New York Systems

I'm David. I live in Astoria. During the day I work at a startup. Other times I visit bookstores.
This blog is my curio collection, sort of. I'll have a place of my own for essays... someday.

Posts tagged #publishing

I am trying to acquire two novels, one completed and the second under way, by a British writer. Ann Godoff likes the finished book, or takes my word for it that it’s good, or she is in a good mood, and has authorized me to offer $100,000 for each book. On the phone to the agent in England, I say, with no guile, “We’re offering a hundred thousand dollars for both books.” He says, with acceptance detectable in his voice, “You mean $50,000 for each?”

I hesitate, but not too long. “Yes.”

“Done and done.”

But “platform” is a buzzword now for publications. Medium, for instance, really is a platform: it has no dedicated writing staff, though it has assigning editors. BuzzFeed is sometimes a platform, such as when it throws up its hands at its inability to keep contributing “authors” such as The Heritage Foundation from publishing lies on its website. These publications have open publication technology. Elite Daily does not. It is a traditional publication where writers send stories which are published by an editor. Using the descriptor of “platform” is common now because it makes media companies sound more valuable and more like a technology startup. The phrase has the useful byproduct of distancing both the owners and the editorial staff from its most objectionable content, which remains, in the end, objectionable.

I’ve been thinking about this paragraph a lot. It’s from near the end of The Awl’s thorough yet bloodless evisceration of a TechCrunch article that was itself a response to an Awl exposé of a strange and frightening website whose existence and semi/seeming popularity I have a hard time holding in my mind for too long without becoming depressed.

The definitions of both “publisher” and “platform” are shifting around, and this description is as good as any I’ve seen of exactly where we stand right now.  But what are the responsibilities of a publisher, and what are those of a platform— and what ought each to be?  What could a hybrid that isn’t a hybrid of both models’ worst tendencies look like?  Figuring that out is, you know, OUR ONLY HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. 

(via emilygould)

The truth is this: Google destroyed the RSS feed reader ecosystem with a subsidized product, stifling its competitors and killing innovation. It then neglected Google Reader itself for years, after it had effectively become the only player. Today it does further damage by buggering up the already beleaguered links between publishers and readers. It would have been better for the Internet if Reader had never been at all.

This behavior is what worries people about any marketplace where one player dominates — even if it’s not a monopoly. It’s the threat of something similar in publishing/ebooks, for example, with Amazon, that drove publishers to attempt to enforce the agency model. The fear is once you have effective control over an ecosystem, you lose interest in innovating or, indeed, maintaining it.

cortesi - Google, destroyer of ecosystems

Sad to see them go; I started reading at issue three and always enjoyed it.



Random Penguins.

Did I miss something?

Penguin House! Penguin House!!

One of the downsides of reading an ebook can be finding weird formatting, spelling mistakes, and other things that got lost in the digital translation. However, word started going around last week about one of the more bizarre changes we’ve heard of — apparently, in the War and Peace on the Barnes and Noble Nook platform, every instance of the world “kindled” has been replaced with “nookd.” Since “nookd” isn’t a word as far as we can tell, it seems that someone was trying to remove references to Amazon’s competing ebook platform from this fine piece of literature.

It’s the (lazy, cheap) publisher’s fault — Barnes and Noble quite obviously doesn’t automate such a process, as I have a number of O’Reilly books on ePublishing that mention Kindle specifically by name on my nook. 

Nook version of ‘War and Peace’ replaces all instances of ‘kindled’ with ‘nookd’ | The Verge

"SFWA is redirecting links"

In recent days, decided to remove more than 4000 e-books from its website after a pricing dispute with IPG. The Independent Publishing Group is one of the largest independent distributors in the United States.

While Amazon has the right to decide with what company it does business, its removal of many of our authors’ books from its ordering system will have an economic impact on them. Our authors depend on people buying their books and a significant percentage of them have books distributed through IPG. Therefore, SFWA is redirecting links from the organization’s website to other booksellers because we would prefer to send traffic to stores where the books can actually be purchased.

To that end, our volunteers are in the process of redirecting book links to, Powell’s, and Barnes and Noble.

[source.] Emphasis mine. What good is an e-reader if no one wants to submit to your terms to have their content on it?

Barnes and Noble went through a version of this back in the 90s, when they were the big bad wolf in the publishing industry. (The company still demands a 55% discount off cover price for buying books from publishers, and are by no means a small fish.) But Bezos is the man that scares the publishing industry now, because he wants to be what neither Barnes and Noble or Borders ever tried to be: a publisher.

Amazon is no longer just another marketplace. It’s direct competition for publishers.

Canada’s Torstar reported fourth-quarter and fiscal year results Wednesday, and the performance of Harlequin fits the general pattern of other publicly-reported trade publishers: sales were down a little, and operating earnings rose. This is what the digital transition looks like.
Barnes & Noble has made a decision not to stock Amazon published titles in our store showrooms,” Jaime Carey, the company’s chief merchandising officer, said in a statement. “Our decision is based on Amazon’s continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent. These exclusives have prohibited us from offering certain e-books to our customers. Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content. It’s clear to us that Amazon has proven they would not be a good publishing partner to Barnes & Noble as they continue to pull content off the market for their own self interest.
Ars Technica is reporting that Apple’s media event in New York on Thursday won’t necessarily be about generic education partnerships to release textbooks, but instead be an unveil of a new tools that together are described as “GarageBand for e-books.”