How About Letting Readers' Input Write Your Book?

December 18, 2010
An idea for lazy writers (although not new, damn it!): get your readers' feedback on an interesting subject and then formulate that input into a finished book and sell it on the internet!

Cool idea...and that's just what Andrew Sullivan, writer of the 10-year-old Daily Dish blog on the Atlantic web site, has done successfully for the second time...Hell, I have to admit it, I admire pure genius.

He first published a book on the "Make Your Own Book" site back in June, made up of photos sent in under "The View from Your Window" feature of his Daily Dish blog and sold it for $33.95. He recently published a second book, The Cannabis Closet, made up of reader content solicited from readers who had experience smoking pot. To date he has sold approximately 1000 copies at a print-on-demand paperback price of $5.95.

Now, if only I could generate The Daily Dish’s 1.3 million unique monthly visitors!!!!

Anyway, this report is from Bridget Kinsella of Publishers Weekly:

For the second time, author, editor, and blogger Andrew Sullivan has taken reader content on his 10-year-old Daily Dish blog on the Atlantic Web site and created a crowd-sourced printed book published by Blurb and sold through its online bookstore. Last Friday Sullivan blogged about how the book, The Cannabis Closet, grew out of an extensive e-mail of Daily Dish readers writing candidly about their pot use. By early this week, Blurb had sold 1,000 copies of the print-on-demand paperback priced at $5.95.
In June, Sullivan and his four-person staff of the Daily Dish compiled photographs posted on its “The View from Your Window” feature on the blog into a full-color, $33.95 book with the same title with Blurb.
Sullivan called The Cannabis Closet’s unorthodox publishing route as the book equivalent of doing a “triple lutz” in ice-skating. “In as much as we could start with an e-mail thread that came through a blog, then turn it around in midair and make it into a book,” he explained. Sullivan provided the foreword for the book, Daily Dish executive editor Chris Bodenner edited the readers’ postings on marijuana use and Chip Kidd designed the cover.

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Are Lists and Databases Protected By Copyright?

December 16, 2010
The answer to this post's title is: maybe so. I never really thought about a compilation of data being copyrightable until I came across an article about an Australian court case Publishers see red over court's Yellow Pages copyright ruling.

My interest was tweaked! So, I delved into a little research into American law on subject copyright existence...It seems some lists and aggregations can, indeed, be copyrighted. Depends on how much originality went into the compilation, sorting and listing...

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Picture Books are Still Vibrant and Thriving

December 13, 2010
The New York Times recently published a front page story essentially writing the orbituary for children's picture books...A story much in conflict with the real world according to big house publishers, booksellers, libraries and agents.

Karen Springen, Publishers Weekly, gives the straight story on printed picture books (with considerable associated writing):

Don't Write the Obit For Picture Books Yet

Children's book publishers are still reeling from the New York Times front-page story back in ...

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Are Print Magazines Seeing Some Improvement in 2010?

December 11, 2010
Is the print mag publishing market finding it's bottom...or optimum level of sustainability? Seems it might be as there were fewer closures this year than last. There were also fewer start-ups than last year, but there were start-ups!

Matthew Flamm has some insightful figures for us un-initiated that are quite revealing in this report for Cain's New York Business:

Magazines say fewer hellos, goodbyes in 2010

A year that saw innovations like iPad-only magazines both launched and shuttered fewer ...

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Google and Ad-Supported Book Publishing Model

December 9, 2010
The newly opened Google eBookstore has some nice surprises and offerings. The Google Store can sell books to targeted people right after they search a particular topic AND they can also create an ad-supported publishing model...delivering targeted ads from the book subject purchases...Seems this is more possible since the ebooks will be provided from the cloud configuration.

Wonder what the split is on an ad-supported publishing model?  Authors/publishers get what % and Google retains what %? ...

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Borders May Offer Takeover Bid for Barnes&Noble

December 7, 2010
Both these booksellers have struggled to adapt and keep pace with new digital tech, discounters and online competitors...But, if I had to guess which one would buy the other in a takeover bid, I would have guessed B&N would be the pursuer and not the other way around.

Borders must have more vision and strength than I realized...or they just want to stay in the game. Borders is smaller than B&N but some say they are better organized.

This from the Associated Press through Crain's New York Busine...

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Canada's 'Fair Dealing' Law Trumps Copyright Rights

December 6, 2010
First this:
Fair Dealing is the right to use copyrighted materials without permission of or payment to the copyright holder. Under current law, it applies only to materials used for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review and news reporting. The new bill seeks to add education, along with satire and parody, to this list...(TOTALLY BAD IDEA!)

Canada has a cluster-muck mess in it's publishing arena laws right now, and probably has had for some time, if this amateur researcher ...

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U.S News & World Report Abandons 'print' Ship!

December 3, 2010
A venerable old weekly print news mag (it was reduced to monthly in November 2008) is riding off into it's last sunset (the last issue is this month)...

BUT, the U.S. News & World Report will re-appear in digital clothes with an expanded online edition that will appear 8 times per year and definitly include it's famous "list" remember them: the best colleges, hospitals, etc.

Here is a great eulogy delivered by big fan Greg Brown of FOLIO magazine:

Right about now, you should be gett...

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Digital is Growing Up

December 1, 2010
A little visionary post tonight...As much as I can envision the future anyway (being retarded makes it difficult).

We talk about "traditional" print publishing today as old hat. Well, not too far into the future the new tablet computers, eReaders and other mobile devices will be "traditional" or old hat also. Just like the old bulky camcorders (remember them?) have given way to more diminutive devices.

After all, who will need ANYTHING you have to carry to compute on, or receive data on, when...

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Publishing Crossroads - The Main Intersection

November 29, 2010
With the advent of mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone, newspapers and magazines see a hitherto nonexistent opportunity for generating paid subscription digital versions as the new mobiles (and they WILL be proliferating like rabbits!) will be hungry for great, meaningful and pertinent content.

The publishing crossroads is a balancing act between the younger generation, used to digital media and expecting instant info, and the older generation, still loyal to print...and how to make bot...

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About Me

John R. Austin Writer, Old-Warrior-Adventurer, Blogger... I was born in Key West, Florida. A rather famous hangout for some past famous writers: Hemingway and Tennessee Williams to name two. I just hope that I possess a glimmer of their talent. I have a bachelors degree in architecture/construction and a master's degree in industrial engineering. I have been writing for fifty plus years. Most of my writing has been in the technical, instructional and business areas. I am working on my first book: "Havana Harvest---When Cuba Was Naughty" which details my coming of age experiences in 1958 Havana, Cuba, at the age of 15. Please visit my other blog "Writers Welcome Blog" at


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