10 Responses to Apple’s iSlate Gives Book Publishers False Hope

  1. Ah, welcome to the dark side. Wallow a day or so and then cross over to join the optimists. Redefine “publisher” and remember the rest of my mantra. The Big Six are not focused on saving publishing, they are focused on saving publishing as it is. Once you stop worrying about that, possibilities emerge.

  2. If the public has grown indifferent to reading, I’m not sure it’s totally the publishing industry’s fault; surely writers are as much to blame. Of the authors you mention, Chandler’s a great name but the rest are often only barely worth their hype; The Great Gatsby, for one, certainly could have used a better editor, and Mailer was better at being belligerent than writing prose.

    Marvel’s had a ton of great storytellers writing exciting tales. Lobdell’s X-Men run was as good as if not better than anything Ellison’s done.

    Have you already made the Apple to Pixar to Disney to Marvel connection (I haven’t read every post)? If Apple does in fact announce a tablet reading device next week, Marvel comics might look spectacular on it.

    I’m not sure I agree with you about wherein the value of publishing lies, but then that may be because I’m a writer and think that the most valuable thing in the world is still its stories.

  3. I figured you had. I couldn’t easily find it. I’m a little surprised you didn’t include Hyperion among your publishers. What does it take to be one of the big six? They have Mitch Albom, who was a Starbucks writer… They’re distributed but not technically owned by HarperCollins.

    Part of me hopes there’s no tablet announced next week. Partly because I’d love to see egg on the NYT’s and WSJ’s face after years of breathless reporting of rumors, but also because I’d hate for you to end your blog. Will you start a new one?

  4. Rogre says:

    Fortunes have been made not listening to me. But I think the very cream or curdles of publishing can be made to work with a possible Apple device. I think that books might be heard if not read. Software like Dragon Dictation on an iPhone or iPad reading the book or newspaper content might save the best newspapers. The public’s literacy may not save the best of books or essays; But books of some sort may do well.

  5. David Crotty says:

    Isn’t Marvel’s value based on using their IP for movies, not their actual publication of comics? Perhaps the issue is that publishing houses weren’t smart enough to demand movie rights in their contracts with authors, unlike the comic industry which has a long history of screwing over creators.

  6. eoinpurcell says:


    A good post and enjoyable. A few thoughts!

    As ever, I caution against ruling out Murdoch in any game that involves money!

    On top of which, perhaps the most active and challenging imprint of a major house in the last while has been Harper Studio which, with it’s different author reward structure, is well placed to benefit from a changed industry.

    I also wouldn’t underestimate Macmillan’s chops, after all they are behind one of the most impressive Big 6 community experiments, Tor.com

    Hachette have made digital moves in France (and their UK Digital guy, George Walkley is very savvy) that are worth keeping an eye on.

    As for the rest, I’d caution against suggesting they are done for. they’ll likely survive perhaps not as 6 and certainly with fewer employees and authors per house!

    Sometimes inaction is a wise course, especially when committing one way has a direct and real cost!


  7. Before giving up on publishing as short-sighted, I’d look at the innovative projects going on. For instance, O’Reilly adding RDF metadata, and now embedding RDFa–and supporting ePub tools like Bookworm. Or Random House opening a digital side, which has got several interesting projects. Plus innovation with sales and distribution models (e.g. Tor, as Eoin mentions).

    We’re in the incunabula age of the networked book and the multimedia ‘book’. Interactivity is one direction books will go in the future. Hopefully enriched metadata is another.

    Speaking of metadata, plenty of people other than publishers create metadata (like catalogers in libraries). Upstream, distributors (B&T) and bookstores (from small bookstores like the one I used to work at to the giants like Amazon) massage, manipulate, transform, or sometimes recreate and/or enrich the existing (ONIX) metadata.

    Of course I’d love to see better metadata, from publishers and others! And I’d love to see more investment into innovation, and more empathy with customers (e.g. ebook pricing models, alternatives to DRM like the ones Eric Hellman suggests).

  8. […] des ersten iTunes LP-Comic im gestrigen Beitrag war ich wohl zu verhalten. Nachdem ich jetzt Apple’s iSlate Gives Book Publishers False Hope gelesen habe, worin Mike Cane die 4+ Milliarden USD, die Disney für Marvel Comics zahlt, dem Wert […]

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