How Publishers Must Protect Their Business

How Publishers Must Protect Their BusinessIn a blog post for Digital Book World, Emma Barnes discusses the programming concept called “technical debt,” which is ”what you accrue when you write bad code or take some expedient shortcut or just think, ‘Nah, that’ll never be needed.’”

“At some point, you might have to pay that debt off, or, in other words, fix the code,” Barnes writes. “And technical debt accrues interest, as it gets more difficult to fix as time goes by.”

“Technical debt is inescapable,” Barnes continues, “partly because it is accidentally introduced, but also because it is often accrued deliberately.”

And as Barnes explains, technical debt is directly applicable to book publishing.

Much more.


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Is Amazon Exclusivity Good for Ebooks? (Porter Anderson)
In June, many indie authors who depend on Amazon’s self-publishing programs were alarmed at the news that Amazon would stop paying a flat rate for a borrow in Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library. It would, instead, institute a per-page payout. “As it turns out, the change to per-page payouts seems to have been a good one for most of those willing to talk about it,” Porter Anderson writes. “That’s not to say there’s universal rejoicing. You can find some sharp disagreement in blog comments if you look around. The wider trend, though, seems cautiously optimistic.”

Rethinking Your Mobile Strategy (Joe Wikert)
“The pundits say that publishers and content distributors need to think about smaller screens and shorter pieces of content,” Joe Wikert writes. “I think we’re missing a huge opportunity by simply saying existing content needs to be restructured and apps need to optimize every square inch of screen. Publishers should be thinking more about companion content for mobile, not just reformatting what they’ve already produced.”

Using Technology to Break the Speed Barrier of Reading (Scientific American)
The system of reading we’ve inherited—the method of reading you are most likely using right now—has been fundamentally shaped by engineering constraints that were relevant in centuries past, but no longer appropriate in our information age. In today’s era of computers —where it is possible to instantly download virtually any book ever published and read it on a device we carry in our pockets— what limits our reading is the capacity of the brain to absorb the available content. The problem of our millennium is that we simply can’t seem to get the information into our minds fast enough to satisfy our needs.

Do Not Write Four Books a Year (Huffington Post)
A self-published author admonishes her fellows to not accept common wisdom and churn out several books a year. “No matter what experts tell you, no matter what trends, conventional wisdom, social media chatter or your friends in the Facebook writers group insist upon, do NOT write four books a year,” writes Lorraine Devon Wilke. “I mean it. Don’t.”

A Library’s Quest to Save the History of Fandom (The Verge)
The University of Iowa is home to almost a century of fandom history. Its library’s special collections house everything from 1920s “dime novel” reviews to T-shirts that were auctioned off in protest of the 2002 Farscape cancellation. In 2012, though, it acquired one of the most valuable resources yet: the library of James “Rusty” Hevelin, a lifelong science fiction superfan and prolific collector of books and fanzines dating back to the 1930s. Last year, the Hevelin Collection was chosen as the first target of the university’s Fan Culture Preservation Project, a massive effort to digitize some of the most vulnerable and ephemeral pieces of science fiction history. Now, that effort is starting to take shape.

What Is ‘Publishing’ if Even a Library Can Do It? (Scholarly Kitchen)
“About 20 years ago Brewster Kahle said to me that ‘everybody wants to be a publisher,’” Joseph Esposito writes. “Over the years it has become apparent just how prescient Brewster was; whether the subject is journals, books, stories, blogs, tweets, or anything else connected to media, the one thing that can be relied upon is that people want more… To this situation we now add library publishing.”

Wordery Founders Sell 49% Stake to Connect Books (Bookseller)
Connect Books has bought the remaining 49-percent stake in Wordery, an online bookseller, to become the sole owners of the retailer. Wordery was established in October, 2012 as a joint enterprise between Connect Books, which owned a 51-percent stake, and former Book Depository IT director Will Jones and four founding partners who owned the remaining 49 percent. Connect Books, owned by the Connect Group Plc, has now bought the remaining 49 percent shares owned by the four founders for an undisclosed sum, making Wordery a wholly-owned subsidiary of Connect Books.

SpotlightWhy Visitors Only Read 20% of Your Page (Econsultancy)
On average, a user will only read 20 percent of the content on a webpage. There is one very simple reason for this: scanning. People don’t read a page in the same way as they do a book or a newspaper. When people browse the web, they are looking for quick answers. This isn’t just the educated guesswork of an online writer. Eye-tracking studies have found that the majority of people read online content in an “F” pattern.

9 Tips for a Memorable 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair (Publishing Perspectives)
Publishing Perspectives Editor-in-Chief Edward Nawotka provides a list of nine “idiosyncratic” tips to help you make your time at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair even more memorable.

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