Sunday, April 27, 2008

The State Of Self Publishing Books And Some Major Players

In an attempt to outline the growth of book self publishing in the United States, I found this article by Rachel Donadio entitled "You're An Author? Me Too!" It cites some stats on book publishing in the United States as well as some information on the leading self publishing companies like iUniverse and Xlibris.

Here's what she had to say on the state of book publishing:
In 2007, a whopping 400,000 books were published or distributed in the United States, up from 300,000 in 2006, according to the industry tracker Bowker, which attributed the sharp rise to the number of print-on-demand books and reprints of out-of-print titles. University writing programs are thriving, while writers’ conferences abound, offering aspiring authors a chance to network and “workshop” their work. The blog tracker Technorati estimates that 175,000 new blogs are created worldwide each day (with a lucky few bloggers getting book deals). And the same N.E.A. study found that 7 percent of adults polled, or 15 million people, did creative writing, mostly “for personal fulfillment.”
And here are some honest to goodness stats on iUniverse. It doesn't sound so nice seeing that an average author from iUniverse doesn't sell anything above 200 copies of his/her book:

IUniverse, a self-publishing company founded in 1999, has grown 30 percent a year in recent years; it now produces 500 titles a month and has 36,000 titles in print, said Susan Driscoll, a vice president of its parent company, Author Solutions. While some are “calling card” books that specialists sell at conferences and workshops, most are by ordinary people who want to get their work in print. The writers tend to be on both ends of the age spectrum. “As people get older, they have more time and more money and something to say,” Driscoll said, while their grandchildren are often driven by “that need for fame,” she said. “They may not be avid readers, but they certainly are writers.” Not that anyone is necessarily paying attention. Driscoll said that most writers using iUniverse sell fewer than 200 books.
Also she had some information from Xlibris, another self publishing company that highlights more promising sales for potential authors

Xlibris, a print-on-demand operation, has 20,000 titles in print, by more than 18,000 authors, said Noel Flowers, a company spokesman. It is “nonselective” in choosing manuscripts, he said, though it does screen “for any offensive or inappropriate content.” Xlibris’s top sellers include “Demonstrating to Win!,” a computer manual (15,600 sold, not including copies bought by the author), and “The Morning Comes and Also the Night,” which the company lists in the “religion/Bible/prophecies” category (10,500 sold).

The article continues to outline self publishing companies, their alliances and their costs but she ends her article with a note on how so many of these books are cluttering the reading atmosphere with noise rather than music.

Although I do think it's possible that all these books may be making it much more accessible for ordinary people to get published, let's not discount the opportunity to find the gems in the mines. That is why we mine right? To find the gems?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Authorhouse Responds To Amazon/ Booksurge Monopoly

Kevin Weiss, the CEO of Author Solutions that owns both Authorhouse and iUniverse just issued a statement that apparently shows their position on what he calls the Amazon/ Booksurge "situation." Even from the start there you'd notice that there is a lot of ambiguity going on.

The statement continues to say that basically nothing has changed and that everyone has seemed to have remained in the "status quo" just saying that they'll improve their services and systems to make lives better for authors.

The only clear stand I saw in the whole piece was this.

We do not anticipate any change to the current availability of our titles on Amazon, either in the short or long term. If there are any changes that we think will have an impact on you – either positive or negative – we will let you know directly.

Which means, nothing will change on their end and if something will - we'll let you know as soon as it does. Basically I guess no one knows. Is Amazon/ Booksurge bluffing? Or will it pull through and eventually take down all nonBooksurge self-published books from its shelf?

How Does Google Book Search Get All Those Old Books Digitized Into Their System?

Well even when it comes to the world's #1 Brand and possibly the most amazing and most advanced technological company, Google does some manual labor. Apparently the digital versions of some of the oldest most fragile books are digitally scanned - 600 pages a day and loaded up to Google Book Search. These books are scanned as two overhead cameras photograph the pages, but that means someone has to turn page after page and click. After which each digitized book goes through optical character recognition processing, which makes the text searchable.

Google, the Internet's leader in search and advertising, says the process it developed and is using for scanning the majority of the books in Book Search is proprietary.

Through Book Search, users can track down a book on any topic they're interested in and read a small portion. If the book's not protected by copyright, users can download the whole thing. If it is, or if they just want to read an original, they can use Book Search to find copies to buy or borrow.

Book Search has the support of many publishers, authors and librarians, including Cambridge University Press and Wisdom Publications. But some publishers and authors have sued, claiming the service violates their copyrights. Google says Book Search is aboveboard because Web surfers can retrieve only snippets of copyright material through the service.

