Book Biz: Hub City Books, Beautiful Bookstores, Amazon Boycott, USPS #1

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Once again this newsletter highlights the struggles we’re experiencing in our industry. An interesting perspective on how the digital age has roiled the business models of the late 20th century can be found in the last paragraph “Final Thought” where instead of a simple quote I’ve linked to Seth Godin’s blog article.

And if you’re tired of the new eWhatever and iSomething announcements that pepper this newsletter each month, take a look at the 20 “Most Beautiful Bookstores” in the world. Someone forgot to tell them that they’re no longer relevant.

The link to Hub City, where writers, publishers and book retailers survive together in a Spartanburg, SC, non-profit, reminds me of all the reasons why I fell in love with this industry over 30 years ago.

 Discounted eTextbooks

The California State University system (the largest such system in America) has announced a new agreement with Cengage Learning to provide digital textbooks at a reduced price to CSU students.

Well, duh….

The Authors Guild, citing a number of examples, has deemed Amazon “anti-competitive” and has called for all publishers to refrain from committing their titles to the Kindle format.

Amazon Tries to Bully IPG…

Amazon has dropped 5,000 Kindle eBooks available from Independent Publishers Group from its store because IPG wouldn’t accept Amazon’s new, unfavorable contract terms.

…But Copia To The Rescue

But now those 5,000 titles are now available on the eBook social networking site Copia, generally at reduced prices.

Speaking of Copia

Three new eBook platforms will be announced in the coming months from Google Editions, Baker & Taylor, and Copia, which is also introducing it’s new eReader.

US Postal Service Ranked #1

Oxford Consulting Group, a British organization, examined the mail services of the developed countries of the world and found the USPS to be the most dependable.

Academics Boycott Elsevier

Academics from many countries have stopped submitting research to Elsevier for publication, stating that Elsevier is overcharging for access to what is mostly taxpayer funded research.

Watch an Oscar Winner Here

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore won an Oscar Award for Best Animated Short Film, and can be viewed here courtesy of Galley Cat/Media Bistro.

No “Pinning” From Your Pages

If you have images you’d prefer not to have shared (pinned) on Pinterest, add this code to the top of the page <meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin” />

Most Beautiful Bookstores

Flavorwire has developed a listing of the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world. Now that’s a real bucketlist for book lovers.

eBook Sweet Spot?

While every category of the publishing industry has been affected by eBooks, it seems that conventional Adult Mass Market books may be feeling the pinch the most.

BISG BookStats

Book Industry Study Group has begun sifting through last year’s sales data to produce their now annual BookStats. You can participate in their publisher’s survey here by March 31. The assembled information will be available in June.

          Vogue Retools iPad Edition

After releasing just three iPad editions of Vogue in over a year, Vogue has announced that it’s new iPad eZine will re-launch this September.

Whither Amazon?

There is wide spread speculation that the next generation Kindle Fire will have a camera, although consumers don’t seem to care if their tablet/eReader has one. But Amazon would like shoppers to use their Kindle cameras to comparison shop in brick and mortar stores against Amazon pricing.         Strangely enough, Amazon is considering opening brick and mortar stores.

Will the Big 6 Fight Back?

Are the 6 major US publishers prepared to duke it out with Amazon?

Check Out Hub City Books

If you missed the story on NPR, take a moment to appreciate the vitality this creative organization has brought to Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Final Thought

There’s not enough room for Seth Godin’s observations on the disruptions brought about by the ongoing digital revolution, but his thoughts on the impossible displacing the perfect are quite apropos both the print and publishing industries.

 Past newsletters can be found at

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.