The September issue of TCLJ — Toasted Cheese 11:3 — is here. Go. Read. 😉
And… I think I forgot to mention my last Absolute Blank article, so here it is: “Running a Literary Journal, Part 1: Choices.”
Also, we’re having a mini-NaNo-warmup challenge at the forums — a 5k short story — and if you complete the challenge & post your story you get a critique from me, the elusive Beav. Value: priceless. It’s not too late to join! Here’s this week’s thread.
Whoops! Forgot to mention the June issue of TC — Toasted Cheese 11:2 — is up.
Toasted Cheese 11:1 (zomg!) is up.
A large part of all early contributions to The New Yorker arrived uninvited and unexpected. They arrived in the mail or under the arm of people who walked in with them. … For a number of years, The New Yorker published an average of fifty new writers a year. Magazines that refuse unsolicited manuscripts strike me as lazy, incurious, self-assured, and self-important. I’m speaking of magazines of general circulation. … [I]f I were a publisher, I wouldn’t want to put out a magazine that failed to examine everything that turned up.
The Bonus Session: Print Books
@jmaxsfu Cranbury: so what is it about the physical book?
Physicality of the book is still important.
@jmaxsfu Physicality of book involves having a tactile sense of limits. @bookpromogirl
Some thoughts that online/ereader good for short pieces, print for longer works, which I tend to agree with. Why? Suggestion that with a book you’re able to see the entire text and know where you are in it, whereas when you’re reading an ebook or online it may feel bottomless (don’t have a good feel for where you are).
@jmv A feeling of bottomlessness with ebooks; compare the evolutionary development of the book; digital brought back vinyl; elitism?
Print books have a specialness, can be given as a present. Compare the signed first edition hardcover or limited edition art book with “Hey, I downloaded the latest Dan Brown for you. Happy Birthday!” 😉
@jmaxsfu Physical collectibility/giftability of books… Is this decoupled from the actual reading?
Maybe pbooks are like vinyl records? The idea being that people buy the hardcover to look pretty on their shelves, but actually read the ebook. I think some publishers are bundling hardcover/ebook. Apparently some people buy vinyl records (to display) but listen to CDs/MP3s.
@jmaxsfu People buy vinyl, even though they may listen digitally.
Really? I thought vinyl-buyers bought it because of the sound was more “authentic” than digital and all that. No? I think this is probably another case where you have a divergence: a group who really prefers the hardcover/vinyl for its original use value and a group who recognizes the collectibility of such items and/or their cachet as, hmm, well not exactly status symbols. Coolness signifiers? Do hipsters read books? (If I shout that question out the window, will a hipster answer me? Ok, now I’m getting punchy.) Anyhow, if you’re a purported hipster buying vinyl/hardcovers for your shelves but actually reading ebooks on your iPad and listening to mp3s on your iPhone, I think your hipster cred has sailed 😉
@jmaxsfu How big is the vinyl market, really? There is some debate…
Some prefer pbooks for some kinds of books/reading, ebooks for others. This makes sense. What I find a bit perplexing, however, is that it’s often novels/pleasure reading that people say they prefer in ebook format. My impression is this is because they don’t plan to re-read the book, so they sort of view it as disposable. I guess it’s something like the 21st C version of how in HS, I’d go to the used bookstore in my spare (yeah, I was cool like that), trade in the mass market paperbacks I’d read the previous week and use the store credit (alternatively, you could get cash, but if you chose store credit you got a higher rate of return) to buy a new stack. But two crucial differences: 1) I didn’t trade all the books back. I kept the ones I thought I’d re-read (I used to do a lot of re-reading) and 2) I got $ for taking the books I’d read back.
Where was I? Oh, yes. It’s just that I think the pleasure reading/ebook connection is kind of odd. Maybe if I didn’t spend all day most days in front of a screen, I’d feel differently. But for me, reading a book for pleasure is something I look forward to doing away from the computer, away from the association with work. I mean, sure, I can see the appeal for travel and such situations. But in general, when I’m at home, it’s nice to get away from the electronic devices for a bit and just read a pbook. IOW, for pleasure reading, the pbook has more use value to me than an ebook does.
On the other hand, if we’re talking about reference material, stuff I’d use for research, etc. I much prefer that be accessible in an e-version (assuming one that is not freakishly annoying to use), because with that kind of stuff, I’m not just reading, I’m also processing, taking notes, making connections, writing, etc. and having it all available digitally and in one place makes all that so much easier. And I mean, there’s no bigger waste of time than having to type out quotations, am I right?
