Book Biz: B&N Closing Stores, Yiddish Revival, 1949 ebook, Audible Books

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Last month I asked for publishers to share their experiences in converting their titles into audio books. Apparently no one has tried it.

After some research, the first article in this February’s newsletter is audio books 101, a most elementary look at what they are.

As it turns out, however, it seems that I asked the wrong question. Brilliant Audio, Grand Haven, MI, has announced they will be developing their titles as ebooks and conventional volumes to become a “full service” publisher. And earlier in the year Tantor Media also announced it would be expanding into more traditional book formats.

Tantor Audio CEO Kevin Colebank was interviewed for USA Today and answers some basic questions about his industry.

I’m constantly reminded that it’s about content, not format, but I confess to ignoring audio books all these years. I suspect one or two of you may pursue this a bit more in the next year and I’m eager to hear your experiences.

Audible Books

While I didn’t hear from any of you with experience in the audio book market, I heard from a lot of you that you were as curious as I am about the process of creating audible books. This looks like a good place to start. For DIY this looks like the place to try out your efforts. If you’d like a source to download free audio books from Aesop to Yeats, try this. Compared to ebooks, this looks to be a lo-tech alternative to reach a wider audience with your titles.

B&N closedB&N Closing

Barnes & Noble has been closing its bookstores as their leases expire, even forgoing holiday sales by not restocking inventory while shoppers sorted through nearly empty shelves.

The linked article posits the counter-intuitive notion that book buyers who had been “showrooming” (shopping brick and mortar, buying online) were now less enticed to purchase ebooks, accounting for slowing ebook demand traced back to Borders’ demise.

On January 28, B&N announced that it plans to close one-third of its stores in the next decade. It’s certainly off to a fast start.

New Bookstores Opening

Perhaps the demise of B&N brick and mortar stores is leaving a vacuum in the retail marketplace. The American Booksellers Association (ABA) announced 42 new independent bookstores opened in 24 states last year.

Islamists Burn Historic VolumesTimbuktu Library

What is it about religious zealots that fears other points of view? Islamist rebels burned two libraries that housed centuries old texts of different Muslim sects as they evacuated Timbuktu. Fortunately, most of the irreplaceable tomes had been smuggled out to safety in the weeks before the Taliban retreated.

Well, Google, Which Is It?

Google has joined with other companies in an effort to go Paperless 2013 on the assumption that paper is inherently eco-unfriendly but data centers are sqeaky clean. But someone forgot to tell their marketing department and they ended up winning an award for their (printed on paper) advertising campaign.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Disillusioned Librarian

A library in Sydney, Australia has moved all of its titles about Lance Armstrong from the non-fiction area to fiction, whereas in America we show our disappointment by filing a lawsuit against Armstrong’s publisher, Penguin.

Everything Ebook

Media Bistro provides links for small publishers trying to format their titles for different ebook devices. For a sense of the direction that content will appear in, here’s the story about some major players who are staking out some new positions and betting on HTML5.

Zero Waste Paper Mill

The UPM Shottom paper mill in Wales has always produced recycled newsprint, but has developed ways to recover other recycled materials to make the mill more self-sufficient and extremely “green”.

Reading = More Intelligent Children

I can think of many less utilitarian reasons why children should read (and enjoy reading) but it’s nice to have this suspicion about its positive effects confirmed.

Kids Magazine Advertizes Adult Games

UK publisher LCD Publishing, whose magazines are distributed by Conde Nast and Hearst Corporation, defends advertising for adult rated shoot’em up video games in its elementary school Cool Kidz magazine because the ads themselves aren’t gory.

ebook19491949 Ereader?

In the broadest sense, an ereader was developed by a Spanish woman in 1949, although her patent was denied and she couldn’t afford production costs to bring the reader to market.

The Revival of Yiddish

Once considered a dying language, there is new found interest in preserving Yiddish via a newspaper and web site.

Final Thought

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. Oscar Wilde

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About Wayne Johnson 69 Articles

I’ve worked in book manufacturing for over 30 years, closing my company Baker Johnson, Inc. in 2005. Currently I work freelance with a large group of publishers, advising them on the printing options available to them as the book industry endures major restructuring.
My wife Cathy is a retired psychologist and spent most of her career working with the youth at Maxey Boys Training School. She is a small mammal rehabilitator with Friends of Wildlife.
Our daughter Whitney is a PharmD working in the Denver area evaluating the pharmaceutical requirements of nursing homes. Our son Eliot lives in Waterloo and is an editor at Mathematical Reviews in Ann Arbor.