The Thursday Book Beat: The Problems With Traditional Publishing

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Marvel & Little Brown Team Up on MCU Kids Books

Marvel Studios. Logo.

Marvel is collaborating with Little, Brown & Co on kids books that will act as tie ins to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’ll start off with five Guardians of the Galaxy novels that will come out before its release in August.

Titles include Guardians of the Galaxy: The Junior Novel ($6.99, ages 8-12), with color photos from the film, storybooks like Guardians of the Galaxy: Battle of Knowhere ($3.99; ages 4-8), and leveled early readers like Guardians of the Galaxy: Friends and Foes ($3.99, ages 4-8).

Man, I wish I was a kid again.

Traditional Publishing: Renegotiating the Author/Publisher Relationship

In a recent Guardian piece, the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society found that the “median income of a professional author last year was £11,000, down 29% since 2005” after surveying 2,500 authors in the UK.

On top of that, said [Nicola] Solomon, “publishers are doing less for what they get. There are still important things they do – a traditional publisher can edit, copy edit, design, market, promote, make your book better, deal with foreign sales. With ebooks, though, publishers’ costs are less, so authors should get a better share. They do not have to produce, distribute or warehouse physical copies. Even on traditional books, publishers’ production costs have gone down but authors have not benefited from these costs savings. And, increasingly authors are being asked to do a lot of marketing and promotion themselves.”

The piece goes on to discuss the role of self-publishing in terms of getting the profits back into the pockets of authors but that process isn’t an easy one. However, it can be a profitable one. eBooks definitely shake up the discussion on accessibility and division of labour in the creation of a book.

Zest Books Will Be Publishing New Adult Books Via New Imprint

Pulp is the New Adult imprint that Zest is investing in and editorial director, Daniel Harmon, says

“As a category,” Harmon said, “we view new adult as a place where some of the caution and, for lack of a better word, delicacy in much young adult publishing becomes unnecessary, even superfluous. We treat our new adult books as part of adult book publishing.”

I’m hesitant after reading his words because New Adult shouldn’t be just a license to add more swear words or sex scenes that would be frowned on in the YA world. New Adult should reflect the very unique issues that this generation of 18-25 year olds are dealing with (living at home, price of school, identity and independence etc). As a 22 year old reader, I yearn for more books of that kind so I’ll hesitantly buy this new imprint.

Author Turns Down Award Due To Amazon Connection

If anyone needed Olivia Pope right about now, it would be Amazon. The press is not on their side with the new law in France banning free delivery, and with their dispute with Hachette, it is not looking great for Amazon. Children’s author, Allan Ahlberg, declined the Booktrust Best Book Awards‘ Lifetime Achievement Award because it’s sponsored by Amazon. He explains in a letter he wrote to The Bookseller:

Booktrust does good work and has a well-deserved reputation. Amazon, via its sponsorship, gets up close to Booktrust and hopes that some of this rubs off. Sadly, I’d say, it also works the other way: Amazon sponsors Booktrust; Booktrust sponsors Amazon, and all of us— writers, illustrators, publishers, judges—get drawn in. For my part, the idea that my “lifetime achievement”— i.e. the books (and all of Janet’s work too)—should have the Amazon tag attached to it is unacceptable.

Ahlberg cites Amazon’s “baleful” influence on the British book trade and, most importantly, their tax avoidance as the reasons for distaste towards the company.

Syfy Greenlights ‘The Magicians’ Pilot

The Magicians. Book Cover. August 11th 2009. Books. Penguin Books USA. Viking.

Yup, the book written by Lev Grossman will be turned into a show and Syfy is giving the pilot the thumbs up.

The one-hour drama follows 20-somethings who, while studying magic in New York, discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real and poses a grave danger to humanity.

I just hope it’s better than Dominion and fairs better in the endurance race than a lot of the other Syfy shows.

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About Author

Former senior editor for WWAC. Part-time contributor. BA in criminals (a minor in daydreams). Batman seeks her advice constantly. Bylines at Book Riot, Teen Vogue, Slate, Quill & Quire and Hyperallergic.

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