“Readers are the new curators. Readers -- not publishers -- have always been the ultimate arbiters of what's worth reading, and reader word-of-mouth drives book sales. In the old world of publishing, publishers and retailers could only guess what readers wanted to read. Today, each time a reader downloads, purchases or reviews an ebook, this data becomes an expression of reader sentiment that ebook merchandisers can mine to identify books worthy of extra promotion. I predict the long-admired gatekeeping function played by publishers will eventually be viewed as detrimental to the future of the written word.”
I think we’ve already seen this happening. This week The Telegraph had (yet another) article about the rising popularity of young adult books with more sex. In the article, they seem to lump all of this in with the growing “new adult” genre, and theorize that much of this trend has to do with adult readers clamoring for young adult reads. Whether or not this is true, I think this trend can mostly be attributed to reader demand, and the fact that the most popular releases in this genre have mostly (or all) been self-published (at least at first) is very interesting to note.
Certainly the landscape of publishing and book-selling is changing dramatically, and will continue to change. Last week, we reported on Amazon’s recent acquisition of a patent to resell digital media, like audiobooks and ebooks. I jokingly wondered if this would be the future of the used book store. Well, it turns out that this topic is apparently more serious than I thought. Reporting on a discussion of “First Sale” rights that occurred at the Tools Of Change conference, Publisher’s Weekly summarized presenter Bill Rosenblatt’s opinion on the ramifications of whether digital files will legally resold or not:
“If digital resale becomes a reality, Rosenblatt said, the big winners will likely be consumers, used content retailers and libraries—in fact, he said, unless the law allows digital resale, libraries will be ‘eliminated’”
(So I guess it’s not all optimism then…at least for libraries.) Barnes and Noble also reported lower than expected revenue from their Nook division this week, sparking more pessimism in the bookseller’s market. Harper Collins CEO Victoria Barnsley went so far as to say that in the future, charging patrons to browse books at brick and mortar stores wouldn’t be “that insane.” Um, I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there, Ms. Barnsley. That, in fact, would be insane. If booksellers want to still be relevant then they have to embrace the new landscape and adapt. I don’t think that nickel and diming their customers is a great way to generate more revenue. On the other hand, I have approximately zero expertise in book-selling so what do I know?
Goodreads made the news again, with The New York Times reporting on the growing popularity of the site.
And now for some fun news:
For all the Maggie fans – this week she blogged about the title and the cover (!!) of her upcoming sequel to The Raven Boys.
Melina Marchetta announced that she is writing another Lady Celie mystery and that it will probably be from Banyon’s point of view (eeeeeeeeeeee!).
Little, Brown books for young readers will be bringing Fiona Wood’s Six Impossible Things to the U.S. They’ve also acquired the rights for her book Wildlife (coming in 2014) and another untitled work.
Heidi over at Bunbury in the Stacks has an interview with Marcus Sedgwick and a giveaway for his latest release, Midwinterblood. I know that Tatiana really enjoyed it and I’ll be reading it soon!
The winners of the 2012 Cybils Awards were announced! Flannery worked long and hard in the YA sci-fi/fantasy category and we’re very excited that Seraphina took home the top prize. (As an aside: how awesome is this outfit inspired by Seraphina? I only wish medieval-looking leather utility vests were appropriate for PTA meetings.)
And finally, I just want to chime in with the rest of the internet right now and say that our president is awesome. I won’t forget it.