Publishing and Technology

In a lot of ways, technology is creating a shift in how the publishing industry operates. Less than 20 years ago, if you wanted to read a book, you had to buy a print book, and if you did, the book was probably part of a print run of 1,500 to 5,000 copies, or even more. But in that short span of time, new types of technology have made it easier for publishers (and in some cases, self-publishers) to produce a product that people will enjoy and want to read. This post will talk about a few of those.

Publishing With the Internet

This one is pretty much common sense. With the advent of the World Wide Web, publishers don’t have to spend a lot of funds to get work to their reader. This is very useful for two reasons. The first is that work can now be electronically published, whether it be on a blog or another kind of website, which inevitably helps them reach to readers and potential buyers. The other thing that the internet has done is that now, publishers are able to market the work they publish online, whether it be with a blog (like stated before), or with Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms.


The Advent of the eReader

As everyone knows, the industry changed a few years ago when Amazon released the Kindle (and other companies released products a lot like it). This invention has made a lot of difference in both publishing and self-publishing alike. This is because, while a publisher must pay to have a book or publication edited, typeset, and marketed, there is zero investment once the publication is released to the public. No paper is required to print an ebook, meaning that the publisher doesn’t pay as much to produce a product. Also, ebooks show up on an ereader within minutes of being purchased. Compare that to having to hop in the car to the local bookstore.


Print on Demand

This one isn’t as digital, but it’s still an advancement that publishing has achieved in the last few years. As it’s name suggests, print on demand is when a book is ordered and then the ordered book is printed after the fact. There are no print runs, so the publisher doesn’t lose money if X amount of copies of the book don’t sell. The printer produces no more copies than what they need.


A Few Basic Questions

  1. How do you feel the technologies discussed effects the publisher’s bottom line?
  2. Do you feel the internet has made it easier for you to access the books you would like to read?
  3. Do you think the ebooks have made reading cheaper for potential buyers?
  4. Do you see social networking as a key platform that a publisher can use to market books?

The Uncertain Future of E-Books

e-booksWhen one searches the word “e-books” on Publishers Weekly, the results are not very encouraging. Even though we live in the so-called Digital Age, e-books are not exactly taking off. In fact, people are so overwhelmed by the multiple technological devices in their lives, they are eager to read an old-fashioned physical book rather than another screen.

When e-books and e-readers first came out–the Kindle was released in 2007 and the Nook in 2009–they were an exciting, new way to read. Technology was overtaking music and video, so books seemed like the natural next step in the progression. However, there is a big difference in books, music, and video. As the digital music and video industries thrive, a 2016 Nielson study reports e-book sales dropped 16% in 2016 from 2015.

After performing a 2016 study on e-books, Codex Group president Peter Hildick-Smith believes digital sales of books differ from music and video because of two factors. The first factor is that “electronic devices are optional for reading books,” meaning they are not the only form available. Regular books are still around, and their reading quality is much higher than e-books, which “have yet to [deliver] the quality long-form reading experience to supplant print.” Secondly, “digital fatigue” is spreading like an epidemic.

These days, people are attempting to cut as much screen time as possible. According to the Codex Group survey, book buyers spent five hours daily on screens. Approximately 25% of book buyers want to spend less time on digital devices, so these people turn to physical formats.

The Nielson study offers two more reasons why e-books sales are diminishing. The study found that many e-books are overpriced at about $8 per book. It is definitely hard to justify a nearly $10 purchase on a book that will never physically be held. The study also points out that people now use tablets and smart phones much more often than dedicated e-readers. Usage of multi-functioning devices affects reading because there is so much more to do on an iPad or iPhone than read; the devices feature games, videos, music, and general Internet access. Smart phones and tablets have more to offer consumers than plain old e-readers, but their many features distract from actual reading on the devices.

