Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10 Publishing Websites To Watch In 2012

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Interview With Author, Former Business Week Book Reviewer Hardy Green

Hardy Green is the author of two books, including most recently The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills That Shaped the American Economy (Basic Books, 2010), which The New York Times called “a collection of important, well-told stories about the contradictions, inequities and possibilities of American capitalism.” A former BusinessWeek associate editor, his articles have appeared in Fortune,, The Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly, and the French newsweekly Le Point. He has taught history at Stony Brook University, from which he holds a PhD in U.S. History. He lives in New York City and blogs at His interview with Book Marketing Buzz Blog is below:

1.      Hardy, you are the former associate editor at BusinessWeek and from 1995-2009, you were the steward of the magazine’s respected and influential book review section. Do you miss reviewing books for them?   Yes, indeed, and I feel that I should have reviewed more books personally, rather than assigning reviews to other folks. Book reviews seem to be an endangered species these days--such a shame. Since my time at BW, I have written some reviews or book-related features--for, Fortune, AOL, and others. But it seems that the number of outlets is dwindling rapidly. Until recently, I have pitched reviews to various publications, and they often don't even have the courtesy to respond with an e-mailed form letter.

2.      What do you do now? I have become a full-time author, having written a well-reviewed (!) book, "The Company Town," and worked on several other projects. I am laboring to put together another project, either as a ghost writer or on my own. As with many, many people, the future remains uncertain.

3.       You are also a published author, so you know what it is like to promote a book. what do you see as the challenges/rewards for authors these days? Everything, I'm afraid. I suspect those who prosper will have conquered social networking, although that's a bit like organizing a political campaign from the grassroots. (I always think of George Washington Plunkett.) Good writers can get positive reviews in such places as The New York Times or The Economist, but may wind up with little visibility in the bookstores that remain. Meanwhile, I will admit that it's very fulfilling--at least in the short term--to be interviewed on television or NPR or call-in radio shows. It's a funny irony: Certain news outlets depend on book authors to generate content--meanwhile, their listeners have short attention spans, less money to spend on books, and overall are less inclined to purchase books.

4.      Where do you see book publishing heading, as an industry? Maybe to a better place. E-books, boutique publishers, niche audiences--as with the Web, there is the possibility that book authors will find more readers once there's clearly less emphasis on mass audiences. As with independent film-making, which has flourished with everything from The King's Speech to the plethora of currently available documentaries, it could be that book authors will be freer to find audiences that truly suit them in decades to come.

Information Fills the Future

The New York Times’ science section yesterday had an interesting story about reader predictions for the future. Predictions were made by various experts and the readers added their own and pushed the timeline of when such predictions would come true. None of the predictions specifically involved books, but many of them discuss how information will be found, used and stored. Here are some of the predictions from the article:

·         Google will invent a way, via the smart phone, to create real-time language translation so that anyone can communicate with anybody, face-to-face or from around the world.

·         Scientists will learn how to map a person’s brain and download their memories, knowledge and wisdom – and it may be that people can transfer this information to another body.

·         Electronic ink will become as flexible and as thin as paper.

·         Enhanced intelligence will come to humans with embedded processors and nanotechnology, a little like The Bionic Man/Woman or The Terminator.

·         Personalized descriptions of what and who is around you will be available, perhaps on a smart phone.  A “halo of data” will constantly accompany us, much like we can observe one’s size, color, height, age only if the information would be far deeper and more like life’s resume.

·         Perhaps the one concept, if it came to pass, is the one predicted for 2259:  collective learning that would make at least non-fiction books nearly obsolete;

“Old knowledge will not have to be learned; only new knowledge will need to be created.  Learning will become obsolete.  All known knowledge will be contained on a supercomputer. Individuals can download all known knowledge pertaining to any subject directly to the brain.”

Some predictions seem likely to come true.  It’s just a matter of when.  After reading these predictions you conclude that some will eventually happen, and they will be game-changers, making life today seem like the Stone Age.

Making predictions is almost as much fun as seeing them come true.. The tricky thing here is that predictions are made based only on facts of today’s world and fail to take into account what will exist in a few years, for those new inventions of say 2016 will then radically alter our development of other inventions.  How can one predict, with any accuracy, how something that never existed will not only exist but then will be expanded into something even bigger and greater?  My guess is that too many factors can weigh in on our potential progress – it’s not just our ability to think and create that will limit or boost us – it will be factors such as disease, war, economy, and natural disaster, and politics that will greatly influence (enhance or stifle) the kind of world that will exist in the future.

I do predict one thing that will come true: We will always make predictions and some of them will eventually come to fruition. Which ones and when is anyone’s guess.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Planned Television Arts. 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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