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April 2012

Tracts, manifestos and books

Has a non-fiction book ever changed your mind? For me, it has happened literally dozens of times. Books have changed the way I think about sales, evolution, marketing, governance, interpersonal relationships, mindfulness, the invention of the Western world, government power and more. Next question: How far into the book did you get before your mind [...]

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A simple challenge to publishers: books for Ghana

Laura Hazard Owen has a good overview of what’s going on with Worldreader. Give a kid a Kindle and lives are changed. Not just in Ghana but in Kenya and Uganda as well. One of their costs is buying the ebooks that go on the Kindles they’re giving to students. Really? Tell me again why [...]

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Piracy? You wish.

Publishers are spending a lot of time debating DRM on ebooks. Many of the powers that be are worried about piracy, they say, and they are resolute in making sure that there are locks on the books they publish. There are countless interesting conversations on whether this helps Amazon with lock in (you can’t move [...]

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The legacy of a book

So far, End Malaria has raised $300,000.00 in donations for Malaria No More, a leader in the fight against this preventible disease. Sometimes, ideas in digital form come and go, they slip through the ether and leave no trail. A book on paper, though, can become a force to be reckoned with. Shipping all those [...]

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Self published

Ben Franklin Ezra Pound Emily Dickinson Marcel Proust Dave Eggers Thomas Paine Jane Austen Edgar Rice Burroughs Walt Whitman Nathaniel Hawthorne Stephen Crane Nikki Giovanni Virginia Woolf The question isn’t whether or not you should wait to be picked, the question is whether you care enough to pick yourself.

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The biggest problem facing book publishing

…has nothing to do with the Justice Department or agency pricing. No, the challenge the big book publishers are facing is that a perfect industry is being replaced by one filled with chaos and opportunity. Perfect? Limited shelf space plus limited competitors plus well-understood cost of creation and production meant that stability reigned. The industry [...]

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Books have characters

And the book business has them too. Brilliant, compelling, motivated and remarkable ones. One of my dreams was to have Chip do a book cover for me, and perhaps one day he will. All I know is that the time I spent talking with him in February was energizing and reminded me that yes, we [...]

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Bring on the kiddie dentists!

Tom Robbins, ranting in the Times, conflates the difficulty of making a living with the challenge of doing the writing: “What’s next…kiddie architects, juvenile dentists, 11-year-old rocket scientists?  Any parent who thinks that the crafting of engrossing, meaningful, publishable fiction requires less talent and experience than designing a house, extracting a wisdom tooth, or supervising [...]

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