Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy Book Publishers

The book industry is moving from the corporate publisher to the individual entrepreneurial author.  It has been for the past decade. Technology has allowed anyone to get published.  According to RR Bowker, which tracks book publishing, 133,000 titles were self-published in 2010, up significantly from the 51,000 released in 2006. Traditional publishing powerhouses have begun to feel the competition and see their sales eroding.  One big publisher has decided if you can’t beat them, join them.

Penguin Group recently launched a service for self-published authors. For a fee of $99 to $549, authors will be able to crank out books through its subsidiary, Book Country.  The books will be available as an e-book and print-on-demand.

For the publisher, it makes sense.  They earn revenue just for creating a book and then earn some from the sale of the book.  They may even discover some quality authors that they decide to publish with Penguin proper.

Book Country focuses on genre fiction which can be a tough area for no-name authors to crack. But by releasing enough titles, a few are sure to break through. There’s a lot of competition out there from distributors that cater to self-published authors, as well as services that e-publish, such as those available from Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

Will other major publishers follow suit?  Of course.  Publishing, long an industry that was resilient to change, is now all about reinventing itself and adapting to the new, ever changing marketplace.  More boundaries will fall – the lines are blurring as to who is a publisher, a retailer, an agent, and self-published vs. published.

Now the industry just needs to find more readers who have more time available to read all of these books.

Interview With Author Richard Crossley Is For The Birds!

Richard Crossley is an internationally acclaimed expert on birding. His book, The Crossley ID Guide from Princeton University Press, is an authoritative book on birding. He has spent a lifetime tracking birds across the world, having hitchhiked 100,000 miles to photograph birds. Planned Television Arts is working with his publisher to promote the book. Here is his interview with Book Marketing Buzz Blog:

  1. Your book, The Crossley ID Guide,  is legendary for millions of bird lovers. What was it like compiling the book’s photos and text? I'm not quite sure how to describe it.  It's well-documented that there are a lot of images to make up these plates (over 10,000).  Many of these, particularly flight shots of small birds, are very difficult to get. What might surprise many people is that it was even harder to create all the backgrounds so that the images looked seamless. I had constant 'want lists' so for several years, they were at the front and center of everything I did. It probably says a lot about my single-mindedness that I wanted to take them all so that it could truly be 'my' book. The text by comparison was straightforward. The hardest thing was being bold enough to write it the way I speak - straight-up with colorful language.

It's rare that I'm not working. My family moved my office from the third floor into the kids toy room so that I could actually see them while working!  My doctor said my back was so messed up that he recommended I take spinal epidurals from the weight of carrying the camera and I had to put it away - good luck with that one!

  1.  Richard, why the love affair with birds? I've given it a lot of thought over the years and the answer is I don't know.  I turned my back on the chance to sign professional papers for soccer and cricket as a kid.  Birding had the edge for me because I could do it 24 hours a day, wherever I was. There would never be a limit to where I went or how long I did it for.  I love travel and challenges.  The challenges of bird ID are something that will never be conquered.  There are other dynamics such as never knowing what you will find and the beauty of the birds and nature in general.  Migration fascinates me and is a major reason I moved from England to Cape May.  There are other reasons, though many of them have changed in importance over the years.

  1. What are you doing to promote and market your book? I have been traveling extensively and doing a fair amount of talks and book signings. We do some of the typical multi-media marketing. However, the biggest promotion of the book will be through the publication of the other 6 guides that Crossley Books is currently working on.

  1. Where do you think book publishing is heading? Isn't that the million dollar question? There is no obvious answer to that. With nature books this is particularly true. One of the uncertainties is created by economics. While nature books such as mine look stunning on a screen, the question is will people be prepared to pay for e-books? People have become used to getting e-products for free or very little. The Crossley ID Guide cost approximately quarter of a million dollars to make (not including my labor). Making such projects economically viable will become harder in the future. Books as we now know them will lose market share to digital formats. Expectations from books will also change. I think that people are going to expect more lifelike images with more information, such as in my guide. This will make books whether paint-based, photographic or using other mediums, more expensive to make. How to make this pay will be the question.

  1. Why are we fascinated with things that fly? Wouldn't it be great if we could just up and fly around? Heck, it would beat walking. I for one would love to be 'free as a bird'.
 Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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