Finally, some good news for publishers.
All year we’ve been hearing predictions that the book business is on its death bed — about to be completely transformed by ebooks, then eaten alive by pirates. Yet, despite recent reports to the contrary it turns out that book piracy is on the decline.
Based on piracy loss estimates published by the International Intellectual Property Alliance and generated by the Association of American Publishers, book piracy dropped over 13% between 2005 and 2007 (the most recent year that data is available).
The numbers look like this:
For novelist Seth Harwood the path from the Iowa Writers Workshop to the New York Times Book Review runs straight through the world of digital media.
While honing his writing skills in more traditional literary venues, Seth struggled to find success. It was only after he began serializing his novel as a podcast that Seth found an audience.
Seth is part of a new breed of authors who have embraced new media as a tool to reinvigorate the novel in an era when consumers are awash in a sea of digital entertainment options. Others, including Scott Sigler and J.C. Hutchins have taken a similar routes, proving that Seth’s podcasting success is no fluke.
Seth’s debut novel Jack Wakes Up is released today. Seth took time out from his book launch schedule to answer a few questions about Jack Wakes Up, podcasting, and the impact that new media has had on his approach to writing. (more…)
I’ve seen a fair number of remarkable events at SXSW over the years, but I’ve never seen anything quite like what unfolded at the New Think for Old Publishers panel yesterday afternoon.
On paper, the panel must have seemed like a great idea. The publishing industry is in transition with the rise of digital reading and devices like the Kindle, iPhone, and applications like Stanza. SXSW has always been about convergence and the evolution of old media in the digital age. Why not bring a group of book publishers together to address the digerati at SXSW about the changing nature of their industry?
As the twitter stream reveals, the panel never quite lived up to its promise. Now that the dust has cleared, I feel compelled to describe what happened at the New Think panel. From a remote distance it wasn’t necessarily clear what prompted the audience uprising.
This wasn’t a case of digital natives waging a mindless war against old media. On the contrary, at the beginning of the session a show of hands revealed a high density of heavy readers in the audience. Throughout the session audience members demonstrated a profound love for books. Combine that with the fact that the panel featured the ever popular Clay Shirky, and the publishers started the session with what might best be described as a sympathetic audience.
So, yeah, it’s Monday morning and I’m checking headlines, and I see an interesting article from Publisher’s Weekly about the Penguin group: turns out they’re pushing the direct sales. Now, me being me, I’m immediately interested. This is the first time a major publishers has made direct-to-consumer sales — no local bookstores, no Amazon — a high-profile goal.
Let me explain, first by quoting from the PW article:
This summer, the major studios decided press screenings weren’t all that — they bypassed newspapers critics in favor of popular review: weekend box office numbers. The recent Los Angeles Times poll suggested that today’s kids prefer peer analysis to highly trained professional analysis. We’ve suggested that today’s critics are out-of-touch with the real world.
So what role should film (music, book, architecture, etc) critics play in the real world? In response to a question from colleague Patrick Goldstein, there is this: