Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, March 26, 2010

This Week in Publishing 3/26/10

This week! Publishing!

Some very sad news this week as Sid Fleischman, Newbery winning author of THE WHIPPING BOY and BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON passed away at 90. These were some of my very favorite novels as a kid and he will definitely be missed.

Editor Cheryl Klein posted one of the coolest things I've seen in the publishing corner of the Internet: a 110 year old rejection letter. The reason for the rejection? "Your story is developed well on the political side, which is important and novel, but without a strong love-interest it would not go." Maybe things haven't changed so much after all.

Lots and lots of iPad related news still churning its way through the Internet, including confirmation that there will be B&N and Amazon apps on the iPad. Meanwhile, there was quite a bit of shock when, after all the fights over e-book pricing and Amazon's discounting, a website got a look at Apple's iBooks store and revealed that many of the e-books were priced at........ $9.99. Jacket Copy's Carolyn Kellogg reminds readers that this is a current snapshot and things are still under negotiation in advance of the April 3rd iPad release day. (UPDATE: And the prices have indeed now changed and most now appear to be $12.99)

Meanwhile, Random House remains a noticeable holdout from the publishers who have gone along with the Apple agency model and have not come to an agreement to have their books in the iBooks store. Mike Shatzkin notes that there's a very simple reason for this: Random House's books will still be available on the iPad via the Kindle app and others, by retaining old wholesale model they receive more per copy than via the agency model, and meanwhile the price to the consumer for their books will likely be less than their competitors. More money received for lower priced books? Not hard to understand at all.

And meanwhile, there's a new competitor to the Kindle: Kobo is gunning for the Kindle with a new Kindle-like dedicated e-reader selling for $150. Are the e-reader pricing wars about to commence? (via MobyLives)

Hachette UK CEO Tim Hely Hutchison sent an e-mail to agents and authors about the State of the Industry, which unfortunately I can't link to because I don't believe it's been posted online in full. He notes the continued deterioration of the brick and mortar retail landscape and hopes the remaining stores will embrace the Internet: "In short, we think a proportion (only) of the existing traditional booksellers can and will survive and even thrive if and as they adapt and refine the very different shopping experience they can offer the consumer in store and via their own focused websites." He predicts that e-book sales, which are currently 0.9% of the British market, will rise to 1% this year, 3% in 2011, and 5% in 2012.

In writing advice news, Donna Gephart posted information from Kate Messner about how to survive a Skype author-visit, and my client Natalie Whipple has a great insight about &*#$%& profanity: constant cursing isn't a problem because it's offensive, it's a problem because it's repetitive.

Comment of the week goes to........ Zoe Winters!! Anyone who is interested in self-publishing and is curious about some more resources should check out her extremely helpful comment.

And finally, this week's sign of the apocalypse is brought to you by St. Martin's, who will soon be publishing a lifestyle guide by "Jersey Shore" luminaries Ronnie and J-WOWW. My oh my. Can Snooki's autobiography and The Situation's guide to situational abs be far behind? (via @sarahlapolla)

Have a great weekend!






29 comments:

PEOPLE SERVER said...

Goodnews with IPAD and Apps for Amazon & Barnes & Noble!
Steve Sutherland
http://www.eloquentbooks.com/CourageToWin.html

Ink said...

I bet the rejection still stings 110 years later. I'm sure poor Mr. Shedd just rolled over in his grave - "How many people just read my rejection? Damn that William Dean Howells."

T. Anne said...

Oh Nathan, can I share my frustration regarding reality stars with questionable platforms publishing anything in book format? Did you hear that loud eerie cry? That was me screaming.
*plots how to get on MTV*

Tracy said...

LMAO @ Ink!

I hope the Kobo causes B&N to lower the price on their Nook. If I wind up getting an e-reader I've already decided that's the one I want. I just don't want to spend $250 for something I'll only play with occasionally.

Anonymous said...

I think good is a relative concept. I used to enjoy the original He-man cartoon as a kid, but now, I don't like it at all. And this is something that might be overlooked in publishing kids and YA books. How good does it really have to be? And are kids turned off by stuff that adults considered good? I'm sure there are plenty of kids that love Jersey Shore.

As for the brick and mortar stores, I see more traffic in my local used book stores than in my B&N and Borders book stores. Maybe the big chains can learn from the local used stores; they seem to have a stronger community around them.

Although I bought my girlfriend a Kindle a year ago, I'm holding out for the Kindle 3. I cannot wait to see what amazon puts out next.

Margaret Yang said...

Author visits via Skype? Who knew? Oh, the possibilities!

Leila said...

iPad = happiness!

Josin L. McQuein said...

I'm with Tracy. If I get an e-reader, nook's the one I want. Hopefully they'll drop the price a bit.

(What? No wondering what the heck is going on over on Lost this week???)

;-)

Ishta Mercurio said...

Aw, come on, Nathan. You had time to put this together, but you haven't come out and commented on my library-loving blog post yet? I'm hurt. (Goes off into closet under stairs to sulk...)

www.ishtamercurio.blogspot.com

And great links, as always. (Plots how to get into reality show while sulking under stairs...)

