Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Publishing News (Maybe)

There’s certainly been enough bad news to make writers cry lately, but there may be a sliver of good news on the horizon. The San Francisco Chronicle thinks the forecast may be cautious optimism with a possibility of progress.
Just in time for an especially crowded fall, business seems to be picking up for books.
Or at least declining less.
The news isn’t great for everyone, but for a few, things are looking up.
The Association of American Publishers, which had been reporting declines for much of the year, finally had some good news last week, announcing a 21.5 percent sales increase for June. Barnes & Noble Inc., which has been hurt by online competition and discount stores, reported a 5 percent revenue drop for the three months ending Aug. 1, but expects a smaller decline in the fall.
The author of the article, Hillel Italie, reports on a list of Fall authors who may help the upswing, including Dan Brown, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Chabon, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Capt. Chesley Sullenberg, Elie Wiesel, Jeff Kinney, and others.

On another news front, specifically, CNET and Stephen Shankland, a review of Amazon’s Kindle on the iPhone is good news for readers hesitant to download that app to their iPhone. Shankland downloaded the free app and likes it (when he didn’t think he would).
What I hadn't counted on was a free Amazon iPhone application that converted me in a matter of minutes to the new order. E-books doubtless aren't for everybody, but one idle moment when I had time to kill showed they are for me.
He admits the process is not perfect.
I couldn't buy books through the iPhone Kindle app. The Kindle app can open an appropriate Web page for searching and buying in Safari, which works, but it's an awkward handoff to the browser and return to the Kindle app.
All in all, not fabulous news. But it is a step in the upward direction.
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  1. Yeah, good news at last. More books the merrier! :) Okay, I get that all is not roses, but at least, like you say, we are headed in the right direction.

  2. Ebooks are here to stay. I'm glad he's an unexpected convert.

    I've sent the Kreativ Blogger Award off in many directions this morning! Thank you again, Helen, for bestowing that honor on me. :)

  3. I hope Killer Career adds to the fall upswing at Barnes & Noble!

    I've sent in the paperwork also to Amazon to get it on kindle and am waiting for it to happen. I keep checking daily.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. There are a ton of nice-looking releases this fall. I bet it'll really help.

    I'm curious to know the figures on the summer sales--that's usually such a strong sale time for the industry.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. Morgan, don't forget Sony, B&N and several other sites will also host the ebook version. Kindle only has 45% of the US market. You're missing out on the other 55% of the US market, and world sales entirely by only going the Kindle route (and check out the mobileread.com forum writers section if you need advice on other ebook formats).

  6. Let's just hope that they only become better. It's a good start. We only need a flicker of optimism to go forward.

  7. Any good news is a good sign. I love Lori's phrase, "a flicker of optimism." Let's watch it flame!

  8. I still can't imagine reading a book on my phone. I did read a few pages of one on a friend's iTouch and it was a very nice app...just not for me.

  9. I do have an iPhone, but have not downloaded a book. I'm considering it, though, just to see how it is.

  10. Let's hope things are looking up. And I need to find some time to figure out the Kindle thing. It's time to put my first mystery out there and I haven't had one minute to investigate the process. So much to do...

  11. Declinging less - I like that optimisim!
    Hmm, Kindle's a little behind on the I-Phone ap...

    L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

  12. I love the idea of ebooks, although I don't think I'll ever get over the feel of a "real" book.

    But as Laura said, they are here to stay. We might as well embrace them and make them work for us.

  13. Nice news for a Tuesday morning. I'm still not sure about the readers vs. books. I won't say never. Three years ago, I would have said I will never read the majority of my news online. Today, online is how I get most of my news.
    I use my iPhone for more and more material, but I haven't tried reading anything longer than magazine articles yet.

  14. I agree with you, Stacy. I've even watched TV episodes on my computer. I would not have thunk that a few years ago. I'm still learning my iPhone. Just last week I put a Twitter app on it. I think that was my only app so far.

    Diane, I wonder if Kindle will do an app for the iPhone, since their goal seems to be to get you to buy the Kindle.

  15. I firmly believe books AND eBooks are here to stay!

  16. Nice to read some good news for publishing. Thanks for taking the time to find this info and posting it.

  17. Dana, I can't imagine a world without print ebooks, but ... I wouldn't stake my life on it.

  18. Any good marketing news puts a smile on my face. Thanks, Helen.

  19. Good book news is always good news. I'm thinking I can accept nonfiction as an ebook but somehow can't cross that bridge for fiction. Not rational just my odd way.

  20. Any news that people are starting to worry less about spending money is good. I would be interested in the sales stats for authors that are not such behemoths. As for ebooks, etc. I think it's going to be another arm of the publishing industry, but not the only arm.
    Thanks for this informative post!

  21. Well every little bit helps, I guess. Thanks for sharing the bit of good news. :)

    Marvin D Wilson

  22. Good news and good books. I'll go for both. Thanks for some useful and positive information.

  23. Elspeth, I agree. It would be interesting to see the sales figures for, say, a mid-list author or two!

  24. I'm glad to see anything positive - even if it is cautiously optomistic. I'll take it! Thanks for sharing this.

    Nancy, from Realms of Thought…


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