It’s nice to say you are a green company, but doing it effectively is another story.
With digital printing we don’t have thousands of books sitting in warehouses waiting to be sold – spent resources that may or may not be purchased and read.
We print books only when an order is received.
The majority of our book sales (85%) are electronic as manufacturers of ereaders have opened their walled gardens allowing their books to be read on any device, any platform, anywhere, anytime.
Think printed books will go away? No way. Did movie theaters close when home theater systems became mainstream?
The Association of American Publishers reported that the annual growth rate for eBook sales fell during 2012, to about 34% – a sharp decline from the triple-digit growth of the preceding four years.
But that doesn’t mean ebooks are going away. A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that adults who have read an e-book increased from 16% to 23% in the past year. It also revealed that 89% of regular book readers said that they had read at least one printed book in the last year.
Ebooks are merely another channel, another technology to promote, sell and enjoy books. It compliments printed books. Printed books won’t go away – there will just be fewer printed.
Fewer printed books is not good for the big six publishers, but it won’t bankrupt them – just lower their sales volume and profit margins.
That’s why they won’t fully embrace ebooks and why they charge artificially high prices for their ebooks close to the full price of their printed books.
They want to revive the same high profit margins they enjoyed with print books for so many decades.
But they will never convince their customers or the general public that ebooks cost as much as print books to edit, process and distribute.
Ebooks are a disruptive technology and like all disruptive technologies is condemned, rejected and deemed catastrophic for society by those who stand to lose.
The market will determine the accepted price of ebooks, not the publishers and there is nothing they can do to stop it. The tsunami has already hit land.
Bloomberg Businessweek online quoted Workman saying the Gecko “has spent the last few years traveling across America, like a modern-day de Tocqueville.” What’s more, it adds:
“He’s a philosopher, an aphorist, a humorist, an artist, a warm companion, a natural storyteller—and, in a grand tradition, a keenly observant and wise outsider who in the course of living and traveling among us has discovered quite a lot about the things that make us human.
“He makes curious and interesting observations on everything from dreams to job interviews to adversity, Twitter to the Golden Rule (it’s not what you think it is) to talking animals: I’m really not sure what all the fuss is about. Lots of animals talk, including humans. The bigger question is, what do you have to say worth listening to?”
See the trailer on YouTube.
Available at bookstores everywhere.
If you liked ARGO, you will love The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, a similar story based on true events.
Order your copy at a special publisher’s discount price of $12.99, list is $15.99.
Just click on our Bookstore tab and then click on Fiction.
We decided to reprint this interview with Douglas Roberts about what inspired him to write such a book. The interview was originally published June 19, 2011.
Inspired by true events in the early 1970s, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK captures what it is like to live in a dictatorship with secret police monitoring your every move – an atmosphere of fear that still pervades today in many countries in the Middle East.
What makes Doug’s book so appealing is that what he wrote today about events 40 years ago is still going on today in many parts of the Middle East. And all of these events are carefully woven into a love story that will make you fall in love all over again.
Q. The release of your book coincides rather well with Arab Spring. When did you start writing it?
A. In the summer of 2008. A woman I’d met on line named Erica Murray was interested in Iran so I started writing to her about it. I started doing some very preliminary research into the history and politics of Iran in 1971 in order to refresh my memory of things I had experienced when I was in Iran during that time. The book was completely finished several months before the uprising in Tunisia.
Q. Even though that was 40 years ago, there are many common elements with what is happening across the Arab world.
A. Yes, especially the fear people experience when living under an autocratic regime is something I hope I have captured, and as the book proceeds, the breaking out of that fear. Perhaps it will give people hope. Just like in my book, the methods used by various dictatorial regimes to maintain control seem to be taken from a common playbook: trample a free and independent press, keep the people fooled, use an iron fist to silence dissent, eliminate fair trials, use torture to extract confessions – the list goes on and on.
Q. But when you wrote the book, you weren’t thinking about that.
A. (laughs) True! I don’t have a crystal ball and the Arab Spring was as big a surprise to me as the rest of the world.
Q. Can I ask you about one of the characters in your book? Was there really a Junior?
A. Yes there was. I think Junior made the story possible to write. We really did sell our liquor and cigarette rations to him. I recently learned from a fellow who served in ARMISH/MAAG just before I arrived that Junior mostly dealt with the domestic workers, the Iranian nationals who worked at the bachelor quarters where we lived.
