This Week in Publishing is like a simile.
So it turns out that not only are there simile fans, but they are impassioned, like a great throng of warriors as deep as the day is longer than an old man’s war story. Follow the carnage in the comments section of yesterday’s post, including my prediction of a coming nuclear war over dangling modifiers. All I have to say is: know the rules before you break the rules. Also: don’t get mad over similes.
Remember when Steve Jobs said no one reads anymore? Well, reader John Askins was the first to point me to Timothy Egan’s NY Times blog post on reading, in which he points out that while disco is dead, reading is not. You know. What with the 400 million books sold last year and all. He also, hilariously, points out that HARRY POTTER and THE DA VINCI CODE both individually sold way more copies than Apple sold iPhones. Of course, I still want an iPhone. So I can read books on it. (honestly)
Reader Cameron Sullivan pointed me to an article from the Guardian assessing the self-publishing boom, which includes the bomblet that self-publishing company Lulu has doubled in size every year. They publish 4,000 titles every week. I think that calls for a “great googly moogly.” Make that several great googly mooglys.
In similar but not entirely related news, the Espresso is coming! The Espresso is coming! Publishers Lunch linked to this article about Vermont-based Northshire Bookstore, which is the first independent bookstore to acquire an Epresso book printing machine thingamajig, which produces a finished book in just a few minutes (Maya Reynolds’ take on the Espresso here and here). The machine will even print books from the bookstore’s own imprint. Northshire General Manager Chris Morrow says, “I just feel that standing still is sure death.” So be sure and hop up and down while waiting for your Espresso book to print.
And finally, last week I linked to news about Borders’ new concept store. Want to know what said concept store is like? Well, Margaret Yang, aka Original Bran Fan, was brave and awesome enough to venture over to the Ann Arbor concept store and she files this report:
I remember twenty years ago when there was only one Borders store, period. I’ve enjoyed watching it evolve first into a bigger store in Ann Arbor, and then into a chain. So I was excited about this new “concept” store, especially when I found it was right in my own neighborhood. This store, according to press releases, emphasized the digital. Would it have a print-on-demand machine in the store? Would it have a smaller staff, forcing the patrons to type their questions into a computer? Would it have—as Nathan Bransford worried—a robot clerk with an electronic sneer when you downloaded a romance novel? The website, www.SeeNewBordersStore.com told me nothing. I had to go see for myself.
First impression: this looks like a bookstore. “What makes it different?” I asked a clerk.
Go to the travel section, and amid the travel books, you can find a computer hooked up to Expedia, so you can book a trip right in the store. Go to the music section, and amid the CD’s, you can find a station to download songs to your MP3 player for about a buck a song. Go to the cooking section, and you can download recipes. And somewhere in the store (although I did not see where) you can also download a book to your e-reader.
But I don’t want to go to a bookstore to do any of that stuff! Why would I? With a broadband connection, I can do all that and more from home, in my jammies.
What I want to do at a bookstore—amazingly enough—is buy books.
And what do you know? You can still do that here. This store is the prettiest Borders I’ve ever been in. The ceiling is high with good lighting, and the shelves are low, giving a view of the entire store and all the gorgeous books therein. Many, many books. As many as are in any average Borders store. I saw many human clerks around, some of whom actually knew how to find things in the store, and all with a sincere desire to help.
Plenty of books and decent service in an attractive setting. It’s not new.
But what a concept.
Have a great weekend!