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Booktrix creates Simplified Author Website Program


Authors are flocking to the web, creating websites and blogs of all kinds, and for good reason: there is no better way to build and support relationships with your readers than by creating a compelling web presence.

But choosing a strategy and building a website are not generally all that simple, and sometimes the simple solutions are not workable. Booktrix is pleased to offer high quality, modern, fully functional, attractive websites designed specifically for writers, built by our team of experienced web development team at incredibly reasonable prices.

Our feature list includes everything an author will need to create and maintain a powerful presence on the web.  Our sites work for web novices and experienced users.  Your individual author or book site will be designed to fit the nature of your work, and will reflect your values and design input.  And you will find it easy to maintain and add to your site over time – so you can truly own your own “home” page on the Internet.

We take a streamlined, smart approach to every project and believe that the best work is done efficiently and economically – stay simple, and deploy quickly.

Our pricing reflects our dedication to simplicity without sacrificing quality, flair and intelligence.  And every site comes with valuable support: a simple to use administrative interface, technical assistance for non-technical people, even free hosting for the first year of service.

If you are interested in learning more contact us right away. We’ll send you a brochure, show you some of our work, and make it easy for you to make your presence felt on the web.

Posted by David Wilk on 01/28 at 05:04 PM
Publishing and business in general • (48) CommentsPermalink

Distribution Basics


The latest news regarding the PGW component of the larger AMS bankruptcy is promising, at least for the PGW clients. Perseus will purchase Avalon, the largest PGW client, and has enlisted Charlie Winton, Avalon’s principal (and also the founder of PGW), to come on board. Perseus then reportedly made a very favorable offer to the remaining PGW client publishers - proposing to take over their contracts and in a relatively short period of time, make good on something like 70% of the money owed to them by the bankrupt PGW.

This is a far better outcome than any of the publishers could possibly expect from PGW either in liquidation or any reorganized version of it, so it would seem likely that most, if not all of the PGW publishers will make the move to what will now be a powerhouse distributor in Perseus (which already had absorbed CDS and Consortium).

****

This seems as good a time as any to talk about book distribution, how how it works, and will work in the future, and what publishers and even authors should know about the dynamics of working their way through the supply chain to market and sell their books to readers.

Over the past several years, the overall landscape of the book business has changed considerably. There are still many, many places to buy books in the United States and buying books online has become big business (Amazon alone now represents as much as 10% of total books sold), the number of entities buying books for resale has declined. Something like 90% of all books sold by an average book publisher will go to fewer than 10 customers - including wholesalers!

Faced with hundreds or even thousands of book publishers, retailers and wholesalers rely on distributors to help them rationalize their supply chain. It’s more or less impossible to sell books to Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million or Costco without a distributor, and while anyone can sell to Amazon, it’s alot easier utilizing the services of a professional book distributor.

And while there are still a fair number of distributors in business today, along with larger publishers and university presses that offer distribution services to smaller client publishers, recent bankruptcies and purchases have clearly narrowed the field.

With a more concentrated retail marketplace, distributors are rationalizing their business models, some are specializing in certain types of books or publishers, while others are setting more stringent size requirements for publishers they will work with. Since it has become relatively cheap and easy to publish books, distribution is now much more of a buyer’s market, as there are simply so many books and so many new publishers. It has clearly become more difficult for a new publisher to find a distributor, even as distributors compete amongst themselves to sign up the relatively few publishers whose sales volume or sales profiles makes them highly attractive as clients.

Publishers of different sizes and profiles have very different choices available to them. Generally, the size of the publisher dictates the distribution models available - smaller publishers have fewer options, the largest publishers have the greatest array of models to choose from.

***

In our next post, we will cover the different distribution options available to publishers of varying sizes. One note for all publishers who currently are distributed by another company - no matter the size of the distributor, you should file a UCC-1 form memorializing your ownership of inventory consigned to your distributor with the Secretary of the State within which your books are warehoused. If you have not done this yet, do it immediately! If you need specific advice about distribution contact Booktrix - we can help.

