By Mika Rekai - Monday, November 26, 2012 - 0 Comments
It tracks when you read and when you don’t. Will it soon determine what you read?
For Catherine Henderson, curling up with a good book has always been an escape from reality. What the retired teacher doesn’t know, however, is that while she is lost in her Kindle, someone is reading over her shoulder.
Before ebook readers became popular in 2010—when e-reader sales quadrupled within months—publishers had only one way of measuring a book’s success: sales. Back then, it was almost impossible to do detailed market research that didn’t involve direct feedback, either through letters to the publishers or reader surveys. But the information didn’t tell the whole story about what readers wanted to read, and they said nothing about how they read. Did they read the whole book, or lose interest after a few pages? Did they skip certain chapters? Did they highlight and revisit favourite passages? Now the makers of the Kobo, Kindle and Nook are collecting hard data about exactly how their customers read.
By The Associated Press - Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Newsweek plans to end its print publication after 80 years…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Newsweek plans to end its print publication after 80 years and will shift to an online-only format starting in early 2013. Job cuts are expected.
Newsweek’s last U.S. print edition will be its Dec. 31 issue.
Barry Diller, the head of the company that owns Newsweek, had announced in July that the publication was examining its future as a weekly print magazine.
The announcement of the change was made by Tina Brown, editor-in-chief and founder of The Newsweek Daily Beast Co., on The Daily Beast website Thursday.
Brown said staff cuts are expected, but didn’t give a specific figure.
Brown said that the online publication will be called Newsweek Global and will be a single, worldwide edition that requires a paid subscription. It will be available for tablets and online reading, with certain content available on The Daily Beast website.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 8:13 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Surging ebook sales now represent an estimated 16.3 per cent of the…
TORONTO – Surging ebook sales now represent an estimated 16.3 per cent of the overall book market in Canada, a figure that caught even some industry watchers by surprise.
A new report by the non-profit industry group BookNet Canada finds more and more people are buying ebooks, and when they do purchase hardcovers and paperbacks they are increasingly getting them outside of conventional book stores.
The trends are outlined in a first-of-its-kind report by BookNet, which is based on several consumer surveys conducted over the first half of the year. The results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
“We were a little taken aback — even though we are in the industry and on the technology side of the industry — at just the sheer quantity of the shift in behaviour in regards to digital and online (shopping),” said BookNet CEO Noah Genner.
“We all knew it was happening … but just the sheer volume and the amount of change that’s happened in the last couple of years is a big surprise.”
The report suggests one in three Canadians is a regular book buyer and purchases an average of 2.8 titles per month.
By Mike Doherty - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 12:20 PM - 1 Comment
Salman Rushdie spent almost a decade in hiding after Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him
Midtown Manhattan is almost afloat, battered by a near-monsoon. Sheets of rain drench anyone foolhardy enough to cross 8th Avenue, but when Salman Rushdie saunters into the Wylie Agency, umbrella in hand, there’s nary a droplet to be seen on his pinstriped suit.
He may look rather devilish in photographs, but in person, Rushdie, now 63, seems serene, unflappable, quietly happy—exactly the type to be calm in the eye of a storm, literary or otherwise. In a spacious office, he reminisces about how much smaller Andrew Wylie’s headquarters were when the literary super-agent poached him in 1987; the move helped the predatory Wylie earn the nickname “The Jackal.” The next year, Rushdie published The Satanic Verses, which would vault him to an unforeseen level—and undesirable type—of fame in 1989, when the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him.
By Sarah Weinman - Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
2009 was a bumper crop for fall fiction. This year, the big names are in short supply.
The tradition in publishing is that serious fiction and the fall season go together like horses and carriages. Want to promote the latest thriller? Save it for the summer. Have a debut novel to push? Try the spring, so the big guns won’t crowd it out. But at a time when publishing tropes are vanishing faster than you can say e-book, holding back the most prestigious titles for the window between Labour Day and Christmas may be on the way out.
Granted, very few fall seasonal crops could be as bountiful as last year’s, which featured new books by awards regulars such as Philip Roth, Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel, A.S. Byatt, Jonathan Lethem and John Irving. By comparison, this year’s slate seems a bit thin. There’s another by Philip Roth (who produces novels at an annual rate these days), and new fiction from Salman Rushdie, Sara Gruen and Michael Cunningham. But the BookExpo America trade show emphasized potential summer hits—and newspaper preview stories are concentrating on 2011 non-fiction. What happened to fall fiction?
