Books are Back: Romanticism Lives!

by Cynthia W. Moore

I Love Books

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Digital Book World published an article on their blog entitled “Who Cares How You Read? Just Read.”  Writer Laura Brady wrote that “There has been a lot of press lately about data that looks like it’s pointing to declining book sales and surging print sales.”  Well, if third quarter data counts as data, she is, indeed, correct.  Publisher’s Weekly recently posted that third quarter eBook sales were “down” at HarperCollins and “weak” at Penguin Random House.  Is the ever-climbing eBook sales graph line headed to the long tail?  Perish the thought!

The digital publishing industry is just hitting puberty and suitors of all kinds are lining up at the door.  Brady writes that, although she is now an eBook developer, she “loves books [and] started working in publishing because of a romantic idea of what books and the people who publish them are all about.”  She even admits that she doesn’t “apply the same romanticism to the business she works in now.”  Ah, there’s the rub.  People really do have an attachment to their books.  Reading books digitally is utilitarian.  You can’t really cuddle up to an e-reader, but you can get your work done.

Even playground bully Amazon has weighed in on the disruptive mess it has created by changing its status to brick-and-mortar bookstore owner as well.  Many “Like” the move and the comments are overwhelmingly favorable.

Laura Brady, though, is really addressing publishers and doing some much-needed PR for eBooks:

“I think there are certainly a lot of misconceptions about ebooks—that they can’t be nicely-designed, that they are worth less than print, that reading them is a “less-than” experience. None of these things are true. But they will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if publishers believe them and put little to no energy or creative attention into their digital publishing programs. Just like mass market paperbacks upended a staid publishing culture in the ‘30s, ebooks aren’t going anywhere and need to be a critical part of the publishing planning process.”

Brady goes on to say that “Some of us are working constantly to make future-proof ebooks that are nice to look at and easy to consume despite the confusing proliferation of specs and devices.”  Apparently it is up to publishers to save eBooks’ fourth quarter sales and thereby the industry overall.  Sometimes, though, I like rooting for the underdog and unlike Brady, I do “get jazzed by the smell of paper” in a newly purchased book.



Cynthia Moore is a writer and former educator who joined the M.P.S. in Publishing program at The George Washington University to gain cutting edge industry know-how to launch her own publishing venture.


Giving More Thought to Social Media Marketing

As the soon-to-be Social Media manager of a growing entertainment blog, I’ve had to do a lot of thinking on how websites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram can be used to build an audience. This is a plight I think many content creators (authors, companies, YouTubers) have to think about when they decide to use Social Media as a marketing device.

As Chris Syme writes in his article, you have to separate strategy from tactic.

The truth is, success is not about finding the right channel,” Syme writes, “it’s about defining strategy first, and then plugging in the right channels to reach your goals. Facebook is not a strategy. It’s a tactic.” [x]

This was something I hadn’t considered until reading his article. HyPursuit–the blog I write for–just informed me they had planned to use Facebook for the Social Media outlet. While this is a smart tactic (they have over 14,000 likes on their Facebook page as opposed to 7,000 followers on Twitter) it isn’t much of a strategy.

After reading Syme’s article, I’m now starting to think more into the “why” using Facebook is the right option to market the HyPursuit brand.  As in, “why do I want to maintain a presence on Facebook?” (Chris Syme).

It’s something I would really encourage anyone who wants to start using Social Media in this way to start doing because understanding Strategy VS. Tactic could be the deciding factor in how fast your audience grows.

For more information on this I highly recommend reading Chris Syme’s article.

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Is Electronic Publishing the Future for the Education Market?

By Sherrie Wilkolaski

Publishers in the education market are looking to electronic publishing and other digital educational tools as a way to improve the learning process and manipulate their educational text. The printed textbook is starting to look a bit old-fashioned when you compare it to high-tech tablet in the classroom. Leading educational publishers are taking big steps to utilize technology when it comes to publishing. In early September, BookBusiness reported that, “Hachette Livre, the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world, announced a partnership with leading adaptive learning company Knewton”.

The collaboration between Hachette Livre and Knewton is a step in the right direction and with both companies being industries leaders in what they do, I look forward to seeing what they can do together to improve the future of education. We’re living in a world where electronic information is free-flowing in all areas of life. Why should the education process be any different? As a current student who was looking for an online learning alternative, I was surprised to learn during my quest for an online graduate program, that more schools were not offering what I was looking for. There are many schools who are doing an excellent job at utilizing a virtual and electronic classroom, such as The George Washington University, but still there is room for growth.

Only days before the announcement of the Hachette Livre and Knewton partnership, McGraw Hill Education revealed they will be going public. They reach both the K-12 markets and higher education, and per the Insider Trading Report, they noted, McGraw Hill Education, “also makes products for specific needs of companies, academic institutions, libraries and hospitals.” They will be focusing on “developing educational content technology” and their announcement is another indicator that the educational publishing is looking to electronic publishing and technology as the future.

What does all this electronic publishing mean for students? Will electronic publishing ultimately create a better leaning environment? Will new learning technologies replace the textbook and provide a less expensive alternative? The overall electronic publishing market is still a new experience and collaboration between educators and students, will help to guide publishers and technology experts to create a positive learning environment.  Only time will tell.

To read an additional article published by the Washington Post about a GWU student’s textbook experience, check out the article, “How college students can save money on pricey textbooks” by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel.

BlueInk Review

Publishing Perspectives, an online trade journal, has a monthly post that holds some importance. Each month, they post top reviews from BlueInk Review, which is a service that reviews self-published books.

Why It’s Important:

A common denominator in the argument against self-publishing is that it will flood the market with a lot of terrible work. There is excellent work being self-published right now, but it is often difficult to find. However, with services like BlueInk Review, readers can still discover those gems of writing that haven’t been published via mainstream trade houses.

There is still an issue of discoverability, though, as I myself did not know about BlueInk Review until Publishing Perspectives posted their top reviews. This is why I think it is important that trade journals and websites make this information more accessible. A monthly post dedicated to self-published works is nothing to sniff at, and BlueInk Review along with the common reader can thank Publishing Perspectives for their dedication to all books, no matter the method used for publishing.

Check out the list at the link below. I personally would like to look up Ladies in Low Places!

-Briana Farr