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The point may soon come when there are more people who want to write books than there are people who want to read them.
At least, that is what the evidence suggests. Booksellers, hobbled by the economic crisis, are struggling to lure readers. Almost all of the New York publishing houses are laying off editors and pinching pennies. Small bookstores are closing. Big chains are laying people off or exploring bankruptcy.
A recently released study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that while more people are reading literary fiction, fewer of them are reading books.
Meanwhile, there is one segment of the industry that is actually flourishing: capitalizing on the dream of would-be authors to see their work between covers, companies that charge writers and photographers to publish are growing rapidly at a time when many mainstream publishers are losing ground.
Sara Nelson, the editor in chief of Publishers Weekly, the main trade magazine for the book industry, has been laid off in a restructuring by the publication’s parent company, Reed Business Information.
According to a statement from Reed, which operates a broad range of trade publications, the layoffs affect about 7 percent of the staff (including executive editor Daisy Maryles, bookselling editor Kevin Howell, children's reviews editor Elizabeth Devereaux and director of business development Rachel Dicker ...Shelf-Awareness) .
As a result of the restructuring, Brian Kenney, editor in chief of School Library Journal, will now be editorial director of three magazines: Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Library Journal. NYTimes.
Into e-books? Then you might find this of interest-
Publishers Weekly reports that Amazon.com has notified its publisher and author clients that it plans to cease offering e-books in the Microsoft Reader and Adobe e-book formats.
In the future, the online retailer says it plans to offer only e-books in the Kindle format (for wireless download to its Kindle reading device) and the Mobipocket format, both of which are owned by Amazon. The online retailer’s note asks publishers and authors to make sure that Amazon has written permission to offer their books for sale in the Mobipocket format.
A piece appearing on the Time magazine site looks at the future of traditional and 21st century publishing and reading habits.
"A lot of headlines and blogs to the contrary, publishing isn't dying. But it is evolving, and so radically that we may hardly recognize it when it's done. Literature interprets the world, but it's also shaped by that world, and we're living through one of the greatest economic and technological transformations since--well, since the early 18th century. The novel won't stay the same: it has always been exquisitely sensitive to newness, hence the name. It's about to renew itself again, into something cheaper, wilder, trashier, more democratic and more deliriously fertile than ever."
The Science Fiction Blog io9 has a shorter post summarizing the Time article.
As we now know, the outgoing first lady is writing a book, and Scribner is publishing it. It is supposed to offer "an intimate account of Laura Bush's life experiences, including eight years in the White House."
Her husband remains a captive of his own spin, which explains the lack of publisher interest in a memoir by an ex-president. Perhaps Mrs. Bush is more inclined toward introspection and honest disclosure, although according to the Boston Globe, evidence at the moment is slight.
During a recent interview with his wife, President Bush told CNN's Larry King that he likes President-elect Barack Obama.
"But he was so critical of you. Do you take that personally or don't you?" King queried.
"I did," Laura Bush quickly answered.
Publishers turn page with big cuts: For decades, the New York publishing world promised a romantic life of fancy lunches, sparkling parties, sophisticated banter and trips to spots such as the Caribbean to pitch books to sales representatives.
The cushy way of doing business, however, is winding down.
Amid a string of layoffs and pay-freeze announcements, book publishers are clamping down on some of the business' most glittery traditions.
Author Solutions, a publisher of print-on-demand books based in Bloomington, Ind., has acquired Xlibris, a rival self-publisher, expanding its footprint in one of the fastest-growing segments of publishing. Author Solutions, which owns imprints including iUniverse and AuthorHouse, last year published 12,000 titles and sold more than 2.5 million copies of its books, according to Kevin Weiss, the company’s chief executive.
Full piece in the New York Times
Here is another story about this news at Online Insider. This article mentions Walt Crawford.