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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 19, 2012 4:40pm-5:15pm EDT

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it doesn't sound -- how did it support itself? >> most of those newspapers were created by people who were really in another trade. that is they were, printers. and in order to keep their print shop busy in order to bring their customers into the shop to pick up the papers, so they could sell them some stationary on the side or sell them a book while they were there. they hit upon the idea of a newspaper as the perfect device, expires every week, and later every day once the pace picked up. and so most of those first enterprises were a sideline of someone -- what we would think of as a job printer. someone who was open to printing all kinds of stuff from anybody who had business. and then it's really in around that revolutionary period certainly the early federal
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period where you see that sideline disappears and the newspaper itself becomes the real focus. the first daily paper in the country is founded in 1783, and once the city's get to be a certain density. there's enough commerce, enough population, then in the early part of the 19th century they get going and really take off in 1830s. >> that's when it's fair to say that journalism is business. >> oh why, yes, it's clear by them. >> you can watch this online at book tv.org. >> my name is gene tab i'm the member of the festival planning committee. a book and author promotion company. gaithersburg is a vibrant diversity we are pleased to bring you the event free of charge thanks to the sponsors. the consideration of everyone here silence any devicesdevices
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make any kind of noise. please take a moment to fill out the survey form, they are available on the website or at the information booths. we love to hear your ideas next year industry inside the panel which you're about to hear. if you have any suggestions please let us know. i've been in the book industry since the early 1990st. many things have changed two things have been constant. the publishers weekly has always been around and jim mill yent has always worked there. it's amazing accomplishment in the age. jim milliot is coed or it of publickers weekly opw found in 1872 it was trade library begans, book sellers and literary agencies. jim is. the of pw x yz. jim has been with them for 19
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years studying as a business and news editor. topics he covers today. prior to joining pw he was executive editor. which jim served as editor. jim is a regular contributor to several industry publications in the book industry groups. but without further adieu i turn the stage to jim milliot who introduces who introduces -- ever changing world of the book business. jim? [applause] thank you for the great introduction. i feel like i've been in the book industry forever. a lot has changed as at the rapid pace. i guess we'll introduce the fellow panel lists and the people from working with us the last little while. we appreciate you all staying,
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we hope what will be the grand fanal finale. i think we have a good group of representing the industry. filing in one by one here they are. so, lissa muscatine, co-owner, with brad graham, of politics & prose book store her and her husband bought almost a year ago. before acquiring the business, she was involved in journalism quite a bit and government. she served in the obama administration as director of speech writer and senior adviser to secretary of state. she was senior adviser her on hillary clinton's campaign and cocollaborater on clinton's white house memoir living history. next to her we have sam is the
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director of he began his publishing at harvard. university of california. he's worked a number of best selling authorities including el wilson and ohio oliver sacs. representing authors and agents is raphael "rafe" sagalyn, who runs the bethesda, md.-based sagalyn literary agency some of the authors he represents down here in the dc area include dan pink, rick akndson and simon johnson. with all that said. i'm going to start off with a few remarks. tell you about the over view of where things are. we'll hear from each of the panelists. we're start off with the question that every publishers ask at every convention.
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how many people read their books on a kindle? how many people read their books on an ipad? how many people read pint books? okay. that's encouragerring. that's where we are in the publishing industry today. i've been around, you've seen a lot of changes nothing like the change that is going on now. at the end of 011, -- 2011 approximately 20% of sales from major trade houses were digital. that's from almost nothing two years ago. most of the houses think that digital account for 30% of the sales. that's the billion dollar question. -- i think it's unquestionably great time to be a reader.
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there's more books than ever before being published. there's easier ways to get them, for the most part, they're cheaper. that's one for the consumers. i also think it's a pretty good time to be an author. certainly don't need a big publishers to be published nowadays. there are all sorts of waysways self-publish. a lot of self-publishers have gone on to success either by themselves or picked up by a big publisher including el gray who wrote fifty shades of grey. just to show you how fast it's grown. the most recent numbers we have straibl for 2010 there's about 316,000 traditional books published. that was a 5 percent increase on the year before. there were 2 million
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nontraditional books published that year. it is a 169% increase. not all of that is self-publish papped healthy chunk of it is. a little bit of time, ten years ago, there was only 3200 self-published or nontraditional books. someone here can do the math to go to 3200 to 2 million. so it's things like that have the whole publishing industry wondering what's next. it's not really a great time to be a printer or a manufacturer. less books being printed, less work for them. not so great time to be a wholesaler or distributer, seems that the middlemen are being cut out of the process. it's a good time to be amazon.
