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We went on vacation near Charleston, South Carolina last week.  It was a great family vacation with lots of sun, sand, beaches and occassional thunderstorm.  Of the eight adults, everyone brought books.  Physical books.   I brought my phone and eBook reader.   The first day we go to the beach.   The beaches in South Carloina are some of the finest in the world.  It’s hot and the sun is scorching.  While I was in the ocean, a thunderstorm rolled in and wiped out our stuff.  My eReader included.

eBook eReaders are NOT immune to rain.  

eBook eReaders are NOT immune to sand.

eBook eReaders are NOT immune to sun.

My physical books are.   Sure they get a bit damaged and worn — but in the end they still are readable.   Plus losing a single pBook is not a tragedy.  Losing one’s entire library is a tragedy.   For the rest of the week, I read my pBooks.

I love eBooks, but there are still some functions that the good old physical book is superior.   Going the the beach and pool are one of them.

eReader Price Wars

07.29.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

Today, Amazon announced that there will be a KINDLE 3 on 23 August.   It will be $139.  

About  month ago, Amazon lowered the KINDLE 2 from $259 to $189 in response to B&N nook’s being lowered to $199.

A few months ago, Kobo released a low-end, then low-cost eReader for $149.    Sony also lowered their cheapest device to $149.   Borders.com sells both devices.   Borders also sells a ALURATEK LIBRE for $119.  Wal-mart, Target and many others are selling various devices.

Refurbished eReaders are hitting the internet for around $100.   The eReader is about to hit mass market.   This Fall could be the explosion of a new type of eBook consumer.   Someone who has been waiting for the drop in price. 

The future is upon us — today.  

Where will this winding road end up?

Do you see the books in this photograph?   We went shopping today.  As I was waiting, started to notice how the merchandise was displayed.   This is at J.Crew store in Connecticut.  

The books are used as displays on the top shelf.  But the spines are not important — it is the white side — the paper that makes for the clean look.  

I guess there are many uses for books — hopefully reading is still the main one though.

I didn’t buy anything at the store, but enjoyed a new way to use books.    I still hope there are people who care more about what is inside the books and not how the paper looks as a prop…

Advisor v Consultant

07.20.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

July is usually a very slow time for book publishing.  It is summer.  People take vacations and the store sales are slow.  It is a time to recharge for the Fall push.   The 4th Quarter when the year is make or break. 

Being a Corporate Advisor is different.   I prefer “Advisor” over “Consultant.”  Consultants come in an assess and then jump out to the next project.  Advisors remain and help build what they started.   At least that is how I see it.  Plus, Consultant gets such a bad rap in the classic movie OFFICE SPACE.  If you have not seen it, download and watch.   Very funny.

But I have been very busy this July.   In addition to my regular publishing clients, I have been meeting with a lot of related groups.   I advise on digital strategy and eBooks.   My base is publishers.  But recently I have met with three top literary agencies; a tech company that serves corporate publishers; a media agency; two software development companies and a big bookseller.   All are concerned about what the new world of digital books will mean for their piece of the action.

Everyone is interested and has questions.   But the answers are elusive.

I feel the rules are being written now.  Experimentation is everywhere.  Time to try new things and not be afraid of failure.   There is money to be made and new channels to open up. 

Chaos is good.  It leads to a new world.  It takes the best and strongest and luckiest of the old and re-positions them in the new.

I enjoy being a small piece of this change.   But I also don’t want to lose site of the past — the history.   I am still a big reader of paper and ink.  But I realize the eBook is happening now.

Amazon recently announced that they are now selling more eBooks than hardcover books.   That is astounding.   It means change is happening NOW.   So, jump in.   I can help guide you…

Oprah eBooks

07.15.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

Oprah is the most powerful force in selling books today — possibly ever.   She has taken unknown authors and made them #1 NTY bestsellers overnight.   If Oprah says shes likes a book, her loyal flock will go out and buy it.   It is an amazing power she has over people.

Oprah’s power of marketing has given a huge lift to book publishers and also booksellers.  How many copies has Amazon, B&N, Borders, Costco, Walmart, Target, independent book shops sold because of Oprah’s influence?   A staggering amount.

Oprah has had around 60 picks.   If the average book has sold 1,000,000 copies.   That comes to 60,000,000 units!  At $10 a pop, that is $600,000,000.    Yes, Six-Hundred-Million-Dollars…

Now Oprah has announced that through her iPad App, consumers will be able to buy eBooks directly from her.  Effectively cutting out the retailers who have benefitted so much from her book club.   I don’t blame Oprah.   Why not?   I guess she always could have sold physical books from her site and really hurt the bookstores.   There will still be consumers of the Kindle and nook who will go to those sites to get their Oprah picks.  There will still be people who go into Wal-Mart for the physical book.

