We covered the big news yesterday, which is that several of the big publishers announced that they are delaying the e-book release of some of their upcoming titles, even though according to reports they aren’t actually making less per e-book copy than with hardcover copies. Mike Shatzkin speculates that this all about taking a stand against a company whose name starts with an “Ama” and ends with a “zon,” though what precisely they are hoping to achieve vis a vis Amazon remains somewhat unclear.
Amazon apparently reacted to the news by slashing the prices of the delayed e-books even further, to $7.99. Which, again, doesn’t mean publishers receive less money per copy, it just means Amazon loses $2 more per copy sold. So……. yeah.
Kassia Krozser at Booksquare broke out the crystal ball and made some interesting predictions for 2010, including: International rights and territorial control will be a hot issue in the e-book era, $9.99 will become a (sorta) standard, and publishers will begin to experiment with e-book first/then-print publishing. Definitely worth a read.
Mike Shatzkin (have I mentioned how much I love his blog?) also got a look at a new e-book experience via Baker & Taylor’s upcoming e-book platform, which features virtual bookshelves, all kinds of options for styles and functionality, and, very intriguingly, a sync option for the audio version of the book.
Reacting to the immense popularity of the late Stieg Larsson’s mystery series, some enterprising independent bookstores took it upon themselves to import and sell the UK edition, which has already been released. Only one problem with this plan: it’s illegal. Indies, I know times is tough, but let’s not turn into bootleggers, hmm?
Jacket Copy has a roundup of the latest rumors on the Apple Tablet: 10″ iPhone like screen, $1,000 price point (youch), but perhaps most intriguing of all: a rumored 70% to publishers/30% to Apple nonexclusive distribution arrangement, compared to (according to the article) a typical 50/50 split with Kindle. As Mr. Burns would say: Innnnnnnteresting.
The fallout from Harlequin’s announcement about their new self-publishing line continued to fall out, as the Mystery Writers of America took the step of de-listing Harlequin from their approved publishers list, meaning Harlequin books and authors with contracts signed after 12/2/09 are, among other things, no longer eligible for the Edgar Awards.
Editor Alan Rinzler chatted with neuroscientist Livia Blackburne about the effects reading has on our brain. Turns out the words really do shape the brain in an interesting way.
In “E-books Are Going to Destroy Writing” news, an article in the Guardian UK wonders if great writing will end because Don Delillo wrote on a typewriter, attention spans are shortened because of distractions, and a host of other fears. Lord knows nothing good has been written on a computer! (Though, in all seriousness, while I don’t share the essay’s sense of immense doom/pessimism, it has some interesting speculation that the disconnect from real life and removal from the dangers of in-person discourse afforded by computers results in an elevated and falsely enhanced sense of self-importance. Which isn’t a bad theory actually.) (via Combreviations)
In agent news, several blogging agents have announced that they are taking query holidays between now and January 15th: Jennifer Jackson, Upstart Crow, and Rachelle Gardner/Word Serve. I am really intrigued by this idea and ask that people avoid querying around the week before and after Christmas, but am currently too OCD about possibly missing out on something to take a full-fledged query holiday myself.
Almost finally, The Rejectionist offers writing advice inspired by Terminator:Salvation.
And finally, finally, while East Coast Bias will likely preclude Toby Gerhart from winning the Heisman Trophy tomorrow (despite ahem leading the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns while also carrying a 3.25 GPA at Stanford), I’d just like to present Exhibit A through Z for his candidacy. Go Gerhart!!
Have a great weekend!
Sheila said: Why didn't they give Toby the ball in the final moments of the Big Game? Why?????
I was wondering the same thing. The outcome may have been different in that case. In fact, they didn't use him nearly as much as I expected the entire game.
Which was great, I thought, being an Old Blue myself.
That Guardian article was really quite interesting, it's just too bad they had to stick a few alarmist tags on at the end. Why couldn't DeLillo write Underworld on a computer? And even if he couldn't, who's to say he wouldn't have written something different but equally good? Or even better?
