Two Things Publishers Should Do, But Don’t

With revenues fairly steady and a business environment that is changing constantly but is still fairly fertile, smart publishers aren’t so much worried about winning today – it’s all about winning the future*.
That said, here are two novel pieces of advice from publishing consultant and DBW partner Mike Shatzkin that could help the publishers of today succeed tomorrow:
1. For certain kinds of information, apps will dominate: how to grow my garden; fix my car; or cook that soufflé, for instance. Publishers should license their instructional information to app-makers.
2. The amount of content and kinds of content are proliferating. Publishers should give themselves the flexibility to create new kinds of content, books that perhaps have not gone through the same level of editorial rigor that most of their titles go through. Penguin buying Author Solutions is perhaps a step in this direction, Shatzkin wagers.
Read more.
* That’s where Digital Book World comes in, by the way. We’re here to help you – publishers, authors, agents, librarians, booksellers, etc. – win the future. Through our daily news, analysis and information, and through our annual conference in January, our job is to help you succeed in the publishing business.
To that end, join us in New York in January for Digital Book World 2013, where you’ll acquire the knowledge, skills and contacts you need to make 2013 your best year in publishing yet. Early bird pricing ends tomorrow. Register today!

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The rest of the day’s top news: 

Erdrich Wins National Book Award for Fiction
As of the moment it was announced, National Book Award winner for fiction The Round House by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins) was ranked No. 69 in the paid Kindle store. Let’s see how that changes by morning. Read about the rest of last night’s big winners at Publishers Lunch.
Tablets Continue to Gain Ground on E-readers (DBW)
For the first time in two years, less than half of ebook readers cite a dedicated e-reading device as their e-reader of choice. Meanwhile, more readers are choosing tablets for their e-reading. What does it mean for publishers?
Anatomy of a Debut Novel Best-Seller (Goodreads)
How does a first-time author break through and achieve commercial success? Goodreads breaks it down through a case study of Colleen Hoover’s Slammed (Simon & Schuster). Related: Goodreads CEO on the Future of Discoverability and Social Reading.

Amazon Slammed by Brits on Taxes (The Bookseller)
Talk about a tough day in court for Amazon. This quote from the linked article might just say it all: “An infuriated Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the committee, told Cecil [Andrew Cecil, the Amazon spokesperson testifying in British Parliament] that she would require a meeting with a different Amazon representative capable of answering the committee’s questions.”
Inkling’s New Enhanced Guide-Ebooks (DBW)
Expanding beyond what is thought to be its area of expertise (education), Inkling is entering into the guide ebook business, partnering with FalconGuides to publish a dozen titles – to start.
Baby-sitters Club Goes Digital (DBW)
Mining for digital gold in its back-list, Scholastic will publish Baby-sitters Club titles as ebooks for the first time this December. The first 20 titles will be the first to hit the market. There are about 250 in all and 176 million books in print.
Another Short-Form Ebook Start-up (paidContent)
There are too many of them to count at this point. Matter, the latest to have published its first title, focuses on long-form science- and technology-related journalism. The company is funded through Kickstarter to the tune of $140,000. Its first title, Do No Harm by Anil Ananthaswamy is about a rare disease called Body Integrity Identity Disorder (gruesome condition where the sufferer feels compelled to have limbs amputated) and hit e-bookstore shelves yesterday. 

Organizing Community (
Publishers should think of themselves as community organizers, creating communities of interest through content, something that is much easier today with the Internet, says publishing consultant Brian O’Leary. After all, it worked for the President.

Nook Launches Windows 8 App (DBW)
Nook Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble in partnership with Microsoft, has launched its first new product as a new entity. Surprise! It’s a Windows 8 app.
Why Publishers Hate Authors (HuffPo)

While authors are a prickly lot, publishers haven’t exactly been kind to them of late, according to author Michael Levin at the Huffington Post. He levels opinions without offering up much real evidence, like most of the work in this genre (the “publishing is dying, publishers are bad” genre). At the risk of editorializing, the article is crap – but linked here and worth reading to get a sample of the zeitgeist among some authors.

Speaking of… (Off on a Tangent)
Publishers Lunch news editor Sarah Weinman calls bull$#!^ on most of what’s out there that’s written about the publishing industry.

Image credit: light bulb image via Shutterstock


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