By Jacqueline Swartz - Monday, August 30, 2010 at 1:20 PM - 0 Comments
Why the publishing business is suddenly hot for a 19th-century scandal
Though his story is more than a century old, Alfred Dreyfus, the protagonist of the Dreyfus Affair, the greatest cause célèbre in French history, is experiencing something of a resurgence. In a time of rampant anti-Semitism, the French captain— an Alsatian Jew—was falsely convicted of espionage and sent to the hellhole of Devil’s Island for five years. He was released in 1899, granted a full exoneration in 1906, and fought in the First World War, rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. But for decades after his death in 1935, little was said about his ordeal. “People didn’t want to discuss it,” says Charles Dreyfus, Alfred’s grandson. “It was not a glorious part of French history.”
But recently, several authors have taken a stab at this sordid tale of military cover-ups and the incarceration of an innocent person. Last year, Louis Begley released Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters, arguing that the travesty of justice has lessons for the U.S. in the post-9/11 era. (Charles found the book interesting, and sympathetic, “although a bit of a stretch.”) Other books, which have hit the shelves more recently, include For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus, by Frederick Brown, and Oxford historian Ruth Harris’s Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion and the Scandal of the Century. And earlier this month, the Globe and Mail’s Kate Taylor published A Man in Uniform, a fictional take.
By Jason Kirby - Monday, August 16, 2010 at 4:24 PM - 0 Comments
How the ‘For Dummies’ book empire is branching out and thriving in the age of Wikipedia and blogs
It’s been nearly two decades since the first “For Dummies” self-help book hit store shelves, and judging by the volume of titles since then, we haven’t gotten any smarter. Consider just a few choice topics from the dizzying list of 200 books coming out this year alone, all based on the same rigid model of accessible writing, big icons and cartoons wrapped in a garish yellow cover. There’s everything from wedding etiquette and building chicken coops to photovoltaic design and quantum physics. While many booksellers struggle with dwindling sales, our stunted IQs continue to fuel a publishing frenzy that’s produced 1,600 titles and exceeds 200 million copies in print.
One might expect quirky instructional guides like the Dummies franchise to have withered with the Web, since there’s no shortage of Wiki-experts, bloggers and YouTube posters eager to share their thoughts for free. Instead, as Dummies nears its 20th anniversary next year, the brand is ambitiously extending into other industries like pet supplies and musical instruments through licensing agreements, while embracing media formats like smartphone apps. (As for fans of Wikis and social networking, there are Dummies books for them, too—four on the subject of Twitter alone.)
By Nicholas Köhler - Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 2:40 PM - 0 Comments
ZoomNB, a free monthly dedicated to reporting good news only
Ask a newsagent in Moncton, N.B., about that new local newspaper—ZoomNB, a free monthly dedicated to reporting good news only—and you may hear a funny story: someone dropped a stack of the papers off, then someone entirely different came and picked them all up, and no one’s seen it since. Daniel Mlodecki, ZoomNB’s publisher, agrees he’s heard tell of it—that someone’s conducting some sort of black-plumbing operation against him—but dismisses the yarn as “a little rumour.”
Whatever the case, running a newspaper in New Brunswick is hard work: Brunswick News, owned by the province’s Irving family, holds all its English dailies and most of the weeklies, a situation that prompted a Senate inquiry into media concentration there. Two years ago, the publisher of the Carleton Free Press, a Woodstock, N.B., indie, filed a Competition Bureau complaint accusing Brunswick News of selling ads at predatory prices; the bureau didn’t pursue it and the Free Press closed months later.
By Mark Steyn - Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 9:55 AM - 99 Comments
MARK STEYN: At least Conrad Black has succeeded in rolling back the ‘criminalization of business’
A year or so back, in the lobby of Fox News, I was approached by a gentleman who introduced himself as a member of Conrad Black’s legal team. That doesn’t narrow it down very much. There’ve been so many of them over the years: Canadian, American, young, old, rough and ready, bespoke and urbane, incompetent and . . . well, marginally less incompetent. “Good news,” this one told me. “We’re really pleased with the way things are going on the Supreme Court appeal.”
“That’s great,” I said, forcing a smile and feeling the way the Indian Foreign Minister must have felt when President Ahmadinejad told him not to worry because everything would be hunky-dory in two years’ time when the Twelfth Imam would be showing up. On balance, the Twelfth Imam seemed more likely to ride to Mahmoud’s rescue than the U.S. Supreme Court to Conrad’s. I’d been in Washington a few days earlier and various legal “experts” had derided Black’s SCOTUS appeal as a pathetic but characteristically self-aggrandizing last roll of the dice that was bound to come up snake eyes.
By Jason Kirby and Luiza Ch. Savage with Chris Sorensen - Monday, July 5, 2010 at 8:57 AM - 22 Comments
A stunning U.S. Supreme Court ruling has cast his conviction into doubt. Can Black’s lawyers turn it into a vindication that would see him walk free?