Details care of AP

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Even Miley Cyrus a.k.a. Hannah Montana Will Publish A Book!

The New York Times just reported that Miley Cyrus, the 15-year-old star of the Disney Channel series “Hannah Montana,” has agreed to write a book about her early life in Tennessee, her move to Los Angeles and the influence of her parents — especially her mother — on her success. In a seven-figure deal, Disney Book Group acquired the rights to Ms. Cyrus’s book, to be published by the Disney-Hyperion Books imprint in spring 2009, when the Hannah Montana movie is also scheduled for release.

Jeanne Mosure, global publisher of Disney Book Group, said the company had already sold 15 million copies of some 60 Hannah Montana-branded titles worldwide, including novelizations and gift books about the show. She said the new book would have an initial print run of one million copies. “It’s rare that you hear from someone her age that they want to talk about their family,” Ms. Mosure said. “How she sees her family in light of everything that she’s exposed to on a daily basis is pretty incredible.”

Xulon Press Publishing Promotion

This month Xulon Press is offering you $1,000 OFF our regular price to get published. What's nice about Xulon Press is that they have this cool video on their homepage that explains what they do for you. It's weird though because their prices start at $999 but their discount is $1000 so the book publishing packages must be a whole lot more expensive than normal

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

National Poetry Month! Happy Poetry Writing!

Here's some info on National Poetry Month from

What is National Poetry Month?

National Poetry Month was established by the Academy of American Poets as a month-long, national celebration of poetry. The concept was to increase the attention paid-by individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our poetic heritage, and to poetry books and magazines. In the end, we hoped to achieve an increase in the visibility, presence, and accessibility of poetry in our culture. National Poetry Month has been successful beyond all anticipation and has grown over the years into the largest literary celebration in the world.

Who started it?

The Academy of American Poets has led this initiative from its inception in 1996 and along the way has enlisted a variety of government agencies and officials, educational leaders, publishers, sponsors, poets, and arts organizations to help.

When is National Poetry Month?

April. Every year since 1996.

Why was April chosen for National Poetry Month?

With input from booksellers, librarians, poets, and teachers, the Academy chose a month during the school year so that schools and students could participate fully. February is Black History Month and March is Women's History Month, so April seemed a logical choice. Also, there are many wonderful poetic references to April:

T. S. Eliot wrote, "April is the cruelest month." It is our hope that National Poetry Month lessens that effect.

On a lighter note, Chaucer wrote:
Whan that April with his showres soote
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veine in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flowr

Finally, Edna St. Vincent Millay asked, "To what purpose, April, do you return again?" For National Poetry Month, of course

Xlibris Publishing Promotion - Free Books

With Xlibris this month, they're giving away free books on top of their free upgrade offer

  • Poetry, Basic or Professional – additional 5 FREE BOOKS

  • Custom – additional 10 FREE BOOKS

  • Premium – additional 15 FREE BOOKS

  • Executive or Platinum – additional 25 FREE BOOKS

Free upsize of your publishing package, additional copies of your book, a special bonus if you’re ready to submit this month, double your exhibition marketing, Kirkus New Edition packages and deep author discounts all available this April.

J.K. Rowling Vs. Vander Ark - The Fight For Harry Potter Lexicon. To Publish Or Not To Publish?

It looks like the new Rowling case is a fan's passion carried too far. I do believe the the HP Lexicon site just wants to expound on the work of J.K. Rowling and in effect "be part" of the Harry Potter world, but J.K. Rowling does have a point about trying to stop it.

J.K. Rowling wants to be the supreme authority on Harry Potter as should be because she is the book's author. We should probably give her that. I think it's more a matter of integrity now rather than a case of copyright.

In the Reuters article below, both sides are mentioned as saying their piece with regards to whether the book should or should not be published. I think it shouldn't. Vander Ark should just respect J.K. Rowling's work by letting her write it. If he truly does admire her work then he should respect it as well. Say no to the money man!

Author J.K. Rowling said on Wednesday publication of an unofficial
encyclopedic companion to her Harry Potter books would "open the floodgates" and
threaten other authors.

The British author and Warner Bros., a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.,
are suing independent U.S. publisher RDR Books, which plans to publish "The
Harry Potter Lexicon," a 400-page reference book written by Steve Vander Ark
based on his fan Web site (

"This case is about an author's right to protect their creation," Rowling, 42, told a New York court. "If this book is allowed to be published the floodgates will open."

