Are author readings and book tours becoming extinct?

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Have you seen any book trailers yet? They’re sort of like movie previews only they tout the next big thing in lit. Here’s one for Then We Came to the End: A Novel by Joshua Ferris. YouTube has hundreds more, just search “book trailer.”

What about author Web sites? Do you interact with your favorite writers online?

We’re interested because we’ve come across another article expounding the death of something. Last week, Newsweek asked if photography was dead. This week, the Christian Science Monitor contemplates the impending death of author readings and book tours. Travel and time are money, which makes book tours rather expensive. Author Web sites, book-focused Myspace pages, book trailors, and blogs can reach the entire world – or at least a writer’s fans – for very little money and effort. So, will new media kill the book tour? You tell us …

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2 Comments

  1. I wanted to tell you how pleased I am with the book “we” made. It came out nicer than I envisioned it. It’s really a “coffee table book”, it’s so pretty! My only suggestion would be for the Book Smart software to have more choices for photo positions and adding text to photo pages wherever you’d like to have text. I got around that problem by putting the text right on the photo in my own photo-editing software, before adding the photo in Booksmart. But it would be nicer to have more positioning and sizing flexibility. Still, I can’t complain about how the book turned out! It’s a quality product! Thank you!

    By Patty
      December 20, 2007 – 10:50 pm   Permalink
  2. NPR ran a great story about the book industry this morning, dealing with the impact of returns on publishers, book sellers, and distributors. Combined with this Blurberati post it’s a good gauge on the life force of the publishing industry.

    While major publishers are not in a hurry to stop taking returns (which would give consumers pause at the cash register and drive retailers and distributors to demand deeper whole-sale discounts) high-ups at Barnes & Noble as well as Harper Collins are beginning to talk about instituting no-return policies.

    Returns have long been the dark underbelly of the book industry. I’ve seen it firsthand at the bookstore level. The industry suffers a 25-40% return rate. Processing returns is a labor intensive task (again I speak from experience), and while shipping and processing costs are astronomical, the worst part is surely the sheer waste of paper (much of which is NOT recycled) which is truly disheartening.

    Ten years ago proponents of the ebook were anticipating its rise to domination with near arrogant certainty. Today, in spite of the success of the Amazon Kindle, electronic book sales still account for less than 1/10 of 1% of book sales according to NPR. In the mean time, digital and on-demand publishing represents the middle road.

    It’s a great time for a company like Blurb.com which stands out among its own print on demand competition with a focus on graphics and an obviously superior understanding of Web 2.0 and social networking (two elements that will separate the wheat from the chaff in the coming years).

    Check out the NPR story here:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91461568

      June 13, 2008 – 9:10 am   Permalink

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