Showing all posts tagged: publishing
8 August 2023
The book publisher is said to have been bought for US$1.62 billion, reports The Guardian. This in the wake of the failed 2020 takeover attempt by Penguin Random House, which was blocked in late 2022, by a US court.
Late in 2020, Paramount had announced the sale of Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2.2bn, a deal that would have made the new company by far the biggest in the US. But the Department of Justice, which under the Biden administration has taken a tougher stance on mergers compared to other recent presidencies, sued to block the sale in 2021.
I don’t know a whole lot about the book publishing business, but US$1.62 billion seems like quite a bargain to me.
29 July 2023
A few weeks ago, I wrote about two authors, Mona Awad and Paul Tremblay, who had filed a law suit against OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT. Awad and Tremblay were claiming books they had written were being used to help “train” the AI powered chatbot. They say this had happened without their prior knowledge or permission.
It now looks like there may be a solution to this problem, but not perhaps the one writers have been seeking. According to a tweet by the Australian Society of Authors (ASA), some book publishers in the United States are adding clauses to their publishing contracts, allowing the works of authors to be used to train generative chatbots:
We know that some terms of service in publishing have already included clauses allowing the use of authors’ work to train AI and we are now hearing that authors in the US are being asked by publishers to agree to clauses which allow their work to be used to train generative AI.
That’s sure as hell one way to “solve” the problem. But I wonder if authors agreeing to their works being used in this fashion are being offered additional remuneration? And what of writers who disagree with such a proviso? Do their works go unpublished?
11 July 2023
Well this wasn’t part of the plan. Imagine you’ve set yourself up as the editor of a (possibly informal) email newsletter featuring (what you consider to be) interesting, funny, and quirky links.
Except no one you send the newsletter to (possibly whether they wish to receive it or not) seems to find anything you’ve compiled to be the least bit amusing. Welcome to the world of online (sort of) publishing. The only consolation (maybe) is no one can unsubscribe.
But stick with it I say, you never know when you might strike a chord with someone one day.
3 July 2023
A first edition print of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in the Harry Potter series, published in 1997, will be auctioned later this week and may fetch up to five thousand pounds. A British collector of books and memorabilia, who died recently, had purchased the title, which was one of a print run of five-hundred copies, from a library for thirty pence.
First edition books, as the term suggests, are the first published copies of a book, and as such are often of interest to book collectors.
16 June 2023
On the subject of self-publishing, retired Australian horticulturist journalist and foreign aid researcher Helen Moody recently published her own book, South Coast Islands NSW. While Moody’s title is selling well, six-hundred copies from a print run of seven-hundred have sold, Moody was surprised at the difficultly entailed by self-publishing:
However, Moody says if she’d known how difficult it was to self-publish, she would have never started. “I’ve had to be author, administrator, finance officer, event organiser, delivery driver, marketing and promotion officer,” she said.
16 June 2023
A fascinating overview of the book publishing industry in Australia, and probably globally, by Dave Gow, who recently went through the process of self-publishing a book:
Traditional book publishers are essentially operating like startup investors or venture capitalists. They make a string of bets on authors and hope that one or two out of ten pays off big. This way, they make enough to cover the losses on others and come out with a reasonable profit.
From what I can gather, Gow enjoyed some success by taking the self-publishing route.
26 April 2023
A recent survey conducted by British book industry magazine The Bookseller, found a little over half of first time authors did not finding the publishing experience positive:
Among the majority who said they had a negative experience of debut publication, anxiety, stress, depression and “lowered” self-esteem were cited, with lack of support, guidance or clear and professional communication from their publisher among the factors that contributed.
There seemed to be little difference between independent and “big four” publishers, according to survey participants. Making for a smoother experience for first time authors seems to be something all publishers need to focus on.
13 April 2023
Katherine Day writing for The Conversation:
“The entire industry is based on hunches,” says literary agent Martin Shaw, who was head book buyer at Readings for 20 years before he became an agent. “More than half the books you publish either lose money or don’t make money. And that’s true — week in, week out, year in year out — whether you’re a small, medium or big publisher,” claims Henry Rosenbloom, founder of Scribe Publications, which has been acquiring books since 1976. This can be a heartbreaking reality for the in-house staff. “I’ve personally spent months editing books, and you publish the book and no one’s interested,” Henry adds.
I wonder how the publishing industry could not be based on hunches. Unless you’re publishing a big-name, well established (and even then nothing’s ever guaranteed) author, how does anyone know how a new book might be received?
25 March 2023
Constance Grady, writing for Vox, on the impact BookTok — the book lovers’ community within video-sharing platform TikTok — has had on book sales in recent years. In terms of the American book market at least, BookTok is almost unrivalled when it comes to selling books. That could come down to the (unrivalled) sincerity of BookTokers, when they talk about their favourite novels:
The main reason BookTok sells so many books, according to most of the BookTokers I talked to, is because it feels authentic and personal. TikTok’s native format of short, punchy videos and culture of casual chattiness combine to create an atmosphere of intense intimacy between content creators and their audience. In the book world, that kind of intimacy and emotional connection is rare. All the caps-locked blog posts in the world can’t match the visceral force of a camera on a real person’s tearstained face as they sob over their favorite books — books that could easily become your favorites, too, if you want to buy them.
Grady also explores the matter of remuneration. Some BookTokers are making a living from their channels, but many are wary about accepting payments from book publishers. Others of course do, but usually declare which of their posts are sponsored, and which are not.
I’m not sure it’s territory I’d like to venture into. As regular readers know, I frequently feature new and recently published books, that are usually Australian. But they are outlines, and seldom reviews, and are written at my own volition, and not at the request of anyone else.
22 March 2023
I might notice that the portrayal of a cultural activity is off: Australians talk about going ‘to the footy’ but not ‘to the ball game’.
The article I link to was published about three and a half years ago. Sensitivity readers aren’t exactly new, it’s just we’ve been hearing a lot about their work recently.