ePublishing Week in Brief – April 15th to 19th, 2013
Amazon Studios’ first big show is no ‘House of Cards’
The first crop of fresh, original content from Amazon’s Hollywood arm is now ready-to-stream. But are the shows any good?
Amazon Studios has been busy.
Today, Jeff Bezos’s nascent TV and feature film studio, which lets the public evaluate and comment on scripts online, went live with eight adult comedy and six children’s pilots on Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video in the U.S. and the Amazon-owned Lovefilm service in the U.K. It’s the first big wave of fresh original content from Amazon Studios, launched over two years ago.
Amazon’s crowdsourcing approach is intended to be a more efficient way to make films and shows. Whereas traditional media companies will front tens of millions of dollars and receive feedback once a film is shot and done, Amazon Studios allows for feedback at almost every step of the creative process. That’s far more cost-effective, explained Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, to Fortune last November. “By and large, your $80 million is out the door. You’re certainly not going to be able to unmake the movie and go make a different movie that people want to see.”
Online publishing feeds bewildered consumers a mass of mediocre content
[…] I am an avid reader of science fiction, and I have recently developed a guilty pleasure whenever I run out of reading material: performing late-night trawls of the genre’s bestseller list on the Kindle store, and picking up six or seven extremely cheap books that seem to be being read and enjoyed by the masses, all by authors I have never heard of.
Most are mediocre – either bloated short stories that appear to have been proofread by drunks, or cliché-ridden hatchet jobs written in an attempt to jump on the rusty and creaking post-apocalyptic fiction bandwagon. But at 70p or £1.50 a pop, one can hardly feel cheated.
Besides, there are flecks of gold in there too. A case in point here is Hugh Howey’s Wool, a genuinely excellent survivors-in-a-bunker story I was reading on the way into work today, and which has gone from being a humble Kindle self-publish in 2011 to an international talking point with 20th Century Fox picking up film rights.
Less the New More in Book Publishing?
The hottest book publishing trend today: less is the new more.
“The first time I saw a 73-page ‘book’ offered on Amazon, I was outraged,” says New York Times best selling author Michael Levin. “But I thought about how shredded the American attention span is. And I felt like Cortez staring at the Pacific.”
The trend in books today, Harry Potter notwithstanding, is toward books so short that in the past no self-respecting publisher—or author—would even have called them books. But today, shortened attention spans call for shorter books.
Levin blames smartphones and social media for what he calls “a worldwide adult epidemic of ADH…ooh, shiny!”
“Brain scientists tell us our brain chemistry has been transformed by short-burst communication such as texting, Tweeting, and Facebook posts,” Levin adds. “Long magazine articles have given way to 600-word blog posts. And doorstop-size books have been replaced by minibooks.”
This sudden change in attention spans changed the way Levin approaches ghostwriting. “Even five years ago, we aimed for 250-page books. Today we advise our business clients to do 50-page minibooks to meet impatient readers’ expectations for speedy delivery of information.”
Fifty Shades of Grey: The New Publishing Paradigm
It’s sold 70 million copies worldwide, dominated theNew York Times bestseller list for over 50 weeks, and caused an 80 percent increase in sales for blindfolds. It’s E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, an erotic romance that traces the intense relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young entrepreneur, Christian Grey. The trilogy has become notorious for its sexually explicit plot, which explores the darker side of romance through bondage, masochism, and submission.
The trilogy, originally titled Master of the Universe, was first posted online in 2009 as Twilight fan fiction. Finding the 37,000 reader reviews and comments encouraging, James brought her work to a publisher. The first book, titled Fifty Shades of Grey, was released as an ebook and a print on demand paperback in May 2011 by The Writers’ Coffee Shop, a virtual publisher based in Australia. The second volume, Fifty Shades Darker, was released in September 2011, and the third, Fifty Shades Freed, followed in January 2012.
EPA working to boost Arab publishing industry
Emirates association members met with the International Publishers Association (IPA), Tunisian Publishers Association and the Saudi Publishers Association on the second day of the London Book Fair (LBF 2013), which took place this week in the UK.
The meeting was attended by EPA President Shaikha Budoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, IPA President, Youngsuk Chi, Ibrahim El Moallem, IPA Vice-President, the General Secretary of the Tunisian Publishers Association, Mohammed Al Maalej, and the President of the Saudi Publishers Association,
Tell your story: Self-publishing is easier than ever
Your friends back home say things are “epic” and “awesome,” but you know the real dimensions of those words.
As Hemingway said, in order to write about life, you have to live it first. And if you’ve been anywhere in uniform these days, you’ve been living life.
That’s why those same friends keep telling you to write a book. Or maybe it’s just an insistent inner voice. Maybe you’ve started or even have a manuscript hammered out.
First, here’s the hard truth: Unless you were on the Osama bin Laden raid or can write a tell-all from inside the wire at Area 51, it’ll be hard — almost impossible, really — to get your masterpiece published.
In the traditional way, at least.
But here’s the good news: These days, it’s easier than ever to put your story in the hands of people who want to read it — with the rise of ebooks and other forms of indie publishing, you can do it yourself.
Flowboard App Is Platform For ‘Touch Publishing’ on iPad
The debate rages on: are tablets good for creating content, or just consuming it?
The iPad and other touch-enabled tablets are undeniably awesome for browsing the Web, viewing photos and videos, shopping, playing games, reading (for some people), and consuming other digital media. But they are often knocked as clunky when it comes to creating content. Many people don’t feel comfortable writing on a software keyboard, uploading content for a slideshow, or laying out a presentation without a mouse in hand.
A number of new apps aim to change that with simplified content-creation tools built to take advantage of consumers’ growing comfort and dexterity with pinching, tapping, spreading, and swiping.
Flowboard, from a Seattle company known formerly as Treemo Labs, hopes to define a new category CEO Brent Brookler calls “touch publishing.”
“It’s all done with your fingers,” he says of the free iPad app the company is launching today. Flowboard plans to build iPhone and Android versions shortly.
“There has been a myth—and we’re one of the people trying to debunk the myth—that you can’t create on these devices,” Brookler says.
He describes Flowboard as “a next-generation storytelling, presentation builder, or publishing platform.”