Tag Archives: ebooks

Are apps a financial pitfall? Publishers can’t agree!

6 Jun

From the introduction of ebooks into the public market, a divide has existed within the world of book lovers.  The elderly, assumed to hold dear the traditional mass market paperback mystery or romance, responded with surprising enthusiasm towards the new devices.  My grandmother will vouch for ebooks any day: enlarging the font, easing the arthritis in her wrists by not having to constantly turn pages and being able to buy and read directly from the comfort of her own home are all perks that the traditional book just can not offer.  However, now that some companies are seeing ebooks bypassing the traditional books in sales, we know that the public has taken to the concept of ebooks – but have the publishers?

According to Hannah Johnson’s article in Publishing Perspectives, they have not.  Panelists of the IDPF Digital Book Conference remained unsettled about the future of apps and ebooks. Dominique Raccah of Sourcebooks remained on the positive side while Evan Schnittman of Bloomsbury and Richard Nash of Red Lemonade and Cursor held back, claiming not to see the full potential of storytelling through apps just yet — and I can see why.

Publishing has never been the industry to draw people in with a promise of a fat paycheck; those in this industry are in it for the love of books and purely that.  However, though most publishers strive both to bring the public wonderful literary works, they also desire fair wages for the talented creator of said literary work.  The introduction of apps and ebooks, though appealing (mainly, I would argue, as a source of drawing young adults and children back into the world of literature) are costly to produce and sold for a miniscule amount of money.  I can immediately see why Schnittman worries that apps will not pay for themselves and that their production yields higher costs than their purchases can cover.  Are the introduction of apps a double-edged sword? And in the case that they are, what is worth cutting: the chance to pull non-believers back into reading or the deterioration of the already staggering financial aspects of the industry?  For a traditional book lover like myself, being armed with white pages, black type, glue binding and my own imagination is enough; all the bells and whistles can be fun but are by no means necessary to help me enjoy the book.

Generation Y no longer useful?

6 Jun

Mike Shatzkin’s blog The Idea Logical Company is famous for creating a buzz on topics concerning the publishing industry.  His educated guesses about the future of publishing have merit, enough to have aspiring publishers like myself shaking in their shoes.  Being a part of Generation Y, technology has been a part of my upbringing.  I created my first email in the third grade and was internet savvy and a speed typer by the fifth grade.  I adapted quickly to any kind of internet game or messaging system; much to the amazement of my Generation X parents.

In his article about the accessibility of ebook and app technology, Shatzkin suggests that in a few years, the programs publishers use to create apps and ebooks out of their frontlist and backlist titles will become readily available to the public.  There are already signs of technology savvy authors self-publishing or creating apps for themselves with tremendous success.  This creates a major problem for Generation Y.  We were brought up as the technological generation, being told that we would be assets to companies because of our flawless skills in social networking and our ability to easily adapt ourselves to newly developed technology.  Specifically in publishing, we are taught that we are going to help usher in the new age of books.

However, Shatzkin observes that, although editorial staff will always be needed, “these tools, if they work, undermine scale by reducing the need for tech wizardry in product creation.”  Publishing companies are already hiring freelance editors to save money by not keeping them in house, but what happens when tech savvy employees also become freelance?  If we follow along with this trend, it is safe to say that publishing houses may eventually cease to exist.  Ebooks may be revolutionary, but the job market definitely is not.