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they have about 25% of the book business. they are along with barnes & noble are the only two major places we can buy both both tal digital and print books. amazon has a tremendous amount of market share clout. they're not not trade to use it. if publishers aren't talking aren't digital in the meeting they're talking about amazon and grumbling about amazon or complaining about amazon. they are aggressive in actually, what, you know, jeff, the chairman there is man tray is lower pricing for consumers. if you get that, he talks to the partners in the publishing business -- sometimes they don't see eye to eye. so he started a publishing business which is another thing that all of the publishers are
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scratching their heads about and wondering where they're going to go next. so amazon is really the driver -- really the most important player in the industry today. but one thing they don't no is physical bookstores. barnes & noble is still the largest operator physical bookstores. they have made no intention of opening any more. as most of you probably know, borders went out of business about a year ago. that leaves us with only seminational change. bookings million how aggressive thailg be is anybody's guess. that means we're going to have new books stores probably going to come from independent book sellers. for the long time, independent book sellers segment had been smashed by barnes & nobles and
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borders about changes and amazon with on-line retailing and expanding. digital books are, you know, another issue that has to be dealt with. first place, same with buying a digital book is not the independent bookstore. that may be changing. so but actually, the close of borders, some people think it's a time of resur again of independents. there has been a lot of stories of people going into the business for the first time, and some times even a more healthy side. people willing to buy bookstores. a lot of it has to do with the right spot. with a good owner the independents can survive and thrive, actually. so that's what we're going to talk about today. the book industry as a whole. and to kick off washington to
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the good time to be a book seller. we're going turn it to least is a. >> thanks for coming. i'm going to start with a little bit of background because some of you might be wondering why anybody in the current climate would have gone into the business. and my husband brad is over here and i acquired the store about a year ago. during the sale process it gave us a lot of time to go around the country and meet lot of the independent book sellerssellers figure out what was was there a common denominator that pointed to the success. and there is, it turns out. with that said, people turn with oh my gosh why did you get into the business? are there going to be any independent bookstores left. there's a common concern and in the community of politics and process when the store was put up there was a tremendous panic. that's not an overstatement that this wonderful treasured
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community institution would disappear. but it's important in that context to remember that several times over, in the last few decades, the demise of independent book sellers has been predicted and widely assumed. and yet, independent book sellers have remained, obviously some have closed. some have been eaten up by the online coloss sis and by some of the big box stores. in fact, and patches some of you may know opened her own bookstore. others are sprouting up in other places and so, we feel pretty foolish about this. i think the question is really how can independent bookstores like politicspolitics pros has been successful to continue to survive but thrive in a -- and bookstores don't make as much money on those.
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we sell them. we sell physical books and e-books. go to our website you can download them on anything but an original kindle. it's proprietary to amazon. which is another story. when people are turns to other kinds of devices to read. what we've learned in the first year is that a i among other things, bookstore owners around the turn out to be extremely creative. most of our colleagues who are succeeding in the business are doing smart things to succeed. the main thing they're doing is realizing that if the physical books becomes a smaller share of their revenues, they have to i did fors i have their extremes. they're selling more nonbook items. they're sponsoring more programs, events and such. some of like us, in last fall we acquired a print on demand machine. and jim was mentioning the
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nontraditional publishing format. there a lot of people in the washington area who maybe just written the world's greatest novel or greatest cookbook and they can't find a publishers. they come in the store and we can publish it. they can print in five minutes from an inventory 8 million books that are out of print. that's a service that bookstores are provide the around the country. why do all of these strategies work? just to give you an idea what we've done at our business. we have become known, i think, as many of you know for the authority events that we host. we about 385 year. it's and have able position. it's because of the demographic of washington, d.c., and the kinds of people who live in the area who are engaifnlged in the brings and the lit rare world and the journalistic world. that's great source for us of
