More than 850 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘publishing’

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 ›

More than you ever wanted to know about the history of paper

A review of Paper: Paging Through History, by Mark Kurlansky @@@ (3 out of 5) Often history can be usefully viewed through the lens of a single product. For example, Harvard professor Sven Beckert’s powerful book, Empire of Cotton: A Global History, illuminates the early centuries in the history of capitalism by tracing the growth… Read More ›

Rogue spies on the loose

A review of The Accident, by Chris Pavone @@@ (3 out of 5) An author’s second novel is all too frequently a disappointment. This one was. Chris Pavone gained widespread attention with his first novel, The Expats, which won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and became an international bestseller. I liked it a… 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 ›

Do publishers market books?

Sadly, the answer to the question in this title is, for the most part, no. Most book marketing today is done by authors, not publishers. Publishers have managed to stay afloat in this worsening marketplace only by shifting more and more marketing responsibility to authors, to cut costs and prop up sales. In recognition of… Read More ›

Who actually buys books today?

Author, beware! Most books today are selling only to the authors’ and publishers’ communities. Everyone in the potential audience for a book already knows of hundreds of interesting and useful books to read but has little time to read any of them. Therefore people are reading only books that their communities make important or even… Read More ›

Is it harder, or easier, to sell books today?

It’s getting harder and harder every year to sell books. Many book categories have become entirely saturated, with a surplus of books on every topic. It’s increasingly difficult to make any book stand out. Each book is competing with more than ten million other books available for sale, while other media are claiming more and… Read More ›

Are book sales rising?

My friend — also my editor and publisher — Steve Piersanti, who founded and runs Berrett-Koehler Publishers, has been tracking sales and other key publishing industry data for many years and frequently updating it. Here’s what he reported most recently: Book industry sales are declining, despite the explosion of books published. Adult nonfiction print book unit… Read More ›