"Are we, or are we not, the owners of our own work?" said the author of
the seven Harry Potter books that have sold about 400 million copies. "It's not
just my work that is endangered."

Rowling, estimated by the Sunday Times to be worth about $1 billion, said she was outraged her work was considered fair game because it was so popular.

She has called Vander Ark's book "sloppy, lazy" work, unlike other Harry Potter companion books already published, which added original commentary
and criticism.

An emotional Vander Ark, 50, wearing spectacles similar to those worn
by Harry Potter, said on Tuesday his book was intended to help readers and
celebrate Rowling's work. He denied accusations of plagiarism.

A lawyer for RDR books said the book by Vander Ark, a librarian who has
spoken at Harry Potter conferences in several countries, would promote Rowling's
series and not hurt sales. Two literary experts testified for each side on
whether Vander Ark copied too much text, citing works on authors like C.S. Lewis
and James Joyce.

In closing arguments, Dale Cendali, a lawyer for Rowling and Warner,
said the lexicon reproduced "tremendous amounts of text" without attribution.
"There has been no testimony that it would add anything new or original," she
said. "The lexicon is filled with errors."

But Anthony Falzone, a lawyer for RDR, said Rowling could not suppress
a book just because she thought it was no good. "Copyright law does not permit
an author to suppress a book because she doesn't like it," he said.

U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson urged the sides to settle, saying
the case reflected an emerging part of copyright law with no clear precedents.
"I may need a reference guide to this case," he joked. He is expected to
take several weeks to reach a decision.

iUniverse Publishing Promotion - Free Books

Promotion Description:

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Authorhouse Publishing Promotion - $100 Off Plus Free Books

Save an extra $100 and get up to 20 books before April 30!

Publish this month and save an extra $100 on select packages when you buy online, plus get up to 20 books with select premium publishing packages. Offer expires April 30, 2008. So even if you're putting the finishing touches on your manuscript, buy today to get your bonus savings.

A New Book Publishing Company - WEBook!

In the ranks of Lulu and Wordplay come a new player into the book publishing market - They're encouraging an unconventional way to publishing books by allowing material to be shared.

I took this straight from their website - read for yourself what they're about

Let's face it: The traditional process for publishing a book is a lot like ivy-league school admission. Sooner or later, you'll find yourself brownnosing a guy with elbow patches. And then there's the endless waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

That is, until recently. What changed? Well, now there's WEbook, a ground-breaking online resource for aspiring authors, which lets you take charge of your own destiny. This avant-garde book publishing company applies an interactive approach to the process - in every sense of the word - by using the Internet as a platform to connect truly brilliant writers to print publication.

Think of us as a virtual studio lounge for writers, where self-professed literati like you can wax poetic about the finer points of writing and online book publishing, collaborate on project work, and provide valuable feedback to one another - all in real time through the power of the Internet. Best of all, if your contribution makes the cut, you won't have to spend a nickel to see your name in real, live print. Instead WEbook funds publication of the best books as printed books, eBooks, and other customized downloads. You and your collaborators share in royalties on book sales.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Library Of Congress Adapts Digital Technology!

It's absolutely cool that even the Library of Congress has opted to adapt advancements in digital technology. In an age when people think technology will make books obsolete, it's nice to see them complimenting each other for a change.

The Library of Congress will launch an entirely new visitor experience. This innovative and educational experience will invite the public to explore the institution’s vast collections like never before. New interactive galleries will offer access to rare and unique items, including the rough draft of The Declaration of Independence, the Gutenberg Bible, the Waldseemüller map and volumes from Thomas Jefferson’s original library. To learn more, visit the New Library of Congress Experience Web site.

This Library of Congress Experience will offer “hands-on” interaction with rare cultural treasures in ways that inspire and engage.

Artifacts like the Waldseemüller map (the first to include the name “America”), the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, the Gutenberg Bible and original volumes from Thomas Jefferson’s Library will be virtually at your fingertips. You’ll be able to flip through their pages, magnify sections of interest and access commentary from the Library’s top experts-all on the same touch screen.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Xlibris Publishing Promotion: Upgrade Your Book Publishing Package Free

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save $50 and publish for only $449 OR Save $400 with a free upgrade to the Professional Package, ONLY $499

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Save $7,000 with a free upgrade to the Platinum Package, ONLY $5,999

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*Please note that additional books are not included in the free service upgrade

iUniverse Publishing Promotion - Up To 60 Free Books

iUniverse Promotion Description:

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