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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Publishing news from the weekend

Aside from enjoying the joys of freezing this past weekend (running in 18 degree weather can be motivating to finish faster than you thought possible). I was watching from the glow of my computer the happenings with Macmillan and Amazon.  It was fascinating stuff in the world of digital domains as stake holders continue to claim territory or at try to establish a working model that really works.  I am not versed enough in the complexities to render an opinion that would be worth much.  I at least I know where to look for someone who is in these issues and who provided some wonderful coverage.  I copied Mike Shatzkin's post from earlier today that does an amazing job of explaining this story in depth.

My interests are self preservation in wanting to make sure that BEA not only is a venue to get the latest and best information on the digital frontier for publishing, but also make certain that digital commerce is part of the BEA institution.

Things are changing faster than people can keep up with and companies are in a fight not to be stuck in a business model that is either unsustainable or will put them at a competitive disadvantage.   I would guess rights agreements written in 1960 probably were not too different than ones written in 1995 or even 2001.  It seems every rule is now being re-written or challenged.  With different publishers trying to establish terms that are not tested and affect multiple stake holders with different interests, the ride will be a rough one.  I thought of something I learned this past Friday when reading the news unfold from Amazon and Macmillan.   I had the pleasure of meeting Curtis Brown CEO Timothy Knowlton this past Friday.  I don't want to divulge anything that is proprietary, but speaking generally he shared that it took 2 years for his agency to negotiate the e-book rights for the estate of a prominent author they represent.  The fascinating tidbit is that while the e-book sales have performed well, it has not reflected in any drop off of the regular book sales for his author.  I wonder, when there is a working model that the industry can embrace - will people look back and see the opportunities that were lost?

Mike Shatzkin's Idea Logical post on Amazon vs. Macmillan



1 comment:

  1. Interesting comment that the e-book sales for this author did not reflect a drop in regular book sales.
    Recent, I read Sarah's Key on my Nook and went into B&N and saw the paperback with a reader's guide in the back including a suggested future reading list which I found useful so I bought the paperback even after reading Sarah's Key electronically.
    This is one way publishers can enchance their print versions of books and still increase audience interest and participation.
    Another way is to provide more opportunities to dialogue with authors - this is why BEA is so important to me.

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