Book Publishing

Debut Novels That Got Huge Advances: Where Are They Now?

Today marks the release of Matthew Thomas’s 640-page debut novel We Are Not Ourselves, a sprawling Irish-American family epic that has been garnering major buzz because of its big price tag: according to Page Six the book “got more than a $1 million advance in North America, and closed a six-figure UK deal at the London Book Fair.” Not too shabby, Matthew Thomas! But the question is: do big advances always herald big books? Here’s a look at a few debut novels that earned huge advances — and how they fared once they made it out into the real world. … Read More

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Is “Binge-Reading” the New “Binge-Watching”? (I Sure Hope Not)

Earlier this week, the Times reported on the latest bit of book-publishing folly, in which book publishers are now going to chase Netflix addicts with the promise that multi-book fantasy epics will now be published in relatively quick succession. The idea, as far as I can tell, is to ignore the angry-George-R.-R.-Martin-fan phenomenon, insofar as it’s not really clear that Martin will ever finish the trilogy it is taking him longer and longer to write new books for. Other than people being sort of angry on the internet about it, I’m not quite sure what skin it is off the publishing industry’s nose if Martin’s fanbase grows more rabid with every month they wait for a new Game of Thrones book, but you know, this entire scheme doesn’t feel like something actual book publishers brought up. It sounds like something a marketing department of a large “entertainment conglomerate” did. … Read More

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Watch a Book Being Born

We don’t know about you, but we never really think about how physical books get put together — and as e-readers become more and more prominent, the art of book-binding will probably become even more forgotten. This short film of a book being assembled with traditional printing methods, created for the UK’s Daily Telegraph, is a beautiful little snapshot of the printing process, so simple and lovely it seems almost like a dance, and reminded us how much we like the smell of book glue. We were surprised at how much delicate human labor goes into each book — painting, pressing, scrubbing — and imagined how sticky the glue-painters’ fingers might be after a long day of work. The good kind of sticky, though. Click through to watch the video, and let us know what you think in the comments! … Read More

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Bingo Battle: Traditional Publishing vs. Epublishing

The worlds of traditional and electronic (and/or self-) publishing have been at war ever since the latter reared its technologically advanced head. And it looks like the next battle will be fought in an unexpected but entirely appropriate venue: viral Bingo cards. Over the weekend, John Scalzi posted Electronic Publishing Bingo, a card filled with tiresome and naïve arguments from that format’s supporters, including such chestnuts as: “All art should be free” and “Printing is the most costly part of publishing.” Now, a copyeditor and Boing Boing reader who goes by the Flickr handle Shmuel 510 has fired back with Traditional Publishing Bingo, a similar collection featuring gems like: “Wikipedia cannot possibly work” and “Nobody wants to read on a screen.”  Both sides make excellent points, so which Bingo card will you be staking your hard-earned book money on? … Read More

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Publishing’s Not Dead: The Industry Responds to Garrison Keillor

Stop us if you’ve heard this “news” before: Publishing is dead. We know, we know. You’ve read variations on this theme in the mainstream media for decades. But now, Garrison Keillor is saying it! Which means the New York Times is listening. In his op ed, timed to coincide with annual publishing industry mega-conference Book Expo America, the Prairie Home Companion star forecasts a bleak future comprised of “18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.”

While he’s free to correct us if we’re wrong, we’re pretty sure Keillor is no expert on the industry. And, call us crazy, but when we want to know about the future of publishing, we’d prefer to hear from people who know what they’re talking about. That’s why we’ve gotten in touch with some of our favorite book editors, publicists, critics, and agents to see what they thought of Keillor’s piece. Read their insightful, funny, and sometimes scathing responses after the jump. … Read More

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Is Carrie Kania’s It Books the Future of Publishing?

Meet Carrie Kania. According to Variety she’s publishing’s new It girl. The former Harper Perennial helmer is the creative force behind HarperCollins’ new imprint, It Books, which will publish Nick Douglas’ Twitter Wit and a book called The Style Strategy by New York Times best-selling author/Project Runway judge Nina Garcia, among 19 other new hardcover and paperback original titles this fall. … Read More

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