Book Biz: Ignoring Social Networks, “I Hate Books”, Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Dearth of English Majors, Algonquin Round Table

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I owe some of you an apology. It’s this whole LinkedIn thing. I guess I just don’t get it.

After closing Baker Johnson, Inc. in 2005, every article I read about finding work insisted the key to re-employment was the internet. Trade groups had work available sites (PrintWorkers.com – less than one posting per month), and newspaper ads were said to be useless because of Monster.com where most all jobs were listed in the 21st century (I tried Monster but I was too old for all the positions listed for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, which made up about a third of all the ads). Most importantly, one must use the worldwide web to network, network, network.

At the time I read that LinkedIn was the best place to network to let people know your talents were available, so the more people you linked to, the faster you’d be hired. I went to town and invited lots of friends from the print industry to “link” to me and accepted a lot of invitations from friends in the publishing industry and…nothing happened.

But I was comfortable being on LinkedIn in a very passive sort of way. I’d get occasional emails inviting me to link with someone and while I felt no urgency to do so, I wondered if anger or disappointment would result from my inaction. Then reality kicked in and I thought, “Get real!”

And there were emails letting me know whenever someone I was linked to had linked to someone else. It began to occur to me that the exponential growth of the whole thing was getting out of hand so that at some point I would have maybe just four or five degrees of separation to anyone in the whole damn world!

Then late last year I started getting the darndest emails. A friend in Hawaii had “endorsed” me, then a friend in Illinois posted a “new skill” (except it wasn’t new at all, she’d always had it since I’d known her). What was this? An endorsement? I tried it and endorsed someone but the idea that my endorsement, by checking a little check-box, would make or break anyone’s status page was absurd. I tried to recommend someone, but met none of the four requirements needed to recommend someone…as if my recommendation actually mattered either.

So now I’ve slowed down on accepting LinkedIn invitations. It’s a bit out of my league. For those I’m linked to, you already know that I never post anything new anyway.

And while web sites and my email newsletter subscriptions tell me the key to all riches lies in social media, I freely admit that Grub Street Printing doesn’t

Face on Facebook

Space on MySpace

Redd on Reddit

Tweet on Twitter

Digg on Diggit

Share on InShare

Stumble on StumbleUpon

Tumbl on Tumblr

Pin on Pinterest

Chime on Chime.In

Eat on Delicious

Inst on Instagram

or attempt any other form of social networking on Grub Street’s computer except speaking with you on my Skype phone. Having a chance to talk with you is about all the digital networking I can handle, and I do enjoy it.

Penguin Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit

Having purchased publishing services company Author Solutions (a den of scamsters?) last year, Penguin has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit for breach of contract (among other things) and remove Penguin itself from the suit altogether. Penguin and Random House plan to finalize their merger this month.

Fonts for Dyslexicsdyslexic font-compare

I know some of you think I go on a bit about fonts, but you can see in this article how a font can influence the ability of the reader to scan across words with clarity and comprehension.

Is Barnes & Noble Terminal?

Many industry watchers believe B&N may be struggling through its death throes. B&N is losing sales, has had to stop offering some Nook models and saw its stock tank 17% in one day last week. B&N executives deny their stores are carrying significantly fewer titles, although evidence suggests that’s true.

Paula Deen and Selling Books

While the headlines are about the businesses that are trying to distance themselves from Paula Deen (like her publisher Ballantine/Random House, book retailers Target and Walmart) Amazon reports pre-orders for her next book (due in October) and her current best-seller are #1 and #2 right now. What will Ballantine do? Not supply books?

Adobe Creative Cloud: Friend or Foe?

Certainly a lot of conversation about Adobe’s Creative Suite becoming a subscription cloud application. According to this article, designers are extremely wary about the change but most printers deal with the problems as they encounter them and move on.

King’s “Print Only” Book a Pirated Ebook

Stephen King thought his latest book Joyland should be available as a conventional book, sold through bookstores but a pirated ebook became available within days of its release. Lesson learned?

I Hate Books!”

Anna North, the culture editor for Salon.com posted her thoughts on the ease of reading ebooks as compared to the old clunky way that made you do insipid things like turn pages. The culture editor? I assume she prefers .mp3s to live music also.

Tumblr Poetry

Apparently paid editors had poetry all wrong, and didn’t understand the criteria people would judge it by, because it’s thriving on Tumblr, where volunteer editors curate the verse, and whose motto is “Follow the World’s Creators.” Click here to sign up.

Algonquin round tableAlgonquin Continues Literary Tradition

Decades ago the Algonquin Hotel served as a meeting place for New York City’s writers. Now, Simon & Schuster has worked with the hotel to create a S&S themed suite on the 7th floor as well as present readings from some of its current authors.

Who Do You Link To?

A number of British authors and publishers are chastising some others in the industry for linking their web sites to Amazon or other online retailers, ignoring smaller brick and mortar booksellers.

I Don’t Get ItInfinite Jest cvr

A reader of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest did a neat job of trimming their copy to remove all the page numbers. I have no idea what “freedoms” he was after but I’m pleased he seems free at last. And I do enjoy the far-ranging comments posted about his rebellion..

A Dearth of English Majors?

There’s a growing sentiment in some political circles to decrease funding for some Liberal Arts programs since the employment situation for their majors can be erratic and perhaps that indicates that those areas of study offer less value to society.

But I was always pleasantly surprised by how many English majors (like myself) found their way into book manufacturing. Now it seems that even without political maneuvering a degree in English is losing its luster. I wonder where the Garrison Keillors of tomorrow will come from?

Final Thought

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.
Oscar Wilde

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.

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