Q. I’d like to ask you about another character, Mihan Jazani. She is a historical figure, the wife of the Bijan Jazani who founded one of Iran’s guerilla movements. It appears that she’s a friend of yours on Facebook.
A. (Blushes) Um, well yes…so it would appear. (laughs) Actually, Mihan Jazani doesn’t like Facebook and never uses it. The Facebook account was set up for Mihan by her granddaughter, Aida. Aida and I exchange messages occasionally.
Q. How were you able to remember so much about what happened then? It was 40 years ago after all.
A. I was assisted in several ways. I had some writings I had done about Iran when I was in journalism school at Kent State in 1972. I had a large number of slides that I’d taken when I was there. Those were crucial in reviving old memories. A huge help was finding a 1977 map of Tehran on the (now defunct) Tehran American School website. I was able to use the exact names of places, even street names. The fellow I’d mentioned earlier who told me about Junior had sent me a copy of the ARMISH/MAAG directory, which was very useful. Finally, talking to people I worked with at that time was extremely important, namely Heidi Eftekhar and Barry Silver, who are characters in the story. I obviously couldn’t remember all events specifically, but I found I could generate them as needed by being very specific in my language. I would take seeds of ideas and extrapolate and grow them into full blown events. For example, a certain lecherous officer really did say to Heidi, “I think you’re a woman who needs a lot of loving.” I took that and ran with it. Last, but also important, the Internet was a valuable tool in researching the historical incidents in the book.
Q. So, where does the novel part come in?
A. Some of the human rights related events are novelized, but they’re very accurate in their portrayal of the times. I’ll leave historians to figure all that out. They will have their work cut out for them because I’ve spent a lot of effort weaving the story line into the history of those days.
Q. How close is your character Doug Roberts to the way you actually are?
A. That’s a really good question. (laughs) I had originally intended that Doug the character would be an extreme version of myself. But after having read my book now over and over, I’ve come to see that what’s extreme are the circumstances he’s in. Doug the character is a lot like I was back then: ok in the smarts department, and a little too cocky sometimes. He’s not very romantic or knowledgeable about women, but does all right in spite of himself. (laughs) There’s an element of male fantasy in the book I suppose. In the story, I have two charming female lunch companions in addition to Fari my Iranian girlfriend/fiancée.
Q. But you really were friends with Heidi Eftekhar your co-worker in the story.
A. I still am. Heidi and I communicate regularly by email and her input on the book was immensely helpful. Miss Farou is the fantasy. She actually didn’t like me all that much. (laughs).
Q. I get the impression you had a lot of fun writing your book.
A. It was pretty trippy for me at times. I would totally submerse myself in it. For example, I had written the scene describing how I spent New Year’s Eve in Iran just a couple of weeks after New Year’s Eve in real life. When someone asked me about how I’d spent my New Years, it shocked me as to how much effort I had to put into pulling up what I’d actually done versus what I’d just written. That was a little scary.
Q. What do you think people will get out of your book?
A. I’m sure everyone will get a little something different, but what I’d like for people to take from it is that, like in the story, life may present you with some extreme circumstances. When that happens, keep a level head and your wits about you. Try to see beyond what appears to be happening on the surface. There will always be some good things happening at any given moment. Try to focus on that. To get through your ordeal it’s a good idea to engage all your friends to help you and your faith if you have that. Most important of all: never give up.
Available in print Feb 2013
Outer Banks Publishing Group
BISAC: Fiction / Espionage
When I heard this sad story on NPR radio this morning it moved me so much and reminded me of Doug Roberts novel, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, a suspenseful love story based on true events. This is the kind of repression that still pervades a lot of the Middle East today as it did forty years ago when Mr. Roberts staged the successful escape of his fiancé and her mother from a repressive and threatening Iran.
In January of this year in Pakistan, the governor of Punjab province, Salmaan Taseer, who was an outspoken defender of civil rights, was gunned down for criticizing the hardness of Islamic law. He was merely sticking up for a Christian woman who was accused of blaspheming Islam. Her punishment: death.
His daughter, Shehrbano Taseer, is a journalist in Pakistan, and she talks to Steve Inskeep, host of NRP Radio’s Morning Edition, about her father’s legacy and her own fight against extremism.
Here is part of that interview:
“INSKEEP: And it was not that your father committed this alleged act of blasphemy, but merely spoke up for the rights of someone who was accused of blasphemy and asked for her to be accorded mercy. This is what many clerics described as itself being blasphemous.
