This past week has been quite busy for news about the LDS market and the publishing industry. The following are noteworthy:
- Cedar Fort saw unexpected promotional success with Melissa Moore‘s book, Shattered Silence, which will be the subject of an Oprah episode that airs September 17th.
- Deseret Management announced that the websites of Deseret Book, KSL, the Deseret News, LDS Church News, and Mormon Times will now all be managed by a new division in the company, Deseret Digital.
- A 17-year-old American Fork teenager M’Lin Rowley, signed a 10-book deal with Deseret Book‘s Shadow Mountain imprint.
Cedar Fort, in an email to its customers, the company trumpeted its success:
With the September 1st release of Shattered Silence, by Melissa G. Moore and Bridget Cook, we are excited to let you know that Oprah has filmed her story and featured the book on an upcoming show that airs SEPTEMBER 17th. Shattered Silence tells the story of Melissa’s experience of growing up with her father, who is now known as the “Happy Face Serial Killer”. It relates her remarkable journey of hope. Throughout her life she always looked for light and truth. Many times she felt guided by a Higher Power, she realized that there was a God and He did know her and watch out for her. When she was introduced to the Gospel of Jesus Christ she rejoiced and accepted the truth she had been seeking. Shattered Silence is a remarkable story of hope. Regardless of where or how you were raised and what you have experienced you can be happy and successful.
Deseret Management‘s creation of its new Deseret Digital division is a bit of a mystery to me. Its led by former Harvard Business School professor Clark Gilbert, who is an expert in digital news media innovation, which explains why DeseretNews.com, KSL.com, LDSChurchNews.com and MormonTimes.com were included. But digital news media innovation doesn’t really cover online retail, so I wonder what will happen to DeseretBook.com. It has loads of traffic, but hasn’t ever implemented the kind of features that will allow it to compete with other online retailers effectively. Perhaps this will make it change, but I also wonder what will happen when innovation tries to get Deseret Book to include those items it hasn’t wanted to sell but should. A complete version of the company’s press release is here.
Is Deseret Book pulling a publicity stunt, you have to wonder after reading the headlines about its 10-book deal with a 17-year-old. Of course, the books are short (roughly 70 pages according to the Salt Lake Tribune article) and aimed at 6-10-year-old beginning readers, so perhaps Deseret Book’s editors think they don’t have to be as careful with children’s books (which, in my experience, are substantially more difficult than they seem. And, I think Deseret Book has blundered in this area on more than one occasion, and been protected by its position in the LDS market). I suppose it is also possible that the fact that Rowley’s mother is also a Deseret Book author (although not a major one, as far as I can tell) might have something to do with it.
Twilight is going virtual. The production company for the Twilight films, Summit Entertainment, licensed the property to the teen-oriented virtual world Habbo, which will launch a Twilight-specific virtual world to coincide with the launch of the second movie in the series, New Moon.
Publishing Industry News
Here’s the news I found interesting that might impact Mormons in the books and art:
- Challenges to Google’s $125 million settlement with authors and publishers over its Google Books service multiplied before a court deadline this week. Those objecting included Amazon.com, leading settlement supporter , the Author’s Guild, to slam Amazon‘s “choke hold” on books, saying “Amazon’s hypocrisy is breathtaking.” Google tried to defend the settlement, offered to allow competitors to resell the works it has digitized (Amason said it will pass), and offered concessions (here also) in Europe to win support there. In testimony before a House subcommittee, the U.S. Register of Copyrights slammed the settlement as “fundamentally at odds with the law.”
- Publisher marketing budgets are down 50-70% this year. Efforts are moving toward web, cooperative advertising with retailers. For small publishers that may level the playingfield somewhat.
- Market share for the Kindle continues to expand: The Kindle accounted for 23.5% of ebook downloads in the 1st quarter of this year, and by the end of July accounted for 28% of downloads. Desktop and laptop computers were 48% of downloads then and were 40% in July. Also in July, the iPod was 6.5% of downloads and Sony’s Reader was 6% of downloads. All other devices were 19.5% of downloads in July.
- Do Book Blogs sell books? wonders an author at the Denver Post in this article.
- Here’s an idea: Have the readers write the footnotes!
- Think ebook prices are too high? Hachette’s CEO is warning that they may be too low!
- Apple’s Jobs says won’t make an “iBook.” “Right,” says UK’s Guardian.
- Whence the ISBN? Will it survive the digital age? Apparently it will be cheaper to get next year.
- UK Research: ebooks problem in content, not hardware. Readers complain not enough books and not enough good books.
- Google says its developing a micropayment system to allow publishers to charge for online content. Should AMV start charging by the post?