October 16th, 2009

HarperStudio tries out a new publishing model

“HarperStudio [is] offering books nonreturnable, signing up authors for relatively low advances and splitting profits, expanding books technologically (for example, adding sophisticated video segments to e-books), and constantly experimenting with creative ways of marketing and publishing titles, in many cases using online communities, blogs, vlogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter in new ways.”

[Full disclosure: I wonder if it’s better or worse for HarperStudio that they launched this new business model just as things were tanking?]

Want to know more about HarperStudio? Shelf Awareness had a dedicated issue.

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Writer in residence

BAA, the company that owns Heathrow paid author Alain de Botton to be the writer-in-residence at Britain's largest airport. His books include The Art of Travel and How Proust Can Change Your Life. The book is being published by Profile Books next month, with BAA distributing 10,000 copies free to passengers. “The airport's chief operating officer, Mike Brown, said: "Opening Heathrow to literary critique is a bold and adventurous step for us."”

Want to know more? Read more here.

Where would you want to be a writer in residence?

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How Amazon and Wal-Mart could screw over authors and book sellers

Wal-Mart and Amazon are in a fight to sell the top 10 books at the lowest prices - currently $8.99 at Walmart. With free shipping, at least from Wal-Mart, I believe.

From the New York Times: “If readers come to believe that the value of a new book is $10, publishing as we know it is over,” said David Gernert, Mr. Grisham’s literary agent. “If you can buy Stephen King’s new novel or John Grisham’s ‘Ford County’ for $10, why would you buy a brilliant first novel for $25? I think we underestimate the effect to which extremely discounted best sellers take the consumer’s attention away from emerging writers.”

Amazon is already sticking $9.99 in consumers' mind with their e-books. I've seen numerous Amazon posters give a book a single star because they thought the ebook was overpriced since it was more than $9.99. Except, A. Authors don't set their prices and B. Amazon is selling their ebooks as loss leaders to get people to buy Kindles.

Read more about this discouraging trend here.

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