karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

Industry watch: Not quiet on the publishing front

The publishing industry sometimes reminds me of an aircraft carrier. They may send out experimental flights of fancy, like interactive websites, online book tours, and so on, but the main ship continues on its way. Any change of course appears to be ponderous and slow; a publisher would put the wheel over, and then wait a while for the effect to happen over time.

It's the 21st Century now, and the publishing industry appears to have woken up and gotten a whiff of e-ink. Recent news includes a notice from HarperCollins that they have created the position of “editorial director, digital publishing,"for the Morrow/Avon/Eos group. Margot Schupf, an associate publisher at HarperCollins has been named to the new position. Since Eos is their fantasy line, that's good news to me.

Other news is less clear cut. The UK's Richard Nash, formerly of Soft Skull Press, has written an interesting article in PW about how he is launching a new house called Cursor (how is that for a hi-tech name?), that will utilize a “social” approach to publishing. Nash plans to "establish a portfolio of self-reinforcing online membership communities. To start, this includes Red Lemonade, a pop-lit-alt-cult operation, and charmQuark, a sci-fi/fantasy community."

I'm not entirely sure what he means; it sounds as if he plans to create a business based at least partly on the large numbers of people who write, but I'm not clear on what they will get for their membership fees. Here is what he says:

"Each community will have a publishing imprint, which will make money from authors' books, sold as digital downloads, conventional print and limited artisanal editions—and will offer authors all the benefits of a digital platform: faster time to market, faster accounting cycles, faster payments to authors."

Does that sounds almost like self-publishing to you? It does to me. If you read his article, let me know what you think.

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Tags: e-books, ebooks, publishing

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