Friday News: Book World closing, pirate TV, publishing comics, and murder at the OED (sort of)
Book World to close, leaving void for many small Wisconsin communities – This U.S. midwestern chain, inclusive of 45 stores and more than 300 employees, is closing all of its stores and has commenced a liquidation sale. There is a lot of blame being directed Amazon’s way, not only for popularizing the online marketplace but also for making it difficult for malls to keep their “anchor” stores from withdrawing or shuttering altogether. At the same time, independent bookstores have seen a resurgence of late, so we are definitely seeing shifts in the book market again.
The announcement of the closing was made Tuesday by Mark Dupont, Book World’s senior vice president, who said in a statement that changing consumer habits led to the decision to shutter the business after 41 years.
“The national shift in the retail marketplace towards e-commerce has triggered the loss of vital mall anchor stores and a downward spiral in customer counts at Book World stores, reducing sales to a level that will no longer sustain the business,” he wrote. – Madison State-Journal
Pirate TV services are taking a bite out of cable company revenue – Anyone in the U.S. and Canada paying multiple fees for different television streaming and cable services may not be surprised by this information, according to a Sanvine study (which I have not read, so if anyone has, and can comment, that would be great). Assuming the methodology and conclusions are sound (which I am not at this point, since I have not read it), one could argue, I suppose, that while streaming services may not be outrageously expensive per service, that many people have more than one service, on top of at least basic cable, representing a substantial financial outlay. And we see these a la carte services continuing to proliferate.
The pirate services attempt to “replicate the live television experience offered by cable and satellite providers,” Sandvine wrote. That includes live sports events, which can often only be viewed legally by purchasing a traditional pay-TV subscription.
Besides live sports, Sandvine found significant usage of pirate TV services to view premium television (like HBO’s Game of Thrones), news channels, and international content.
The number of cable and satellite TV subscriptions has been dropping for years due to rising prices and Internet-based alternatives, both legal and otherwise. While 88 percent of US households subscribed to a pay-TV service in 2010 and 84 percent did so in 2014, just 79 percent subscribe today, Leichtman Research Group recently found.
Pirate TV services can charge much lower prices than cable and satellite companies because they aren’t paying programmers for content, Sandvine noted. – Ars Technica
Book Publishing Reshapes The Comic Book World – Interesting article about how more comics are now being published in book format. Powell’s bookstore, for example, did not stock single-format comics, but they do sell the book-format comics, claiming readers want a “long-form immersive read.” Hmmm. Anyway, publishers are spinning this shift to appear as all risk for publishers and all opportunity (and diversity!!) for readers and creators:
Calvin Reid, a senior news editor at Publishers’ Weekly, and co-editor of PW Comics World, has followed the blossoming graphic novel market for years. He said book publishing business and book publishing practices are having a tremendous impact on the comics business.
For nearly 100 years, Reid explained, periodical comics like Superman and Thor have been made on a work-for-hire basis. . . .
By contrast in book publishing, authors get an advance upfront, plus royalties once the publisher has made its money back. This model means more risk for publishers to start and more decisions about what will sell without the trial balloons of periodical comics to point the way. On the other hand, Reid pointed out, a much greater variety of stories with diverse characters by a wider range of creators are now finding their way to the shelves – KUOW
The Murderer Who Helped Make the Oxford English Dictionary – If you are not familiar with the story, you are in for quite a bittersweet tale. The bitter is that William Charles Minor, a surgeon and Civil War veteran who suffered from PTSD and other (undiagnosed) forms of mental illness, spent much of his life in an institution after mistakenly murdering an innocent man. The sweet is that Minor helped make the OED the fabulous resource it is, and he did all this will still suffering what were nearly debilitating effects of mental illness. An extraordinary man who truly suffered for his art.
William Chester Minor opened his eyes and gazed sleepily at the figure of a man looming over the foot of his bed. The intruder, who had been hiding in Minor’s attic during daylight, had slithered from the rafters, crept into the bedroom, and now, under the dark of night, was watching Minor as he dreamed. In his hands, the faceless man held metal biscuits slathered in poison.
The next morning, Minor woke up unscathed and found no trace of the intruder’s shenanigans. He checked his closet and crawled on his knees to look under his bed. Nobody was there. But that night, the trespasser returned. And the next night. And the next. Each night, Minor laid in his bed frozen with fright.
By 1871, Minor needed a vacation. He left his lodgings in Connecticut and sailed for London in search of peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.
His harassers followed. – Mental Floss