Very very very sad news this week as, after several years of speculation, Borders has finally succumbed and filed for bankruptcy. It was Chapter 11 bankruptcy (re-org) and not Chapter 7 (Eric from Pimp My Novel had a roundup of the potential difference there), but even still 200 stores will close, and my heart goes out to all those affected. Eric from PMN has an indispensable take on what this means for authors. In the short term, at least, it seems as if this is going to put further pressure on publishers and on the midlist.
Meanwhile, there was an interesting CNET article (disclosure: I work at CNET) asking a very important question and poll: what would you pay for an e-book? The agency model publishers are seeking to hold the line between $10.99 – $14.99 for new release e-books, and it will be interesting to see if consumers will go along with that. Is the perception of value going to be there for an e-book?
And along those lines, I thought Mike Shatzkin had a really interesting take on consumer complaints about DRM, which is that they’re not totally valid. His point, in a nutshell: Yes, you can’t re-sell your e-books and it’s more of a license than true ownership. But when you sell a paperbook you lose ownership of your book, whereas when you send someone a copy of your e-book you still possess it. So why are people insisting on treating them identically? Doesn’t the digital model necessitate a new way of thinking about and selling content?
And prospective author J.J. Madden has a great roundup of the recent Digital Book World, and video of some of the people creating the future of publishing.
Now, I did not represent picture books when I was an agent and thus will tell you quite honestly that I know extremely little about them, but someone who does know a thing or two about them is my former colleague Tracy Marchini, who has a really good post on what makes picture books successful.
In contest news, lots percolating around the blogosphere! Blog friends Hannah Moskowitz/Suzanne Young and Kiersten White are hosting contests, and the Texas Observer reached out to let me know about a short story contest guest judged by none other than Larry McMurtry. So be sure and check that out.
Lots and lots of people have reached out to me about this post by Ta-Nehisi Coates about a new documentary on Bad Writing. Which makes me wonder if they’re trying to tell me something. Haha. No, and I don’t need a breath mint, thank you very much!
In seriously important news, the ship that inspired MOBY-DICK was discovered at the bottom of Davy Jones’ Locker!!! No word on Ahab’s ivory leg.
OMG THIS “GREAT GATSBY” NINTENDO GAME. A. Maze. Zing.
And in writing advice news, BookEnds is hosting a weekly query workshop, the Great Rejectionist advises against author envy and suggests remedies, and io9 has a post on how J.K. Rowling brought fantasy to mainstream readers. Worth a read.
Lastly in news, legendary editor Margaret K. McElderry, who still has an eponymous imprint at Simon & Schuster, passed away at age 98.
This week in the Forums, to skip parts of novels or not to skip, do e-books change the way you read?, have you ever gotten tired of your own novel, making details purposeful, and, of course, discussing The Rock’s return to wrestling.
Comment(s)! of! the! Week! Yes, comments, as I thought I’d single out two, both on Wednesday’s post on whether blogs have peaked. First is from Scott, who points to a really interesting post on whether we’re witnessing a consequence of a culture of free content:
I just read an insightful post on another blog addressing this:
Long story short: blogs are free, and bloggers are finding that the cost of actively blogging may outweigh the returns.
And the other I wanted to point to is from Neil Vogler:
Blogging as a popular practice may well have peaked and, in my opinion, so has social media use. Everyone I know seems to be pulling back on their FB usage and limiting their time on Twitter. I think we’ve gotten past the age of net-based communication as novelty, and what we’re seeing now is the beginning of a new age of maturity. A whole bunch of early-adopters and previously heavy users are taking a step back and seeking more of a sense of balance in their everyday lives. Information overload is a real enough hazard, and the dangers of sharing too much detail about your day-today movements on the net are becoming more evident as time goes on. Practices change, habits evolve, and individuals become more discerning with their tastes as time goes on. The question is: where does social media go from here?
Have a great weekend!