@jhope071 Content is not king, how people use content is king.
The gist: context, not content. Think about selling experience not content.
- it’s about behavior, not owning content
- away from content, toward context
- connection of artist and fan
I liked this way of thinking about it. I’m committed to having TC remain open access; I don’t want readers to have to pay a subscription to read it. I also don’t want to charge writers to submit; I think that’s super-cheesy. So, the question remains: how do we generate an income stream that’s steady enough that we’re able to able to pay writers?
The workshop that Baker ran earlier this year was very successful. What if we could somehow tie the workshop idea in with author interviews? Like try to get them to either provide something as an incentive for workshop sign-ups (a writing exercise, a book giveaway?) or maybe even have a guest appearance one week at the forums or chat. Author X could answer questions for a limited time and afterward everyone goes back to regularly-scheduled workshop, but all inspired.
@jmaxsfu A plea for building a book culture, in Vancouver and elsewhere.
@jmaxsfu Wisdom from @art3fact on selling experiences vs selling manufactured objects. We won’t win in price wars.
@jmaxsfu Experiences are individual… Not mass services, not commodities – @adamgaumont
There was a good point made about the fact that kids/teens are actually buying print versions of popular YA books (Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games). (Would be an interesting comparison, pbook/ebook reading by age.) I think that’s partly logistics—if you don’t have a credit card it can be hard to buy stuff online. Probably it’s also partly visibility: if you’re reading a cool book, you want people to see what you’re reading. But I think the major reason that pbooks are still popular with kids is the way kids read. Kids get totally absorbed in their books. I read an essay about this recently, let me go find it. Ah, here we go.
So, the appeal of a pbook to me is that it’s a unitasking device. You fix yourself a snack, you find a cozy place to curl up, and you read. And at first you might be distracted by your environment, but if it’s a good book, you eventually get completely into it, doing nothing more than reading and turning pages and occasionally adjusting your position because your arm or leg has fallen asleep. And while I still do this sometimes now, it’s not often enough, because I’m distracted by adult things. When I was a kid I read this way every day.
And so I think adults like ebooks because they’re doing 27 things at once and ebooks make it easy to squeeze in a some reading on their commute or on business trips or on vacation. But they’re not contained the way pbooks are. They, especially iPads, don’t block out the world. Ebook reading is shallow reading, pbook reading is deep reading. I think that’s part of the difference between the two.
With a pbook, you might underline a word or phrase but you’re not automatically clicking it to find out more. And yes, I’ve heard the argument that clicking for a definition is no different than going to look up a word you don’t know in a dictionary. But I disagree. As a kid, deep-reading, I never interrupted my reading to look up words I didn’t know (and I still don’t do it now when I’m reading for pleasure). I gathered what they meant from the context and moved on. Later, if I thought about it when I had the dictionary out, I might look it up then. But never while I was reading. I think that’s a huge difference. But I think it would be impossible to stop yourself from clicking. We’re so used it. You’d just do it without thinking. Hence, your reading would be shallower than with a pbook, because you’d be less in the story-world.
Death! (of the book, of reading, of everything analog…)
Oh, and here’s a book trailer for a book about a… book (which sort of ties into the thing I was saying earlier about why pdf might not be a book per se):
#bcvan10 was great. So glad I went 🙂 Thanks all to the organizers & presenters! October-01-10 5:06:24 PM via web
Yesterday: recap of fourth session
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Working in Publishing
Am now learning about capitalism and publishing! Let’s see if I can figure out how to make @toasted_cheese make some money. # bcvan10 October-01-10 2:08:33 PM via Seesmic for Android
Presenter asked who already worked in publishing. Hmm, define what you mean by “work” and “publishing” 😉 I mean, I tend to think of myself as a writer/editor, but Toasted Cheese is a publisher, so by extension… Although, TC’s not a print publisher and not a publisher of books, so we have different concerns.
@boxcarmarketing Kevin Williams on capitalism & books. Own the means of production. U make way more $ from other people’s labour than your own.
@boxcarmarketing Book = Single Business Unit. It can be analyzed independently. ROI measured for each SBU.
@somisguided Chain of value added process: editorial, design, production, sales/marketing, distribution, $ collection. All pts that add value.
Editors never go out of style. Yes! He distinguishes substantive editing from copy-editing. Substantive editing requires talent. Not just applying rules.
@somisguided Editing is a talent, not a mechanical skill. Kevin Williams on jobs in publishing.
