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AMAZON / AUTHORS, YOU, Part 2 – 2015

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New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday

January 7, 2015

WILL THIS BE THE YEAR OF THE (NEW) BOOK?

In our post of November 12, 2014, AMAZON: BOOK, PUBLISHER, SELLER, YOU, we reported on the state of affairs between Amazon and book publishers, quoting an article appearing in the  December 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, “The War of the Words,” by Keith Gessen,

“This past year has seen hostilities between Amazon and the publishers, which had been simmering for years, come out into the open, filling many column inches in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, not to mention numerous online forums.

Amazon’s war with publishing giant Hachette over e-book pricing has earned it a black eye in the media, with the likes of Philip Roth, James Patterson, and Stephen Colbert demanding that the online mega-store stand down. How did Amazon—which was once seen as the book industry’s savior—end up as Literary Enemy Number One?”

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2015, WHITHER THE BOOK THIS YEAR?

Well, as written bDEC. 27, 2014, NYT in an article titled,  Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books. Authors Turn Up Noses,”

For much of the last year, mainstream novelists were furious that Amazon was discouraging the sale of some titles in its confrontation with the publisher Hachette over e-books.

Now self-published writers, who owe much of their audience to the retailer’s publishing platform, are unhappy.

One problem is too much competition. But a new complaint is about Kindle Unlimited, a new Amazon subscription service that offers access to 700,000 books — both self-published and traditionally published — for $9.99 a month.

The world has more stories than it needs or wants to pay for. In 2010, Amazon had 600,000 e-books in its Kindle store. Today it has more than three million. The number of books on Smashwords, which distributes self-published writers, grew 20 percent last year. The number of free books rose by one-third.

Revenue from e-books leveled off in 2013 at $3 billion after increasing nearly 50 percent in 2012, according to BookStats. But Kindle Unlimited is making the glut worse, some writers say.”

Kindle Unlimited is … paying [authors] a fluctuating amount. In July, the fee for a digital “borrow” was $1.80. It fell to $1.33 in October before rebounding slightly to $1.39 in November.” (Continue reading the main story.)

FINE ART IN THE NEW MEDIA: THE BOOK WORLD VS. THE ART WORLD

The purpose of this blog is to report on the use of the new media by the Book World and the Fine Art World. With numerous posts, we have shown how museums have rapidly used the tools of the New Media to change the entire museum concept and experience, making Art available to anyone in the world.

The blog contains a post on the magnificent Google Art Project with the cooperation of now 151 museums to bring art to you, and closer than you can ever get in a museum.

The blog also has posts on the Van Gogh Museum, the Van Gogh Letters, and the Museum of Modern Art Australia. as outstanding examples of the use of 21st century new media technology, and profiles many other Art institutions and venues. See,  for instance, “E-MUSEUMS: MUSEUM COOL IN SPAIN AT THE PRADO.”

… BUT THE BOOK?

The e-book industry continues to have many purposely built- in barriers to access, primarily based on economics. A prior post, “E MUSEUMS LEAVE E BOOKS IN THE DUST: A VIEW FROM TWO DIFFERENT CENTURIES,” discussed the fact that museums have gone far beyond e-book publishers. Another post on this blog, “Where Have All the Readers Gone?,” discussed the paucity of literature available from e-book publishers, pointed out the lack of literature titles, and suggested that cost, both of the book and the device, was a significant factor.

As stated on on our Purpose Page of this blog,

“THE BOOK, both print and even current versions of the electronic reader, are already near artifacts. Book publishing is in the death throes of the last century, bound up in static, linear publications. At the same time, the technology of the new media has developed to such a degree of creativity and innovation that Alice Rawsthorn commented in the New York Times of November 28, 2010 that,

‘These devices offer thrilling possibilities for us to do much more than read words on a screen, and it is deeply disappointing that so few designers and publishers are embracing them.’

At the same time, the Fine Art community, artists, museums, and developers have risen to the challenges and opportunities of new media. Tablets, smart phones, and the myriad of new apps enable artists and art lovers to experience art in the most comprehensive and dynamic ways. Just as the iPod changed the shape of the music industry, the Fine Art, and indeed the entire book publishing industry, is on the brink of a paradigm change. Can The Book adapt and survive?”

WHERE FROM HERE?

At the beginning of the year 2015, it appears that the Art World has indeed entered the 21st century, while the Book World is still mired in the 19th century. Will the rest of 2015 be any different?

 

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