“Tail. Long Tail.” (Roundtable: 11/4/10)

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#DBW RoundtableThe Roundtable is a live, interactive webcast gathering some of the most outspoken industry professionals to debate the hottest publishing issues of the week, as being discussed in traditional media, the blogiverse and on Twitter. From celebrity book deals to eBook rights and pricing to [insert YOUR pet topic here] — if it’s related to books, it’s on the agenda.

Topic: “Tail. Long Tail.”

This episode of The Roundtable was webcast live at 1pm EDT on Thursday, November 4, 2010.

Featuring:

Bridget Warren, Former Co-Owner, Vertigo Books

Special Guest:

Brett Sandusky, Director of Product Innovation, Kaplan

Moderated by:

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Dir. of Programming & Business Development, Digital Book World

Links:

Fleming estate to publish James Bond e-books
Philip Jones, The Bookseller

The deal throws a spotlight on how agents and publishers are scrambling for digital rights not previously assigned under old publishing contracts. Earlier this year Man Booker winner Ian McEwan signed an exclusive deal through Amazon.com for the digital rights to his back catalogue, while The Bookseller revealed in May that the digital rights to J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series are currently under negotiation. Corinne Turner, Ian Fleming Publications m.d., said the move would enable the estate to get the most out of the Bond brand. “Penguin accepted long ago that they didn’t have the digital rights. Of course they wanted to do it, but why would we? With a brand like ours, people are looking for the books anyway, so the publicity and marketing will happen. It also gives us greater clarity of sales, which books are selling and where. We are very lucky to have such a big brand.”

Publishers should be stirred, but not shaken by Bond move
Philip Jones, FutureBook

Piers Blofeld, an agent with Sheil Land Associates, told me he was not surprised by the deal. “It makes little sense for a brand like this to share revenue with a publisher, James Bond hardly needs a publisher’s distribution and marketing skills, such as they are. I know that a lot of literary agencies with big brand names are looking at their backlist and wondering what they can do with it. Agents will always prefer to deal with publishers, but if Amazon or Google offer authors better deals then it is going to be difficult to ignore them. There is far too much focus on terms and not enough being done to convince authors that they will be published brilliantly – it can be hard to see how much publishers have to offer.”

Ian Fleming’s James Bond E-Books: Bypassing the Print Publisher
Sarah Weinman, Daily Finance

The big question will come in two years, when Penguin’s print license to publish the Bond books is up. Publishers’ contracts now stipulate that e-rights must be part of a book deal, and with rare exceptions, that holds. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for Penguin to renew its relationship with the Fleming Estate if e-book rights were off the table.

On ebooks: A Publisher’s View of the Digital Transformation
Dominique Raccah, Publisher and CEO, Sourcebooks

For me, the real job of a publisher is many, many things, all of which center around the incredibly rewarding challenge of connecting authors and readers. In the end, whether physical or digital, the role of the publisher is to create an audience for the author. It’s to bring the author and the book to market. It’s never really been about printing. And that’s really clear now, isn’t it? It’s always been about connecting authors and readers.

Chopping the Long Tail down to size
Andrew Orlowski, The Register

Now we’ve seen what happens when tens of millions of choices are thrown in the air and land on the floor… In another surprise, 80 per cent of the revenue came from 52,000 songs. What’s eye-catching about the number? Well, the typical inventory of a conventional high street record store was around 4,000 CDs. Or … around 52,000 songs.

2004: Studios Rush To Cash In On DVD Boom; Swelling Demand for Disks Alters Hollywood’s Arithmetic
Sharon Waxman, NY Times

Between January and mid-March this year, Americans spent $1.78 billion at the box office. But in the same period they spent $4.8 billion — more than $3 billion more — to buy and rent DVD’s and videocassettes.. Little wonder then that studio executives now calibrate the release dates of DVD’s with the same care used for opening weekends, as seen by Miramax’s strategic release of ”Kill Bill: Vol. 1” a few days before the theatrical release of ”Kill Bill: Vol. 2.” (The DVD made $40 million its first day out.)

2005: DVD profit margins double that of VHS
Ken Fisher, ars technica

The most interesting information details the strength of the DVD market. Between 2002 and 2003, MGM saw a 40% boost in DVD shipments in North America, and 53% increase worldwide. One slide shows just how quickly DVD has caught on: it took only five years for 30 million DVD players to be sold, compared to circa 8 years for CD players, and 10 years for PCs to reach that volume. All of this translates into a booming market, which helps explains the considerable profit margins attached to DVDs. This slide indicates that net profit margins on DVD sales are 50-60%, while the lingering VHS business sees 20-30% net profit. To put this into plain English, your average $20 DVD apparent costs around $9 to produce, advertise, distribute, etc., leaving about $11 on top as pure profit. For an industry supposedly under dire threat from piracy, things look pretty rosy.

2005: Hollywood’s Profits, Demystified
Edward Jay Epstein, Slate

Home video is both more complex and more profitable. With the advent of the DVD, home video has become a vast retail business, with studios selling both new and past titles, as well as television programming such as The Sopranos, Friends, or Chappelle’s Show, at wholesale prices that can go as low as $5 a DVD. Studios, which have meticulously analyzed these costs, estimate that manufacturing, shipping, and returns costs average 12.4 percent; marketing, advertising, and returns costs average 18.5 percent; and residuals paid to guilds and unions for their members and pension plans come to 2.65 percent. So, about two-thirds of video revenues are gross profits (which participants, such as stars, producers, and directors, may share in once the movie breaks even). In 2004, the studios’ estimated video gross profit was $13.95 billion.

Twitter (as RTd by @DigiBookWorld):

RT @takethecann0lis: Does household name like 007 need publishers for marketing? #DBW

RT @pronunciate: A publisher can’t market a print version without marketing the ebook simultaneously. #DBW

RT @ebooknoir: #DBW eBooks cost money, it’s just a fact of the business, needs to be understood.

RT @strachanlit: Do publishers have a PR problem? How do they communicate what they do. And what DO they do? #dbw

RT @babetteross: “DISTRIBUTE” your book doesn’t mean “SELLING” your book. Two very different things. Sales Reps r important. #dbw

RT @matthewdiener: Are publishers doing author services or serving their customers? Good Q. Can you serve an author & a community? #dbw

RT @strachanlit: Books don’t have credits like movies. Should we show all the people who work on a project? #dbw

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