Ms. TASEER: Yeah, because my father had criticized the law. He had criticized the misuse of the law.
INSKEEP: Did anyone speak up for your father after his murder?
Ms. TASEER: There were three people who believed that this law was being misused and that this was an unfair allegation of blasphemy. There was my father. There was our federal minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, and there was Syeda Imam, who is a parliamentarian. And she had tabled a bill in the national assembly trying to water down this law and stop the misuse. And two out of three of these people are now dead. Shahbaz Bhatti, our federal minister for minorities, was gunned down outside his mother’s home two months after my father was shot dead.”
You can read the rest of this moving interview or listen to it on the NPR site. And if you want to read more about a similar story with a much different outcome, download a copy of The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, available on the Kindle, Barnes and Noble NOOK, Apple iBooks and in various ereader formats from Smashwords.
Steve Windwalker reported in the blog Kindle Nation Daily that Amazon is well on the way to preparing to launch the device sometime this summer. Here’s what he wrote about the trade-in program.
“It extended its relatively unknown Buyback program, previously associated mostly with textbooks, movies, and video games, to include a wide range of electronics products including the iPad, the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy, the Motorola Xoom, and all kinds of other devices that might — if you could trade them in for a decent sum — prepare the way for you to buy a Kindle tablet, both in terms of the need to replace functionality and the financial wherewithal to make the purchase.”
They actually want you to own their new Kindle Color version knowing full well that owners of iPads and other color tablet like devices wouldn’t buy the new Kindle after shelling out $500+ for their current iPad or similar device.
It’s another marketing first for Amazon to grab the lion’s share of the spawning tablet market, and I’m sure it won’t be their last.
You can also read Amazon’s press release about the trade-in program on Steve’s post on Kindle Nation Daily.
We just received this newsletter from a new site called kindlelendingclub.com launched by Amazon last December.
If you have a Kindle or any of the Kindle reading apps (Kindle for PC, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for Blackberry, etc.) you can go to the site, sign up and borrow any Kindle book that has lending enabled.
The book will then be loaned to you for 14 days and then automatically transferred back to the original owner.
What we found interesting is the lending trends reported by the site in the following newsletter and the 25 most wanted books.
In light of the demographics (females between 35 and 55) we would have thought romance novels would be the leading lending genre. However, here’s what they reported.
The 25 Most Wanted
Literary fiction, the paranormal, sci fi, crime fiction, thrillers and even a memoir about a comedian’s one-night stands; it seems like KindleLendingClub.com readers (who tend to be female and between 35 and 55 years of age) are borrowing anything but traditional romance in the lead up to Valentine’s Day 2011.
While Amanda Hocking’s vampire and paranormal romances for young adults remain perennially popular, only two of the top 25 most requested books are traditional romance novels: A Season to be Sinful, by Jo Goodman, and Terry Spear’s An Accidental Highland Hero.
(Another interesting trend we saw last week as well? Eight of the 25 titles fall under the umbrella of young adult fiction.)
KindleLendingClub.com Most Wanted – Week of January 30, 2011:
1. The Hangman’s Daughter, by Oliver Pötzsch
2. Water for Elephants: A Novel, by Sara Gruen
3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
4. Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1), by Amanda Hocking
5. Wicked Appetite, by Janet Evanovich
6. Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games), by Suzanne Collins
7. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games), by Suzanne Collins
8. Heart of the Matter, by Emily Giffin
9. My Horizontal Life, by Chelsea Handler
10. My Blood Approves, by Amanda Hocking
11. The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel, by David Levithan
12. Freedom: A Novel (Oprah’s Book Club), by Jonathan Franzen
13. The Templar Concordat, by Terrence O’Brien
14. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
15. We Interrupt This Date, by L.C. Evans
16. A Season To Be Sinful, by Jo Goodman
17. Sizzling Sixteen, by Janet Evanovich
18. Favorite, by Karen McQuestion
19. The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, by Kevin Malarkey
20. Ascend (Trylle Trilogy, #3), by Amanda Hocking
21. Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card
22. Crossing Oceans, by Gina Holmes
23. Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
24. Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah
25. The Accidental Highland Hero, by Terry Spear
As more and more authors turn to self-publishing, a new trend is emerging that may benefit publishers as well as authors.
According to an article in The Star-Telegram online written by Alex Pham of The Los Angeles Times,
“Joe Konrath can’t wait for his books to go out of print.
