This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
The team is working within the stone walls of the Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai — St. Catherine’s for short. For 17 centuries, the Greek Orthodox Christian monks here have protected an unparalleled trove of manuscripts. Now the monastery is in a multimillion-dollar push to physically and digitally protect its treasures and make them easily accessible, in most cases for the first time, to scholars around the world. In the process, the monks will establish a model for the preservation of irreplaceable ancient manuscripts in a world where more and more of them are threatened by the chaos of war and revolution.
(In 1931 in the US) … “In the entire country, there were only some four thousand places where a book could be purchased, and most of these were gift shops and stationary stores that carried only a few popular novels… In reality, there were but five hundred or so legitimate bookstores that warranted regular visits from publishers’ salesmen…
Furthermore, two-thirds of American counties — 66 percent! — had exactly 0 bookstores. It was a relatively tiny business centered in the urban areas of the country. Did some great books come out back then? Of course! But they were aimed only at the tiny percentage of the country that was visible to publishers of the time: sophisticated urban elites. It wasn’t that people couldn’t read; by 1940, UNESCO estimated that 95 percent of adults in America were literate. No, it’s just that the vast majority of adults were not considered to be part of the cultural enterprise of book publishing.
in the 50 years after Gutenberg’s invention, 20 million books were published, more than had been copied by all the scribes in Europe during the millennium before
The unmoored claims of the printed book elicited constant questions from its very beginnings: Was it a ‘true copy’ or did it misrepresent the manuscript… the print culture of the early nineteenth-century United States possessed a peculiar volatility all its own: it was a ‘culture of reprinting’ in which ‘circulation outstripped authorial and editorial control.’ … Magazine editors regularly republished each other’s articles, British and American ‘bookaneers’ competed to issue first editions on each shore or undersell existing editions, and writers often found their words altered, cut, rearranged, or attributed to others, or had unfamiliar words attributed to them. Printed texts cited, commented upon, and reappropriated each other to an extent that compares with the most viral internet meme. …
Improvements to the flat-bed press in the 1810s and 1820s, the introduction of horsepower in the 1820s and steam power a few years later, and the invention of the cylinder press in the 1830s greatly sped up production rates, as did the development of the stereotyping and electrotyping processes in the 1810s and 1840s, respectively. Former hand processes like paper and board manufacturing, typesetting, and binding were swiftly mechanized. By 1830 a single machine could make paper on rolls (rather than sheet by sheet, as hand production required) and cut it to size.
“Improved paper-making and binding techniques made possible two of the most spectacular feats of antebellum print technology: the ornate gift books, or literary annuals, which flourished around mid-century, and the ‘mammoth weeklies’ of the 1840s. Published at the end of the year to be exchanged as holiday presents, gift books compiled sentimental poetry, short fiction, and essays… The mammoth weeklies also capitalized on visual impact. Gigantic newspapers containing fiction (usually British reprints), some news, and usually incongruous illustrations, the mammoths competed to offer the largest editions; when the Universal Yankee Nation (motto: ‘The Largest Paper in All Creation’) emerged as the victor, it reached nearly eleven feet tall.
Writers who publish with Simon & Schuster were introduced Wednesday to its new author portal, which provides access to sales information about their books and a central set of tools for connecting with readers.
The sales information that authors can see includes the last six weeks of book sales from a variety of sources, divided by format. There are separate screens for e-book sales, hardcover sales, paperbacks and audiobooks….
Simon & Schuster is the first major publisher to publicly launch a sales information service for its authors. But it is not the first company to do so: That nod goes to retailer Amazon
Publishing houses are just a few years behind their brothers and sisters at record labels and newspapers in a sometimes slow and often painful process of reinventing 20th-century companies for 21st-century industries. … The problem for these companies is how to fund the aspects of their business that are still relevant — producing an album, say — without the revenues from the aspects that aren’t: record sales.
For publishers, the question is much the same. But the problem is not only for publishers — it’s also for us. What are the services that publishers provide that we really value? Is it well-designed book jackets? Maybe not. Is it thoughtful editing and careful editing? Maybe, but many people accustomed to reading lightly-edited posts on the web may think that this sort of production is overvalued.
Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers….
Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.
“It’s always the end of the world,” said Russell Grandinetti, one of Amazon’s top executives. “You could set your watch on it arriving.”
He pointed out, though, that the landscape was in some ways changing for the first time since Gutenberg invented the modern book nearly 600 years ago. “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader,” he said. “Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.”
Amazon has started giving all authors, whether it publishes them or not, direct access to highly coveted Nielsen BookScan sales data, which records how many physical books they are selling in individual markets like Milwaukee or New Orleans. It is introducing the sort of one-on-one communication between authors and their fans that used to happen only on book tours. It made an obscure German historical novel a runaway best seller without a single professional reviewer weighing in.
[Weil] pens welcome notes on her hand-made stationery to all new Twitter employees. …
“Paper has a particular appeal for those who spend hours at a time in front of a screen. Much of the recent small-stationery resurgence has taken place in letterpress printing, a method that uses raised type to make a deep impression in thick paper, creating a substantial, textured object. ‘You can pet it’
BookLamp is launching a new kind of book recommendation engine today that scans the texts of its partner publishers to establish what it calls “Book DNA.”
Much like Pandora assigns specific qualities to music, BookLamp measures the story components of a book (characteristics like history, domestic environments, physical injury) and how it’s written (density, pacing, dialog, description, motion).
It uses these descriptions to suggest books you might like based on a book you’ve liked in the past
In 2010 (US) publishers generated net revenue of $27.9 billion, a 5.6 percent increase over 2008. Publishers sold 2.57 billion books in all formats in 2010, a 4.1 percent increase since 2008.
… “We’re seeing a resurgence, and we’re seeing it across all markets — trade, academic, professional,” said Tina Jordan, the vice president of the Association of American Publishers…
One of the strongest growth areas was adult fiction, which had a revenue increase of 8.8 percent over three years.
E-books were another bright spot… In 2008 e-books were 0.6 percent of the total trade market; in 2010, they were 6.4 percent. Publishers have seen especially robust e-book sales in genre fiction like romance, mystery and thrillers, as well as literary fiction. In 2010, 114 million e-books were sold, the report said.
Kickstarter has become a much larger source of funding for comic book projects—larger than some established indie publishers. Even with a slow January, Kickstarter averaged just over $81,000 per month in funding for various comics-related projects. In May, the funding broke six figures with $102,110 split over 15 projects.
Eisler, who has been a NY Times Best Selling author of a variety of thrillers, has turned down a $500,000 publishing deal from a mainstream publisher, in order to self-publish his next book. … The key takeaway: the $500,000 comes with strings (as does any publishing deal), and in this case, Eisler feels he’s likely to be better off on his own.
Callaway believes publishers are fiddling while Rome burns. He has taken more drastic action. After 30 years, he has stopped publishing books. Instead, he now licenses his titles to publishers so he no longer has to print the books and be responsible for shipping and returns. … Now when he signs new authors it is with the notion that they will develop an interactive app first, not an old-fashioned book…
He says major publishers have yet to understand the changes afoot. “They are still thinking these are books in one form or another. They are not. They may originate … with a text book, but the finished product is not a book,” he said.
Callaway is not alone in such views. Forrester analyst James McQuivey predicts that e-ink readers like the Kindle will become less important as more and more manufacturers bring out tablet computers, and that once that shift happens, books will have to become more interactive if they are to remain vital.
McQuivey said publishers will have to ask themselves, “Why are you a book publisher? You are a story creator, an experience creator. That sounds a little dreamy … but if they don’t get themselves to that place, eventually someone else will.