Monday, July 10, 2006

Publishing News: Steinbeck, E-Books and The Long Tail

It has been a slow two weeks in the publishing world due to the July 4th holiday.

There has been more reporting on the Steinbeck’s retention of their fathers material. This article focuses more on Thomas Steinbeck’s budding literary career. A book of short stories has been completed and it this success that has emboldened Thomas to be more forthright about his plans as an author.

Speaking of old literary history, I came across this article about a Canadian author who was incredibly successful in her day but is now largely forgotten. Mazo de la Roche wrote 16 novels - making her "rich and famous" - about an upper Canadian rural family named the Whiteoaks. She began the series in the 1920s as an entry in a writing contest and by the late 1940s she was one of the biggest selling English language authors. She sold over 11million copies and she even had a miniseries. On her titles are readily available but don't have a very impressive rank. Similar to Margaret Mitchell in Atlanta the town of Mississauga has created a museum out of the authors residence.

A number of news sources quoted this story from Bloomsbury in the UK about e-Book titles mainly because they are the publisher of Harry Potter and the word "spellbinding" appeared in the headline. The story picks-up on the continuing confusion on e-book formats but notes Bloomsbury is ready to jump when a standard emerges. Bloomsbury currently produce 24 titles which even given the format issue appears tepid at best. Related to this article (but not noted in it), an industry wide format was recently announced by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), and here is the website for review and comment on the draft standard. The IDPF has evolved into a very important industry group that is addressing format and other important issues relevant to e-book publishing. On the association website are presentations from their recent industry forum including a session that addressed why publishers aren't publishing more e-books particularly from their back list.

There are two articles this week in the UK Guardian on Chris Anderson and The Long Tail.

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