You walk into the bookstore, past the tables of "Books for This Month's Holiday," and find your way to the Foreign Language section. Bring up your bébé in French; speak Chinese like a Tiger Mom; have a conversation in Russian that would warm the cockles of Putin's heart—it's all here. And if you already know a foreign language—Spanish, say—you'll also find novels and self-help books right next to "500 Spanish Verbs."
While the term "self-publishing" still may carry a stigma for many in the book industry, the ranks of major publishers embracing the concept are on the rise, and Bloomington, Ind.-based Author Solutions Inc. (ASI) is a part of that turning tide.
Carol Aebersold and her daughter, Chanda Bell, knew they had a winning idea when they transformed their family tradition into a book, “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.” But when they submitted the book—about how Santa disperses helper elves to watch boys and girls during the holidays and report back to him nightly at the North Pole—to publishers, no one wanted to take a chance on the concept.
As an author of Internet-marketing books and the former Web editor for Chelsea Green Publishing, Jesse S. McDougall knows a bit about using the Internet—and specifically, social media marketing—to sell books.
With a partnership with Barnes & Noble anchoring the late-2009 debut of its eReader, Netherlands-based IREX Technologies hopes to propel its new e-reading device to the top of the marketplace, according to North American CEO Kevin Hamilton. In addition to the more than 750,000 e-book titles eReader users may purchase through Barnes & Noble's eBookstore—many of which are priced at $9.99—IREX's new device also will allow users to download outside content, such as from Google—a feature that distinguishes it from Amazon's Kindle.
Earlier this month, research company Flurry (Flurry.com) reported that between April and July, the number of digital book application users increased by 300 percent. In July, Flurry tracked nearly 3 million active e-book application users on smartphones. While these numbers may make many book publishers think, "We need to start offering this," a number of publishers already are active in the mobile e-book application space, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH).