“There is absolutely no correlation among advances paid or sales or price or buzz or anything and talent. If there were, Paris Hilton would not have received a dime from a publisher.” Industry specialist Kassia Krozser looks at the crisis in quality and pricing amid the digital upheaval in publishing today. This and a range of other issues from publishing.
This week in Writing on the Ether: Literature and long lines / The AWP conference sits down in Chicago … Open sorcery / A call for industry-class conferences (not more AWP-level confabs) for authors … Amazon / Some embrace it, others run from it … plus book piracy, Google, Apple, reading, and Virginia Woolf (this week’s Last Gas).
Can real sense ever be made of the digital disruption of publishing — mothership retailers hovering in cyberspace over flocks of woolgathering independents in pastures below — if the core industry’s relationship with writers isn’t addressed? During discussions of the new incident between Amazon and the Independent Publishers Group (more on that below), I’ve been reminded by our colleague, Andrew Rhomberg in London, of the phrase “creative destruction” from economic theory.
ToC: Techno-calities: Locution, locution, locution. In its sixth year, the Tools of Change Conference — just closed in New York City — easily held its own as one of publishing’s two great confabs of a stressful year, the other being last month’s Digital Book World Conference + Expo. And when it comes to locution, ye shall know them by how they say “data.”
Even in the Battle for the Showroom, odd alliances may already be springing up. Barnes and Noble has issued a powerful condemnation of Amazon, claiming the Internet retailer has “undermined the industry as a whole and prevented millions of customers from having access to content…as they continue to pull content off the market for their own self interest.” But in an unexpected turn, authors may be in the first wave B&N has to fight.
When did we all descend into the Valley of the Corporate-Cute? Shall we say with straight faces that the brave Tunisians – whose dogged grace inaugurated the Arab Spring — tweeted their way to freedom? I suppose they’re lucky that Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and “Biz” Stone didn’t consign them to quacking in glory or chirping their triumph. And does it make you love a social networking/sharing/bookmarking service better to find it spelled Tumblr instead of Tumbler? Flickr instead of Flicker? Licorize, Pinterest, YouTube.
There’s something about the stance of writers in the publishing community right now that isn’t quite what it should be. I don’t have to get too specific in describing this. It’s never more evident than at this time of year when two of our biggest conferences are choreographed to pass in the night.