Marilyn Peake said...

How awesome that the 110-year-old rejection letter was saved! And it’s also wonderful how much feedback was provided in that letter. It’s especially interesting to me that the editor suggested adding a love interest to a novel with a strong political component. Alan Rinzler suggested that I add a love interest for my main character in my futuristic science fiction political thriller, and I’ve been hard at work the past few weeks developing such a story line. I had a eureka moment when I figured out how to do that without downplaying the futuristic science or the politics of the novel.

Have a great weekend!

Jill Elizabeth said...

I don't know if that last paragraph makes me sad or gives me hope.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Yay, Nathan! I'll come out from under the stairs now.

Still haven't figured out how to get on a reality show, yet...

KFran said...

I love the cheap kindle and can't wait to see what IPAD apps they invent!

Genella deGrey said...

Romance is timeless, apparently.
Hooray for that!
:)
G.

ryan field said...

I love the 110 year old rejection letter link. I even tried clicking the photo to see if I could read it in the frame, but it was blurry.

Ann Marie Wraight said...

Well now, 110 years doesn't seem a long time at all to require a tale with a 'study of the western condition.' Doesn't the the oldest story in western society - that of Adam and Eve reiterate itself throughout the HUMAN condition. It's comforting to know that political ideals, morals and monarchys will come and go but the essence of humanity will remain. So, writers, throw in a hint of romance with your dragons, detectives and political intrigues and you are likely to have a recipe for success.
Thanks for ALL the detailed info. I'm a romantic so this struck a chord with me.

Zoe Winters said...

Thanks for the shout out. I'm glad it was helpful!

Sissy said...

We read The Whipping Boy at the school where I teach, and the kids really love it, along with his McBroom series.

Kate Evangelista said...

I love the 110 year old rejection letter. Made my day. Thanks for the link.

howdidyougetthere said...

I can't help drawing a parallel between old movie theaters and old book shops. When DVDs and videos threatened to eliminate the traditional movie theater all together, the movie theaters simply gave the public a reason to show up. Movie theaters became bigger, better and even MORE expensive. Yes the $ theaters are gone, but I still believe in the fact that we are by nature social creatures, even while reading. We still like to be near each other.

They will build it and we will come. I know there are large, experience driven bookstore out there, but I think someone will invent an even better experience, to make us want to show up.

howdidyougetthere said...

I can't help drawing a parallel between old movie theaters and old book shops. When DVDs and videos threatened to eliminate the traditional movie theater all together, the movie theaters simply gave the public a reason to show up. Movie theaters became bigger, better and even MORE expensive. Yes the $ theaters are gone, but I still believe in the fact that we are by nature social creatures, even while reading. We still like to be near each other.

They will build it and we will come. I know there are large, experience driven bookstore out there, but I think someone will invent an even better experience, to make us want to show up.

Rooster Shamblin said...

http://roostershamblin.wordpress.com/ would you please spend a few minutes reading my blog about all things chicken.

Malia Sutton said...

My money is on Snookie's autobiography :)

Mira said...

Really interesting links, Nathan, as always, thanks!

I'm sorry to hear about Sid Fleischman.

The rejection letter is awesome! :) The IPad news is interesting, and I didn't quite understand the Random House thing - not sure what the difference is between the agency and the warehouse model.....I know, that's probably elementary, but there it is. That's really interesting that a CEO is acknowledging the rise of e-books. I wonder what he plans to do....I agree that bookstores with interactive experiences could do extremely well - what is Skype? I clearly know nothing.

The article by Natalie is totally dead on target I think. And I thought Zoe's comment was terrific too! Very helpful.

I have to say, though, I couldn't help but notice that I'm not Zoe Winters. That means I didn't win Comment of the Week AGAIN. It's been two whole weeks. What is it going to take?? Well, I'm not going to give up. I'm thinking....haiku.

With that wonderful thought, I'm off to write a haiku. Hope everyone is having a great, sunny weekend - it's lovely here.

Jessica said...

Thanks for the link to Natalie Whipple's rant. Loved it! And I couldn't agree more with her conclusions. I personally don't like using curse words, but I think it's true that a well-placed word is more effective than trying to bury your reader with them. A little salt on a meal can really bring out the flavor, but when you empty the salt shaker on it (or one of your "friends" unscrews the top for a joke) the food just ends up in the trash.

Chuck H. said...

I have to agree with Natalie Whipple. Most users of obscenities are very repetitive. The best and most effective use of an obscenity I've ever experienced was in an old Jimmy Buffet song called "West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown".

WV: Socco - Sluggo's brother?

Davin Malasarn said...

Thanks for letting us know about the Kobo! I'll look into it more.

John C said...

I'll be doing some extensive international travelling in April and would like to get an ereader if only to cut down on the number of books in my luggage. Is the Nook a better choice right now?

ThePor FOr GoodSpeed said...

The Best You Blog!

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