Dog-Eared and Dispatched: August 16, 2015
How should we identify the health of the publishing industry? How likely is it that we’ll see a full-size Minas Tirith built by 2023? These questions and more are explored this week, and we’ll also tell you how you can display your ebooks in your physical home. Ready? Set? Read!
Continuing the trend of delivering dire news for the publishing industry, an article at the Harvard Business Review from a few weeks ago, “Harper Lee and Dr. Seuss Won’t Save Publishing,” declared that publishers’ apparent reliance on delivering recently found manuscripts from authors long-dead or near-dead will erode the industry as it stands, and it signifies the decline of publishing as a whole. This is based on a thoughtful discussion of publishers’ leveraging of their bestselling and celebrity authors and dismissive treatment of midlist authors—those selling 15,000 to 25,000 copies annually. This week, writer Joseph Esposito at the Scholarly Kitchen, offered a rebuttal entitled, “What They Still Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School.” In it, he writes, “[T]he difference between being mature and dead is very great—just ask anybody over 50. The publishing business is anything but dead; it is alive and complaining, as it has been for centuries. Don’t turn out the lights until the whining stops.” He discusses how this problem is to trade publishing, while other publishing industries thrive without such tactics, but even in trade publishing, the purported shifts of lower author advances and old manuscripts resurfacing reflect consolidation of publishers’ resources. Esposito goes on to argue that the sources used in the Harvard Business Review article are not the proper markers of industry health, but rather that publishers’ reduction in advances and pushing of “lost treasure” manuscripts reflects the caution of maturity. [Harvard Business Review, Scholarly Kitchen]
A group of U.K. Lord of the Rings fanatics have launched an Indiegogo campaign to erect “a beautiful, inspirational and fully-functioning replica of Peter Jackson’s depiction of Minas Tirith, as seen in his Lord of the Rings films.” The project, named Realise Minas Tirith, is seeking £1,850,000,000 GBP, or about $2,886,000,000 American. The plan is to build both residential and commercial properties. If the fundraising campaign is successful, the plan is to begin construction in 2016, with a goal launch date in 2023. As it stands, the project is less than 1% funded, with £70,720 raised in 15 days and only 46 days to go. A key player behind the project is architect Jonathan Wilson, along with a team supposedly comprised of structural engineers and other architects. Realise Minas Tirith is clearly not being taken seriously by some; a rival campaign called Destroy Minas Tirith was launched with a £1,000,000 goal and the aim to recreate the orcs’ siege of Minas Tirith. [Adweek, Realise Minas Tirith, Today, The Telegraph]
- The ashes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez are returning to Cartagena, Colombia, the city where he began his writing career, to be be part of an exhibit.
- Book trailers are rarely good, but The Awl claims this one for The Clasp by Sloane Crosley is worth it–with wine, Amanda Seyfried, and a judgmental dog, what could go wrong?
- A Bucharest train station has been wallpapered with book covers and QR codes that link to each book’s ebook. This follows an innovation by a Romanian company that came up with the idea to display a digital book collection with bookshelf wallpaper.
- An emerging new category in bookstore shelving is apparently “Tragic Life Stories.”
- Macmillan is using the launch of children’s book Crenshaw—in which the boy Jackson’s family becomes homeless and an oversize imaginary cat visits to help them out—to run a nationwide food drive for families in situations similar to Jackson’s.