Caleb Mason

Caleb Mason

Caleb Mason is the founder and publisher of Publerati, a hybrid ebook publisher and literary agency start-up, which employs a unique socially-responsible business model aimed at using ebooks to help spread literacy. Caleb also writes fiction under the pen name Don Trowden, author site here.Earlier in his career, after working in bookstores, and at Little, Brown, and then co-founding Salem House publishers, Caleb left publishing for several other industries disrupted by change. These include the photo industry and map/GPS industry. Having experienced those shifts, Mason has formed a unique perspective on the digital changes ongoing in the book industry. He shares that perspective in his blog “Outsights on Publishing.”

Benefits of Mobile Reading on the iPhone 7

I upgraded to the Apple iPhone 7 for Christmas and have already doubled my reading time. And most of that doubling is because my reading is now truly mobile. Let me offer some personal examples. My wife likes to shop. A lot. I do not. While she was shopping at Goodwill last week, I read…

Trashing Paper: Why We Should Consider Time Spent With Print

No, I’m not here to trash paper. I’m here to discuss different usages of paper and the ones that are more likely to become quick trash. The recent Digital Book Printing Conference hosted by Book Business was a very interesting event with plenty of great presentations, facts, and figures. In particular, Marco Boer of IT…

The Future of Book Publishing Is All About Scale

Okay, so you’re sitting in a company meeting of fifteen people. Suddenly all fifteen people are trying to solve a problem that can only be solved by one person in the room, the head of IT. Why are we wasting the time of the other fourteen people in the room? This is an example of…

Authors Need Publishers Less than Ever

Let me preface this by saying I run a literary fiction micro-publisher operating much in the mold of how full-service traditional publishing has for years, although because my overheads are so low, I pay my authors 50% of print and 70% of ebook royalties, something I realize large publishers cannot do. As self-publishing continues evolving,…

Algorithms vs. Humans: What's the Better Path to Book Discovery?

An algorithm recently bought me a Father’s Day present I didn’t need or ask for, using my own money. You see, my wife was buying sheets from Amazon when they presented her with the book The Arm by Jeff Passan (HarperCollins) as a Father’s Day suggestion. $27.95 later my charge card was hit with the…

If You Were Amazon, Would You Open Stores in Dying American Malls?

The news from American malls just keeps getting worse, with long-time anchor stores Macy’s, JCPenney, and Sears reporting ongoing closings and bad results. Yet, we heard a leak earlier this year from General Growth Properties, one of the largest mall operators, that Amazon might be opening 400 mall stores. They quickly retracted this leak, but…

How to Sell Books That Are Good Enough to Steal

How do you know if what you’ve created is worthwhile? In my experience, it has to pass the “good enough to steal test.” Business owners, authors, artists, and musicians don’t like to hear this, but it’s true. The fact is the majority of goods and services produced do not actually meet this benchmark of success.…

With Online Book Sales, Time is of The Essence

Now is better than later because later might never come. Among the many tragic losses related to the above wisdom, one of the most trivial revolves around the topic of shopping behavior. (Apologies to the Maharishi inside us all.) And this matters a great deal in the world of books, where we know from our…

The Print-on-Demand Revolution Opens New Doors for Authors & Publishers

One of the most fascinating aspects of new technologies is how they open doors for new business models. And this is very true in the evolving world of book publishing. The book publishing model has many challenges, most notably how the established system of author advances, large superstore preorders, and returns limits what will be…

The Bookstore of the Future Is Here Today

I have finally come across the bookstore concept for the future and it’s not coming from Amazon or Barnes & Noble with their cross-channel pipe dreams. It’s Shakespeare and Co., which opened under new ownership in November 2015 and currently operates one store in the Upper East Side of New York, with more planned for…

Selling Books in a World Without Bookstores

Let’s pretend for a moment that there are no bookstores and as publishers we still need to sell books. How are we going to do that? For starters, let’s take a look at the recent trends for physical bookstore sales. There was welcome relief this year that sales at physical stores have stabilized, although I…

Have Publishers Shot Themselves in the Foot With Costly Ebooks?

What if the major book publishers inadvertently shot themselves in the collective foot by raising ebook prices to protect their paper book business? And in the process, hurt their 2015 profitability compared to where things stood before the ebook price hikes? Managing price elasticity over time and by product is one of the most difficult…

Do Book Publishers Have a Post-Barnes & Noble Plan?

Apologies to any middle children reading this. Honestly, I think you’ll be just fine. Well, sort of. But woe to the business that finds itself sandwiched in the middle! It doesn’t matter what you make or what you sell, middle market players are always in a truly bad position. I think this is even truer…

Why Ebooks Will Eventually Replace Print

On December 9, 2015, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance (MWPA) hosted an Oxford Debate in Portland, Maine, which considered the future of print and ebooks in the publishing industry. The MWPA’s motion for debate was, “Ebooks will eventually supplant printed books entirely.” Caleb Mason, founder of Publerati, argued for the motion while renowned antiquarian…