Malcolm Gladwell

Amid the ambient wails of doom about the publishing industry, I'd like to enter a note of encouragement. The mainstream may be getting dumber by the day, but we are living in what looks like a golden age of publishing for, of all people, the university presses.

At the moment, I don't think there's a trade publishing house producing high-calibre, serious non-fiction of the quality and variety of Yale University Press; and snapping at its heels are Harvard, Oxford, Princeton, Cambridge and Chicago.

Independent booksellers in America are weighing into the dispute between Amazon and Hachette with a series of banners telling potential customers "Thanks, Amazon, the indies will take it from here", while comedian and Hachette author Stephen Colbert is urging his viewers to plaster their books with "I didn't buy it on Amazon" stickers.

The disagreement between the retail giant and the publisher, which is believed to be over terms, has been played out in public since early last month, and has seen delay delivery on more than 5,000 Hachette titles, according to the publisher

Jonathan Safran Foer was sitting at a Chipotle one day, when he realized that he had nothing to do while noshing on his burrito. He had neglected to bring a book or magazine, and he didn't yet own a smartphone. "I really just wanted to die with frustration," Foer told VF Daily.

Suddenly, the Eating Animals author (and vegetarian) had an idea: What if there were something truly good to read on his Chipotle cup? Or the bag? A few years earlier, he had met Steve Ells, Chipotle's C.E.O.

In 2011, self-publishing is thought to have drained roughly $100 million in revenue from the traditional trade publishing business - a drop in the bucket for the $14 billion business. In 2012, that number is thought to have doubled. With theincreasing success of self-published authors in hitting best-seller lists, the number should continue to go up. Publishers are not only contending with increased competition for readers' attention, they are finding now more than ever that they need to work to attract new authors and retain established ones.

New York, NY, May 8, 2013 – From May 29-30, 2013, the best minds in digital publishing will convene in the Javits Center in New York City for the highly-anticipated, perennially sold-out at IDPF Digital Book 2013 conference ( This year’s theme, Advancing Publishing in a Digital World, has already drawn an enormous crowd, with seats expected to sell out soon.

Some featured speakers and session insights include:

  • Otis Chandler, Co-founder and CEO of Goodreads will share an update and tackle questions from the crowd, including: what’s next for Goodreads now that it’s owned by Amazon? What does the recent sale mean for the 17 million members, 530 million books and 23 million reviews?
  • Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author and staff writer for The New Yorker will speculate on the digital future with Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek writer and author of the upcoming The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

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