Wednesday, April 29, 2020

MediaWeek - Publishing News Roundup: Pandemic Books, Hate Publishing on Amazion, College Returns?

I pulled together a quick list of pandemic books a few weeks ago and here is a CNN article about a rejected book (by publishers) which is now getting a lot of attention from the market

Lockdown: the crime thriller that predicted a world in quarantine by [Peter May]A pandemic thriller, once rejected by publishers for being unrealistic, is now getting a wide release (Amazon).
The book, which was rejected by publishers at the time for being too unrealistic, was finally published on Thursday. The thriller is set in London, the epicenter of a global pandemic that forces officials to institute a lockdown. The story isn't entirely based on May's imagination. He used British and US pandemic preparedness documents from 2002 to make it was as realistic as possible. (CNN)

On Amazon and how they don't police hate publishing from their outlets:
Propublica: The Hate Store: Amazon’s Self-Publishing Arm Is a Haven for White Supremacists.
“Kindle will publish anything,” a third user chimed in. They were basically right. It takes just a couple of minutes to upload one’s work to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s self-publishing arm; the e-book then shows up in the world’s largest bookstore within half a day, typically with minimal oversight. Since its founding more than a decade ago, KDP has democratized the publishing industry and earned praise for giving authors shut out of traditional channels the chance to reach an audience that would have been previously unimaginable.

A crazy political 'dirty tricks' effort in Australia where a high ranking advisor to the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pirated the unpublished biography of the prior Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (Guardian)
Some of the biggest names in politics will be drawn into the controversy over pirating of Malcolm Turnbull’s autobiography after his publisher reached a settlement on the issue.  On Tuesday evening Hardie Grant reached a settlement with Scott Morrison’s adviser Nico Louw over claims he distributed unauthorised copies of Turnbull’s book, A Bigger Picture, before its formal release on Monday.
“An undisclosed sum was settled for and he’s given us where he got [the digital copy] from and where it went to,” the chief executive of the publishing house, Sandy Grant, told Guardian Australia Wednesday.
Also from Australia a state of the market from The Guardian

Interesting effort by Digiday to offer services to publishers challenged by todays events.

Joint announcement by the ABA, AAP and Authors Guild urging readers to help save bookstores:
“Sadly, after a decade of recovery and growth that affirmed the importance of reading, writing, and publishing, bookstores are suddenly facing a moment of monumental crisis at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the three women write. “In some instances, these beloved institutions, which mean so much to so many communities, face the very real possibility that they will never open their doors again.
“We cannot let this happen because we need bookstores now more than ever. As award-winning poet and writer Jen Campbell wrote in her book The Bookshop Book, ‘Bookshops are dreams built of wood and paper. They are time travel and escape and knowledge and power. They are, simply put, the best of places.’”
PEN America sends a letter to demand an end to access fees for eBooks in Prisons:
We, the undersigned, are a coalition of groups and individuals concerned with the rights and dignity of incarcerated people, as well as with their access to reading materials alongside other sources of information and recreation. We write to ask that you waive your fees for incarcerated people to access digital content on your tablets during this pandemic. 
As we speak, millions of Americans are confined to their homes in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Yet, they have a multitude of options to continue to engage with the outside world through educational and recreational access to information. In fact, several major companies that offer digital content–like Audible, JSTOR, and Cengage–have taken steps to make more of their content freely available during the pandemic, to help lessen the burden of isolation on readers.

Schools around the world are coming to the realization that things will never be the same:
From WAPO:
College students want answers about fall, but schools may not have them for months

From SMH:
Australia's school system will be forever changed and possibly improved by what we learn from the COVID-19 closures. Parents will develop a renewed appreciation for the critical role of teachers, and outdated educational practices will be questioned.
Worldwide, there will be a rethink of education when we come out the other side. We may discover through this process that there are other ways to better engage children and develop more attractive styles of learning in this technological age.
Do schools really need to operate from nine to three for 200 set days of the year? Do we still need to rely on the HSC as the major way of credentialing students for future pathways? I think this crisis will force us to think differently.

Flipboard Magazine

Michael Cairns is a publishing and media executive with over 25 years experience in business strategy, operations and technology implementation.  He has served on several boards and advisory groups including the Association of American Publishers, Book Industry Study Group and the International ISBN organization.   Additionally, he has public and private company board experience.   He can be reached at

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