An ardent student of history, Conrad Black knows about the long view. His own protracted battle with the U.S. government for his freedom and his reputation is turning into the kind of epic saga that could fill one of his loquacious tomes. The former newspaper magnate has drawn comparisons to Napoleon at Elba—in exile, unrepentant, his empire in tatters. And now, like his hero, he is plotting a return.
It has been more than two years since Conrad Black was locked up in a central Florida prison. But from behind bars the former media baron has soldiered on, determined to be vindicated from the charges that he looted Hollinger International at the expense of shareholders. He’s already dramatically recast the story line that was scrawled out against him. At the outset his accusers presented a straightforward yet lurid tale of unbridled greed and excess, in which Black ran a “corporate kleptocracy” and made off with US$400 million.
By Kate Lunau - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 1:00 PM - 2 Comments
In the age of e-books, Wikipedia is turning to old-fashioned paper
At a publishing industry event in New York last week, a Google official dropped a bombshell: the company plans to launch its own e-book store as soon as next month, pitting it against heavyweights Amazon and Apple. But just as observers were predicting an all-out digital book war, another online media star quietly unveiled a very different scheme. The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit behind Wikipedia, will now allow users to convert its digital articles into old-fashioned paperbacks.
Heiko Hees is the managing director of PediaPress, the German company that’s partnered with Wikimedia (it’s based in Mainz, where Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press). Why turn to printed books, as everyone else goes digital? People “cherish their off-line moments more and more,” Hees says, adding that they read up to 30 per cent faster when it’s on paper.
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 10:10 AM - 1 Comment
A raft of new books take on Obama, both inside and out
Race and politics are the double helix of America’s history. Twelve U.S. presidents owned slaves at one point or another in their lives, eight of them while in office. The White House was built with slave labour. The country’s bloody Civil War was sparked by efforts to limit the expansion of slavery, although the eventual emancipation was as much a strategic gambit as a moral choice. Reconstruction. Jim Crow. The civil rights movement. And even after legal equality, the sotto voce appeals to prejudice in campaigns that revolved around law and order, welfare queens, and furloughed rapists.
The importance of Barack Obama’s landslide electoral victory in November 2008, and his installation as the 44th president of the United States, therefore can’t be overstated. The fact that the “leader of the free world”—as Americans still like to term him (the rest of us may differ)—is black is historic. Whether the choice made by U.S. voters was transformative remains to be answered. Or perhaps more accurately, locked down. A few short weeks ago, as pundits took stock of his first year in office, the consensus seemed to be that Obama was a disappointing failure. Now, after pushing health care reform through Congress, and securing a nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia, many of those same voices are painting him a candidate for Mount Rushmore. Fickle times. Maybe even bipolar ones: one Internet opinion poll late last month claimed that 40 per cent of Americans believe Obama is a socialist, and 14 per cent the Antichrist.
What remains constant about this President, however, is his status as publishing gold. The cottage industry launched by his own self-examinations, Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope, shows no signs of flagging. Bestseller lists are peppered with insider tales of his presidential campaign, and the list of titles that hate, parse, or venerate the 49-year-old continues to grow.
By Jason Kirby and Katie Engelhart - Friday, January 8, 2010 at 11:10 AM - 24 Comments
Can the tycoon stop the Web’s free ride and save the news business?
Sixteen years ago, an eternity in Internet years, media mogul Rupert Murdoch became one of the first newspaper publishers to venture online. In a now-forgotten deal, his sprawling News Corp. empire snapped up Delphi Internet Services, one of America’s first dial-up providers, with a plan to meld it with his newspaper and TV content. Analysts were ecstatic at the prospects. “Rupert Murdoch has bought an electronic engine for his media empire,” one gushed. But the engine didn’t just sputter; it more or less failed to start altogether. Since then the newspaper industry has been marred by bankruptcies, mass layoffs and plunging advertising sales as publishers stumbled from one flawed Internet strategy to another. Just last month Editor & Publisher, the 125-year-old industry bible that has chronicled scores of newspaper closures, was forced to write its own obituary online, ahead of its final January issue.
But momentum is building in the media industry for a counteroffensive, and Murdoch is once again leading the charge.
The News Corp. founder and CEO, and other publishers, have trained their guns on search engines and news aggregator sites like Google and Digg.com, calling them “content kleptomaniacs” and accusing them of stealing content to line their own pockets. More importantly, large numbers of publishers and news wire services are on the verge of erecting pay walls around their online media properties, cutting off much of the torrent of free content that fuels the Web 24/7. “The Internet now is this socialist model where everybody can access everything for free, but the democratization of the industry has become unsustainable,” says Alfonso Marone, a media strategist with Value Partners in London.
Everyone is mocking the 78-year-old tycoon, he adds, but at the same time, they’re praying he succeeds. As Murdoch sets out to stop the Internet, all eyes are watching. Because if he wins, his campaign could shape the very nature of the Web and how we use it.