Thursday, February 17, 2011

Entering a New Golden Age?

According to the Los Angeles Times and folks at the Digital Book World Conference in New York, we may well be entering a new golden age in publishing.

Despite the really cold weather NY is having, “more than 1,200 people attended the three-day conference, doubling last year's attendance.” According to the Los Angeles Times, “About 10.5 million people now own a dedicated e-reader such as Amazon's Kindle or Barnes & Noble's Nook.”

New e-Readers and new software are changing this ever-evolving area of publishing.
Copia, one company giving demonstrations at Digital Book World, is using new e-reading software specifically built to enable social elements while reading, such as sharing notes on the text. Blio, also demonstrated at the conference, will soon be preloaded onto Dell machines; it is particularly suited for displaying image-heavy books, like cookbooks and children's books — and it can be set to read a children's book aloud when parents are otherwise occupied.
Now, it seems, publishers are scrambling to figure out how to market better than authors. And if they can’t, then who can? The Los Angeles Times suggests independent booksellers who are known for hand-selling books.
"I would love to talk to a publisher and say do you want to know who buys your book?" said Stephanie Anderson, manager of WORD bookstore in Brooklyn. "Because I could tell you that, and so could any bookseller in America."

34 comments:

  1. I think we're definitely entering a new Golden Age for writers. It's interesting to see that the Times recommends independent booksellers for marketing advice...they're a dying breed, but so incredibly knowledgeable!

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  2. I agree, Elizabeth. The Independent sellers have always been touted for their hand selling and customer loyalty. And yet, they were the first to feel the hit. It would be wonderful if they survive the chaos.

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  3. I love the quotes by Stephenie Anderson. It gave me chills! She is so right!

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  4. Has anyone stop to think about something I feel is important here. I know 'Talking Books' have been around for a long time, but if children get use to the idea Books Talk that you don't need to read or have your parents sit with you to have them read arn't they missing out on something special?

    I have a pile of Audio sitting next to me as I write this comment, which I'm just about write up to sell on Ebay. I listen to them while I'm cook as its a means of being able to 'Read' more. I enjoy reading a book just before I go to sleep and if I get a quiet moment in the day I love to read. Audio Books are great when going on a long car journey and you are driving alone. I just worried that something important will be overlooked in the race for Ebook by the publishing companys

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  5. I wonder if that number includes iPads?

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  6. hmmm...this seems good. I agree with Jarmara but we aren't talking talking books here. We're talking ebooks which could be read to children. Only they'd have to be picture heavy...I haven't looked at how ebooks do kid's books but I think kids will still like book books. Like we do.
    I want an IPad. I do.

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  7. I'm with Jarmara. It horrifies me to think that kids will be perched in front of a computer to be read to, unstead of sitting in a parent's laps. And yes, how easy to be read to instead of learning to read.

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  8. Jarmara, my husband and I love audio books when we're traveling by car and lately I've been looking for an audio book I can put on my iPod for when I'm exercising. Otherwise, I read print books, although I may get an eReader sometime this year. My husband loves his. Both my kids are big readers and I don't think either of them listen to audio books. My son is a huge reader. He has books stacked everywhere. When I suggested that he'd have to get rid of a bunch of them when he moves out on his own, he said he planned to just put up wall-to-wall bookshelves. The thing is, he reads and remembers.

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  9. A new Golden Age for writers would be wonderful, especially after the huge slump we've been in. I hope they're right.

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  10. Coming downstairs and seeing my husband lie on the couch in the dark as he reads a book on his iPad...I'm beginning to have iPad envy, too.

    I think eReaders will always involve reading. I also think they will become more enhanced with pictures and optional audios.

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  11. "publishers are scrambling to figure out how to market better than authors" ??!!!?

    Well, isn't THIS an interesting turn of events!