When that happens, the 40-year-old crime novelist plans to reclaim the copyrights from his publisher, Hyperion Books, and self-publish them on Amazon.com, Apple’s iBooks and other online outlets. That way he’ll be able to collect 70 percent of the sale price, compared with the 6 to 18 percent he receives from Hyperion.
As for future novels, Konrath plans to self-publish all of them in digital form without having to leave his house in Schaumburg, Ill.
‘I doubt I’ll ever have another traditional print deal,’ said the author of Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary and other titles. ‘I can earn more money on my own.'”
Mr. Pham goes on to write, “It’s difficult to gauge just how many authors are dumping their publishing houses to self-publish online, though for now, the overall share remains small. But hardly a month goes by without a well-known writer taking the leap or declaring an intention to do so.”
However, Mr. Konrath is one of the exceptions to successful self-publishing because his fan base was primarily created by the marketing and distribution efforts of traditional publishing houses.
Does that mean an author needs to be published by a traditional publishing house to be successful later in self-publishing?
Not at all.
As an aspiring or first-book author who is relatively unknown, you need to market your work to where people seek, read, recommend and review books – in social media: Facebook, Twitter, NING, Linkedin, Foursquare, Goodreads, and all the other social networking sites out there.
There is only one problem. By the time you learn how to effectively market your work on all the social media, you may be in an old-age home especially if you are not so computer savvy. Besides, when would you have time to write another book?
Most authors just want to write. They don’t want to wear six or seven hats and be the marketing guru, the sales superstar or the promotional genius.
This is where publishers can get their own surf board and ride the same wave as Mr. Konrath. But some are just standing up on their boards, others are knelling and most don’t even see the social media wave.
Publishers can offer social networking services, electronic distribution and all the perks of traditional publishing to authors in digital and electronic form. This is a wave that is coming whether publishers like it or not so the best strategy is to make sure to have a surf board and to look out over the horizon. This publisher is certainly standing on his surf board poised to ride the next giant wave.
by Manisha on November 12, 2010
Market research firm Forrester has estimated e-book sales to touch the 1 billion mark by end 2010 in US and to triple by 2015!
Although only 7% of the 4000 people surveyed by Forrester actually read e-books these few are probably the most important ones reading 41% of their books in the digital form and buying books by the heaps.
In what might be viewed as a pat on the back for Kindle, it has surfaced as the most popular e-reader (32%), followed by Apple iPhone, Sony e-reader and Dell notebook and finishing a close second to the ubiquitous laptop in the Forrester findings.
Doing 66% of their reading in the digital form, Kindle users have emerged as the most avid e-book patriots and as if on a cue Kindle has already announced the flipping of its revenue sharing agreement with its publishers which we covered right here for you.
The findings could be a wake-up call for the tentative publisher yet to decide on whether to go digital with his next publication-the writing seems clear on the wall though-and before paperback becomes old hat it’s time to cash in on the promising prospect of e-books as unveiled by Forrester.
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Not hard to believe when you consider the Kindle was the first mass-market ebook reader and the iPad is really a computing tablet with an ebook reader.
The iPad appeals to a larger market segment overall, but a smaller segment who just want the device to read ebooks.
Our own titles show sales on the Kindle, the Nook and the Kobo and none so far on the iPad.
Here’s the post from TNW.
By Alex Wilhelm on August 22nd, 2010
If you follow the ebook market you were likely stunned this June when Steve Jobs claimed to have captured 22% of the electronic book market overnight with the release of iBooks and iPad. Many of us who watch this market with carefuleyes were leery of the numbers that Jobs was tossing around, they sounded too good to be true. more>
In an unprecedented move, the Wiley Literary Agency struck a deal with Amazon to publish 20 classic titles as ebooks on the Kindle. According to reports, this is the first time a literary agency moved into the publishing business.
Will this be a trend as agencies struggle to survive in the dwindling print market? It might be. An agency would sign on an author, retain electronic publishing rights and then sell print rights to traditional publishers.
Agency revenues would increase considerably for ebooks, especially with the current structure where agencies only receive 15% of the author’s royalties.
However, the big question is will traditional publishers go along with this scenario or refuse to publish an author unless they retain electronic rights?
Will this be beneficial to authors?
Read Stephen Windwalker’s column for more information on this emerging development.
Read the report from The New York Times.
We hear it all the time. The electronic book readers like Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s eReader are going to be the downfall of printed books. If you believe that you may have been one of the folks in Columbus’ day who believed the world was flat. Don’t worry. It won’t happen at least for a very long time.