By April 2013, tablets overtook e-readers as the most popular devices to use for reading. The survey by BISG’s Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading found that 44% of e-book readers prefer reading on a tablet, while 42% prefer a dedicated e-reader. This is bad news for e-books, as the Codex survey notes that “[c]onsumers who use dedicated e-book readers have consistently been found to purchase more e-books than consumers who use other devices to read.” More tablets correlate to more gaming, social media, and video-watching–and less e-book purchasing. However, the decline in e-books does not mean people have stopped reading.

The Codex survey found that 59% of readers distancing themselves from e-books are doing so to return to print copies. People are still reading. In fact, millennials appear to be reading the most, with 18-24 year olds purchasing 83% of print books (Codex). These young people, whose lives revolve around technology, want to take a break from screens to enjoy the format that taught them to read. However, children provide a beacon of hope for the e-book industry.

While e-books are so unsuccessful that expensive hardbacks overtook their sales in 2016 (Nielsen), they still stand a chance. E-books’ problem could be that their audience is not yet old enough to realize their need for e-books. Children born beginning in the late 2000s have grown up swiping through their parents’ iPhones. Technology is second-nature to these children. Therefore, e-books have the potential to thrive when this audience grows old enough to purchase e-books and e-readers.

Some children are already obsessed with e-books. The children’s e-book subscription service, Epic, provides easy access to 14,000 titles through the web, iOS, Android devices, and Apple TV for only $4.99 per month. Since its January 2014 debut, over 40 million books have been read on the site–it is implied that the majority of these readers are children. If this generation has already read 40 million e-books in roughly three years, they will read more. E-books have a lot to offer children, more so than adults and young adults who grew up reading physical books.

Epic is used in more than 70% of U.S. elementary schools, so children are being exposed to e-books early on in life. After being surrounded by technology since birth, these children accept e-books as a natural way to read. Aside from being comfortable with screens, e-books also provide personal benefits to children. For example, in a classroom setting, children can easily feel embarrassed or judged by their choice of book; with e-books (and the safety of Epic), nobody else has to know what a child is reading. They are free to choose what they want to read, and they can read it from the privacy of their devices.

The future might not look bright for e-books, but their time to shine could be near. The next few years will be crucial in determining whether or not the format will prevail. For millenials and up, print books will never die. However, children who utilize services like Epic are already reaping the benefits of e-books. For them, there might be no turning back. For better or for worse, e-books have the potential to replace print copies; only time will tell.




Reading/ Readership

Who is reading?


  • Nearly half of all Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure.
  • Although reading tracks closely with education level, the percentage of college graduates who read literature has declined.

  • 65% of college freshmen read for pleasure for less than an hour per week or not at all.

  • The percentage of non-readers among these students has nearly doubled—climbing 18 points since they graduated from high school.

More Facts here:

What are readers reading?

People read a variety of things everyday. They can read in their free time, on break at work, public transportation, on the toilet and such. According to Digital Book World, in 2015, these ebooks were the most popular:

  1. The Girl on the Train
  2. The Longest Ride
  3. The Stranger
  4. Outlander
  5. NYPD Red 3
  6. The Nightingale
  7. All the Light We Cannot See
  8. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
  9. The Husband’s Secret
  10. Cone Girl
  11. The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House
  12. Allegiant
  13. The Silent Girls
  14. Insurgent
  15. Memory Man
  16. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
  17. A Spool of Blue Thread
  18. Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
  19. Silent Scream
  20. Divergent
  21. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
  22. The Liar
  23. The Shadows: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
  24. Dragonfly in Amber
  25. All I Ever Need Is You

Most of the books on this (outdated) list are fiction. There are many books on here everyone has probably heard of.

How readers read

Digital Book World also said: “Among consumers’ favorite ways to get books for personal reading, 18 percent prefer to read for free, 26 percent claim that they never pay full price (for example, they purchase used books), 16 percent claim to prefer to purchase ebooks only, 18 percent declare that they “save when they can,” and 22 percent are impulse buyers, purchasing books they like as soon as they see them.”

