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Old 05-30-2011, 01:48 PM   #16
JSWolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtterBooks View Post
Publishing was in decline long before ebooks came around, or even the internet. As if that analysis weren't dumb enough, the author goes on to say "Amazon killed browsing. You go on, you find the book you wanted, you pay, and you leave. So instead of buying five books, you buy just one."
Um.. do you really know how long the Internet has been available to the public? It's been available to the public for close to 32 years. Publishing was not in decline back then.

Actually, I find I browse more now then I did before as I can do it at home when I want. I don't have to wait until I am out and at a bookstore. I don't go and buy a bundle of books like I used to. I used to have a discount card from Waldenbooks that allowed me 15% off if I bought so much money worth of books. So when I went in there, I bought that much and got my 15% off. That was good back then. So yes, I did end up going away with a bundle of books. But now, with the agency model and the fact that we don't get that many discounts, I don't always buy a bunch of books at one time. And as for browsing, I browse a lot at the libraries I have access to and at Overdrive.
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:55 PM   #17
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In no other industry do producers actually wait passively to see what products are suggested to them, instead of doing market research to see what people really want to buy. Yet publishers seldom generate book ideas; instead they wait for literary agents to submit proposals. Houses decide which book to publish based on little more than a gut feeling that says, “I think we can make money selling this!”

Yet the books that publishers choose are almost entirely of zero interest to actual book-buyers. After 9/11, there were a ton of books about 9/11, which nobody bought. Same thing with the Iraq War, the rise of Obama, the economic meltdown, and even, inexplicably, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Or the books are rehashed business lessons, religious truths, sports clichés, motivational babble, exercise fads, weight loss techniques, or pandering to the political left or the right. Who wants these books? Almost no one.
I totally agree. I see loads of these types of eBooks bought by libraries and I have no interest in them. So why is it the publishers are picking these sorts of books when the public doesn't want them? It's just asinine. And the problem with a lot of these sorts of books is that by the time they are published, a lot of the information contained within is outdated or just plain incorrect. So please, stop publishing these sorts of books that we (the pubic) do not want or that get made obsolete so fast that we won't buy them.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:15 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Um.. do you really know how long the Internet has been available to the public? It's been available to the public for close to 32 years. Publishing was not in decline back then.
I'm not going to claim that the internet alone is responsible to the decline of publishing, but you are incorrect with your timeline.

Arpanet was used for universities and government back then, sure. But internet for the public? Fidonet wasn't even around 32 years ago, much less public internet. The first dial-up connection for consumers came on the scene in 1989, about 22 years ago.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:20 PM   #19
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The old publishing business may be dying but there's more reading and writing going on than ever.
This, as an educator, is a truth that gives me hope.

Untyll i thnk bout wud typeeee ov wridin i seee on Facebook.

But then I think about ex-students who are engaged in interactive writing projects on goodreads, and I remember that there's still hope.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Um.. do you really know how long the Internet has been available to the public? It's been available to the public for close to 32 years. Publishing was not in decline back then.
An editor by the name of Gerald Howard wrote a now famous (in publishing circles) essay declaring the death of publishing titled "Mistah Perkins-He Dead" in 1989, and the notion didn't begin there.

You're correct about the internet, of course. But early public availability bares no resemblance to the modern entertainment entity that is today's internet. Some guys posting monochrome arguments about Star Trek on BBS isn't really comparable to whats developed over the past decade.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:33 PM   #21
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But now, with the agency model and the fact that we don't get that many discounts, I don't always buy a bunch of books at one time.
That observation is more intelligent than anything raised in that guy's article. But keep in mind that's primarily about ebooks. Discounts are heavier and more widely available for books as a whole than they've ever been, as is access to used books online. Paying full cover price for paper books, still the majority of sales, is pretty much dead.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:16 PM   #22
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Prior to getting my ereaders, I had not purchased a novel in more than 10 years. My public library had a great selection of current novels, and I picked up most of my reading from the new arrivals shelf. If I wanted a book they didn't have, I had them get it for me via interlibrary loan, and they were able to get absolutely any book for me, often from several states away. I didn't want to buy books, not so much for the price, but for the clutter.

Since getting my ereaders, I am rather appalled to say that I have purchased hundreds of novels. A large number of those come from the "other customers who bought this also bought these," where I start by looking up one book and finding 6 more that interest me. It's not traditional browsing, but it is browsing nevertheless. I doubt I am the only one who gets caught up by the ease of shopping on Amazon.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:33 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Strnad View Post
The old publishing business may be dying but there's more reading and writing going on than ever.
There's certainly alot of reading and writing going on, hope there's alot of high quality writing though

Brittney Spears might write alot of tweets that alot of people read, but...
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:52 PM   #24
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The publishing industry is going through a change as great as the shift to the printing press . Not surprisingly, they are getting some things wrong , getting some things right, and even the things that they are getting right, they are getting right slowly.
"Publishers" aren't one monolithic lump either. Baen's is a niche publisher much admired for getting things right. BeWrite publishers is another.
Its likely that as things evolve, some publishers may vanish altogether and firms that aren't even in the publishing business now may grow to dominate the industry. Its going to be a bumpy ride.

