Publishing’s Secret Ingredient

With ebook and print-on-demand technologies and the marketing power of the social Web, anyone can be a book publisher. Or, perhaps more accurately, anyone can try to do what full-service publishers try to do: Find and develop content; bring that content to market; sell and market that content; and manage the value of that content across media, cultures and geographies.

The talent and investment required in each of those steps shouldn’t be underestimated – yet many are doing it with varying degrees of success. One recent example should be instructive and inspiring to the publishing industry: Australia’s Whiskey Priest books.

One reader with specific tastes and persnickety rules about book formatting is bringing to market long out-of-print books that he loves and designing beautiful containers for that content. It’s a labor of love and not without its pitfalls. It’s the “love” part that got the operation off the ground and is sustaining it.

In an era when so much in book publishing is being scrutinized for its return-on-investment and cost-effectiveness, it’s easy to forget that love of books and publishing is what inspires so many who are in the business and therefore the business itself. (It’s hard to quantify how this applies to the balance sheet, though it clearly does.)

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Ten Things Authors Must Do to Survive in 2013 (DBW)
After reading Fifty Shades of Gray, best-selling self-published author Elle Lothlorien wants to share ten things she’s learned about surviving as an author in the ebook era. That’s not this post, though; this post is just to get you warmed up – so stay tuned!

Taking Temperature (DBW)
The latest Pew Internet & American Life study takes the temperature of e-reading in America. Forecast: More people are e-reading, increasingly on tablets (chart). More from Pub Lunch.

Apple Launches in Japan (The Digital Reader)
Apple will join Kobo and Amazon in the country, which is famously resistant to the ebook revolution, despite being a very technological society. Related: The Two Rules of International Ebook Expansion.

How Twitter Inspired One Author’s Ebook (Observer)
The way it usually works is that once a book is published the author takes to Twitter to shout about it from the Internet’s rooftops. In this case, it’s sort of the other way around.

Speaking of How it Usually Works… (The Domino Project)
On his Domino Project blog, Seth Godin slams Kickstarter as a vehicle for indie authors though praises its ability to help an author gather a “tribe” before publication. It should be noted here that Amazon takes some 5% of the proceeds when a Kickstarter project gets funded. Related: Godin on Literary Agents, Libraries and the Future of Publishing.

Pearson Invests in Nook (DBW)
Underscoring Barnes & Noble’s thrust into the education market with its Nook devices and their connection to its chain of nearly 700 college bookstores, educational publisher Pearson has made a $89.5 million investment in Nook, giving it a 5% stake in the company and valuing it at nearly $1.8 billion.

On Vacation for the Last Two Weeks of 2012?

In case you missed it: Best-Selling Ebooks of 2012
In case you missed it: Top Publishing Stories of 2012
In case you missed it: Looking Ahead to 2013


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