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Is the book business over as we know it? I hope not. An article in New York magazine has some people talking about the subject. Here is their headline: “The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after. With sales stagnating, CEO heads rolling, big-name authors playing musical chairs, and…

The End

Is the book business over as we know it? I hope not. An article in New York magazine has some people talking about the subject. Here is their headline: “The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after. With sales stagnating, CEO heads rolling, big-name authors playing musical chairs, and Amazon looming as the new boogeyman, publishing might have to look for its future outside the corporate world.”

I think I agree that the future might be “outside of the corporate world,” but I don’t have any idea what that would look like. The story’s author, Boris Katcha, writes: “The demise of publishing has been predicted since the days of Gutenberg. But for most of the past century—through wars and depressions—the business of books has jogged along at a steady pace. It’s one of the main (some would say only) advantages of working in a “mature” industry: no unsustainable highs, no devastating lows. A stoic calm, peppered with a bit of gallows humor, prevailed in the industry.

“Survey New York’s oldest culture industry this season, however, and you won’t find many stoics. What you will find are prophets of doom, Cassandras in blazers and black dresses arguing at elegant lunches over What Is to Be Done. Even best-selling publishers and agents fresh from seven-figure deals worry about what’s coming next. Two, five years from now—who knows? Life moves fast in the waning era of print; publishing doesn’t.”

Posted by Joel on September 28 2008 • Books

Under the Influence

It’s time for magazines to reassert their place in today’s crowded media marketplace. At least that’s what some industry trade associations feel about it. The Magazine Publishers of America has hired a boutique ad agency to create a campaign designed to promote the power of print. It’s called “Under the Influence of Magazines.”

“The campaign comprises print and online advertisements as well as information on a Web site (magfacts.org). The goal is to show that advertising in magazines encourages consumers to consider buying products — a phenomenon known as purchase intent — and stimulates them to go online to shop or to learn more about items they might want to buy,” writes Stuart Elliott in the New York Times.

It’s not a laughing matter. According to data collected by the trade association, “the number of magazine ad pages dropped off 6.4 percent [during the first quarter of 2008] compared with the same period of 2007, then fell 8.2 percent in the second quarter compared with the second quarter of last year.”

The print ads will feature three prominent brands during its first phase (Adidas, Haagen-Dazs and Mini Cooper) and will appear in industry trade magazines such as Advertising Age and Brandweek

Posted by Joel on September 14 2008 • Journalism

Visible and Invisible

"Fame is always a product of the present culture: topical and variable, hence ephemeral. Writers are made otherwise. What writers prize is simpler, quieter and more enduring than clamorous Fame: it is recognition. Fame, by and large, is an accountant’s category, tallied in Amazonian sales. Recognition, hushed and inherent in the silence of the page, is a reader’s category: its stealth is its wealth.”

Read the rest of what renowned writer Cynthia Ozick has to say about writing and writers here.

Posted by Joel on September 07 2008 • Books