Mike Shatzkin: Publishing ‘at a Fragile Moment’

Mike Shatzkin: Publishing ‘at a Fragile Moment’The Digital Book World Conference + Expo is right around the corner, taking place March 7th-9th in New York. And to find out more about some of the programming that’s scheduled, as well as some insight into the state of the book publishing industry, we sat down with Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The Idea Logical Company and Conference Council Chair of DBW, to get his thoughts.

Shatzkin is a widely-acknowledged thought leader about digital change in the book publishing industry, having been actively involved in trade book publishing since his first job as a sales clerk in the brand new paperback department of Brentano’s Bookstore on Fifth Avenue in 1962.

In his 50 years in the industry, Shatzkin has worked in all aspects of the book production process: writing, editing, agenting, packaging, selling, marketing and managing production.

Much more.

Click here to find out more about the DBW ’16 agenda.


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Amazon, Explained in One Chart (Vox)
Amazon shares plummeted late last week as the company’s quarterly earnings report revealed profits that were well below Wall Street’s expectations. Notably, it’s not as if people stopped buying things through Amazon. Sales grew 22 percent. It’s just that analysts had gotten it into their heads that profit margins were going to rise as well. Loyal Vox readers, of course, were warned that this wouldn’t happen, but some people don’t listen. I would say that if you want to understand Amazon, you should just look at this chart.

Warning Messages for Errors in Amazon Kindle Ebooks (Chris McMullen)
This rumor has been going around for a week or so. When I first saw it, my first thoughts were: Where is the PROOF? Why hasn’t Amazon provided any information about this? Let’s get more information, preferably from Amazon itself, before we PANIC and WORRY. This morning I learned that Amazon HAS provided much updated information about quality issues, right on their KDP help pages.

Authors United’s Divisive Stand on Amazon (Pub Perspectives)
Last Wednesday’s Authors United event on Amazon and book publishing had a curiously provincial air about it. It was staged at Washington’s New America Foundation, a nonprofit think tank that includes “impartial analysis” in its description of its work. The event’s loaded title, “Amazon’s Book Monopoly: A Threat to Freedom of Expression?”, suggests that New America’s grasp of impartiality may be partial, but the intent here was to state that Amazon’s market position will, as one participant put it, cause “long-term effects on the global book trade.”

HC UK Profits Tripled in Financial Year 2014-15 (Bookseller)
HarperCollins UK’s profits tripled year-on-year in the 12 months to end June 2015, accounts newly filed at Companies House have revealed. Revenues were shown to grow by £6.6m to £186m and profit before tax by £8.9m to £13.1m (£4.2m in 2014). This is the first time these figures have been published as parent company News Corp. does not break out HC UK’s figures in its financial reports.

An Agent-less Journey to Being Published (Bookseller)
Contrary to what many writers are told, it is possible to be published without an agent. To celebrate my own agent-free book being published, I thought I would share the simple process of how to do it. It involves four agents.

Inkshares, Nerdist Launch 6 New Publishing Contests (DBW)
Startup crowdfunded book publisher Inkshares announced that it will be expanding its partnership with Nerdist to include its sister site, Geek & Sundry, for six fan-driven publishing contests throughout 2016.

Firebrand Launches Eloquence on Demand (DBW)
Publishing technology services provider Firebrand announced the launch of Eloquence on Demand, which delivers print, ebook and audio metadata and digital content to the global supply chain. The tool gives publishers significantly enhanced control over their product information.

Publishers’ Relationships with Apps (Digiday)
There’s been a good case for most publishers to ignore apps. After all, people only use a few. But there is evidence that publisher interest in apps is on the rebound.

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