But, having Oprah be a direct competitor for eBook sales will change the game.   If her fans buy what she tells them to — why wouldn’t they buy from where she tells them to?   I think this is the beginning of others who have cult followings selling direct to them and cutting out the retailers.

A list of all Oprah’s Book Club picks.

Ringo is 70 Today

07.07.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

Ringo Starr is 70 years old.   Does that make me feel old?  Nah.   But it does put things into perspective.   Born Richard Starkey in 1950.   At the height of the Cold War.   The Soviet Union was America’s ‘super-power enemy’; the Brits were still rebuilding after years of German bombs hitting their country.   Everything was in black and white :).   I really don’t have much to say, except HAPPY BRITHDAY RINGO… the drummer of the greatest band ever.

Visit Ringo  —

Nothing is more Difficult…

07.01.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

“Nothing is more difficult than to introduce a new order.”

“Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.”

Taken from Machiavelli’s THE PRINCE.

It is very unlike me to quote Machiavelli.   But this hit me when I started reading Pip Coburn’s excellent book THE CHANGE FUNCTION.   He uses it to start the book.   It’s perfect for describing what is happening in Book Publishing today.   The Publishers who have been in control for the past few decades are being seriously threatened by the new upstarts and the Accounts.   There is revolutionary change in the industry.  

Some of the corporate publishers will thrive and others will die.

Some of the independent publishers will thrive and some will die.

Some of the key bookselling channels will thrive and some will die.

So, it is a good time for the rules to be challenged.   Look at doing things that have not been done.   Chaos is good.  It leads to new players and new a new order.  

I have spent most of my career in traditional publishing.  Now I spend almost all my days in the experimental part.  It’s all good.  It is always best to respect the past and build on it.

Winners and Losers are being determined…


 A random look at a bookcase.  Filled with trade paperbacks.  These books are for reading but also art.  They are an insight to the various aspects and interests of the owner [collector]. 

Books are to be collected. 

Books are to be displayed.

Books are to be smelled.

Books are to be touched, browsed and written in.

Books are to be read.

This is why a good trade pb book case will alwsy be an insight to the mind.   It represents who we are.  So, display them and discuss.


11.02.2009, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

These are two of my favorite books.  Both deal with the end of the world.  But I am not a ‘downer’ type of person.  I still enjoyed both of these books. 

 THE STAND by Stephen King is over 1,000 pages and comes in near 500,000 words.  








THE ROAD by Cormac  McCarthy is about 300 pages and comes in at 200,000 words.  

Both powerful, both a similar message, but very different is length.

Twins v Yankees

10.10.2009, Comments Off on Twins v Yankees, Uncategorized, by .

Last night the Yankees pulled another miracle win against the Twins.  I don’t believe in a jinx, but I do believe there comes a time that CONFIDENCE gets shattered.  The Yankees have defeated the Twins 23 out of 25 games in Yankee Stadium since 2002.  That is 92%!  

This year they have won 4-5 games in the last at-bat.  Last night, in game two of the playoffs, the Twins lost in 12 innings.  They got robbed with an obvious missed call that turned a Twins double into a foul ball.  But the Twins still had the bases loaded with 0 out.  They still couldn’t score.

   I am not really anti-Yankee.  But I like the logo.  I just feel so bad for Minnesota.  It is embarrassing.  So how does it come to this point that one team dominates the other so much?  This has been ongoing for seven years. 

I believe the Twins lack the belief that they can win, and then when small things go against them, they view it as some omen that they are going to lose.   It is all over their expressions.  It is all over their attitude.  It is a cancer and almost impossible to break. 

Almost impossible.  There are many examples in sports of one team dominating the other and then finally a break through.  The Red Sox came back down 3-0 in games to the Yankees and stormed back to go to the World Series, then they swept the Cardinals.  The jinx was lifted and Boston has been better since.  In college football, Michigan State has won two in a row verses Michigan for the first time in almost 40 years!

I thought this post was leading me to some profound answer as to how teams can overcome this rut.  But I can’t.  There is no magic bullet.  But CONFIDENCE must be restored.  CONFIDENCE comes from within.  So, it will be up to each member to reach inside and believe. 

Believe in yourself first.  If you do, others will believe in you.  If you don’t believe in yourself, why should others?

I expect the Twins will continue to be dominated by the Yankees.  It’s sad.