Ok, yes, I agree that substantive editing leans more to the innate talent side of things than copy-editing does, but at the same time, I think being a good copy-editor does require talent (and not just mechanical skill). Being a good copy-editor (as opposed to a mediocre one) is kind of like being a good translator. It’s not just about knowing the rules, it’s about how/when one applies them. And it’s a thankless job. If a copy-editor does her job well, people think she hasn’t done anything. But if she misses a single typo, people immediately spot it and pounce!
Publish the text not the author. One suggested model was doing substantive editing in exchange for a percentage of the profits.
Substantive editing, percentage of profits. Hmm, intriguing! Paid editing service maybe? (@amandamarlowe) #bcvan10 October-01-10 2:13:11 PM via Seesmic for Android
Presumably, you’d have to have a good feeling about the manuscript’s ability to sell. But it made me think, with self-publishing becoming so popular, there must be a market for an editing service. What if TC offered a range of editing services for a fee and then we rolled those fees back into the site?
Need bookishness! Well, we have no shortage of that 🙂 #bcvan10 October-01-10 2:15:22 PM via Seesmic for Android
@boxcarmarketing You need to bring bookishness to the industry. Do you know the canon? Just knowing facebook is not enough.
Ah, the “canon.” 😉 I think the advantage we have as a group rather than a single person is that we each have different strengths and familiarities. So we could match manuscripts with the most appropriate person.
Text + reader = content. Does experience of reading change the text? (Yes! See also: all my blathering about dissertation.)
@boxcarmarketing Ppl who buy only 10 books a year, they don’t browse a story. They need recos from peers. They are not reading randomly.
@boxcarmarketing Referential authority should not be underestimated. Especially in a market of 300K new books a year. Acquisition vs. New Biz.
I thought, only at a book conference would someone say “only 10 books a year” and everyone go along with that being a small amount. LOL! Someone who’s buying 10 books / year still seems like an above-average reader to me. I mean, you don’t necessarily buy every book you read (people still go to the library, borrow books, pick up freebies, etc.) so if you’re buying 10, you’re probably reading more than 10. Am I crazy or does reading a book / month actually seem like a lot for the average person? (I suppose there are stats somewhere…)
Where was I going with this? Oh, right. The idea that someone who reads say a book / month doesn’t browse or choose books randomly, but only reads what peers/marketing tell them to. Hmm, not buying it. I’d buy that for the ONE book a year reader, the person who just reads The Da Vinci Code or the latest Stieg Larsson or whatever just so they can join in the water cooler conversation. The ones who are interviewed with their copy of Twilight saying they don’t really like reading or haven’t read a book since high school. You know what I’m talking about. But someone who’s reading a book a month is going to be a more independent reader than that, I think.
Not sure what my point is here. Maybe that there’s an inflated idea of how many books the average person buys/reads? Are those two things even the same thing? Let’s say Person A’s 10 books consist of 3 coffee table books, 2 cookbooks, and 5 picture books to be given as gifts, while Person B’s 10 books consist of 10 mass market paperbacks by Person B’s favorite mystery novelists. Person A is a book buyer (but may not be a reader at all). Person B is a buyer and a reader. A Venn diagram would be useful here. But you’ll have to imagine it, because I’m not going to draw one. Moving along…
@adamgaumont “If it’s newer than Mickey Mouse, will it ever be out of copyright?”
This was another instance where it was clear copyright wasn’t fully understood. The question was about publishing books that were out of copyright (like say you wanted to publish Jane Austen). Even though the term “out of copyright” was used, the question still related to who do you ask for permission. Well, if it’s out of copyright, you don’t have to ask for permission. It’s in the public domain. I could see this caused some consternation (sort of a “that’s not right” kind of feeling, I think), and I think it might be that sort of instinctively possessive feeling about creative work that allows Disney et al. to get away with lobbying to extend copyright ad infinitum. But letting something go out of copyright doesn’t take away one’s moral obligation to attribute the creation to the creator. We still put Jane Austen’s name on the cover of Pride and Prejudice. The difference is now anyone who wants to can put out an edition of Pride and Prejudice or make a movie version of it or create derivative works based on it (e.g. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) without having to ask permission or pay royalties to Jane’s great-great-great-great-great-nieces or nephews.
More books published = more used books. (Yay, used books!)
Yesterday: recap of third session
Tomorrow: recap of fifth (final session)
The Digital Experience—Are Tablet and eReader Devices Making us Dumber?