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community building. it's obviously a source of book sales which we love. we love the connection with authors and pub listers. other bookstores are trying to do more events. we have established a very full and rich array of courses literary related courses. they're filling up instantly. we didn't know how it would turn out. we've been extremely are pleased to see how many people in the community have a hunger for that kind of learning. it's a great thing to bring people into the store and have them take courses and classes. we're going to be response or the literary tours overseas. you can look on the website and get more information. the other thing that i really think has to be pointed out that not only do we have the community -- one of the things that distinguish us all the independent bookstores. they are physical locations physical locations experience that can't be replicated online or quite as well in a big box store. if you come into our store you
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might be see the chief buyer and one of the gems of the book industry. he'll talk to you for a half an hour about your book tastes and preferences. he'll understand. he will have read the book. it's not an online something tells you if you like book x you might like book y. it's a real human being. we often say that our store, and i think other independents feel it's more than a bookstore. it's a gathering place. a communitity yum where people can exchange ideas and have topics about the books of the day. they can hang out. this is a very important point. you can't brows and discovery online the way you can in a bricks and mortar bookstore. i can't tell you how many times i've been at the cash register, which is one of the favorite parts it's like being a
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bartender. you get to hear what everybody is thinking. i said if you find everything? the person has a stack of and they say i came in for one and i'm living with ten. it's an extremely part of the experience. it differentiates independent bookstores from other models. we have a different model which involves deep community roots, community building, engaging with people directly, and providing experience inexperience can't be the same. ..
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>> often not understood, and that has to do with, although we don't represent a huge percentage of overall book sales, obviously amazon and others controlled more of the percentage, we do have a disproportionate influence over what we call mind share. we are not as big and market share, but we do have mind share. what that means, if mark recommends a book or thinks that an offer -- author is terrific that really matters to the publishers, the office, the rest of the book world. it means other independent bookstores are going to be interested in that book and author. they may be promoting it more, and what has been discovered, and the data is now being
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produced to support this. independent bookstores drive sales across the industry, not just our own sales. they drive them across the industry, so we really represent a important economic piece of this book ecosystem that should not be overlooked. and that might share peace is extremely important to authors and publishers and, frankly, to consumers who want affirmative knowledgeable people telling them what books are helping to shape literary references, and that is one of the things that i think independent bookstores do the best. so, i guess to some up, we feel confident. we note that physical books are going to represent less of our overall revenues. we do find that there are many ways to remain true to our essence entry to our mission as a great independent, local bookstore. we are not compromising that at
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all. at the same time we have found ways to build on that foundation, figure out ways to draw people in in different ways and prepare ourselves worthy of its relative physical books there represent a smaller share of our business. that said, i just want to point out that for r stork the-books represent less than 1 percent of our sales. so we are finding that our leaders either just love the physicality of the book, on a computer screen all day and don't want to be on another screen cuddle up in bed with whatever device it is. and -- were they are hybrids which is another thing that is starting to be demonstrated. people who read e-books, a lot of them free physical books, and it depends on the situation. we are feeling pretty good. we have a great group of independent bookstores across the country. we encourage everyone to support your bookstores. one of the reasons we are there is because of our community and
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our deep roots in the community, and we hope to be there for a long time. thank you very much. [applause] >> okay. great. now the publishing point of view. >> i would like to say that politics & prose is why i still love publishing after all this time, about 40 years' worth. in europe probably wondering what publishers actually do. you just heard a description of the ecosystem, and it is an ecosystem. it is heavily dependent upon marriage went from both within and from outside, diversity is critical to the evolution as a traditional book publisher, i looked at the arrival of the books as a species, it's kind of unsettling. the fact of the matter is that we are now publishing the trend
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55 and 70 books a year. since 2000, made 2007 we have been publishing each of those in an e-book format as well. and they are, as jim said, a rising percentage of our overall revenue. i would say that the downside is that friendlies the next five years i would see our brand sales probably declining by about 10 percent every year. so we have to make that up somehow. but back to the question of what publishers to, when we work with literary agents and we see things coming over, our job is to take this material and evaluated and shape it, find the author's voice and make it something that you want to read. it is so easy just to throw anything out there these days because of the mechanisms are available. but what about the contents?
