“While publishing is typically classified as a creative industry (at least here in the UK), I prefer to think of it as a business that’s focused on the exploitation of intellectual property (IP),” writes Jane Tappuni in a blog post for Digital Book World. The publishing industry “doesn’t create content so much as the commercial conditions under which that content makes the most money for its rights holders.”
“Historically, publishers made most of their money from the core business of packaging content into books and selling them,” Tappuni continues, “but this is changing as the world goes multi-platform.”
“The publishing industry has enjoyed mixed success in exploiting its IP across the media. And the reason why it hasn’t had more is ironically because of its greatest strength: its focus on books. To a publisher, the book is the end product of the creative process. Once you have a book in your hand, that’s it. The story is finished.”
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Publisher Net Revenue from Book Sales Declines 4.1% in First Half of 2015 (DBW)
Publishers’ book sales for the first half of the year were down 4.1 percent at $5.58 billion compared to $5.82 billion for the first six months in 2014. Some of the trends noted during the first half of 2015 include: trade ebooks declined 10.3 percent from 2014; the bulk of ebook year-over-year decline comes from the Children’s/YA category, which was down 45.5 percent; paperbacks and downloaded audiobooks within the trade category grew in double digits.
Why the End of Editors in Digital Publishing Is a Mistake (Pub Perspectives)
“Editor” has probably been the most common job title in publishing, but it’s increasingly an endangered species. Publishers are eliminating editors in favor of project managers, content coordinators, digital gurus, etc.—and, of course, an army of freelancers. This is a profound mistake, one that could lead to the end of publishing as we currently understand it—although, ironically, it would hardly mean the end of the editor.
A Manifesto for Skills (Futurebook)
“I want to work in a flourishing industry known for its competence, kindness, innovation and creativity.” writes Emma Barnes, as she draws up a seven-step manifesto for action. Concerned for the rising generation of publishers, she writes, “Our current expectations of what junior roles should be is going to look and feel more and more Stone Age.”
Harry Potter Books Now Available on Apple’s iBooks (TechCrunch)
Apple is now selling the Harry Potter books directly in its iBooks Store. In addition, Apple has worked with J.K. Rowling’s team to produce enhanced editions. You can expect new animated illustrations and exclusive author notes, custom typefaces and drop caps. The Harry Potter ebooks were previously only available in the Pottermore Shop.
12 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Book Cover Designer (BookBub)
Your book’s cover provides a reader with a first impression of your work, and despite all advice to the contrary, people will judge your book by its cover. BookBub’s testing has shown that a cover alone can account for a 30-percent difference in clicks on the site’s listing, and other sources have reported similar results. Since your cover design is such a huge factor in a book’s success, it’s worth the cost to hire a seasoned professional to create or redesign the cover.
Transitioning to a More Unified Platform (Scholarly Kitchen)
Last week brought the news that another scholarly publisher, Oxford University Press, is switching from one platform to another. In many respects this is a familiar story, one that will cause transitional difficulty for customers and users alike while promising a better long-run outcome. But this transition is an interesting example because it represents not just a one-to-one platform shift, but in fact a consolidation from more to fewer platforms. This is a trend worth understanding and watching.
Brazil’s Book Rights Market Has Cooled (Pub Perspectives)
In recent years, while European book markets have remained almost flat or have even declined, the emerging countries are seeing a new chapter of the global business of books emerge in terms of exposure, opportunities and sales. But are these emerging economies actually evolving solidly, and how?
Japan Brings Cutesy Kawaii to Frankfurt (Pub Perspectives)
Most editors participating at the Frankfurt Book Fair from Japan have a “sell” list of a few selected titles they present to foreign publishers, but as a rule, popular authors in Japan tend to work with multiple publishers at once. It’s rare for a Japanese author to have a designated agent or an editor handling all their translation rights. If you can locate the rights holder, it’s well worth the trouble since almost all authors are eager to introduce their works to broader audience outside their territories.
Amazon Said to Weigh Creating an Online Pay-TV Service (Bloomberg)
Amazon is exploring the creation of an online pay-TV service to complement its existing video offerings and has reached out to major media companies including CBS and Comcast’s NBCUniversal about carrying their channels. Amazon’s deliberations are preliminary, and some of the talks date back several months.
Amazon Challenges Etsy with Strictly Handmade Marketplace (New York Times)
Amazon stepped into the handcrafted goods ring on Thursday, opening an arts-and-crafts bazaar online that squarely takes aim at a niche but growing market dominated by the Brooklyn-based Etsy. The new marketplace, called Handmade at Amazon, went live at 3 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday with a lineup of over 80,000 items from about 5,000 sellers in 60 countries. The marketplace lets artisans peddle their handmade wares, much as Etsy has done.
Amazon Rival Jet.com Eliminates Membership Fee (New York Times)
Just three months after its introduction, Jet.com, the much-hyped rival to Amazon and Costco, has done a 180-degree turn in its business model by making its members-only shopping club freely accessible. Jet said it would eliminate its $50 annual membership fee, but continue to provide better prices on items, along with high-quality customer service and free shipping on orders of more than $35, among other benefits. The about-face raises questions of whether Jet was struggling to gain the traction it needed to expand its business.