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?

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.

An Analysis of The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith

Image result for cuckoo's callingFor my first entry into our class blog, I wanted to discuss a publication that I admire in more ways than one. Robert Galbraith’s novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, is a novel unlike most, because (contrary to how it seems), the novel was actually written by a woman. The cat’s pretty much out of the bag by now, but Robert Galbraith is actually a penname for J.K. Rowling, the author of the seven Harry Potter novels. The primary reason I admire this book so much is because it proof that anyone can write anything, even if women don’t usually write crime novels (which this book is) and men don’t usually write romance.

  • Who is the audience? How does the design appeal to that audience?

This book is an interesting product as a work of art. It’s intended audience is likely to be mostly men, since this is a crime novel. The action really takes off in this book when the protagonist Cormoran Strike (a veteran and amputee) is asked to investigate the death of celebrity star Lula Landry, who supposedly died fleeing from paparazzi. The cover shows her about to fall to her death, and for a crime novel, is something that might appeal to the intended reader.

  • How does the layout aid readability and understanding?

The layout is pretty basic, not that that’s a problem. Personally, I like pretty standard layouts, and The Cuckoo’s Calling does this with much success. The font is standard, but this is okay because it’s easy to read. I do like the design because illustrations (which it does not have) tend to take me out of the story, unless it’s a graphic novel of some kind. To be honest, it is very readable, but only because of the basic font.

  • How do images clarify and enhance the text?

As I said above, there are no illustrations; however, there is one thing that makes up for this fact, and that’s the cover. Yes, it’s not the same as illustrations, but it’s the closest thing to it. As seen above, the cover shows a woman right before she dies. This gives the reader a clear image of what is going on before they even open the book.

  • What mood does the design evoke? How do the design elements work together to create that mood?

The kind of mood that this book’s design creates is pure mystery. The font and other design elements don’t give the book this tone, but the cover does. You see a woman being hounded by paparazzi, just before she falls. But was it really the paparazzi who caused her death, or was it an unknown person who is yet to be introduced? This is a story that the cover doesn’t tell the ending of.