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Category Archives: World of Books

Even Seth Godin Needs A Publisher

I’m a big fan of Godin’s writing, and have been in awe of the care and diligence with which he has built his audience over many years. When he announced that he was self-publishing his future books, it made sense to me. Very few authors have as powerful an ability to communicate directly to their market as Godin does. …

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Cory Doctorow with breaking news “some people are even worse than publishers.”

Just kidding! Cory, a friend of the BenBella, actually published a very nice article in Publishers Weekly reminding us that publishers, for all their flaws, are straight-shooters relative to their equivalents in music and film. As a publisher, I do appreciate Cory’s kind words.

But aren’t authors rising up to defend publishers one of the signs of the apocalypse? …

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Where Publishing Is Heading

I’ve been the Publisher of BenBella for ten years now, and it’s truly awe-inspiring to consider the amount of change this industry has experienced in this time. And to think that I created BenBella to join the sedate publishing industry!

The Nation has a great overview of what’s happening now, particularly Amazon’s rise to an industry-redefining power. …

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If Book Publishers are the Turkeys, When is Thanksgiving?

As usual Mike Shatzkin presents the most incisive thinking about what’s happening in this industry. As an independent publisher, I don’t have the luxury of bemoaning or the challenge of trying shape the way the industry is moving. My job is to carve out on ongoing niche in a continually changing industry dynamic. Interestingly, over the last three years, …

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Are EBook Royalties Too Low?

The standard ebook royalty, at least from the big publishers, is 25% of net receipts.  Is this the fair royalty level?

Publishers aside, everyone seems to agree that 25% of net isn’t fair. If the general intent of the established royalty rates is to split profits between author and publisher (an ancient but unsourced rule of thumb), …

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Entrepreneurial Endeavors, 3/17/11

One summer during my elementary school years I was sitting around the house and I decided to create my own magazine. I mean, anyone could stir together water and a package of powdered lemonade, but being an editor and publisher as a kid? Now that was exciting.

Out came the paper, scissors, glue, …

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The Life of an Editor, 1/25/11

It was a long Saturday in the classroom for the cohort of executive MBA students, with four hours of instruction in the morning, followed by lunch and then four more hours of a different course. The afternoon professor was eager to present himself to the group since it was the first day of class—he definitely had more pep in his step than the students who’d already sat through an extensive lesson on Net Present Value that morning. …

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We Heart Borders

Borders is struggling right now. On top of our belief – along with most of the publishing world, I’m sure – that the industry is better off with a thriving Borders, they’ve been a particular friend of ours over the years. We’ve developed a dozen-odd Borders Exclusive titles for them, and really have enjoyed working with them and have learned a great deal in the process. …

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Is the WSJ missing the point on self-publishing?

Tim Keiningham sent me an interesting article, “Vanity Press Goes Digital.” We’re excitedly and aggressively (but I hope intelligently) pursuing the digitalization of our business, but I do think that the implications for self-publishing are vastly overstated, by the WSJ here, and in general. Self publishing has been going on and successful (for top .001%) for a long time now (i.e. …

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Marketing Myth: Every Author Should Blog

If you are an author, you’ve probably heard this. And there’s no question a successful blog is a great help to an author. But most blogs – well over 90% in my estimation – don’t contribute much of anything to an author’s marketing success. A successful blog requires time, long-term commitment, creativity, focus, and discipline. …

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