It’s springtime for Amazon, and there’s more than one evolving new slant on the massive retailer in play at the moment. Between the monkey chatter and the growls of slow-moving traditionalists, hear it? A skip in the usual drumbeats. A new syncopation in the publishing jungle.
Table of Contents Post-DoJ: Pundits over the edge From TOC Bologna: The kids’ market Post-DoJ: Pushing and shoving Speaking for Amazon: Larry Kirshbaum Post-DoJ: DRM dreams Post-DoJ: But could no-DRM benefit Amazon? The Pulitzer’s shame: Patchett and Corrigan Industry in collapse: The strain is showing ‘Social’ media: Patently decent Blogging: How to make a correction […]
“What other industries permit agency pricing? In what other sector do you find manufacturers setting the prices and retailers having to, essentially, like it or lump it at a certain percentage?”
One publisher joins the discussion of authors and agents; a fifth of surveyed Americans have read an ebook; Pottermore is off to a bustling start; and still we look for ways to make craft, creativity, and business work together. On the Ether.
Having reclaimed the fields of Pottermore here then, if only briefly, from the gabbling blog-fest, let’s talk about it from the real heart of the story. Because the only thing the readers know is the story. The only thing that makes Pottermore the slam dunk it is? — those readers who bond with that story.
It’s the Ides of March, and no longer do we call Caesar “ambitious” — today, he’s disruptive. We love the word, maybe too much, as coverage of the publishing empire starts with those controversial “human hotspots” at SXSW’s interactivity conclave. Aslo: Amazon Singles, publishing journalism, a Curator’s Code, Britannica, PayPal, grief engendered, more agency modeling, Margaret Atwood & Marx (not that one), Friedman, Pressfield, Chandler. Literally. Not really.
A dizzying amount of copy is hitting the fan of the publishing community about the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation of “agency pricing.” This post is an off-day Writing on the Ether collection of selected writings on a potentially a key moment in the digital evolution of the industry.
In the ongoing debate about how to price ebooks properly, it can seem that the author — whose personal investment and effort tops anyone else’s — is being overlooked, swatted aside.
This week in Writing on the Ether: Literature and long lines / The AWP conference sits down in Chicago … Open sorcery / A call for industry-class conferences (not more AWP-level confabs) for authors … Amazon / Some embrace it, others run from it … plus book piracy, Google, Apple, reading, and Virginia Woolf (this week’s Last Gas).
On Friday 23 February at 4p Eastern, I’ll be joined by Dan Blank of We Grow Media in co-guest-hosting the weekly #FollowReader Twitter chat, at the invitation of Kat Meyer, co-chair with Joe Wikert of the O’Reilly Media Tools of Change Conference (ToC) just held in New York last week. You’re invited to join us.
ToC: Techno-calities: Locution, locution, locution. In its sixth year, the Tools of Change Conference — just closed in New York City — easily held its own as one of publishing’s two great confabs of a stressful year, the other being last month’s Digital Book World Conference + Expo. And when it comes to locution, ye shall know them by how they say “data.”
If the Digital Book World Conference helped prepare our souls for the coming travail, the battle now is joined by reinforcements, in the form of the annual Tools of Change Conference (#TOCcon). In ToC we trust.
There’s something about the stance of writers in the publishing community right now that isn’t quite what it should be. I don’t have to get too specific in describing this. It’s never more evident than at this time of year when two of our biggest conferences are choreographed to pass in the night.
Your hot seat awaits at the Writer’s Digest Conference and Digital Book World Conference in New York. Not since Margaret Mitchell fanned those other flames has the industry gathered in so superheated a salon of controversies for the kickoff of its annual ConfabWorld season. Can’t be there? No problem. Keep these hashtags handy: #wdc12 and #dbw12. We’ll be sure some smoke gets in your eyes.
It wouldn’t hurt our congregation of publishing to catch a church-window reflection of how we look engaging in one industry-wide panic after the next. Our energetic knees-up exercises of feverish fellowship seem so frequent nowadays that we might as well schedule them and put out a bulletin.
In chatting with some year-enders as we watched that ball ex machina descend in Times Square to haul us all out of the mess that was 2011, it became clear that many authors today see the digitization of things as just such a handy lift, a chariot swinging low to carry us home (where the readers are) — to deliver everyone from the gatekeeping Eumenides of old publishing and into the stage-center jig-fest of DIY abandon. Mickey Rooney, that ancient thespian, called this “let’s put on a show!”
The tote baggers’ secret is that while everybody else gets drunk for the new year, the publishing industry is actually fortifying itself for ConfabWorld. The major conferences form markers in each new year, the better-lit features of a landscape to come. And this should be a season fraught with incident.
I don’t think much of “year in review” rolls in the heyday — columns, posts, StoryCorps-weepy workovers, remember how we got lost in the Amazone after the opéra bouffe “Ah, Borders” became no longer hummable? Dude, we were there. Keep your coals in your own Christmas stocking. We have onboard memories, you know. Who asked to be put through it all again?