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  12. Oh, I definitely have Ipad envy. My son has one, but hubby does not want me to get one. I think getting my Android phone pushed him over the techie edge, and he's a computer programmer.
    Karen

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  13. Marvin, the publishers, I think, are seeing the extent of authors' ability to get themselves out on the Internet and make their voices heard. They've proven they can do that. At this point, though, publishers are still best at getting books reviewed in major newspapers. That, too, is changing, though.

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  14. If my grandkids are any indication, the iPad is a boon to reading. They are constantly on it, sometimes doing games (which usually require reading) but also reading books and drawing.

    Books with audio and visual do a lot to attract kids into the book, but kids soon find the audio and visual limiting and start reading ahead.

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  15. Thanks Mark. I think you're the first to talk about kids and the iPad.

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  16. Hurray for the independent bookseller. I hope publishers were paying attention to the article in the LA Times.

    And I agree about the exciting times that are evolving for writers in this digital age. But some of it is a challenge for a writer who started out on an old Royal manual typewriter and never envisioned all this. LOL

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  17. Interesting stuff, Helen. What thrills me the most is that we authors now have a platform. I also read your vacation post. Nice.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

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  18. So true, Maryann!

    Hi Nancy. I learned stuff on our vacation. Ducks like white bread, for example.

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  19. This tied in with the news about Borders indicates a new age--I don't know if it will be "Golden" or not.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  20. "Now, it seems, publishers are scrambling to figure out how to market better than authors" I like the sound of that

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  21. The last quote is amazing. Are we surprised the publishing giants have never asked booksellers what sells books?
    One of the two Borders local to me is closing.

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  22. Great post. Regardless of what technology is doing - I'm definitely entering my golden age. Take a look at the pictures of my new grandbaby on my blog.
    Ann

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  23. I'll zip over Ann.

    The only book store close to me is a Barnes & Noble. We had an indie close by, but it closed about two years ago.

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  24. That's very true, Helen. Booksellers do know who's selling well and why. They talk to customers and make reccomendations. I'm always in awe of a knowledgeable bookseller. I have several friends who are in that profession and they blow me away. They also see trends long before publishers and authors do because they're *in the trenches* so to speak.

    Great article!

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  25. We live in amazing times. Who would have thought the market would change so rapidly? Can't wait to see what happens when the dust settles.

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  26. Sia, booksellers are in the trenches more now than ever.

    Lately, it seems like the dust doesn't have time to settle before something stirs it up again, Kathi.

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  27. I like the idea of talking ebooks for children, especially in cars on long road trips. The beauty of the etechnology is that it's not all or nothing ... we can have ebooks and traditional, depending on our needs. I think with technology, books are going to become almost fluid, always changing and evolving now, in ways we haven't even imagined.

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  28. Me again. Quite the discussion on this topic! Yes, I agree that pub's are taking note of author's "e-resourcefulness" and gumption (sp?) - also that there is still no equal to a major pub's ability to promote a book with a fat marketing budget!

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  29. I agree on that, Joanne!

    Problem is, Marvin, they're not doing big fat marketing budgets unless you're a big name or they see a possibility of a major hit.

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  30. There really is so much potential here, isn't there? I have a friend working with an editor the design a 'pick your own' erotica, but it seems that would be possible for straight romance, mystery--tons of options. I love all the multi-media options--going maybe to
    book club' type discussions when you finish a book? I think it would be really cool (and even a way for authors to engage directly with their readers)

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  31. I am so behind the times...When I read a book, I simply want to read a book - I don’t want it to do any tricks!

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  32. My husband and I love our Kindles, but now that my first children's book is in electronic form, I wonder how many middle school kids have access to e-readers.

    Jean

    http://murderousmusings.blogspot.com/

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  33. It seems a bit late for them to be thinking about this! I know quite a few very talented authors that have decided to go indie because publishers aren't helping them and aren't doing anything an author can't do for themselves or hire done (in the case of editing and cover art).

    I'd love it if my publisher said they could even HELP, much less do it better than I can, but I'm not holding my breath.

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  34. India, I rather believe publishers were clueless as to how ebooks would take off. If they have realized the popularity, they surely would have jumped on.

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