Interesting argument that that paper books aren’t linear, and therefore digital isn’t that different structure-wise from print. Arguing that digital is hierarchical and print is hierarchical, too (even novels).
Hmm, I’m not sure I agree. I mean, yes, some books are hierarchical (like textbooks, for example). But I don’t think novels (someone suggested chapters > paragraphs > sentences as a hierarchy) are really hierarchical just because they might be divided into chapters. These are scenes, arranged in a way that serves the story being told. They’re not organized from big picture -> details or most important -> least.
And more importantly, you don’t pick up a novel, select the chapter title that seems most intriguing, and just read that one. Nor do you read the first and last paragraphs of each chapter (or some similar studying metric) and decide that you’ve got the gist of the book. At least I’ve never heard of anyone reading narratives like that (mostly because it wouldn’t work; narrative is not just about what happened, but how the story is told, and you don’t get that by skipping chunks*). And I don’t think you can consider the text without also considering the reader. Text and reader work together as a team.
*And yes, I acknowledge that you can read a book, including a novel, however you like. That is your prerogative. You only want to read page 99 (or 69)? Fine. It remains my contention that you’re missing the point of a novel (or narrative nonfiction) if you do this.
Also, while digital can be hierarchical (think folder tree, drilling down deeper into the directory), it can also be thought of as flat, I think, as when a website is used as database with everything in one directory (just use search and jump to where you want to go).
Anyhow, I’m still working out my thoughts on the relationship between books and ebooks, but I think it’s more complicated than just a different delivery mechanism for the same content. For example, there was a tweet from a different session that took umbrage at someone saying a pdf wasn’t a book. And I understand that reflex is probably due to wanting the content of the pdf to be taken as seriously as the hardcover or paperback. But is a pdf/ebook really a book? It’s a computer file, not a stack of paper and ink between two covers. It is a different thing. Or, you could argue it’s not really a thing at all. Hence, dissertation!
@seancranbury “The iPad is making us dumber than we were with the open web.” Great discussion about stupid devices, interactivity. @JMaxSFU
@jmv “Is the iPad Making Us Dumber?” No consensus yet, but lots of opinion; John says it threatens the open web
@seancranbury Passionate discussion of consumer rights, personal rights, stupid machines, crap biz models.
People will give up their principles (open source ideals) for shiny Apple products (as ably demonstrated by BookCamp—MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, oh my!) Argument that this support encourages closed web, locking down knowledge. (And what about Facebook, hmm?)
@jmaxsfu notes that iPad doesn’t replace his laptop. Hmm, is this the right analogy? Is it not more like a giant smartphone than a laptop/netbook?
@vishmili metaphors for the iPad? a gas stove? #iPadmetaphors
@seancranbury The slinky? Hungry Hungry Hippos, perhaps?
Brief mention of Android as open source alternative to closed-web iProducts, but didn’t seem to be taken seriously. Hrm, says the person who went Android to avoid the Cult of Apple… 😉 My Android phone is awesome, btw.
@shannonsmart Software, like literature, is collaborative, evolving, and needs to be shared.
@seancranbury Library ebook license limitations: “So I’m still #50 on the waiting list at my library for Freedom?” Yes. Yes, you are! #DRM
Linking back to the last session, that was one of the instances during the day where copyright came up and it was clear people didn’t fully grasp what copyright does/means for them. This question was about taking out ebooks from the library and what wasn’t understood was that the library can only lend as many copies of the ebook as they’ve purchased licenses. Legally, they can’t just buy one copy of the ebook and lend it out willy-nilly.
Great session w/ @jmaxsfu & Todd Sieling. Lots to think about. Need more than 140 characters 😉 #bcvan10 October-01-10 2:05:21 PM via Seesmic for Android
Saw this right after I got home (lol!): 10 Ways People Are Using The iPad To Create Content, Not Just Consume It via @inkyelbows aka @ipadgirl
Yesterday: recap of second session
Tomorrow: recap of fourth session
New Playgrounds for Readers & Writers: Growing Online Book Communities
Ran into Sue Nelson Buckley, veteran Sunday Brunch chatter and TC’s current Best of the Boards winner between sessions, so I said hello, and we sat together during this session.
Waiting for online book communities session to start with @s_nelsonbuckley 11:19 AM Oct 1st via Seesmic for Android
It would help if I remembered the hashtag 😛 #bcvan10 11:24 AM Oct 1st via Seesmic for Android
The presenters were @namastepublishing and @nickb from Protagonize, a collaborative writing site. Protagonize is popular with teens (12-18 is most common age group; 23 average age of users down from 28 initially).
