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Five “good” technologies that endanger us

June 28, 2017

By Jeevan Sivasubramaniam My friend Jeevan Sivasubramaniam—Managing Director, Editorial, at Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.—has written a short article that meshes very well with my recent review of The Driver in the Driverless Car by Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever. With his permission, I’m reproducing it here.  Vivek Wadhwa’s latest book discusses how technology is not always… Read More ›

Just how many books are there, really?

In a guest post here on October 4, 2016 (“10 awful truths about book publishing”), publisher Steven Piersanti remarked on the huge numbers of books being published today. Here’s what he wrote: According to the latest Bowker Report (September 7, 2016), more than 700,000 books were self-published in the U.S. in 2015, which is an… Read More ›

What? Literary critics I agree with?

I never thought I’d say this, but here it comes. I have discovered that there is, indeed, some overlap between my choices in reading and those of some of the country’s top literary critics. On December 16, the New York Times published lists of the ten top books of the year as chosen by each… Read More ›

10 Awful Truths about Book Publishing

Some years ago my friend and publisher Steven Piersanti, founder and president of San Francisco’s Berrett-Koehler Publishers, wrote an article entitled “10 Awful Truths about Book Publishing.” He has updated the piece from time to time with the latest data. Here’s the most recent version, dated September 26, 2016. By Steven Piersanti 1.  The number… Read More ›

Which countries read the most?

I’m indebted to Bryan Fuller for passing along a link to his fascinating — and surprising — article, “Interesting facts about reading habits around the world,” which appears on the website Interesting Facts. As one of several well-chosen illustrations accompanying the article, Bryan created a colorful infographic that shows the picture worldwide. You can access the map… Read More ›

Why I didn’t read “The 10 Best Books of 2014”

You didn’t ask. I know. I’m going to tell you, anyway. Because I’ve had it about up to here with The New York Times Book Review. I admit it: my taste in books is much narrower than that of the NYT staff, which could probably fill an auditorium. Certain categories are off limits for me…. Read More ›

How to sell books in today’s market

You’ve heard all the bad news about book sales: with more and more titles available, and the world’s attention drifting from the printed page to the tiny screen, nobody but a handful of best-selling authors is selling much of anything these days, no matter how good it is. As writers, our competition today aren’t just the… Read More ›

Which industry introduces the most new products?

Obvious, isn’t it? No other industry introduces so many new products every year. Every new book is a new product, needing to be acquired, developed, reworked, designed, produced, named, manufactured, packaged, prices, introduced, marketed, warehoused, and sold. Yet the average new book generates only $50,000 to $150,000 in sales, which needs to cover all these… Read More ›

What’s the future of publishing?

Business as usual is no longer possible. Not in publishing, anyway. The book publishing world is in a never-ending state of turmoil. The industry’s margins are thin. The business is highly complex. New technologies constantly appear, morph, and disappear, only to be followed by yet newer technologies. Meanwhile, other media proliferate, some of them growing… Read More ›

You call this literature?

“There is no silence without a cry of grief,” the author wrote, “no forgiveness without bloodshed.” Huh? What was that again? Do these people — these “literary” authors — ever stop to think what they’ve written? There is no silence without a cry of grief? Really? No forgiveness without bloodshed?  I have not quoted these two… Read More ›