Tag Archives: HarperCollins

On Writing and Publishing Links (Dumping Days)

Some stuff left over from last year, but interesting and likely to be related to interesting developments in publishing coming up:

In 2014, during the height of negotiations with Amazon and other e-vendors, HarperCollins set up selling e-books of their titles directly to readers. Now, this isn’t exactly a new thing. “Direct mail,” as it used to be called, has always been available from publishers, where readers could order books directly from publishers, usually at a discount because of shipping costs. In the 1960’s-1980’s, it was a sizable, though not central, market for paperbacks, with book order forms printed in the back pages of paperbacks, and some publishers setting up subscription services that operated sort of like book clubs, not to mention actual book clubs run by publishers or working with publishers. (The romance publishers had it down to an art form.)

In the 90’s, when the wholesale and paperback markets collapsed, direct mail became considerably less important but still existed. With the Internet developing, publishers set up buy options on their websites, however, that increased overall direct sales. For the last several years, publishers have been setting up selling e-books directly. This is, though, HarperCollins’ formalized, larger effort. Whether that’s going to help with the lack of breadth in the e-vendors market is anybody’s guess, but publishers have definitely amped up more of their book-selling efforts as the market has changed.

To that end, Mills & Boon publishers in the U.K. has also set up not only e-book selling, but doing so to mobile phones easily through an app. This is again a re-adjustment of the romance publishers’ practice of making subscription easy for buyers who will read lots of titles each month.

Related to these developments of publishers are the continual battles going on in the music industry. YouTube is getting serious about trying to compete with various streaming services, and so threatened to ban indie labels that didn’t sign up for its new music service. Likewise, Amazon and other big e-vendors have been pressing smaller houses on terms and marketing fees and signing up for various service programs. We’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of battles in most of the arts.

Other links: an interesting author interview on io9.com with Kelly Thompson, author of illustrated superpower novel, The Girl Who Would Be King, which just got a movie deal. Thompson ended up self-publishing the novel after not being able to sell it, and funded it with a Kickstarter campaign. This is becoming more and more common the last few years — the funding that authors could get from partner publishing by selling a license to a publisher and getting an advance against their royalties, they are now obtaining in a donations model, allowing them to act more effectively as writers and go bigger in production and marketing. It doesn’t work out for all authors, but in the begging electronic economy, it’s a solid model for raising capital support.

Chris Sims of the Comics Alliance wrote an interesting piece on Business Insider about DC and its relationship to Marvel, regarding moves both companies have made regarding their comics, films and other projects.

And lastly, fantasy author N.K. Jemisin offers authors some advice about dealing with reviews of their published work, “Author Strength Training”.











Filed under book publishing, Music, SFFH, Writing

Interesting Writings for a — aw come on, not more snow! — Wednesday

E-book articles get a bit silly, but these two are a little more useful:



A Discover Magazine article that, along with its comments section, sums up many of the reasons why I’m not worried about sentient AI taking over the world:


I love Ursula LeGuin. I truly do:


Last year, writer and editor Jason Pinter published a screed on Huffington Post about how book publishing is dominated by women editors so male books that men like to read have a hard time getting published and male authors have it rough. This was his explanation for why guys don’t read. His examples were mainly about non-fiction, which ignored numerous other market factors that effect the non-fiction market, but he tried to make the claim about fiction as well. About the only thing the piece got right about the industry was that there are a lot of female editors in publishing — but not nearly as many in the top executive levels of publishing and bookselling that set policy or in marketing where key non-fiction decisions are often second guessed, where they are dealing with the booksellers,  and from which most of the publishing executives come. While publishers do a certain amount of publishing “for women” specifically, they are focused, especially in the adult market, on male readers, because women will also read male oriented books, especially fiction.  Despite all that female editing that supposedly so taints publishing, in fiction, female authors make up only 30% of the titles published — and a lot of those females are not writing “women’s” fiction either. Males are still getting a higher preference in titles, promotion, reviews, etc., despite females making up the majority of the reading audience and half the population. Laura Miller at Salon.com goes over the numbers, which have stayed remarkably the same:


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-pinter/why-men-dont-read-how-pub_b_549491.html — Jason Pinter’s lament


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Interesting News for a Tuesday

1) The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books racked in 130,000 attendees this last weekend, which is really excellent news. The event included a scavenger hunt with an iPad prize. Among the attendees was bestselling thriller author Mary Higgins Clark, in her 80’s, who is old enough to recall when paperbacks were predicted to destroy the publishing business and so she’s not too worried about ebooks. The London Book Festival, however, unfortunately saw a large downtick in attendance, thanks to the volcanic ash cloud.  (Once again, Volcanic Ash Cloud — great name for a rock band. Also, Feral Miami Chickens.)

2) HarperCollins has teamed up with fashion retailer Asos.com to launch microsites featuring six titles for women and teen girls, starting with Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries. The sites will contain reading excerpts, author videos, etc., and contests for Asos vouchers. This is part of publisher efforts to branch out further into the wholesale market once again and it is also a great development that any fashion company gives a crap enough to be willing to try it out.  (Of course Bushnell is a t.v./film brand but the others aren’t.) The deal is a sign of books’ increased status lately due to the ebook market getting lots of press. If you want to try out the first one (Bushnell is a fun interview,) the link is: http://www.asos.com/Women/Women-Landing-Pages/20100322Hhotreadsw/Cat/pgehtml.aspx?cid=10447

And if you think this is a sign of the apocalypse, grow up. Anything that makes books desirable or simply visible next to other products is a good thing. And no, it will not kill off literary novels. They have their own special marketing and promotion channels, quite sturdy ones, which is why we have literary bestsellers. And they are going to be doing this sort of thing where they can for those too. And the deal with the fashion house will make ripples through the whole fiction market, not just for “cootie” titles.  The big development here is that other companies want to work with the book publishers, something that has not been easy to get before but is becoming more common, and will allow publishers to further exploit the Web with industries that have much deeper promotional pockets than they do.

3) Hulu, which lets folks in the U.S. watch t.v. shows and other programs on their computer, is not pulling in enough money through advertising. This is not a big surprise as this is a rampant problem throughout the Web. Having lured in many customers with the freebies for several years of parent companies covering the losses, Hulu is now trying to move to a more profitable model. So recent episodes of shows will still be free, but if you want more than that, Hulu will have a subscription service where you can get access to all the videos for US$9.95 a month.  There is going to be a lot more of this one part free, the rest you pay for set-ups for entertainment sites, but certainly Hulu is the biggest for right now.


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