Last edited by stonetools; 06-01-2011 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:19 AM   #25
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I'd like to say that reading is in the decline, due to the easy portability of movies and video games now. The rise of cellphones and tablets have made it easier for people to watch movies and TV on the go.

I certainly choose reading over watching movies and TV on the go. I love video games but I use my Nook or read a book a lot more than I play my DS or my PSP. I'd rather watch a movie on the plasma at home on the HT than on a dinky little screen.

I suspect those people that choose to watch movies or TV on their smartphone instead of reading really didn't read much to begin with.

But I'd like to blame the tech anyway
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:16 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtterBooks View Post
As to why publishing is in decline, I can only surmise. Primarily I think it has more to do with the changing landscape of entertainment. We're awash in a sea of instant, passive entertainment available 24/7.

The issue of people reading less in general is a cultural issue way bigger than anything the publishing industry has done. The effects of book pricing, ebooks and IP management are small potatoes compared to the forces at work beyond their boardrooms. imo.
I agree with you. The big publishers are certainly not helping themselves (or anyone) but I think the main reason the book industry is in trouble is the general public. Once upon a time most people read a bit, and a minority read voraciously. Soon we will be at the stage where a minority read a bit, and a tiny subset read voraciously. Even if the total revenue generated stays the same or rises, that's still a big change to deal with - and the current incumbents apparently can't cope.

Quote:
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after the show I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, but I was hungry. And I'm sitting there eating and reading a book. I don't know anybody, I'm alone, so I'm reading a book. The waitress comes over to me like, [gum smacking] "What'chu readin' for?" I had never been asked that. Not "What am I reading?", but "What am I reading for?" Goddangit, you stumped me.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:42 AM   #27
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I agree with everything that has been said before and would like to add one thing, an axiom that I learned in a busineess class:

When technology shifts everyone goes back to zero and past sucesses guaranty nothing. Past examples of this technology shift are: a shift from the pocket watch to a wrist watch (many makers were left behind and went out of business becuasee they simply could not keep up), shift from local stores to catalog ordering on a phone (several stores were out of business). This is just one more example of the same thing and many publishers have failed to grasp what is occuring as their services are no longer required and the companies can only survive if they can keep on top of the technology.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:57 AM   #28
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I was tending to read less because of physical infirmity and the consequent difficulty of holding a heavy book. Since getting my Kindle I feel liberated. It's so much easier to read from than most dt books. And I have bought ecopies of lots of books I already owned as well as being encouraged to buy new ones. I've always bought lots of books, but now my buying has soared.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:07 AM   #29
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There's so much wrong with this article...
Quote:
So publishers won’t be able to charge $10 or $12 for an entire book when people only want a chapter’s worth of information.
This may be true for nonfiction (though I doubt that too), but I don't want to read one chapter of a fiction book. This is a stupid argument.

Quote:
Amazon killed browsing. You go on, you find the book you wanted, you pay, and you leave. So instead of buying five books, you buy just one.
Wrong. Amazon makes suggestions to me, and because of this I've actually started reading more and more outside my favorite genres.

Quote:
Yet publishers seldom generate book ideas; instead they wait for literary agents to submit proposals. Houses decide which book to publish based on little more than a gut feeling that says, “I think we can make money selling this!”
I'm not going to pretend to know much about the publishing industry, but doesn't it make sense to let authors submit works they've loved and worked on, versus demanding a particular type of book be written? That sounds like a way to get a lot of terrible books churned out. And I don't think they make decisions about what to publish based on a "gut feeling", I think they do so based on market research. Maybe I'm wrong? That's basically how the film industry works.

Quote:
Yet the books that publishers choose are almost entirely of zero interest to actual book-buyers. After 9/11, there were a ton of books about 9/11, which nobody bought. [...] Who wants these books? Almost no one.
If no one wanted them, they wouldn't publish them. Someone IS buying these books, and they're flooding the market hoping to cash in on the interest of current topics.

Quote:
As a result, few trade books earn real money for the publisher (and certainly not for the author!). That’s because the publisher bears the entire risk of buying, editing, printing, and shipping copies of the book to bookstores all over the country on a 100% returnable basis.
Yeah, it's a risk. That's why they try to make good decisions on what will sell.

Author does briefly touch on the idea that "in the Internet era, you can’t make money putting books on trucks and hoping someone buys them". If he could have expanded this into out-dated business practices, I think he'd be right. As it is, this article is a failure.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:41 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by b0ned0me View Post
I agree with you. The big publishers are certainly not helping themselves (or anyone) but I think the main reason the book industry is in trouble is the general public. Once upon a time most people read a bit, and a minority read voraciously. Soon we will be at the stage where a minority read a bit, and a tiny subset read voraciously. Even if the total revenue generated stays the same or rises, that's still a big change to deal with - and the current incumbents apparently can't cope.
The "bestseller" model is geared to the large populace who reads a bit, rather than the small populace that reads voraciously.

It's the niche publishers that feed the voracious readers.
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