An old proverb states: “It will not always be summer”—in other words, be prepared for bad weather or bad times. Economically speaking, it is certainly not summer, and the book publishing industry has been no exception to those affected by the recession. The bottom line: If you didn’t get a raise this year, you’re not alone.
Michael Healy has a huge task ahead of him as the first executive director of the Book Rights Registry, the creation of which was a stipulation of the Google Book Search settlement agreement between the online search giant and industry organizations including the Association of American Publishers and The Authors Guild.
Dominique Raccah (Sourcebooks) and Andrew Weber (Random House), Co-Chairs of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), announced today that it has formed a search committee to consider candidates for the position of BISG Executive Director
Simba Information, which recently produced the groundbreaking "Trade E-Book Publishing 2009" report, has added "Trends in Trade Book Retailing" to its research offerings.
Trade e-book sales were $12,100,000 for April, a 228.3% increase over April 2008 ($3,700,000).
Who hasn’t tried the excuse, “My dog ate my homework,” on a teacher? Success with that excuse now is nearly impossible, according to experts in educational book publishing. So much of what teachers currently do involves digital materials and tools that, short of a network failure or computer glitch, a student would be hard-pressed to come up with a similar excuse.
"We’ve almost become accustomed to an uninterrupted flow of bad news,” said Michael Healy, executive director of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) at the organization’s sixth-annual Making Information Pay event, held May 7 at the McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York City. Falling sales, shrinking margins, closing bookstores and job losses are among the negatives facing the industry, noted Healy.
I am galvanized. Not only have I always wanted to say that, but it’s true. I am in awe of what is happening in this industry. Attending Making Information Pay (MIP) a couple of weeks ago fueled this feeling. A few things, in particular, struck a chord.
10.5 million Number of sheets of paper that were used last year in Princeton University campus clusters—equivalent to 100,000 reams of paper, or about 5,000 trees. Princeton cited this figure on its Web site when explaining why it is participating in the Kindle DX E-reader Pilot Program this fall. The university hopes that students’ use of the Kindle DX will reduce their desire to print or photocopy without hindering their ability to learn.
In the current economy, the book manufacturing industry appears to be caught square between the proverbial rock and a hard place: on the one side, a publishing business suffering from decreased consumer demand and on the other, suppliers destabilized by the credit crunch. The industry, however, is showing surprising resiliency, having been thrust into difficult times with eyes wide open. Printers are determined to meet the challenge of a new marketplace defined by multiplatform delivery systems, environmental awareness and niche distribution models in the hopes that the post-“great recession” economy will find a book manufacturing industry emerging leaner, “greener” and more focused on the place of books in a digital age.
Maybe divine intervention will reverse the profit slide for religious book publishers. But industry experts believe it also would be prudent to consider scaling back on titles, reducing returns, making intelligent use of data, investing in digital opportunities and otherwise adapting business models for future success.
Publishers’ “green” efforts took center stage at the 3rd Annual SustainPrint Awards Dinner, held March 23 at New York City’s Marriott Marquis Times Square, during the Publishing Business Conference & Expo. Two book publishers were recognized for their significant achievements in environmental sustainability: Melcher Media—winner of the Newcomer of the Year Award in Book Publishing (awarded to a company that recently implemented significant environmental sustainability efforts)—and the University of California Press—winner of the Longtime Leader Award in Book Publishing (awarded to a company with a significant history of environmental sustainability). Boho magazine and Ogden Publications received this year’s SustainPrint Awards in magazine publishing.
It has been several months since Google’s preliminary out-of-court settlement with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild regarding Google Book Search, and the dust has yet to settle. The agreement’s true impact will only become apparent over time, as its terms are put into practice. The devil will be in the details of execution. This is a watershed event nonetheless and marks the beginning of a new era in content distribution. A few themes have emerged that will characterize this next phase.
Six Approximate number of titles HarperCollins expects to produce as video books, or v-books, which will be available for download on iPods and iPhones. The publisher released its first v-book, “What Would Google Do?” by Jeff Jarvis, last month; the print version of the title was released in January. The “Google” v-book, which retails for $9.99, features a 23-minute video of Jarvis discussing the basic concepts in the book.
Source: paidContent.org, Feb. 3, 2009
$0 Amount Massachusetts-based, nonprofit Concord Free Press charges consumers for its books, including shipping. In exchange, the publisher asks readers to make donations to a local charity or someone in need in their community, and to pass on the book. Concord plans to publish two titles a year as part of its effort to “expand the definition of publishing and re-invigorate the book” (according to its Web site). Each book will be limited to about 1,000 copies.
Judging from the prognostications that Pat Schroeder remembers hearing at publishing conferences a decade ago, most people today ought to be reading e-books and regarding print as a quaint relic of the past. That hasn’t happened, of course, and the president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) sees that fact as a useful caution when trying to predict the future of the industry. It’s easy to identify key factors, but misjudge their effect; trends that seem vitally important now could fade into obscurity, and the course of publishing could be shaped by things currently on no one’s radar screen.
One might think that all other problems fade into the background when there’s a recession, but for university presses, that’s certainly not true. Questions about changes in education funding and student habits rear up alongside concerns about preparing for the digital future; still, the country’s economic woes are plaguing university presses, and the stress is not likely to disappear anytime soon.
$100,000 The value of what is said to be the world’s most expensive book. “Michelangelo. La Dotta Mano,” which was recently published by Italy-based FMR, is a 62-pound, velvet- and marble-bound tome depicting the life and work of Michelangelo. It takes six months to make each book, and more than 20 copies have been sold.
Two events occurred recently that some have called the biggest news to hit the industry in decades. First was the announcement of the settlement between Google, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild, regarding Google’s controversial Book Search tool. The settlement allows Google to make millions of books available for consumers to read or buy through Google Book Search; but the big news is that Google will provide compensation to publishers and authors for their works. The settlement also established a Books Rights Registry (supported by the $125 million settlement paid by Google), which will monitor such compensation as well as work to resolve any additional disputes.
It is a challenging time to be a publisher, to be sure. David Hetherington, a 25-year book publishing veteran, describes the current climate as a “perfect storm, as various forces converge to create what may prove to be a truly unique ‘weather system’ for the book publishing industry.” He believes that the combination of the credit crisis and an economy in recession, coupled with a skittish consumer mentality, rising oil prices and the fluctuating dollar, will have a different impact on each major industry sector. “The question will be one of degree. Which sector,” he questions, “will have the toughest time, and how will they respond to the challenges?”