@AngelaCrocker @nickb shares that @protagonize was inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure style. Love it!
Ratings make people behave badly—game the system to increase their popularity. (But aren’t ratings also a huge part of what attracts people to a social-networking-style writing site?)
@katrinaarcher Apparently ratings encourage bad behavior in communities because people try to inflate scores
@katrinaarcher “popularity” needs to be an aggregate of several metrics, not just a single rating for it to be useful.
Namaste has a mascot who tweets.
@AngelaCrocker Interesting @NamasteBooks created @Bizahsays as a friendly face for their online community.
Hmm, maybe TC needs a mascot. The snark could start tweeting… #bcvan10 11:31 AM Oct 1st via Seesmic for Android
Protagonize puts a Creative Commons license on work by default (users can change).
@kindacrazy @protagonize and his support of #creativecommons. Share and share alike!
Which makes sense with a collaborative model. Also, goal of Protagonize seems to be primarily first draft, just-for-fun writing. So users may be less protective of their writing. However, in my experience newbie writers are the most protective of (paranoid about) their writing. Which makes me wonder, if they’re mostly teens, do they really understand Creative Commons (and copyright, for that matter)? Considering how many adult writers do not, I’d be surprised if many actually knew what they were agreeing to.
@AngelaCrocker @nickb working on a professional dashboard for aquisitions editors & agents to filter @protagonize content. Useful.
Ok, I’ll admit, I snarked a bit when this came up. I think the chances of a collaboratively-written first draft of a story with 27 different authors being discovered as the next big thing by an agent/editor who just happened to be cruising the site might be just a tad overly optimistic. Then again, I have been accused of being cynical 😉
@jmv cultivating more detailed feedback is a challenge; both overly positive and negative @nickb; ie: @thetyee uses “best comment”
Which goes back to what I said earlier: part of the appeal of a social-networking-style writing site is that you can click-rank (the author, the story, the collaboration, etc.). You don’t have to think about what was written and come up with some original feedback of your own like at old-school forums like TC. TC is never going to have a million users, because actual workshopping (giving thoughtful critiques, rewriting work in response to feedback) is hard and most people aren’t interested. Many people want to write just for fun (which is awesome, as long as one is realistic about what it is) not to practice/master a craft.
Anyhow, a million users would be unwieldy. What we want is a critical mass, whatever that is, where the forums feel busy & active—people are participating in discussions, giving critiques as well as asking for them—but aren’t so busy that it feels overwhelming to people who are already juggling multiple responsibilities.
@katrinaarcher blogger outreach important when launching a community. After launch, use SEO
fwiw, I see bloggers complaining about pitches all the time on Twitter. Hard to do right, apparently. What they do like: developing a relationship via reciprocal comments, tweets, emails, etc. Which now that I think of it, goes back to the lesson from previous session: if you tell the blogger to use your awesome whatever because it’s so great, they’ll be turned off (even if it truly is great), but if you just leave a trail of breadcrumbs and they “discover” it’s so great on their own, next thing you know they’ll be telling on their friends about it.
@katrinaarcher Sorry to disappoint the introverts but @seancranbury says you also have to meet people in real life to grow a community
Ideal, but not always possible when your community is spread across the world. (Aside: I hate the use of “in real life” to mean offline/in person. Online communication is real life, too.) Was thinking we could do some recruiting at NaNoWriMo meet-ups: they’re free and everywhere and full of writers…
@shannonsmart create systems that encourage good behav from users
@LisaManfield When building an online community, give readers some sense of ownership
A rating system that rewards helpful behavior like constructive critiques might be something to look into for @toasted-cheese. #bcvan10 October-01-10 12:12:02 PM via Seesmic for Android
Thinking rather than ranking just for the sake of ranking (“I’m the best!”) perhaps points could be assigned for giving feedback, and then they could trade the points for some benefit like an in-depth crit from editor once they had accumulated a certain number?
(Idea totally stolen from from my grade three teacher who had two paper chains hanging from the ceiling in the classroom. Every time she was pleased with the class about something, we got to add a ring to one of the chains. When a chain got to the floor, we got a treat.)
Other ideas I think might encourage people to participate more without ratings/rankings:
- a word count and/or time writing tracker
- a goal setting list (where items could be crossed off as completed)
Yesterday: Recap of first session
Tomorrow: Recap of third session
From Paper to ECatalogues: The complicated problem of replacing something simple
The first session I attended was about shifting publishers’ catalogs from paper to digital (these are the catalogs that publishers use to sell books to booksellers). I decided to go this one because it’s an example of a print to digital shift that is actually happening (not hypothetical, like the death of the book ;-)).
