Tuesday, November 17, 2020

MediaWeek (Vol 13, No 15): Cookbooks, trump's $100mm memoirs, Bookshop.org

How much of a risk are publishers willing to take in publishing more trump books?  Can they afford to publish his memoirs?  (TNR)

Can Book Publishers Afford to Publish Donald Trump?

A Trump post-presidency memoir would be a mega-bestseller. But is the industry prepared to deal with the fallout?

But the most straightforward path to money and attention is the most traditional one for ex-presidents: a memoir, much like the one Barack Obama will publish about his first term next week. There have been whispers about such a book for some time, and speculation is increasing. Earlier this week someone in Trump’s camp told the New York Post’s Page Six that “Trump is being bombarded with book and TV deals that could be worth a staggering $100 million.”
That figure is almost certainly not true—it elicited laughter from multiple publishing sources when I raised it. Barack and Michelle Obama received a $65 million advance for two books, one of which, Michelle’s Becoming, has become the biggest seller of the Trump era. It is highly unlikely that a single Trump book could even flirt with that amount of money. The Post item was, more likely, spin from an interested party—a reminder to publishers that the president commands a large audience and a reminder to the president himself that a memoir could lead to a cash windfall.

Bookshop.org which has grown spectacularly in support of independent bookstores eCommerce needs during the pandemic is launching in the UK.  The Guardian has a view.

Despite books being deemed non-essential items by the government, the publishing industry has seen record sales this year. But as we enter a second lockdown, there are a number of the 870 independent bookshops in the UK that have been unable to create a functioning website where their customers can buy books directly from them. Bookshop.org allows any independent shop to customise its own online store front, select books to recommend and, any time a bookshop directs a customer to the site through one of its links, it gets 30% of the sale.

The importance of supporting local bookshops as a vital part of the community has been increasingly recognised, and is further reflected on this platform, as every time a reader buys a book from an author, publisher, magazine or influencer page, 10% of that purchase will go to the page owner and another 10% into a profit pool for independent bookshops. In the US more than $7.5m has been raised to share among 900 bookshops. On day one of being established in the UK, the pot was already at £12,500.

 A new way to publish cookbooks (Thrillist)

Somekind’s cookbooks follow an innovative, dreamt up business model that feels like a foil to traditional publishing. For starters, the majority of the money raised goes directly to venues—the remaining is then split among creative contributors, like designers, photographers, and editors. The cookbooks double as a crowdfunding source and work on a preorder basis; if 100 copies of a cookbook aren’t sold, the title will not go to print and the money that has been raised will be donated to the venue. “A normal, traditional publisher will invest in say, 10,000 copies that get printed in China and then hope to sell all of them and need to push that to make sure that they’re accountable to sell them,” Mossop explained. “Because we crowdfund and preorder all of these, we actually don’t need to keep stock so we only print what we sell so we don’t have any waste.” 
It’s an entirely new method of publishing, which is reflected in the name of their company: it’s not traditional publishing nor is it digital, it’s just some kind of publishing.
Forget TikToc:  How the US Military buys location data from ordinary aps (Vice)

X-Mode then sells access to this sort of data to a wide range of different clients. Motherboard has previously shown that one of those clients includes a private intelligence firm whose goal is to use location data to track people down to their "doorstep." X-Mode has also demonstrated how its data can be used to follow where people in COVID-19 hotspots travelled to after potentially exposing one another to the coronavirus. 

Those clients have also included U.S. military contractors, Motherboard found. Included in archived versions of the "Trusted Partners" section on its website, X-Mode lists Sierra Nevada Corporation and Systems & Technology Research as customers. Sierra Nevada Corporation builds combat aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, and supports contractor Northrop Grumman in the development of cyber and electronic warfare capabilities for the U.S. Army. Systems & Technology Research works with the Army, Navy, and Air Force according to procurement records, and offers "data analytics" support to intelligence analysts, according to its website.


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