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January 2012


Web users have been trained long enough to know what they want: everything. That’s the promise of the web. Every book for sale at Amazon. Every search result visible on Google. Every auctioned item right there on eBay. Not piracy. Availability. The music industry got confused about this and decided that people merely wanted to [...]

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Downside up

The single biggest change in book publishing is this: The industry was built around finding readers for its writers. And new technologies and business models now mean that the most successful publishers and authors find writers for their readers instead. Traditionally, a book is signed, written, edited, designed, printed and distributed and THEN the publisher [...]

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The Academy Awards are not news

Neither are the nominations. Feature stories about who is going to win or the personal lives of the actors and directors involved are fluff unworthy of a space-limited newspaper. The show is banal and nearly endless. I don’t care who wins, and a year later, very few remember. And the financial impact of winning is [...]

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Apple didn’t make publishing easier…

They made it easier to get your ideas into digital print. There’s a huge difference between printing and publishing. Printing is a commodity, a straightforward but important process that takes time and money. Clearly, digital ‘print’ in the form of an ebook is easier and cheaper than paper printing, which involves cutting down trees and [...]

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Knock, knock, it’s the future (Building 59)

Why not ban digital cameras? Kodak declared bankruptcy this week. Legislation to ban digital cameras could have saved this company, a “jobs creator,” pillar of the community and long-time wonderful brand. One wonders why they didn’t make the effort? Would you have lobbied for that bill? A friend tells a story about Kodak. Apparently, they [...]

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The Death and Taxes poster is now available in bulk…

Jess Bachman, the brilliant designer behind this bestselling poster, figured out how to use Kickstarter so schools and organizations can get 5 or more copies at a time, cheaply: Check it out.

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Advice for authors, part one and part two

If you’re an author or an aspiring author (and I trust that you are) it’s time to end the fruitless struggle with a dying business model and think hard about how the world has changed. I’ve written two posts on this (the first and the second). Here, unchanged, are both of them… From six years [...]

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Rethinking the bestseller list

A year ago, I explained why the Domino Project chose to reject the very broken, easily gamed New York Times bestseller list. Many authors and some publishers bend over backwards, changing every element of their business just to get on the list, in the mistaken belief that it still matters. It doesn’t, because shelf space [...]

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Reading isn’t dead, but it’s changing

What does your gut tell you about this statement: “Kids in high school read more books for fun than their parents.” In fact, it’s true. Young adult reading is up 20% since the last time the survey was done by the Feds, and a recent commercial survey finds the same thing. Of course, these kids [...]

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