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From the Passive Guy blog:

It’s difficult to find anyone with a significant stake in traditional publishing who has much good to say about indie authors and Amazon.

None of these folks ever seem to slam Nook, however. It’s as if the Amazon critics share a secret knowledge that if Seattle suddenly disappeared, all the Nooks would go away and charming little bookstores would sprout everywhere like daisies in the spring.

PG thinks Kindles and Nooks and iPads and Kobos will be the salvation of books. Given the increasing prices of paper books from major publishers over the last twenty years, without inexpensive readers and ebooks, books sold for reading pleasure would be in a long period of decline. Paper books were losing the battle with the web before the first Kindle popped out of a factory in Taiwan in 2007.

In 1995, the American Booksellers Association had 5,500 members. In 2002, it had 2,191 members. In 2010, that number was 1,410.

“Here’s the reality of the book industry: in 2004, 950,000 titles out of the 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than 99 copies. Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in America sells about 500 copies” (Publishers Weekly, July 17, 2006).

Passive Guy understands the floodgate sentiments, but doesn’t buy them. These worries always seem to reflect a subconscious fear that readers are too stupid or helpless to find the books they want to read if a tasteful gatekeeper isn’t around to dole them out like mints sitting on doilies.

The floodgates have been open for anyone who wants to publish a blog for years and somehow blog readers seem to find what they want to read. Does anyone think shutting down all blogs is a step forward for readers or writers?

Regardless of anyone’s sentiments, Amazon is not going away. Should Seattle suddenly disappear, a dozen would-be Amazons would sprout overnight, each more aggressive than the next on pricing.
laurierobey: (Default)

The Genre map. Useful for getting a picture of other books in a genre.
laurierobey: (Default)
Two weeks ago Western Washington University released a study on "inattentional blindness," which means you don't see something because you're paying attention to something else. Specifically, they wanted to know how much talking on a cell phone "blinds" you to other sensory input. Test subjects were in one of four states: talking on a cell, walking in pairs, listening to music on an MP3, or just walking along without benefit of electronic or human companionship.

The cell phone users were far more "blind" than the other subjects. Three-quarters of them failed to notice a clown on a unicycle who rode past them. The cell users walked more slowly and acknowledged fewer people they passed. Essentially, like Gertrude Stein's famous comment about Oakland, there was far less "there" there.

This state applies to other electronics users as well -- such as, for instance, the two pilots who missed Milwaukee because their laptops absorbed their attention more than did landing a plane. Also less "there" are all those people on the other end of your cell who are simultaneously playing computer solitaire or checking their FaceBook pages or playing WoW (you know who you are).

What struck me about the Western Washington study, however, was how much it applies to writers I know -- including me -- even when we're NOT talking using electronics. If we're thinking about a story in progress, we're often not there, either. We're in the story setting, or mentally rehearsing plot twists, or carrying on a separate conversation with the protagonist. Do writers have more inattentional blindness than other people? Now that's a study I'd like to see.


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January 2013

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