers that they had hoped for or the ones that are necessary for their business’s long-term success,” reads the report. “Instead, there is disillusionment with the extreme price sensitive nature and transactional orientation of these consumers among many study respondents. “

The End of the Social Media Adoption Road
Geoff Livingston

The Forrester analysis demonstrates that people are settling into natural roles. The decrease in content creation clearly shows a strategic opportunity for organizations that can provide valuable content for their communities. As another Pew study shows, blogging has slowed down with social network adoption even though content creators often serve as voices of authority within these same communities. From an adoption perspective, we’re likely moving into the laggard stage currently. By year end 2011, social media will not be special, new or unique anymore. In my opinion, online will be just another information source.

Tweet of the Week

Elizabeth Jenner on publishers' connecting with consumers.

That’s just a taste of what you may have missed this week. To stay on top of the most interesting news, commentary and tweets related to publishing, keep in touch via our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, join your publishing colleagues in our LinkedIn group, and connect with the broader DBW Network.


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