Posted by David Wilk on 01/13 at 04:51 PM
DistributionPublishing and business in general • (54) CommentsPermalink

New Business Models for Authors and Publishers


We have spent a lot of time working on new publishing models over a long period of time. In fact we can take some credit for understanding that new business models for publishing have been made possible by the changes in the retail landscape and the rise of popular tools for book production. Today it is cheaper than ever to create and publish a book – and harder than ever to sell one. But in these times of change and dislocation, new opportunities arise. The definition of publishing (“to make public”) has not changed – but the relationships between publisher, author and markets can definitely be changed now, and for the most part, for the better. If you are an author or a publisher, or a business that creates or owns content, and you would like to explore different ways to publish, market, and distribute, please contact us.

Posted by David Wilk on 01/11 at 05:10 PM
New Business Models • (55) CommentsPermalink

Book production and printing - all shapes and sizes


We have over thirty years of experience in production and print management.  We have on tap a long list of experienced book designers, cover artists, typesetters, copy editors, proofreaders, indexers, as well as developmental editors, line editors, and writers.  We can help you with any and all aspects of the book production process, from inception to production of files for printing or ebook conversion.  We’ve produced just about every type of book, including four color and high end photography books, and are happy to be engaged at whatever level makes sense for your needs.  We are experienced in digital short run and print on demand environments, can produce galleys, and can handle production management and print buying if you need those services also.

And our experience and abilities are not limited to books – we can assist with catalog production, sell sheets, newsletters (print and online) and any other graphic needs you have.

Posted by David Wilk on 01/05 at 05:08 PM
Production and printing • (74) CommentsPermalink

Writing, books and the future of reading - Part 1 of a long essay


Human culture today is adapting and re-adapting to the complicated changes engendered by the utter connectedness wrought mainly by the internet and the world wide web in the 21st century.

Where we are today is the summation of everything that has gone before us. Human culture is a complex, recursive machinery, an ecology as complex as that of the natural world (and yes, it is equally possible that we will destroy our culture even as we are so close to having destroyed our planet!)

We are so enmeshed within our immediate reality we often forget how short a time we humans have been writing, shorter still since we invented the book as the near perfect mechanism for containerization and transmission of knowledge between human beings. The year 1455 marks the beginning of the Era of the Printed Book. We have no such date for the inauguration for the Era of the Electronic Book – yet – but it is certainly coming soon.

The massive explosion of shared knowledge and experience that began with the distribution of printed books to ever increasing numbers of people has accelerated as technology itself has driven us forward (often without regard to downstream costs such as the destruction of natural forests for the creation of paper, pollution of our rivers by poisonous ink residues, the terrible ecological cost of papermaking itself, as well as the increasingly painful environmental costs of transportation as books are shipped to market and back in the commodity economy).

Clearly, the establishment of a poplar book culture and the transmission of knowledge and experience, the growth and expansion of writing based culture of ideas, has always been inevitably entwined with commerce and technology. Books are a great and powerful force for democracy, ideas and knowledge (thus they are always banned or controlled by dictators, who are always threatened by the free flow of ideas through the written word).

At the same time, books have always been created and sold according to commercial principles, thus in most of the world today, capitalism and mass consumer culture. Books are commodities after all, differing from shoes, no doubt, by their essential nature and deeper values, but subject nonetheless to all the economic forces, good and bad, that affect commerce and culture in an essentially one dimensional economic model.

(By this I do not indict only capitalism – neither does socialism nor any other existing economic model take into account the true economic underpinnings of our society, i.e. the costs of natural resources and their depletion).

