May 12, 2009
From Yes! Magazine’s article about the International Book Fair in Cuba:
More than 300 publishing houses from more than 43 countries have set up stalls and events in the fortress. The book fair will stay in Havana for 11 days, then it will travel to 30 other cities across Cuba.
Last year more than 5 million people attended the book fair, purchasing more than 6 million books. To put this in context, Cuba has a population of 11.5 million people. That means nearly half the entire population goes to the book fair. Imagine participation on this scale anywhere else in the world. In the U.S., that would mean no less than 152 million people coming out to attend, of all things, a book fair.
Feb 13, 2009
Ars Technica reports on the latest effort to steer kids away from books:
Scholastic has enjoyed a good relationship with schools via its traveling book sales; these events have been a popular part of schools for children for many years. Now that toys and video games are starting to be pushed at these events however, some are questioning their educational worth.
Feb 12, 2009
Shitty times in the book biz mean bargains for readers as publishers slash prices to get some desperately needed cash flow.
AK Press & Distribution has discounted everything 20% - not only their titles but everything that they carry. (Sale through Feb 18.)
Chelsea Green has discounted over 30 titles, most by 50% to 80%.
Library of America has an overstock sale with discounts from 44% to 75%.
Any other sales going on? Let me know.
Feb 9, 2009
The HarperStudio blog has posted “The Top Three Stupid Things Publishers Do (According to an Independent Bookseller)“:
I met Praveen Madan, owner of Booksmith in San Francisco, and asked him for his “top three stupid things publishers do.” Here’s his response:
1. Publish too many bad books, get your sales reps to stuff the channel with too many bad books, and then complain that returns are too high
2. Not realize that, like other intermediaries, publishers are heading to extinction unless they learn to add value
3. Suffer from the illusion that after being in the publishing business for decades without a consumer brand, they can suddenly wake up and become meaningful brands in consumers’ minds
HarperStudio’s senior editor adds the top three stupid things that indie booksellers do, and a lot of readers have chimed in with further stupid things in the comments section.
Jan 29, 2009
In this weak, unfocused Slate article that’s kind of about bailing out the publishing industry or the future of publishing or something, there is a fascinating nugget:
In the mid-1980s, before he founded Slate, Michael Kinsley came up with an ingenious scheme to … stimulate the purchase of books and verify that buyers actually read them. Kinsley went into bookstores around Washington and inserted coupons redeemable for $5 in the back pages of trendy political best sellers. No readers ever claimed the prize, which he took as proof that people in Washington buy books to say they did rather than to read them.