Mobile Reading

Digital Book World said: “Today’s professional—and her office environment—are ever-evolving, and so are the ways that she consumes information. Her need to diversify and increase professional development skills on the go makes the need for on-demand, easy access to resources a necessity. This is but one reason why publishers should place emphasis and importance on engaging business and corporate professionals through mobile learning. Mobile learning is projected to be a $38 billion industry by 2020.”

Making texts more accessible from a mobile device increases the amount of readers. Since a mobile device, phones, tablets, laptops and such, are commonly used, it makes sense to make texts available for these devices.  The more text that are available on mobile devices, the more people publishers/ companies can reach out to. “The digitization of the reading experience is changing this limitation, however, and opening up a new frontier that publishers are starting to use to their advantage.” Some people like to read anything they can get their hands on. We as people can be lazy. Some would rather buy a book on their phone instead of going to a book store.


Publishers weekly said: “The gain for the full year came despite the lack of many big hits (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was last year’s top print seller) and distractions caused by the presidential election. Indeed, bookstore sales were up 6.1% in the first half of 2016 but softened as the year, and the election, wore on. A hoped-for post-election sales bounce did not materialize. Bookstore sales in December were down 3.1% compared to a year ago.” They said that politics was a “distraction,” to the sales of “big hits.” (In politics defense, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child didn’t flop because of politics, it flopped because people didn’t like it.) When it came to politics, many were able to access the latest tragedies (political events, debates) on their mobile devices.


The Readers Insight Data is a concept developed by Anders Breinholst. “Reader Insights Data” (RID) will provide information on exactly who the target audience is, reducing the risk of buying international rights to books that are not a perfect fit for the publisher.” This would decrease the amount of money spent on rubbish the publisher doesn’t need. It would increase money for texts people will read.

I apologize for the quality of this post. It sucks.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What effects the way you read?
  2. Do you prefer a phone, kindle, laptop etc?
  3. Do you believe that sales of print books will decrease as technology develops?


Publishing and the Digital Revolution (Digital v. Print)



I am actually a journalism major and a professional writing minor and the journalism professors ask us the question of whether or not we think printed resources will eventually be dead, many share different opinions on the subject. I don’t think they will, not during our lifetime at least.

Our attention span is so short now that it’s hard for some of us millenials to sit down and stay focused on a specific book or story. Technology is rapidly continuing to advance, which in the long run will continue to effect publishing every few years.

“Digital technology changed the game entirely.  At first, because the Web was primarily used for direct response marketing, only newspapers were affected. But with the arrival of more visually impactful tablets, magazines’ display advertising business has come under attack as well.  Profit margins, once in the mid-to-high 20’s, are now in the low teens” (Forbes).

“The greatest challenge for publishers today is to create new business models. Unfortunately, most haven’t even begun the process due to misplaced nostalgia for distribution revenue.  In that sense, paywalls represent the greatest threat to old-line publishers” (Forbes).

A lot of people think the biggest affect is technology along with the culture we currently live in. That’s probably true to an extent.Many publishers have excellent technology teams and successful new players like Bleacher Report and Huffington Post rarely have particularly sophisticated platforms” (Forbes).

“In previous years with print books, publishers played a valuable economic role because they converted typewritten manuscripts into printed books and got them into the hands of distributors and retailers. The digital world is different because “transforming a writer’s words into a readable e-book product can be done with a combination of software and a minimal amount of training” (optimity).

It’s kind of important in this day and age to understand how to publish with other publishers and also know how to self-publish. A lot of authors don’t realize they have the power to market their own books.

“It’s true that many traditional book publishers don’t do these things very well, particularly when it comes to producing and marketing eBooks in the new world of branding, social media, and in-person events. But, that just suggests that we are likely to see the rise of new, more agile, and more effective digital book publishers in the future, not the demise of the publishing function” (optimity).


Diversity in the Publishing Industry

What is diversity?

Diversity can sometimes come across as a vague word pointing to race and/or gender. In reality, what makes diversity so complex and important is that it’s a blanket term for the many different categories of people and this is intersectional.