The eReaders are just another distribution channel for books. If anything, eReaders are going to allow more people to access more content than ever before. We hear it from Kindle owners all the time that their Kindles are maxed out – they cannot fit anymore books on these devices. Luckily for them Amazon allows users to store books online on their Kindle account. They just have to switch them out from the account to the Kindle. And people with mobile devices like phones and PDAs are only limited by the amount of memory in those devices.
Well, for all those people out there who don’t like change, book eReaders and other mobile reading devices like the iPhone, iTouch, Blackberry, Palm Pilot and the entire family of Windows Mobile software devices are here to stay. Whether you passively ignore these devices or actively denounce them, the eReader trend is coming at you like a steam roller and there is nothing you can do. Go with the flow or be flattened.
A case in point is Amazon’s launch of the European version of the Kindle (See the story on Bloomberg.com). Before the launch, Europeans had to settle for the American Kindle version and could only download books after they downloaded them to their PCs. Now they can download books wirelessly directly to the Kindle in more than 100 countries all over Europe. Now Europeans like us Americans only have to think of a book and in less than 60 seconds they will have the entire book ready to read on their Kindles.
And according to TIME online, “2009 is a breakout year for e-readers,” says Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research. “But we’re still in the early stages.”
More than 17 Kindle-competitors are already on the market or expected to hit the market by 2010, according to TIME. The major players include Apple and Microsoft, Asustek, a Taiwanese company, Samsung, LG, IREX, Interead and Fujitsu with a full color e-ink display.
Cool technology. Disruptive technology. Revolutionary technology. The voices are clear.
So what does it all mean for our rich literary legacy? Will our literary future simply morph into something unrecognizable? Will it vanish completely? Maybe. Young people are writing novels on cell phones in Japan. Several authors have attempted to write and serialize novels on Twitter. Hundreds of books were first written on blogs and then turned into full length books in print.
Most young people don’t read books; older people read books. Females read more books than males. A whole new language has been created for texting that uses mostly acronyms and makes understanding shorthand a cake walk.
Again allay your fears.
Clive Thompson, a writer for Wired Magazine, reported in the September 2009 article, “Clive Thompson on the New Literacy,” that a college professor found just the opposite – that young people are much more prolific than their parents and grandparents.
“Andrea Lunsford isn’t so sure. Lunsford is a professor of writing and rhetoric at Stanford University, where she has organized a mammoth project called the Stanford Study of Writing to scrutinize college students’ prose. From 2001 to 2006, she collected 14,672 student writing samples—everything from in-class assignments, formal essays, and journal entries to emails, blog posts, and chat sessions. Her conclusions are stirring.
“I think we’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since Greek civilization,” she says. For Lunsford, technology isn’t killing our ability to write. It’s reviving it—and pushing our literacy in bold new directions.
The first thing she found is that young people today write far more than any generation before them. That’s because so much socializing takes place online, and it almost always involves text. Of all the writing that the Stanford students did, a stunning 38 percent of it took place out of the classroom—life writing, as Lunsford calls it. Those Twitter updates and lists of 25 things about yourself add up.
It’s almost hard to remember how big a paradigm shift this is. Before the Internet came along, most Americans never wrote anything, ever, that wasn’t a school assignment. Unless they got a job that required producing text (like in law, advertising, or media), they’d leave school and virtually never construct a paragraph again.”
She’s right about technology “pushing our literacy in bold new directions” – everything written is shorter, faster, more efficient. Books are shorter; chapters are shorter to reflect everyone’s busier, faster lifestyle and the writing is concise and targeted written to get to the point quickly and efficiently.
Even Daniel Menaker, the former Executive Editor-in-Chief of Random House and fiction editor of The New Yorker laments about the Internet in his article, “Radactor Agonisties” in the Barnes and Noble Review.
“(Speaking of shortness, the attention-distraction of the Internet and the intrusion of work into everyday life, by means of electronic devices, appear to me to have worked, maybe on a subliminal level, to reduce the length of the average trade hardcover book.)”
Does that mean we will never see great classics like Charles Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol or Great Expectations? On the contrary. Writers are the bellwethers of our time, and their writings will reflect our lifestyles, our cultures, and our pace of living. Besides, when was the last time a friend proclaimed, “I just finished, War and Peace, and now I can start David Copperfield.”
While books may be shorter, there will always be classics some already written, some to be written, whether they are traveling at light speed as zeros and ones over the airwaves or inked permanently onto the printed page.