So we experience a constant contradiction of the market society. Today more books are published annually than ever before, yet we see suddenly and perhaps not coincidentally, that overall book sales are either flat or declining. In the US and in other developed economies new patterns of book sales and distribution are emerging – we live in the era of the blockbuster at the head of the chart of sales followed by a very short “body” of books that sell less well and then an extremely “long tail” of millions of book titles that sell each in tiny quantities but in the aggregate in very large numbers — see Chris Anderson’s new book and website “The Long Tail” for a clear and explicit explanation of this phenomenon.

As with all cultural products (music CDs, film and video DVDs, video games, etc.) traditional real world retail book markets have narrowed choices in the blockbuster economy, shortening the window of opportunity available for a newly published book to be seen on shelves, in competition with thousands of other book titles all seeking the limited mindshare of the busy consumer.

This gives rise to several underlying questions:

  • Who chooses what we are allowed or enabled to read?
  • What processes affect availability of books and ideas?
  • Is the commercial book business successful in filtering out the “bad” and promoting the “best” of writing?
  • Similarly, how do economics that underpin the scholarly and supposedly noncommercial publishing sector affect their processes?
  • (and there are many who question even more basically the hierarchical notion of ideas that is inherent in almost all contemporary literary culture).

Meanwhile, the rise of the internet and the world wide web has already begun to significantly alter the way ideas are transmitted and shared in our modern society. For traditionally printed books, the internet creates the opportunity for the millions of books, commercial and otherwise, that lie within the “long tail” to become available (although this effect plainly has even greater power for digital products where the cost of production is powerfully reduced – but more on that later). We have Amazon for new books, ABEbooks, Alibris and Ebay for used books.

Almost no book cannot be found online. For a reader, there has been no better time to search for and find books than today - although it is still clear that this abundance benefits only those with tools to search for them and a pre-existing knowledge of books and literature – for most readers this “over” abundance of books may in fact mean that readers actually recognize even fewer “real” choices in the marketplace of books. And while the market for books will continue to evolve and change (not always in ways we will like or enjoy or feel is good for writing, writers and readers), often based on market forces we may not be able to envision, it is in digital technology that we have seen and will continue to see the greatest impact on our culture and society.

Posted by David Wilk on 01/02 at 05:13 PM
Writing, books and the future of reading • (117) CommentsPermalink

Web Marketing - how to succeed in publishing


The Web – massive and noisy as it is – makes it possible for authors and publishers to reach audiences directly.  Done well this brings incredible long term value to what you do.  Yes, it is sometimes very time consuming, and it does require a great deal of ongoing commitment, but if you want to sell books (or any other form of published content), it is incredibly gratifying and can be extremely profitable to have real relationships with your readers.

There is so much we can do to help you build these relationships.  Direct marketing is like learning how to do a new sport.  You’ve played baseball all your life- now you need to learn to play some tennis.  Different muscles, different tools, different playing field, but once you’ve learned the basics and had some time to practice, it will make a lot of sense.  And you will have some fun too.

Posted by David Wilk on 01/02 at 05:07 PM
Web marketing - strategies and tools • (80) CommentsPermalink

AMS, PGW and Chapter 11


We’re following this one closely.  We have lots of friends involved.  And unfortunately, a great deal of personal experience in distributor and book wholesaling bankruptcies.

Is AMS the largest Chapter 11 filing in book industry history?

Posted by David Wilk on 01/02 at 05:06 PM
Publishing Industry Events and People • (60) CommentsPermalink

Blogging, Podcasting, Online Communities


You’ve certainly heard of blogging, and you likely have read some of the hundreds of thousands of them that exist now. For authors and publishers, blogs can be powerful tools – they can be integrated into your work in many valuable ways. Similarly, podcasts and online video can be incredibly useful ways to present your books and authors to audiences. Creating communities and building online relationships through the use of “new media” tools like these are an integral part of what we can do to help you expand your ability to communicate with readers – and for them to communicate with you.

And don’t forget that this can be a lot of fun!

