A heads up: I’ll be in New York next week so blogging will be sporadic.
But this week!
People are still working their way through the week that shook publishing, with WalMart slashing prices and all kinds of e-readers debuting, and are digesting what it all means.
First up, some people have noted that with WalMart, Amazon and Target drastically slashing prices on some upcoming bestsellers and taking losses it may make sense for independent booksellers to just go ahead and stock their books by ordering direct from WalAmaTargEars, thus getting their books more cheaply than they would be able to from publishers and ensuring that WalAmaTargEars take as many losses as possible for this stunt. Smart, right?
Well… not so fast. First, WalAmaTargEars are onto you and are limiting how many discounted books you can buy. And at the WordHoarder blog, a bookseller cautions against the WalAmaTargEars end-around as a long term strategy. According to the post, sales reps for indie booksellers are already dwindling, and such a move hurts distributors, whom indies really need. (via Booksqure)
Meanwhile, Mike Shatzkin surveys the landscape and considers the implications of a gradual publishing transition to smaller print runs and greater electronic market share. This transition is already rocking the newspaper world, and publishers, bookstores, and the entire print distribution chain will all be challenged by this transition because they require a certain critical mass to be sustainable. The winners according to Shatzkin? Agents and the top 500 authors, who will be able to sell e-books directly because of their personal brands.
And how is all of the pressure on publishers trickling down to the editorial side? As Kristin Nelson says, agents and authors on submission are hearing these frustrating words a lot these days: “I just don’t see how I can break this out in a big way.“
Oh, and Philip Roth thinks novels are going to have only a cult following in 25 years. Who’s feeling the optimism???
Perhaps exhausted by the last couple weeks of news, Publishers Weekly decided to go ahead and just call it a year and released their top books of 2009. Sorry books published between now and the end of the year! (via Scribbly Jane)
But with all of this big and slightly unsettling news, let me just say it now: don’t panic. Things are changing, it’s going to be an interesting/challenging couple of years as we gradually succumb to our coming e-book overlords, but it doesn’t mean the novel is going to disappear or that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket. Things aren’t going to be worse (at least in the long term), they’re just going to be different. And in 50 years when we’re making the transition from reading e-books on screens to having them beamed directly into our heads we’ll wax nostalgic about the charming blink of electronic pages and the smell of plastic and people will get angry about the change and say that you can pry their e-books from their cold dead hands.
Also there’s more news! Martin Amis has taken aim at popular British author and model Katie Price/Jordan for, among other things, being, shall we say, cosmetically enhanced. He even memorized the poem she read at her ill-fated wedding. A case of hating the player instead of hating the game? Or is Amis himself such a high level player that he is playing the game and the press fell for his trap? (via Greg Peisert)
Over in the Huffington Post, Rob Asghar thinks self-publishing has an image problem and wants to rebrand it “indie publishing.” Interesting, but….. aren’t there already independent publishers, i.e. strong non “Big 6” houses like Soho and Kensington?
Reports of VS Naipaul’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Um. BY THE FBI.
My awesome client Natalie Whipple has written an instant classic post just in time for NaNoWriMo: advice on writing a first draft. First and most importantly: don’t worry about how others write, write how YOU write. SO TRUE.
Janet Reid passed along her outline on a class she gave on writing effective queries.
Almost finally, via Jeff Abbott, a patron of a library in Maury County, Tennesee has taken upon him/herself to black out the curse words in mystery novels. Because with so many problems in the world, if there’s anything worth spending your time on it’s surely blacking out naughty words. Way to save America! Anyway, I would say that the newscast on the incident is priceless, but that would be a complete understatement. It’s amazing.
And finally, this video is just…. I mean….. love love love:
Have a great weekend!