Books to the Sky

Archive for the ‘publishing’ Category

Full disclosure: I’ve worked in the publishing industry for 7 years. I don’t make a very good industry insider, because I work mostly on textbooks and nonfiction (which the cool people aren’t really talking about) and these days I do more production editorial work than anything else, so I’m no longer even tangentially involved in acquisitions. Still, I know how the industry works. I know it’s run by savvy marketing types who don’t really read or even know how books are put together. This isn’t universally true, but it seems to me that a lot of these “savvy” marketing types are really missing the boat about the directions publishing could go in.

Ebooks should be a no-brainer. They cost significantly less to produce, since you don’t have to buy paper or time at the printer. They’re easier to archive, less likely to go out of print. Your customer base can get them from the convenience of their home without going to a store or waiting for books to ship.

But, I get it, ebook readers are still expensive, and reading an ebook on a computer screen sucks. So we still need paper books. But what I don’t get is why publishers aren’t better catering to the subset of the population from which they can make easy money.

Well, and by this, I mean me. I own a Kindle, y’all should be catering to me.

And also Sarah at Smart Bitches who says:

I WILL NOT BUY A HARDBACK BECAUSE YOU WANT ME TO, BECAUSE IT’S BETTER FOR YOUR REVENUE STREAM.

I WANT EBOOKS. I WANT DIGITAL BOOKS. I DO NOT WANT HARDBACKS.

YOU CANNOT MAKE ME BUY THEM. YOU ONLY COST YOURSELF THE REVENUE OF MY PURCHASE.

Amen, sister!

If you haven’t already heard this, Amazon has stopped listing sales rankings for books with LGBT themes. The excuse they offer is that LGBT books have adult themes, and they are thus inappropriate for some search engines, but a bunch of bloggers have done some digging, and apparently Playboy and a whole lot of hetero erotic lit are still getting ranked, but YA novels with gay characters but no sex are not.

There’s a Google bomb afoot: Amazon rank. I’m just doing my part. I’ve also seen a Twitter hashtag “#amazonfail”. And a few people are even boycotting Amazon until this is sorted out. I’m personally tempted to download a whole lot of gay romance just to spite Amazon, although maybe it’s better to buy ebooks from their publishers instead of through Amazon for a while, Kindle or no. Hmm.

Feel free to say vitriolic things in the comments.

Via Jez (I’ve misplaced the link itself), The Independent reported recently on the boom in romance fiction and the ever-widening scope of what “romance fiction” entails.  It’s a pretty lengthy piece, touching on a lot of aspects of the industry today.

I found it especially interesting that, during WWII, one major British romance publisher escaped paper rationing in order to “maintain the morale of women who were working for the war effort.”  The son of the company’s co-founder called the company “better than valium.”

And I believe it.  Unlike romance novels, no one’s selling valium out of a milk crate for $.50 a hit on East 4th.

In honor of its 60th anniversary, Harlequin has 16 free ebooks available for download. Since all romance novels, good bad and otherwise, get me a little giddy, I just downloaded a bunch of them. It’s hard to say no to free books.


Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
--Arnold Lobel

From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
--Groucho Marx

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We're looking for a few more people as devoted to guilty-pleasure reading as we are! Email bookssky (at) fshk (dot) net!