Posted by David Wilk on 01/02 at 04:59 PM
Blogging, podcasting and online communities • (70) CommentsPermalink

Marketing, PR and Advertising - on the Web


For years publishers have questioned the value of marketing, PR and advertising. Since every product is different, the burdens on publishers (and authors) to promote and market their products are challenging and much different than traditional brand marketing that other industries employ. We’ve often been disappointed with the effects of marketing, PR and advertising for books we have worked on, as it so often is clear that we do not have either the financial or marketing muscle needed to cut through the noisy media world to be heard. And there are so many books to compete against, and so few opportunities to touch readers in a meaningful way.

Word of mouth has always been and remains the best way to promote and market books. Booksellers used to perform this function; as did book reviewers. With the demise of the independent stores and the shrinking number of book reviews published annually, it seems more difficult than ever to find and build word of mouth about a book. And for most publishers, the costs of really making an impact are simply beyond their reach.

But marketing, PR and advertising on the internet is a completely equation. Independent publishers and authors are rapidly discovering that the web enables audience building for books and authors in ways never before imagined. We have definitely passed the tipping point of internet access and web usability. And while the actual tools we use to market, promote and advertise on the web are evolving with amazing speed, we can definitely help you find your way. Just by starting to use Google adwords, affiliate advertising, and outreach to web communities and blogs, you will quickly get a feel for the way the web has changed your ability to actively promote your books and authors.

Posted by David Wilk on 01/02 at 04:53 PM
Marketing, PR and advertising • (170) CommentsPermalink

E-commerce and Selling Direct to Consumers


If you are a publisher or author, the web enables you to have a direct relationship with your readers.  We can help you learn how to take advantage of this opportunity.  Do not delay!  Start now.  The sooner you begin, the faster you will learn, and the more books you will sell.
BookTrix can provide publishers and authors with a complete array of programs, from market analysis and product
review to creative marketing including flash animation (VidLit), direct-to-consumer campaigns, targeted advertising
(that really works), email marketing, search engine marketing and optimization, web site design and implementation,
email list management, blog building, online book tours and author appearance, e-commerce and store buildouts and
management, sales review toolsets, and much more.

Posted by David Wilk on 01/01 at 04:52 PM
E-commerce and selling directPublishing and business in general • (195) CommentsPermalink
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  Archives


  Blogroll

Buzz, Balls & Hype
MJ Rose’s excellent blog

Writerscast

Where I podcast interviews with writers and thinkers about books, publishing and the future of culture.

Ron Silliman’s Blog
one of my favorite and most regular visits

Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers
Incisive, intelligent blog well worth bookmarking! 

Publishing Insider
The renowned Carl Lennertz covers the book business and more

Fresh Eyes Now
Robert Gray’s consistently interesting bookseller’s journal

Book Slut

The Long Tail
Chris Anderson’s ongoing exploration of how the web and human behavior creat new opportunities for information to be distributed (my words)

Galley Cat
Blog about the bookbusiness

Conversations in the Book Trade
interesting site

Flaming Grasshopper
Chelsea Green Press’ ongoing blog

Publishing 2.0: the (r)Evolution of Media
A blog about the (r)evolution of media, driven by the migration of media to the Web and new digital technologies by Scott Karp.  Highly recommended.

E-Reads
An e-book business site, but their blog covers book business stories as well.

The Digitalist 

"The Digitalist was originally conceived as an internal sounding board, discussion forum and blog for the publisher Pan Macmillan to start thinking about a range of digital issues it faced. It still is. Only now it’s open for everyone to join the debate about books, publishing, the web, and the future."  Highly Recommended reading for anyone interested in the future of publishing.

Teleread "Bring the E-books Home"

David Rothman’s outstanding blog covering all things related to e-books, now with the assistance of Paul Biba.

Invention Arts

Really smart people thinking hard about books, publishing and the emerging social conversation.  Creators of Aerbook: an author platform service for the social web. Highly recommended.

 

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