“Mechanical sympathy is the ability to have an awareness of and empathy for how a machine works,” writes Emma Barnes in a blog post for Digital Book World, “as well as the capacity to adjust your engagement with that machine to help it perform optimally.”
“If you have some mechanical sympathy for data and spreadsheets,” Barnes continues, “you’ll likely get a lot more mileage out of them than if you expect to be able to squirt any old nonsense into them.”
Relaying this idea to book publishing and the rights issues on display at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Barnes goes on to ask, “Would it upset you to know that I produce my rights guide the night before Frankfurt, by clicking a single button?”
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Page Titles (More Than Just a Name for Your Page) (DBW)
In the next installment of his column for Digital Book World, The Optimized Publisher, Murray Izenwasser discusses the importance of using best practices for managing your website’s page titles. “A great page title, one that will help search engines and customers find your website,” Izenwasser writes, is one that is “descriptive,” “consistent,” “does not repeat” and “meets the character limit.”
Scribner Acquires Majority of Stephen King Backlist (Pub Lunch)
After 20 years of publishing new works by Stephen King, Scribner announced that it has print, ebook, and audio rights to “almost the entirety of the bestselling author’s body of work,” comprising 27 titles. (They have North American and open market rights for the licensed titles.) The agreement covers works including IT, Misery, Dolores Claiborne, Christine, Cujo, The Dead Zone and Firestarter, and the first four volumes of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. The company will start issuing ebook and digital audio editions beginning on January 1st, 2016. Trade and mass market paperback editions will follow.
3 Reasons Amazon Is Losing the Plot in India (Pub Perspectives)
Amazon achieved success and even dominance in many markets over the past two decades, but it got stalled when it came to Asia, the fastest growing online market in the world. The first evidence of this was in China where Jack Ma’s Alibaba dominates e-commerce, holding onto its nearly 80-percent market share. Amazon entered China in 2011, but the company hasn’t flourished and some analysts estimate that the company may have lost $600 million in the country by now. This experience gave the Seattle company pause, especially when looking at opportunities in India. They looked and planned, but couldn’t quite get themselves to commit. Their lack of early resolution resulted in them losing ground to upstarts, especially when it comes to books.
#VATMESS Is About to Get Much Messier (TechCrunch)
Indie developers were rightly up in arms at the recent changes to the place of supply rules for B2C sales—deftly coined #VATMESS by Twitter wags. The rules were well-intentioned—it was not right that Apple, Google and Amazon could set up shop in Luxembourg, thus gaming the tax system and disadvantaging EU competitors. However, the implementation was handled poorly—particularly the absence of a minimum threshold, which means that the compliance burden for indies is disproportionate (a threshold may now be implemented, but could take years).
How Authors Can Find Their Ideal Reading Audience (Jane Friedman)
Today’s writers have never had a more global reach, as ebooks and digital distribution have made it easier for them to find readers in other countries as well as their own. Of course, the potential of a global readership only matters if an author knows how to access it, and this is where many marketing plans fall short. Given the endless buffet of books to choose from, it can be hard to get a book the attention it needs.
A Manifesto for All Writers (Futurebook)
When a traditionally published novelist self-publishes his backlist, does he call himself a hybrid author? Usually not—he’s still a novelist. Most often, authors become hybrid by self-publishing first. They are self-publishing authors, indie authors, indie self-pubs, and then hybrid authors. All are authors with adjectives. We don’t often hear people calling themselves traditionally published authors or trad-pubs. And we certainly don’t hear unpublished writers referring to themselves as non-pubs. That’s a good thing, because there are too many adjectives in publishing already.
Licensing Children’s Brands and Books (Pub Perspectives)
In a recent survey conducted by Nielsen on children’s publishing, 79 percent of U.S. parents stated that half or more of their book purchases were impulse buys. What drives these purchases? As you might expect, it is largely a response to illustrations, packaging and merchandising recognizable to their kids. When sales are not something that can be planned for or predicted, publishers rely heavily on brand awareness through licensing deals, both to sell books and to open new markets for intellectual property.
Finland, One Year After Frankfurt (Pub Perspectives)
Finland was the Guest of Honor at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair, with the slogan “Finnland. Cool.” Following that hugely successful project, which was coordinated by FILI, Finnish Literature Exchange, there has been more interest from around the world in Finnish literature than ever before.
Turning Authors into Celebrities Is Bad for Reading (Quartz)
Our culture of celebrity is often too wrapped up in the way we read: how might the meaning of a work change if the author really didn’t grow up in a poor neighborhood, or if she was abused in childhood, or if she is really a man? Behind our fandom is the question that drives all such questions: what did the author intend? By all means, let us praise brilliant work—and in doing so trust that the author has already told us enough, and that the story she meant to tell ended with the final page.
Selling Rights into France (Pub Perspectives)
It is said that France is not an easy market to license translation rights into, that the French are quite particular in their tastes. They have their own specificities such as a Rentree Litteraire (French literary season), numerous literary programs, practically no literary agents—in short, that they’re different. This year’s Rights Directors Meeting aims to prove that this is, in fact, wrong; that France is—as the opening session is entitled—“easier than you think.”
Inkling Partners with SPi Global (DBW)
In a press release, content and knowledge solutions provider SPi Global announced that it has expanded its digital technology enrichment portfolio to include Inkling. With the move, SPi expands its digital and interactive media solutions towards cloud-based infrastructure with structured authoring and integrated tools and workflow. The professionally designed content will feature interactivity, cross-device preview, and support open standards for interoperability and accessibility.
Gollancz Festival Reveals Digital Lineup for 2015 (Bookseller)
Sci-fi and fantasy publisher Gollancz has revealed the digital lineup for its second Gollancz Festival next weekend. Events at the sold-out festival will take place from Friday, October 16th-18th across nine social media platforms that can be tracked with the hashtag #GollanczFest15.