When I approached this topic, I wanted to make sure that I included not just race and gender, as important as those are, but also sexuality, and disability. When I found an article from Publishers Weekly, it included another link to an info-graphic from Lee and Lo Books which includes the aforementioned categories.  When talking about the lack of diversity in the publishing industry, its lack comes from many different angles. Of course, diversity also includes other equally important identifiers like religion, ethnicity, class, etc.

At the beginning of 2016, Lee and Low Books, dedicated to publishing multicultural children’s books, published their 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey. This survey was sent to 13, 237 publishing & review employees of 34 publishers and 8 review journals to measure diversity within the publishing industry itself.

Combining the statistics of the executive level, editorial departments, marketing/publicity departments, and book reviewers, the publishing industry was: 79% white, 78% female (cis-woman), 88% straight/heterosexual, and 92% nondisabled. 

Due to the lack of diversity in publishing, this is translated to what books are published and which audiences are prioritized. The book market suffers from a lack of inclusiveness.

Publishing companies, including the Big Five, have made efforts in improving diversity through internship programs and “diversity initiatives” but when it comes to diversity hiring—-this still remains a problem. Systematic racism and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc exists in the publishing world, just like many other industries.

wndbIn response, various authors and independent presses have made large strides in combating this problem. We Need Diverse Books, created in 2015 by authors, campaigns for diversity in children’s books. Indie presses like Lee and Lo Books, New Press, and Sibling Rivalry Press have taken large initiatives to hire diverse teams and publish books and subjects that would otherwise be ignored. Indie bookstores also have to opportunity to create spaces of diversity when large chain bookstores are not.

With that said, attacking this issue on a mainstream level is something that the publishing industry will have to address and now in the future. Which leads me to certain questions…





Self-Publishing is something that has always interested me. There are so many ways to put your work out for people to read besides going through a publishing house. It almost seems like it is a rebellion against traditional publishing.

A few things I do know about self-publishing is that it is all on you, hence the term Self-Publishing. Editing the book is all on you. The designing of the cover is all on you. The marketing is all on you. Printing copies and mailing them that is all on you. No one has said it would be easy, but I think the outcome can be rewarding.

When it comes to self-publishing, my book is going to be an e-book. According to an article I read for indie authors, self-publishers usually use Amazon, but Amazon does not make it easy for most authors with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). KDP allows E-books to be sold to readers. However, readers only pay for the total pages read. If a person does not complete the book then less money is earned.

A challenge that most self-publishers have is getting their books on shelves in book stores. The revenue drop with e-books has taken a toll on authors. Now they are looking to a print format again because that is what readers prefer. You will most likely find self-published books through an e-book/online source.

Something that I found in an article is how many of the self-publishers could possibly get a TV deal. For example, Universal Cable Productions has a deal with Wattpad. If they read a story they like, they can produce a movie for people to stream. Wattpad is an interesting platform for writers as they can post their stories and make money through ads. It sounds to me that Wattpad is a good deal.

The article continued showing how self-publishers list their multiple positions on their business cards because they wear the hats of a consultant, publisher, and marketer. They truly do it all.

Publishers Weekly is my article of reference. It is filled with useful information for author hopefuls. I learned about a site called Book Life. The site is for indie authors looking to put their book out in the world. The site is basically a one stop shop for self-publishing. They will even help you through some parts of the process.

When it comes to marketing a book, you do not have to do it alone.You can hire someone. Not an agent, but there are self-publishing services out there at any writers disposal. This article suggests focusing on the bigger picture. Some steps including:

  1. Reaching out to the desired audience.

If you have social media, already have a target market and you know who should be interested in your book then you are ready. Letters and posts about your book will help build your audience.

  1. Write, write, and write some more.

The number of books you have out matters. If you are a first-time self-published author, you have work to do for marketing. If you have multiple books released, then you more than likely have an audience that will want to know what you are writing. Your marketing work is already half way done.