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and it is all of the contents. when the books arrive and someone on the floor who is talking to a customer knows what the book is about, knows it is making a valuable contribution and they can recommend it as a purchase. that is the best kind of synergy . going forward, i think that barnes and noble do a lot of things very well. probably going to find a brick and mortar equation harder and harder to sustain. they're not opening more stores. i think it will begin to retreat from their expensive leases. i would love to see those stores franchised to individuals within the communities here know what readers want. i think it is a brand field that is realistically optimistic. a great time for independence a
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step ben. amazon can be a bit of a bear. they are there 24 / seven, but they don't lead you to make critical choices about what you read. that's why it's so important to have independent review, the washington independent book review and other sources to inform your reading. it may only a firm, but it can certainly introduce you to new books and authors. that is terribly, terribly importance. what else to run need to add here? all right. yes. the big picture, as jim pointed out, the number of baskets in which publishers can put their precious eggs has been reduced with the rise of borders and lots of other factors. the things that keep me up at night, saying the possibilities of one company just becoming
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very, very large and having a huge amount of control over the prospects. investment. really give kindle competition. that is really terribly important. thank you. [applause] >> all right. the authors as well. be here today and speak to you. i think we were asked materials before we were given over the last week to try to give a five to ten minutes summary of the state of the book industry. well, that is a pretty impossible task, but i thought i might try to tackle that by citing what i think of the two great revolutions that i have seen in my career.
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i have been a literary agent, the buffer between the writer and the publishing industry. i've been doing this from d.c. since the 1980's. the first revolution really, the reid to revolution. 1980 that the growth of bonds and noble, the growth of borders, the growth of of the bookstores, independent and chains, those of you who have been in washington all remember, the drug retailer said discount bookstores, create a revolution in bookselling here and across the country. the effect on writers and publishers is really significant because of the publishers were expanding in almost all categories, fiction and nonfiction to meet the increasing the opportunities in the retail level.
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so this is a great time literary agents, a great time for writers . there were very few barriers to entry. publishers could not get enough books. and that was kind of the environment for 20 years that i was doing this. and a very good time to be a writer, a very good time to be an agent. that all turned in the last five or two years. that all turned dramatically, and i would say that that really was the second great revolution. the first one i would characterize, we were living in really what was called a seller's market. a very advantageous thing to be on this side of the negotiation table. and over the last five years it really, the tide has turned. details have shifted. the demise of borders was punctuated as the second revolution, and that was when it really had become a buyer's market. the publishers are cutting their
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lists. the demise of borders captain percent of the marketplace. what does that mean? all through the chain of publishing, that means they're calculating smaller first printings. and all through there, you know, mechanisms, and talking random house, simon and schuster, mainstream publishers, mostly in new york. everything really changed. various interest or very large. publishers were always speaking about that dreaded word, platform. what is our platform as an author? meaning, what is your ability to get on nbc, and as nbc, the cable channels. what are your opportunities to your own network to promote your work. now, the other, you know, simultaneous trend as we all know, was the device of -- demise of review media. how many republications, tabloid's standalone review
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sections. now there is one. so there are all these changes. really, this is what i call the second great revolution. and coming in the middle of the second great revolution was this thing called the e book revolution. so i think we're actually at the beginning of something new and different, which we are all grappling with the reader of trying to get our hands around, and we are all -- very few people have a handle on what is coming next. but at this moment, at this moment it is a very, very good time if you have a platform, if you have a great book could yet, if you can overcome the barriers to entry that publishes a throwing out the books are selling very, very well. the success is a great indication of that. the e-book revolution. they generally are selling one or two, one to five for every ten or 15 physical books the you're selling in certain categories.
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i could tell you, i have two of my office on the new york times the desperate best-seller list which is a fascinating development. take a look. the new york times best-seller list. many categories, one of which is e-book only. one example, one of my office, an extraordinary thing about north korea. the new york times extended list for for five or six weeks for every three hard-cover books they're selling to the books. near parity bit in the fiscal but in the book. that is a revelation. robert reischauer, adjusted his first original called beyond of rage, three months turnaround.
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the reality is e-book sales are still remarkably small. >> of will to fight to continue. keep up. to sell 10,000 copies of any-but is considered very successful and certainly puts you on the best-seller list. so i would just -- this part of it by saying, the annual book convention, it's two weeks from now. last year, an annual dinner with four very close friends, top editors in chief of public to the publishing houses. he spoke here last year. he was speaking about the we are at a very revolutionary moment and publishing.

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