Sunday, April 06, 2008

Shakeups in the Publishing World

They say that the only constant in the world is change and, over recent years, this is sure true in the world of publishing. Print on demand technology, and technology in general, has made it easier to make books, and the Net has made it easier than ever to reach people all over the globe.

Two more changes have created all kinds of discussion lately. The first is's announcement that it will be requiring all POD books it sells to be printed through their own in-house printer, BookSurge. Customers are claiming that the "buy" button has already been removed from their books listed there. I'm also hearing that BookSurge does one lousy job of printing books. Apparently, there have been complaints about uncentered covers, pages falling out, etc. Needless to say, this is causing quite a stir. I recently listed Fatal Encryption, but never heard a word about printing my book with them, at least so far. Maybe I'm too small to worry about. Apparently, the official reason for Amazon's decision is environmental friendliness, i.e. less fuel will be consumed shipping books to and from other printers. Hmmm. And if you believe that one . . .

The other big news is that HarperCollins will be starting a new imprint that won't accept returns from retailers and will pay little or no advances to authors. It looks like the big publisher is adopting small presses policies as there are already plenty of presses that don't, or can't, pay advances and a few presses, again using POD technology, won't accept returns on books. It'll be interesting to see how this experiment turns out. Others have tried the "no returns" policy and failed. It's a method of doing business that's so deeply ingrained with booksellers (and some claim this is the only way they can stay in business) that I don't see them jumping on the bandwagon any time soon, especially when other presses, large, mid-size and small, still accept returns. Stay tuned to see how this one turns out. The new imprint is supposed to be launched April 14th. Will it still be alive a year from now?

Meanwhile, just a reminder that my book launch for Fatal Encryption will be at The Lounge in Kyle Centre, 125 Kyle St., Port Moody, B.C., from 7 to 9 p.m.

And for excerpts from Fatal Encryption, visit me at

And as I mentioned, copies will be available - at least as I write this - from later this month. But you can pre-order now, I hope.

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