  1. Use multiple mediums and channels.

If you can put your book on more platforms than just e-book it will help even if it is just posts on Wattpad. Audio, print, YouTube. Anything will help get your book noticed.

  1. Know people

When you know someone with connections it always helps. Try and meet people that can help put your book in the hands of readers. If you do not have that kind of pull, then think of others who can help you. Organizations are a good place to start.

  1. Use good timing

It is important to publish your book at the right time and price. For example, people give books at Christmas. Spend time thinking about your readers and how you want to reach them. You have to think about the big picture for your readers.

Some additional tips I learned for a want to be self-published author include:

  • Patience- it is really important that you do not impulsively publish your first piece of work.
  • Persistence- rejection is normal in this industry so be prepared and don’t let it get you down. Listen to constructive criticism make your book the best you can.
  • Prayer- you always need some help from above.







Writers, Editors, and Agents

Agents and editors are a writers best friend. And their relationship should be a mutually beneficial symbiosis. Finding a good editor usual starts with a manuscript. Then the writer will send queries to agents and if they hear back, they will send a sample of the work. When an agent sees a work that has promise, or meets an author that they like, they will give the authors notes are let them know what they would like to see changed in the manuscript, much like an acquisitions editor. Then the manuscript is sent off editors at publishing houses to screen the manuscript and decide if they want to option it or not. The editor and the writer will then discuss the manuscript further and possibly restructure it via notes from the editor to the writer. The other potential avenue for a book is when a writer, or editor, has an idea for a book and the writer and editor work together to organize and “manufacture” the book.

It seems to me that finding a good agent is one of the most important steps in having success as a writer because a good agent understands the writers material and can assist in revisions and seek out the publications they feel it would be best in. The relationship between the writer and edit is as much the relationship between judge and talent, or teacher and student. The editors job is to determine what could be working better and it is the writer’s responsibility to respect the editor’s advice and take it to heart. A writer’s success lies in his understanding of the editor’s response to the piece because the editor will see the most flawed portion of a manuscript and will give the most honest feedback.

What roll should an agent play in aiding a writer with a manuscript? Should this exclusively be the editor’s job?

What should agents look for in finding a new author?

Should writers wait till they have a complete manuscript to find an agent?

How can the writer best utilize structural and inquisitive notes from an editor?

As an editor, how do you work with the writer to produce a book that will sell well? Should you sign promising authors onto extended book contracts?



Corporate vs Independent Publishers

Corporate Publishers

A common example of corporate publishers are the big five, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster. These publishers put out thousands of titles annually, including their imprints, and are geared towards making a profit. Many authors have dreams of being published by a big five company and selling their books worldwide but it is important for authors to be aware of the nature of the beast that is corporate publishing before diving in head first. Writer David Sterry, shared one of his experiences publishing with one of the big five in his article, How to Get Successfully Published TODAY: Big 5, Indy, or Self-Publish?, in the Huffington Post. One of the first books him and his wife wrote together was published by a big five publishing house – he did not name which one. He said, “…we were full of grand and fantastic ideas about how to promote and market our book,” but to their disappointment the marketing team, one man, decided instead to send out press releases and a few copies of the books – ultimately resulting in the failure of the book (Sterry). This is just one example of a publishing experience gone wrong and authors being lost in the publishing process. The reality is that corporate publishers are ultimately after a profit, not sustaining writers or literature. This is not to say that they do not put out excellent works, because they do on a regular basis, but that they pick what they publish based on what will make the biggest profit. If ones work is suitable to the needs of a big five publisher they could have great success.


