Friday, May 20, 2011

Time to demonstrate your faith

As I work feverishly toward the completion of my novel, I urge all those who truly believe that the world is going to end on Saturday, May 21, to consider making an irrevocable bequest of all their worldly goods to the Bidinotto Fund for the Advancement of Bidinotto.

After all, you won't be needing that stuff where you're going, right? And won't such a gesture be a grand demonstration of your faith?

UPDATE -- Except for Arnold Schwarzenegger, we all seem to have survived the weekend. Time to celebrate with a song.

Publishing worlds in collision

I've been chronicling the rapid, cataclysmic changes in the publishing industry for some months (scroll down here, and also check out the back entries in my Facebook page). But as the traditional book business disintegrates, many behind-the-scenes battles between the various factions -- traditional ("Legacy") publishers vs. self-publishing ("indie") authors, ebooks vs. print books, authors vs. their publishers and agents, online retailers vs. bookstores, etc. -- are now emerging into public view as open warfare.

The latest skirmish? Self-publishing guru Joe Konrath has accepted a deal with Thomas & Mercer -- a mystery-and-thriller imprint just launched by Amazon -- to issue a print-book edition of his new novel, Stirred. This has some independent bookstores (which regard online retailer Amazon as a threat to their survival) up in arms. Konrath writes about it here:
It's come to my attention that on a Yahoo group for booksellers there has been a call to boycott Amazon's new Thomas & Mercer imprint. I signed with Thomas & Mercer for STIRRED, the eighth Jack Daniels novel, co-written with Blake Crouch (who will chime in on this topic after me).

I've also heard that certain booksellers want to return any books of mine they have in stock as a punitive measure.

So signing a deal with Amazon makes me the enemy of bookstores?

Me, who has signed at over 1200 bookstores? Who has thanked over 1500 booksellers by name in the acknowledgements of my novels? Who has named five major characters in my series after booksellers?

Now I'm the bad guy, for wanting to continue my series and make a living?
Konrath and co-author Crouch offer a lengthy response at the link, advising independent bookstores about some of the steps they must take if they hope to survive in the new digital age. It's worth reading, not only as a heads-up about emerging trends, but as a microcosmic example of what happens whenever an Establishment confronts innovations that threaten their once-comfortable status quo.