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Friday News: Harlequin Revenues Down; YA revenues up; Mike Shatzkin frustrated...

Watch the Stunt Double for Roger Moore almost get eaten alive by crocodiles!

US of YA

But I’m afraid my major takeaway was, once again, that the legal experts applying their antitrust theories to the industry don’t understand what they’re monkeying with or what the consequences will be of what they see as their progressive thinking. Steamrollering those luddite denizens of legacy publishing, who just provoke eye-rolling disdain by suggesting there is anything “special” about the ecosystem they’re part of and are trying to preserve, is just part of a clear-eyed understanding of the transitions caused by technology.

As always, Shatzkin’s insider look at how trad publishing thinks is insightful.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

11 Comments

  1. SAO
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 04:51:11

    The problem Shatzkin has is that Luddites always lose to the march of technology, no matter how delicately their case is handled.

    Jack Shafer put it this way: Traditional New York Publishers are “operating in a moribund and hidebound enterprise that looks and acts like something out of the 18th century. Book publishers are playing against a stacked deck. They don’t own the distribution channels, they don’t own the stores, they don’t control any proprietary technologies or patents, they’re terrible at inventing new products, and the market value of their brands is dwindling. Plus, their most valuable properties, their writers, are free agents who don’t really belong to them.”

    When the survival of your business model relies on convincing the courts and the markets that you’re a special case not to be treated like anything else, you’re in trouble.

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  2. Ros
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 05:57:37

    How does a higher royalty rate affect revenues? I can understand that it would affect profits, but I’m struggling to see what it has to do with revenue.

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  3. Ann Bruce
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 07:06:47

    @Ros: Jane’s blurb was too edited. Harlequin said higher digital royalties was a contributing factor to weakened operating profit, not revenue.

    Harlequin operating profit weakened to $19.8 million from $24.8 million as the operating faced higher costs for its North American digital business.

    Harlequin also expects to a weaker fourth quarter due to higher digital royalty rates for its authors, and weakness in the global economy.

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  4. Lynnd
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 07:47:22

    @SAO: Exactly. If the current crop of traditional publishers want to survive they are going to have to stop thinking that they are special snowflakes and start developing business modesl that work. If they don’t, other publishing entities with new ideas are going to come in and takke over their business. Publishing itself won’t die. What will die are the traditional publishers who refuse to adapt to the changing environment. Maybe their first step should be to stop listening (and paying) guys like Shatzkin – obviously his advice isn’t working.

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  5. Moriah Jovan
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 08:07:56

    Re traditional publishing: boo fucking hoo. Adapt or die.

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  6. Jane
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 08:24:37

    @Ann Bruce: Sorry! I didn’t mean to be misleading. I modified it slightly.

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  7. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 08:56:41

    Traditional publishers are a bit lost. They never did do proper market research, and their philosophy was “if it works, keep on doing it.” That won’t change.
    But the royalty rates they are paying authors for e-books should keep them in business, for a while, at least. Authors are tied in to 25-35% of net, and their agents encouraged them to sign, because the e-income wasn’t that much, two years ago. Trouble was, they signed for five or more.
    Authors are used to ‘hiring’ agents and letting them take care of the business side. I know several old-school authors who are convinced that this e- and self-publishing thing is just a phase. Others are embracing the new technology.
    With the slicing of advances, Harlequin just isn’t paying enough to retain authors, and increasingly they are walking, self-publishing and exploring other possibilities.

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  8. Fionn Jameson
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 09:53:03

    @Moriah Jovan:

    GUH. MUH. Took the words right out of my mouth. Have my babies, please!

    ReplyReply

  9. Ros
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 12:56:43

    @Ann Bruce: Ah, okay. That makes sense.

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  10. Darlynne
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 14:27:20

    Nevada gets Crank in the US of YA map. Last in education and first in meth production, a reflection on the state, not the book. Jesus wept.

    FSoG was alive and well in Cabo last month; I lost count of the number of pool and beach chairs adorned by copies of one of the three books. One couple read sections to each other as they sunned by the pool and bookstores were selling Cincuenta sombras de Grey like crazy. If FSoG isn’t the current flavor of shot-heard-round-the-world, I don’t know what is.

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  11. Julaine
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 16:06:28

    As the purchaser of 71 digital books and 1 hard copy novel (Suzanne McLeod’s the Shifting Price of Prey that I could not purchase a legal digital copy of here in the US) I would like to point out a simple fact to Mr. Shatzkin. I am his employer’s natural customer and I feel that I am drowning in a sea of crazy. It seems that admidst all the voices shouting to be heard, the publishers are concerned about what the reader wants the least. The world has changed and trying to return to traditional publishing methods or slowing technological changes is a futile as trying to hold back the tide.

    Readers have to deal with Badly Behaving Authors, Reviewer Wars, Plagiarizing Bloggers, Sock Puppets, Price Fixing Publishers, and the Evil Empire. Personally I just want to read good books, and I spend a fair amount of my disposable income each and every month to do just that. Why do I have to feel like I need body armour and a whip and chair I go book shopping?

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