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Antitrust Enforcement Gone Wild, eBook Edition
June 8, 2012

If you’ve been reading along with this blog, you know that I think antitrust enforcement has gone too far. New examples pop up every day, but perhaps none more bizarrely circular than the one that has reentered the news cycle today: the eBook antitrust lawsuit, wherein the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is beating up on book publishers for working together to get some leverage against Amazon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a proud member of Amazon Prime and the UPS guy is the most frequent visitor to my home. But Amazon is the closest thing to a

A New and Powerful Book Industry Sector Is Born
June 7, 2010

Self-publishing and online services, e-books, and digital demand printing are joined into a new and powerful sector that is transforming the industry. For industry professionals whose career satisfactions and livelihoods are bonded to the future of the book, this new sector offers a wild ride and a venturesome future.

18 Tips for Environmentally Conscious Publishing
December 1, 2007

1. Make “green” publishing company policy. That may sound daunting, but it can be done. Tyson Miller, director of the nonprofit Green Press Initiative (GPI), which helps publishers make informed environmental choices, suggests publishers make a commitment that demonstrates to printers, suppliers and mills that the market is shifting, and they will need to invest in developing new papers to meet the growing need. “Publisher commitments have been instrumental in the development of 24 new environmental sheets in North America within the last four years. The policy or commitment also serves to reinforce environmental responsibility as a priority in addition to creating cohesion within

Are You the Weakest Link?
March 1, 2007

As I was preparing for this column, I came across the following statement in a brochure prepared by Strategos, strategic planning consultants, that I picked up at an event a few years ago: “What’s amazing is how often top management is surprised when dramatic external change happens. Why the surprise? Is it that the world is violently turbulent, changing in ways that simply cannot be anticipated? Perhaps. But we call them ‘inevitable surprises.’ Think about it. In retrospect, you could have anticipated most of the disruptions in your industry. You can build this capability into your organization. You can be prepared—before your competition.”

Vintage Books Uses ‘New Approach’ to Crashing a Book Project
February 1, 2007

Official government documents may not have topped most holiday wish lists in the past, but several such reports found their ways under Christmas trees with increasing frequency the last several years. “The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward—A New Approach” hit bookshelves in early December 2006 and, like a couple of its recent predecessors, has earned overwhelming success. Already in its third printing at the time of this story, the book’s release was made all the more remarkable by the circumstances surrounding its publication: a 24-day turnaround time. Government reports have, on occasion, sounded blips on literary radar screens in the past—perhaps most

Communications Works for Those Who Work At It
October 1, 2006

We’ve printed books locally, in Canada, and overseas. We’ve dealt with printing companies who couldn’t get much beyond the pre-press process and others that couldn’t manage shipping the final product. We’ve had companies use our projects to train their staff without our knowledge. We’ve had finished books held up in customs for months, sitting tantalizingly at a dock less than a day’s drive away. How, as a publisher, can you know what to expect from your printer? I’ve learned the hard way that, at least in the book printing business, size doesn’t matter. We’ve been burned by one of the 10 largest printers in the

Distribution:Are We Getting Swept Up in ‘The Tail?’
October 1, 2006

If there’s ever a good time to talk about the state of book distribution, this would be it. Right now, everyone is abuzz about changes occurring within the system thanks in part to the July release of Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.” Anderson, editor of Wired magazine, declares the demise of common culture and cites occurrences called “long-tailed distributions,” or distributions to a greater number of smaller markets, rather than one, big mass market. According to Anderson, this helps distributors since they are no longer cut off by bottlenecks of distribution, such as limited

Quality Sales Materials on the Fly
February 1, 2006

Thompson West reveals details behind its new online collateral-ordering system where sales reps can customize, get estimates and order sales promotions from their desktops. Thomson West is a leading provider of integrated information solutions to the U.S. legal market, selling legal books and online services to law students, lawyers, and law librarians. It has 2,000 sales representatives, tasked with promoting the company brand and selling a wide range of legal products. As in any company, each sales representative relies on marketing material to help him achieve his sales goals. These materials can include: direct mail, product collateral, and event invitations and signage

Quality Sales Materials on the Fly
February 1, 2006

Thomson West is a leading provider of integrated information solutions to the U.S. legal market, selling legal books and online services to law students, lawyers, and law librarians. It has 2,000 sales representatives, tasked with promoting the company brand and selling a wide range of legal products. As in any company, each sales representative relies on marketing material to help him achieve his sales goals. These materials can include: direct mail, product collateral, and event invitations and signage that is customized for their target audiences and product lines. Traditionally, the sales representatives would work with Thompson West’s creative services department to create marketing pieces

Ames Eases Content Conversion
May 1, 2003

Ames On-Demand has released a new version of its popular BookBuild online ordering and content management system. The new release helps publishers better communicate with creative staff, and more easily reuse content across multiple publications, company officials say. It remains directly connected to Ames' high-speed digital presses, allowing custom publishers to manage content, order, and printing entirely online. The update, dubbed version 3.0, provides publishers and writers with a centrally shared, secure publication repository. Users can upload and store content as separate elements, such as chapters, tables of contents, and graphics. Using an online form, publishers can drag+drop the content into templates, get