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He'd make that much in a year of digital sales alone.


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It was an extraordinary concession—the publisher would agree to put its full marketing muscle behind Wool despite having to forgo the ebook revenue stream that has generated the bulk of the series's earnings. It's often said in publishing that with a blockbuster book, everybody wins. But with Wool , it's Hugh Howey who has won biggest.


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After centuries in which books and the process of publishing them barely changed, the digital revolution has thrown the entire business up for grabs. It's a transformation that began with the rise of Amazon as an online bookseller and accelerated with the resulting decline of the physical bookstore. But with the shift to ebooks—which now represent upwards of 20 percent of big publishers' revenue, up from 1 percent in —every aspect of the existing framework is now open to debate: how much books will cost, how long they'll be, whether they'll be edited, who will publish them, and whether authors will continue to be paid in advance to write them.

It's a future that Amazon doesn't control and one where traditional publishers might eventually thrive, not just survive. The only certainty is that the venerable book business, a settled landscape for so long, is now open territory for anyone to claim. Of all the worries in the publishing world these days, the king of them is cultural irrelevance. But consider this: In one week, people who don't read anymore bought about half a million copies of a really long book called Steve Jobs.

In the past year, Vintage has sold one book from the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy for every six American adults.

Past, Present, and Future Possibilities for Philosophy and History of Education

Meanwhile, readers have an unprecedented array of options. E-readers have gotten consistently cheaper and better since the first Kindle shipped in , giving customers instant access to millions of titles. For a couple of dollars you can buy a self-published sensation or a Kindle Single rather than a full-length book. Add it all together and you have a more vibrant market for literary material than ever before, with nearly 3 billion copies sold every year. Amazon likes to point out that new Kindle buyers go on to purchase almost five times as many books from Amazon, print and digital, in the ensuing year as they did in the prior one.

For all the digital optimism, not even Amazon is ready to declare the traditional model dead. In May the company announced that it was going head-to-head with the Big Six by launching a general-interest imprint in Manhattan, headed by respected industry veteran Larry Kirshbaum.

Tired of being undersold by Amazon and wary of its encroachment into their business, many brick-and-mortar booksellers refused to stock the titles. The boycott has worked so far: Marshall's book flopped, and Ferriss' undersold his previous offering.

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Ferriss says he doesn't regret his experiment with Amazon Publishing, but he allows, "I could have made more money—certainly up to this point—by staying with Random House. Still, it's not clear that traditional publishers are well positioned to own the digital future. They are saddled with the costs of getting dead trees to customers—paper, printing, binding, warehousing, and shipping—and they cannot simply jettison those costs, because that system accounts for roughly 80 percent of their business.

Ebooks continue to gain ground, but the healthiness of the profit margins is unclear. Rowling's latest book helps illustrate this bind.

The publisher then paid highly trained people to improve the novel and well-connected people to publicize and market it until it was inescapable. Little, Brown's landlord in Manhattan occasionally asks for rent too.

A Critical Overview

What's more, awarding huge contracts for books that may not even be written yet creates tremendous risk. Free Preview. Buy eBook. Buy Softcover. FAQ Policy. About this book Written by an internationally renowned authority in the field, the founder of the highly regarded School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, the book draws heavily on research done on three Continents: North America, Europe and Australia, to trace the discipline's historical evolution, its current problems, disappointing achievements, and promising trends.


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It strikes me as a milestone. What are we to say about this state of affairs? After many years of growth the big 5 are now reporting sales and profits mostly flat or declining. What seems inevitable is another merger or acquisition. News Corp had also considered a cash offer for Penguin before the Random House merger.

Expect something soon. The Kindle features differ.

Blogs as Global Online Magazines

Thad McIlroy is an electronic publishing consultant, analyst and author, and principal of The Future of Publishing. Since , Thad McIlroy has provided consulting services to publishing and media companies, printers, prepress shops, design and advertising agencies, as well as vendors serving the publishing industry. Continue to your page in 15 seconds or skip this ad. About Us Subscribe Advertise. Leading Thoughts.

The Past, Present and Future of International Business & Management | Emerald Insight

August 5, By Thad McIlroy. PW mostly just reports the financials as reported in press releases. View Comments. Categories: Finance Revenue.