They started by noting how frequently paper catalogs have to be put out due to corrections, additions, etc. A new paper book is published every half-hour (300,000k / year) just in the US. A benefit of ecatalogs is that they can be constantly updated, so the listings are always current.
One important thing that ecatalogs enable is curation. With an ecatalog, salespeople who are familiar with their clients’ interests can create custom catalogs tailored to their interests. That is, if a salesperson knows that a client is interested in books on X, Y, and Z, she can put together a catalog that only contains books on those topics. (The flip side is that a custom catalog precludes serendipity.)
Most books are sold and bought by people who haven’t read them (wait, what? you’re not reading 300k books/year? slacker ;-)), so the catalog copy (kind of like a jacket blurb) is really important. Most books are bought on this basis. Catalog copy is not written by the author (who does write it? someone at publishing house, I guess?).
There’s a romanticizing of new books, but the backlist is really important. (Assume ecatalog is better for backlist, keeps it visible, whereas print would just feature new releases?)
@chelseathe In the world of 3000000 titles, the curatoial role of the sales rep becomes even more important #ecat
@boxcarmarketing The role of the sales rep is even more important with ecatalogues #ecat
Book industry is cutting edge! The ISBN innovation (assigning an individual # to each edition of a book) in ‘80s came from within the book industry. Apparently, this is one reason why Jeff Bezos decided Amazon would sell books—they were ready for the internet.
Challenges of going digital: clients must be able to flip, browse through catalog as quickly online as in print. There can’t be any refresh time. Need to be able to move from one book to the next seamlessly, as if flipping through a paper catalog.
I perked up when they said this, because OMG, yes. This is designing with the user in mind. I want to contrast it with my experiences trying to read ebooks on SFU Library website. Gah, awful, will not use unless desperate. Now, I’m no Luddite, so why not?
- Major refresh/lag time, which is super annoying.
- Too much visual clutter to read onscreen.
- If you try to skim through the book to see if it will be useful to you, i.e. flip, as you would with a paper book, a warning pops up saying you’re going too fast (this, as you’re weeping in frustration at the lag time), and you have to confirm that you are not stealing the book before you can continue. No, I am not joking.
- If you decide that there’s a portion of the book that will be useful to you (say, one chapter) and and you decide to print it out to read offline because of the uber-annoying interface, it will probably tell you you’ve exceeded your page quota before you get all the pages you want printed. Yes, I only needed 2/3 of that chapter, thanks.
- So, after all that aggravation, you end up having to make the 2-hour round trip to the library anyway to get the paper book. Grrr.
It’s pretty obvious that these ebooks are designed from the pov that copyright must be protected at all costs and all readers are thieves. What I’m not clear on is why they even bother, unless it’s to sour readers on the whole experience so they flee from ebooks forever (I don’t think that’s going to happen). I mean, they definitely discouraged me from making use of these ebooks unless I can’t make a trip to the library, but it’s not like I’m rushing out to buy a copy of the book instead; I’m just taking the paper version out of the library.
Moral of this long-winded anecdote: Be Ye Not Annoying to Your Readers.
The number one thing that sells a book is the cover, not the description, so it’s important that the cover image be prominent (Raincoast has it at 1/3 screen). (Takeaway: adding images to TC was a great idea.)
Right now, they are using ecatalogs in conjunction with print catalogs. Going cold turkey is not the most efficient because of the learning curve. It’s easier for sales reps to sit down with a client and flip through a paper catalog together. Also, they want people to choose to use the ecatalog, not force them to use it.
@chelseathe Think of the ecatalogue as just another tool to add on to the print, not as ‘the future’ #ecat
Sales reps generally make a lot of annotations in their catalogs. They have a master copy for themselves and have to transfer (rewrite) these annotations for clients. The ecatalog software allows sales reps to make both public and private annotations on the book listings, which eliminates the necessity of repetitively copying these notes (can just refer clients to the ecatalog).
(I think this’d be something to think about for TC, but I’d like it to be hidden, i.e. click to read notes/comments, because I want to keep visual clutter to a minimum.)
Publishers are also able to link from a book’s listing to book trailers, author website, publisher website, etc. (Similar to what we’re trying to encourage in author bios.)
@boxcarmarketing Cool – BookNet’s ecatalogue system will link to video and audio #ecat
Tomorrow: recap of the second session