A Christmas Nightmare North Pole, Amazonia: Guy Gonzalez in Toyland But pay no attention to our vested interests Robert’s wild ride: When the Amazonians select you Essay sommelier: Amazon’s price-scan spree The chasers Another thing-Amazonian: The Book Depository And back to Guy. Until the next blog post drops Sharing the wealth: Shatzkin talks turkey Rooting […]
A digital dogfight FutureBook 2011 in London: Publishing in the pink Like a sieve: The Hachette Memorandum Tour d’Amazonia, Part 1: “Lock up your children!” Tour d’Amazonia, Part 2: Price-checking and knee-jerking? Tour d’Amazonia, Part 3: Dr. Shatzkin, I presume? Tour d’Amazonia, Part 4: ‘Vaporise’ this Tour d’Amazonia, Part 5: And it shall be agency-priced […]
Deck the halls, not your colleagues Self-publishing: And a kind word for the publishers? Following up on library ebooks: A Penguin in Amazonia Amazonia, Part 1: O’Leary, not cowed by Prime Lending rates Amazonia, Part 2: Lend me an author Amazonia, Part 3: Fear and loathing and DRM Amazonia, Part 4: Revving those reviews Amazonia, […]
Reverse Penguin! Library ebooks: All over the ice Self-Publishing Babylon: And talking peace in the alley A Swell new book: And how to handle criticism Ethics in fiction: Beautiful dead girls Extra Ether: Good stuff Reverse Penguin! So crikey. Just when you think you have it all worked out—the difference between mammals and publishers—you […]
Prometheus unboxed Extra Ether: Publishers and value-added marketing Vegetables and the National Book Awards Klout doubts A burnt bridge is hard to cross (thus spake Fortune, Cookie) Brian and Don started it New independence in Book Country But if you publish it yourself, will they come? Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in contracts How social are […]
Late addition to the Ether One short golden age Careful. We are a destination for detonation this week, my Ethernaut. That plate is hot, these gases are flammable, and those matches are rattling in the box. Don your tinfoil computing suit. I don’t want to have to hose you down. Here we have mild-mannered author […]
Conference Gemütlichkeit So when the publishing gets weird, the weird go to conferences. Digital conferences. Transmedia conferences. Convene and confer. Confab and rehab. Early bird discounts are extended to all. Then simply extended. And extended. Do not attempt to adjust the verticals of F+W Media, they’re bigger than you. A #toccon is a token of […]
Inspiration Nation If they’d asked me, I’d have nixed both the spelling “Syfy” and 95 percent of that TV channel’s programming. But all I need is their slogan for a few minutes. “Imagine greater.” I’m over this inspiration jag in the writing community. Inspiration, or the pursuit of it, becomes our little drug so […]
Capt. Linn warned us: “Too many books!” So no, yeah, whoa, the heaving ship of publishing lists to starboard, everybody to the rails, it’s Frankfurt! And then achtung, now we’re Dramamine-ing to portside as they all skitter back, ‘twixt poop deck and TweetDeck, tote bags stuffed with digital drama. And my God, shall not the […]
The digital train has so left the station. That’s a Frankfurt railway stop, as a matter of fact. Fear and loathing, at home and abroad. International publishing-industry players met to hold meetings, attend conferences, drink heavily, and attend more conferences. They tweet-gasped at hotel wi-fi costing 19 euros per day and publishers warned of a […]
This is my low horse. You should see me on my high one. They’re so skittish, these creatures. Especially around loud noises. Like “BUY MY BOOK!” And “FOLLOW ME BACK!” ‘Tis the season when bales of content are heaved onto the market. And as we share our social mediocrity, my little neigh-sayer, do remember: if […]
C’mon baby, light my Kindle Fire. And watch out for sparks from certain NOOKs in crannied marketplaces. Beware bald guys bearing 3Gifts. Silk, Bezosense, and smell that? It’s the lighter fluid of Android aspirationals yearning to be treed like iPads for Christmas. It’s beginning to look a lot like Amazon. [blackbirdpie id=”119057323443486720″] “One […]
“I messed up, I owe you an explanation.” You see, Jane and I have been misspelling the name of this new column. This Flickr-ed into my mind while watching Netflix shoot itself in the other foot with Qwikster. Reed Hastings, having turned “flicks” into “flix,” should have named the DVD service Qwixtr. It’s not as […]
The first time I flew into Heathrow, I was thrilled. Everyone was calling my name. “Porter! Porter!” Allow me to get your baggage this week. A valise full of numbers “In its one day on offer as (an Amazon) Daily Deal, Food, Inc. sold 14,158 ebook copies—an astounding number. Sales for the previous day were 9 copies.” […]
Your media sommelier here. Our first pairing: Noble, tart, and high time somebody said it “We agents, who have struggled to maintain a fragile sense of trust with writers, only deepen the chasm between our professional community and the artistic community we serve when we introduce more doubt into the relationship, and when we wave […]
I am thrilled to introduce a new weekly feature, Writing on the Ether, by former CNN journalist Porter Anderson. Writing on the Ether will round up some of the best and timeliest articles related to writing and publishing that you don’t want to miss. Porter has been well-known to me since 2010 as one of […]