Digital Publishing: Rise of the eBook

This post originally appeared on my parent company’s blog.

Long before the rise of the eBook, the publishing industry faced the challenge of needing to adapt to an increasingly digital pool of consumers. I’ve been involved with the industry for more than five years, and while the settings have changed—from a university press to a small independent trade publisher, and now, to a book publicity division of a larger PR firm in midtown Manhattan—the challenges have remained a constant.

As to be expected, statistics show that eBooks are more popular now than everMEDIA CONNECT is witnessing this first-hand in our work with Chicago-based Tribune Media Services (TMS). We had the pleasure of working with TMS on the launch of their eBook imprint last year with two titles by pet columnist and radio host Steve Dale. Both titles (Good Cat! and Good Dog!) featured interactive versions complete with helpful videos, as well as standard editions.

Forwarded by animal lover Betty White, and full of helpful behavioral information about dogs and cats, the TMS eBooks competed well against similar titles across the eBook marketplace and marked a strong beginning to TMS’s entry into the world of downloadable content.

Our work with eBooks is not restricted to our online services. In fact, many of the radio and TV producers with whom we book authors regularly have responded favorably to the idea of receiving an eBook versus printed content. Naturally, across media (including with bloggers), there are requests for hardcopies, but they’re few and far between these days.

In addition to Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble making eBook access quick and user-friendly, platforms like Netgalley make the process of sending advanced copies equally as painless.

There’s still plenty of debate in the world of eBooks—including pricing, spelling (e-book? eBook? E-Book? ebook?), and platforms—but it’s safe to say that at the rate with which eBooks have evolved and continue to gain popularity, they’re here to stay.

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eReading

I work in publishing and have a deep-rooted love for the written word. That said, I have almost always preferred to read a printed text as opposed to print on screen. When the news grew more readily and accurately available online, and when my parents opted to switch from dial-up Internet to a cable modem, I slowly migrated toward digital reading. Still, the pace with which I could read text on a screen was significantly slower than what I could accomplish with a hard copy, and it wasn’t until I purchased my iPad that I seriously entertained the idea of downloading an eReader app (as opposed to forking over more money for a separate device). I opted for the Kindle App, but also downloaded the Apple app, iBooks. Having considered the factors beyond text readability, including price, availability of books, speed of download, etc., I have to say that I really prefer the Kindle app. I’ve  noticed that many titles are significantly cheaper than in the iBooks store, and it’s linked to my Amazon account, which I appreciate.

On my trip back from Baltimore this weekend, I wanted to read instead of watch a movie, so I purchased I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, by Giulia Melucci. It downloaded in mere seconds, cost less than $10, and was super clear to read on my iPad.

Go with the Kindle app. Just do it.

Summer Fridays

I don’t often pick favorites. I don’t have a favorite color, or food, and up until I entered the publishing industry, I would have declared that same unbiased view on days of the week. Sure, Wednesday is termed hump day and is closer to the weekend, but to me, it may as well have been Monday or Tuesday – at the time, it made no real difference to me.

Enter Summer Fridays.

Companies on the creative end — advertising, public relations, publishing, etc. — operate on some variation of a slowed summer schedule, where employees have an early-release-style benefit most, if not all Fridays from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

My first taste of Summer Fridays should have excited me — the idea of working an extra half  hour Monday-Thursday, and then having an early release every Friday. There was even a clause that if you worked for a full Friday, with your manager’s approval, you could take off the entire following Friday. Young and naive, I didn’t take advantage of my first summer with this industry perk. Instead, I worked full Fridays throughout the summer, thinking, maybe next year.

And, so, here we are. I really like my job, and the work I get to do — and trust me there is plenty of it — but pulling myself away regularly is difficult. So, instead, I’ve found my own ways to enjoy Fridays this summer when I can’t get to Long Island or the Hamptons. I work late pretty often, sometimes past 8 0r 9, and being at the office alone at that hour is neither fun, nor comforting. That said, being alone at the office at 3 p.m. on a Friday is kind of magical. No foot traffic, plenty of sunlight (on a good day).

Silence is golden, sure, but I’ve also been lucky enough to have gone away a bit over the summer, and without those 2 p.m. early releases, I’m not sure I would have been able to finagle said adventures.

August is reaching its half-way point, and soon, Summer Fridays will be retired and hopefully revisited in 2012. With three Fridays left, I’ll find myself in DC, Long Island, and finally, in Detroit.

Are you treated to Summer Fridays? If so, how are you spending your final 3?

 

Book Expo in Review

My past publishing experience had me involved with Book Expo America at a distance. Never having had to actually represent a company in the past, all things BEA were really a mystery to me.

Things at the office have been busier than ever, so taking out at least two full days to explore Book Expo and schmooze with industry peers seemed like an impossibility.

On Tuesday, I arrived at the Javits Center after spending a couple of hours at PTA. It was early still, so I was excited to embrace the chaos that was the expo floor.

I met up with our delightful Washington, DC staff — Hillary and Dee — and together, we navigated from booth to booth, snagging swag like signed copies — from Tyra, Chuck Klosterman, and Ellie Krieger — and totes (I ended up with 20).

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Observation: Inaccurate

After reading a tweet this morning from author and industry insider Jason Pinter, my attention was called to an article in the New York Observer that painted what I see as a completely inaccurate picture of young people, specifically assistants, in the publishing industry.

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Bieber Fever is a Consumer Epidemic

Just when I thought it was dying down, Bieber struck again. This time, though, he’s moved his attack to the bookshelves. According to an article I read (via Entertainment Weekly), teenage heartthrob, Justin Bieber, is coming out with a memoir, published by HarperCollins.

I guess Christopher Walken was wrong. The only prescription is not more cowbell. How will we cure the Bieber Fever?