Monday, June 1, 2009

BookExpo America - Focusing on E Pub

The "E" Book craze has finally gotten the attention of traditional publishing houses, such that Book Expo America has multiple venues where this is the only topic.
The New York Times is covering it and seems to have a wait and see attitude about the future of e-book publishing...

Book Fair Buzz Is Not Contained Between 2 Covers
Published: May 31, 2009

The book publishing industry is notorious for jumping on bandwagons: witness the flood of Da Vinci Code knockoffs that clogged tables at the front of bookstores a few years ago, and the stream of novels featuring vampires that are crowding bestseller lists now.
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Motoko Rich Reports From BookExpo America on the Paper Cuts Blog

So it should be no surprise that at BookExpo America, the publishing industry’s annual trade convention that ended Sunday in New York, publishers seemed to be putting their own stamps on the increasingly frenzied conversation about electronic books that has hijacked the business.

There were the panels: Giving It Away: When Free eBooks Make Sense and When They Don’t, Red Hot Readers: Market Adoption of Mobile eReading Devices and Jumping Off a Cliff: How Publishers Can Succeed Online Where Others Failed. Tina Brown, rasping with a bad case of laryngitis, kick-started a discussion with the chief executives of four New York publishing houses by asking if they were shocked when began charging $9.99 for e-books that paltry, pitiful sum.

Interead, a British company that introduced its new Cool-er electronic reader the first day of the Expo, sponsored a booth at which two blond women in tankinis handed out nonalcoholic margaritas and more potent piƱa coladas to a steady stream of conventiongoers who stopped by to watch demonstrations of the new devices. HarperCollins decided mostly to forgo the traditional giveaways of advance paperback editions of forthcoming books, and instead gave out gift cards redeemable for electronic galleys of titles like Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants and Mary Karr’s Lit.

So far e-books represent 1 to 3 percent of total book sales. But they make up the fastest growing part of the industry, and publishers, authors and booksellers have no idea just how big they will become and how they might affect profits and reading habits in the future.

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