But I quite enjoyed the thoughtful exploration of how the digital medium affects textual creation and reception. It's the sort of stuff that's been on my brain lately. I even wrote an Ode to Paper on my blog yesterday. 🙂 But I did see my first live Kindle a couple days ago, and I admit it's a neat gadget. (Spare me, oh Ebook Overlords!)
If only we lived in a world where eBooks and regulars could live in peace. I personally would rather have the physical book, but also I do want a Kindle. I would still buy the physical book, but load my Kindle with my favs.
2010 is going to be interesting 🙂
This excites me "falsely enhanced sense of self-importance", because I think so many things are relative that subjective that this phrase is just kind of a passing of the torch moment. Kind of like the Junior High / High School "popular" kids lament moving on to greater lakes, anyone will become defensive who isn't able to adapt to changing conditions.
So…basically you're telling us that you hope nobody will query, but that you wouldn't ignore it if it came. I'm sure somebody out there is thinking, "Sweet. I'll be the only query he gets this week so I'm going to send it anyway. Aren't I smart." I hope you don't get a huge pile of queries.
I think people respect you, though. The devious part of me just wished I had a project ready to go is all.
Michael Clutton says
Reality check. I just realized I'm spending more time on your blog than I am on my own.
Hmmm. Nice work. Keep it up.
Your rundown on the latest "events" is both informative and entertaining.
Enjoy your time off!
And when it's over, brace yourself.
Sorry to hear your man Gerhart missed the Heisman by a measly 15 votes — a bitter pill. Had Stanford been ranked #1…
Gordon, that was beautifully written, and I agree.
I don't know if everyone has the talent for writing, but I do think that everyone has an important story to tell, and some form of creative talent with which to express it.
I've been in the field of counseling now for a couple of decades. I've listened to a couple of hundred people (at least) tell me their story. I learned two things from that:
a. We are all very much alike.
b. We all have a compelling story. Every single one of us. I have never, and (I believe) will never heard a story of a person's life that wasn't important, poignant and valuable.
We are all of equal value, and all of our stories are of equal importance.
That's what I believe anyway.
I skimmed Dellilo's article. His writing style isn't very accessible, which sort of irritated me. I think he does point to some real dangers – the blurring between the lines of fantasy and reality – but he leaves out all of the wonderful and amazing things that the world wide web has brought to us. Very one-sided view imho.
Don't bash DeLillo! He didn't write the article. 🙂 Though the article did remind me I haven't read Underworld yet, and should. DeLillo's a mighty fine novelist. Though I'm sure he'd be pretty decent if he wrote on a computer, too. 🙂
Oh. Whoops. Hmmm. Seems I misunderstood some stuff.
I suppose that I could have read the article, as well as Nathan's introduction, prior to writing my opinion about it…
But that seems like an awful lot of work. I really just want to pontificate about things.
As did the writer of the article. Ha! So, see, we're even.
If publishing follows music, then we might see book rental subscriptions in eBooks in the future. We all ready have this option with music via the Zune, and with streaming video, both Netflix and hulu provide us an option to just stream video. The idea of buying to own is becoming a thing of the past. Do I really need to own physical books, CDs, or DVDs? What we appear to give up with rental service is quality. A Netflix stream will not look as good as Blueray DVD, nor will a Zune music file sound as good as a CD. But getting the music and video now has a value that cannot be ignored. Likewise, I can BUY a book with my Kindle, but, I think, the future will be just paying a monthly subscription to download any book I want, but I will not OWN it.
Marla Martenson says
I just found your blog and I love it. Thanks for all the great info.
So, Harlequin has moved to the darkside of the force, shame on them!
I agree with about 90% of Mike Shatzkin pondering. He did make some good points.
I'm Sorry, about Toby Gerhart, but it was so close.
Kelly Bryson says
re the Alan Rinzler link, there's a really cool fMRI of a brain watching the trailer to 'Avatar' on youtube. I link to it on my blog in this post- https://bookreadress.blogspot.com/2009/09/question-what-number-am-i-thinking-of.html.
I was actually just talking about this with one of my friends, so it was really nice to have some more info on it. Very helpful. Thanks! 🙂