About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Publishing Links

Talk about your interesting news days!

The Publishers Weekly Daily E-mail newsletter has this. (You'll have to click and see if you can get right at the article or need to register.) Forget about the Kindle and the Nook, soon we can also play with the Skiff Reader and the Apple Tablet and the Microsoft Courier and oh so much more. With screens that bend, or with 2 screens, or with really really big screens. Fasten your seatbelts, it promises to be an interesting ride...

And then their roundup of other news of the day sends us all off to this Salon article about the effect of the Apple Tablet. I haven't clicked thru all of the many links in the Salon article, but I did read the David Carr piece in the NY Times that is also linked to at Salon.

While all of this is happening, there are still physical bookstores selling physical books. This PW article is an abbreviated version of a fuller round-up of holiday stores. This is an annual tradition at PW. For all their redesigns over the years or their this and their thats, PW likes its annual traditions very much.

And then you can read about the realignment in the Simon & Schuster sales force. By "realignment," think "shrinking." More people selling books by phone, fewer people out driving around to bookstores to sell the books in person. It's been a long-time bugaboo of mine that publishers have too few people selling their books. The PW article buys into the S&S Kool-Aid that they now have a renewed focus with a sales force devoted to having just the right kind of people selling books in just the right kind of way to the exact right different accounts. Maybe as technology advances I should be less and less concerned that it's a problem to be losing face time and to be selling books at a distance because the internet brings us all so much closer. But I'm not. Book publishers under-invest in sales compared to other consumer products. They don't have people who can do channel analysis, follow up, really be on top of things. Whatever; publishers have been under-investing like this for as long as I've been in the business, and they still manage to survive.

And then I'm not sure I know the answer to the question of what you're doing if you're S&S, and all of these new e-reader gizmoid gadgets are coming out. Do you try harder to find the last lingering outlets to sell physical books to people, and get more milk out of your current cow? Do you fire all your sales people and hire a batch of nethead marketers to go Twitter S&S's way to bigger e-book sales?

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