Independent Publishers

Independent Publishers are typically much smaller than corporate publishers. These publishers put out less titles annually and are not as well-known but they have many benefits for authors. Since they publish fewer tittles editors and staff can spend more time with each work. The author can also form personal relationships with their editor and have more of a say in their final product. Seth Pennington with Sibling Rivalry Press said that their authors are solely responsible for the marketing of their books and for this reason they do everything they can to ensure that their authors love their final product. They work with their authors as closely as possible on things such as typeface and cover images, giving the authors a huge say in the appearance of their book – a luxury that is often not available to authors who publish with a big five house. Steve Almond, in the Special Section of Power and Community, noted on the camaraderie felt and the intimacy of the process when publishing with a small press. He said, “I remember [is] the sense of camaraderie. I got to know the directors of publicity and marketing, the other editors, even the publisher. When I called the Algonquin office, the receptionist knew who I was. That might not sound like a big deal, but it certainly felt like one” (Almond).
Independent presses publish many different works depending on the presses particular goals. Some publishers have only scholarly work and textbooks while others have exclusively poetry or a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Presses, like a university press, are more focused on publishing relevant content and breaking even rather than making a profit. Pennington also said that they have their bigger publications to support the other titles that are passionate about publishing even though they know it will not make a large profit.

Corporate publishers tend to have the advantage in terms of resources such as staff, funding, and marketing. Independent publishers offer more control of one’s final product and a more intimate publishing process that still has the potential for great success despite potentially limited resources. Ultimately,“[e]ach author should operate in the traditional vs independent scene based on his or her best interests and actual opportunities” (Foster).



Almond, Steve. The Big Myth: Why Going With a Small Press Can Yield Big Dividends. file:///C:/Users/Morgan/Downloads/Why%20go%20with%20a%20small%20press%20(1).pdf

Foster, Lee. Independent Book Publishing: Is it the Viable Future for Books?. (Copyright © 2016 Lee Foster, Foster Travel Publishing). 

Sterry, David. How to Get Successfully Published TODAY: Big 5, Indy, or Self-Publish?. Sep 02, 2014.


Penguin Random House logo.

Sibling Rivalry Press logo.

Blog 3 Instructions: Exploration of an Issue/Trend

Now that we’ve mapped out the publishing industry and developed a basic understanding of the kinds of publishers involved, it is time to more fully discuss the issues, questions, and concerns those in publishing are currently discussing. As a result, our final series of blog posts will help us delve into the conversations taking place in the field.


  1. Research your assigned topic using the links provided under Publishing Resources.
  2. Write a post that provides an engaging overview of the issue. In the post, include links to three of the articles you read.
  3. Publish your blog post at least one full day in advance of your presentation date.
  4. Prepare a series of discussion questions about the topic. You will use these to lead the class in an in-class discussion the day you present.

We, as a class, will have read your post and the linked articles prior to the start of class the day you present.

A Few Things About Tor Books

Image result for tor booksIn the world of publishing, few publishers are as well-known by readers as Tor Books. A subsidiary of Macmillan, Tor is a publisher that focuses primarily on publishing science fiction and fantasy stories that range in length from 400,000 word novels to short stories published as ebooks.

Type of Publisher: As stated above, Tor publishes science fiction and fantasy stories; however, they utilize various publishing technologies to do this. They publish novels in both print and in ebook, and they publish short fiction as well (also in ebook); however, they have recently begun publishing novellas using Print on Demand technology as well. This means that, regardless of the word count, writers of science fiction and fantasy can potentially get their work published by Tor.

Market: Tor tends to cater to readers of the genres the publish, particularly ones that are on social media. They have a fairly decent following on Facebook and Twitter, and they have a blog where they discuss their own publications as well as the published books of their competitors.

Funding: Tor is funded by selling books, particularly their famous authors. Their new authors don’t appear to make the company much money until they have published a few titles by that author.

Successes: A few of their books have been made into movies, including Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. MGM has also purchased the film rights to several of Brandon Sanderson’s books, and several of Tor’s books have been #1 New York Times Bestsellers.

Challenges: Likely one of their biggest challenges is selling enough books to make a profit. One of Tor’s authors has commented that first time authors tend to lose the company money, and it isn’t until their third book is published that Tor makes money off the author in question.