Separate but Equal?

When I discover a new book-related service or resource, I always explore them with a great deal of hope — hope that this discovery will provide an answer the difficult problems I see in both the LDS market and in the woldwide market for books. Along the way I’ve discovered everything from Print-on-Demand printers like Lightning Source and BookSurge, social networking sites like Shelfari, Library Thing and (I suppose) Book Crossing, and a host of different online book retailers in addition to the majors like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

But despite the overall improvement that these resources have brought and are bringing to the market for books, these new services have all dashed my hopes for LDS books and Mormon literature. By and large they have done little to help me find Mormon books, and I sometimes wonder if they haven’t actually made it more difficult.

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Why can’t Evangelicals and Mormons Share Books & Culture?

An author asked me to review a contract recently, and I was surprised at something the author said. The contract was with one of the larger Mormon publishers, and the author hoped that the book would become a big success in the Christian market in the US through that publisher.

I don’t know where the idea that this was possible came from. I hope that the publisher didn’t tell the author that it could.

I told the author that there was no chance, and it doesn’t look like there will be in the future. In fact, the fact that the author is LDS means the publisher is irrelevant. A Mormon author can’t succeed in the Christian market.

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Amazon Makes It More Difficult for Small Publishers

A recent policy change by Amazon.com looks like it may make the already difficult job of publishing books even more difficult, especially for small and self-publishers. The change already has small publishers and authors circulating petitions, filing complaints with the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and many state attorneys general. For those Mormon publishers affected, it will probably raise costs and could also limit sales.

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Looking at our Niche Comprehensively

Last week William, in the comments to his post on a reader-oriented ecommerce site, suggested that the site he was proposing needed to be restricted to just fiction. While such a decision should probably be left to whoever starts such a site (William made it clear he isn’t taking on the project), I disagree. It seems to me a comprehensive site is one of the things we are missing.

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