Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘economics of publishing’

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Feed your head—and your stomach—at La Pizzateca

A new shop in Madrid, La Pizzateca, serves up tasty combos of books and pizza. Reports Springwise: The brainchild of Spanish publisher ES Ediciones, La Pizzateca offers a wide range of artisanal pizzas and calzones made from natural ingredients for enjoyment in-house or to go. It’s also a bookstore, however, and it even offers specials to encourage both pursuits. One, for example — dubbed the “menú de las letras” — includes a slice of pizza and a book for just EUR 5. Sounds like a clever new way to market books—and I love the idea of pairing pizzas with literature, […]

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26 years old. 100,000+ ebooks sold per month. The future of electronic publishing?

Is self-publishing really a viable option for writers? It is for Amanda Hocking. USA Today reports on the 26-year-old self-published success story: Fed up with attempts to find a traditional publisher for her young-adult paranormal novels, Hocking self-published last March and began selling her novels on online bookstores like Amazon and By May she was selling hundreds; by June, thousands. She sold 164,000 books in 2010. Most were low-priced (99 cents to $2.99) digital downloads. More astounding: This January she sold more than 450,000 copies of her nine titles. More than 99% were e-books. Internet-fiction site Novelr analyzes how […]

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When to stop working for free …

A few weeks back, I blogged about the AOL purchase of the Huffington Post and the questions and ethics of when writers choose to write for free. Yesterday, GalleyCat reported that Visual Art Source publisher Bill Lasarow has ceased to post his content for free on the HuffPo site and calls for a more general bloggers’ strike. In Lasarow’s original manifesto on why he feels strongly about this issue, he states: We think it is incumbent upon the many writers and bloggers to form a negotiating partnership with Huffington/AOL in order to pursue these and other important matters so as […]

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Psst! I'll give you print books for that Kindle.

Having post-holiday Kindle regret? Microcosm Publishing, of Portland, OR, will trade $189 worth of paper books for your used Kindle. (Via.) Says the publisher’s website: Beginning RIGHT NOW you can bring in your Christmas Kindle to the Microcosm store in Portland (636 SE 11th) and trade it in for its worth in new or used books and zines! That’s right! Why let fad technology kill print when you can take a stand and fill up your shelves in the process. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell your parents.) And make sure to bring a friend to help you carry all your […]

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A bad time for writers? Not if you're a "debutant."

True or false: It’s harder now to get published than ever. Answer: It depends. In the Financial Times, Adrian Turpin argues that the picture for debut novelists isn’t as bleak as you’d think: For most literary authors, the not-so-brave new world of publishing by numbers is terrible news. But there is one type of writer exempt from its strictures: the first novelist. Unsullied by inconvenient sales figures, the debutant exists uniquely in a state of prelapsarian grace, a blank canvas on which publishers can dream. […] Even recession has failed to dent the perennial desire for the new. While the […]

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Got 10 Minutes? Save Publishing!

Supply and demand is the basic rule of economics. But will it work for books? Author Sean Cummings thinks so. He’s created a Facebook group and an accompanying website called “Save Publishing! Read a Book at Bedtime.” The site’s rationale: Read what you like. A magazine, a newspaper or a book. Read it in print or on an eBook reader or an iPad – whatever. Just ten minutes a night, a tiny commitment but an important one. If enough people will commit to reading at bedtime for ten minutes, they’ll eventually finish the books they’re reading. If they continue to […]

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Save Harper's Magazine

For the last several months, Harper’s staff, recently unionized, has been in conflict with the magazine’s publisher, John R. “Rick” MacArthur. The disagreements stem from various sources, which have been outlined in two recent articles in New York Magazine, here and here. In short: MacArthur is resistant to other avenues of revenue, including fund raising. Instead, having already cut the size and payroll of the editorial staff, which lost four senior editors and its web editor in 2010, MacArthur is now insisting that it’s necessary to lay off, immediately, two of the magazine’s most experienced editors, one of whom is […]

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The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers, Second Edition, by Betsy Lerner

After its publication in 2000, the first edition of Betsy Lerner’s The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers became one of my students’ favorite writing books, and over time it became my go-to gift to graduating seniors with whom I’d formed a special bond, and whose persistence I hoped to bolster in those daunting years ahead. I even kept a small stash of copies in my office. So it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to this second edition, published in October 2010.

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Mischief + Mayhem (and a party)

Ever wonder if ‘power to the people’ is just a pipe dream? A few years back, writers Lisa Dierbeck, Joshua Furst, DW Gibson, Dale Peck and Choire Sicha decided to put art to the test and formed a collective called Mischief + Mayhem. From their site: The collective came together in response to the increasingly homogenized books that corporate publishers and chain retailers have determined will sell the most copies. We recognize that there are readers who want to be challenged instead of placated. The collective intends to promulgate writing unconcerned with having to please conservative editorial boards or corporate […]

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(How) Do Authors Make Money?

Tim Ferriss, author of the Kindle-published The 4-Hour Work Week, has an interesting look at the economics of how writers get paid: – For a hardcover book, authors typically receive a 10-15% royalty on cover price. This means that for a $20 cover price, the author will receive $2-3. If you have a $50,000 advance, a $20 cover price, and a 10% royalty, you therefore need to sell 25,000 copies (“earn out” the advance) before you receive your first dollar beyond the advance. This is the basic rule, but several quietly aggressive outfits — both Barnes and Noble’s in-house imprint […]