Category Archives: future of publishing

Make Mine Local — with Lots of “Likes”

According to an article in Salon, the American Booksellers Association reported an increase in the number of independent bookstores in the U.S. in the last five years. This is certainly surprising news considering the seemingly increasing popularity of e-books and the convenience and low prices of Amazon.

The article claims that two things are driving the increase in indie bookstores:

  • a desire for authentic local experiences
  • social media marketing

The “local movement” of the last few years has done wonders for our communities. People care about consuming local food and using local services. When local businesses thrive, so do communities. In my own ‘hood, neighbours banded together to form a community association — DECA — that has brought new life to the area by offering incentives to local businesses and by creating and promoting local events like farmers’ markets.

Even big builders have seen the error of creating unwalkable suburban neighbourhoods where driving to large chain stores is the only option for residents.  People want to live near hubs offering something local and unique, and builders now attempt to emulate just that.

As for social media, the Salon article rightly points out that small businesses thrive when their customers create word-of-mouth buzz. Sophisticated consumers don’t trust advertising, but they do trust their friends — real or online — who let them know where the good restaurants are, what pubs have the best craft brews, and which new books they can’t put down.

Smartphones, of course, allow us to find the best stores and restaurants in any ‘hood in which we find ourselves. No longer is there a need to play it safe by sticking to the big chains. A unique small business with great online ratings can be found in seconds.

Authenticity and word of mouth: sounds awfully old-fashioned, doesn’t it?

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Filed under authenticity, books, future of publishing, new books, online life, online resources, reading, the Internet and us

Editors and Writers: Tech Your Work to the Next Level

Who doesn’t love their tech? Editors and writers are no exception. Check out these cool toys:

  1. Square Reader – Need a convenient method of payment to hawk your published content at book readings and fairs? Look no further than this device that allows you to accept payments with your mobile phone or tablet.
  2. Usito – This handy online French dictionary helps translators get it right the first time.
  3. PerfectIt – Increase your hourly rate by working faster. PerfectIt from Intelligent Editing catches grammar and spelling mistakes that other spell-checkers miss. And the founder is an EAC member — what’s not to love?
  4. Information Mapping Canada – You supply the content, Information Mapping supplies the format — another great way to increase your hourly rate.
  5. EditTools – From the editor behind the blog An American Editor comes this editing macros tool.
  6. The Editorium – This company offers an array of programs to automate editing tasks in Word.
  7. Ginger – More editing software to make you faster and less furious.
  8. Inera eXtyles – Get your automated editing tools and XML document creator here. No XML knowledge required. (But just learn XML already, says the smarty-pants who’s writing code for her website.)
  9. ThirtySix Software – Easily and quickly manage and reuse your content for a variety of purposes.
  10. Evoluent – Now that you’re working faster with the above software, get ergonomically correct with a high tech mouse or armrest.

Okay, one last suggestion for you editors with the big bucks (you flip Vancouver real estate in your free time, don’t you): Adobe Technical Communications Suite 5. What does it do? Pretty much everything but land the job contract for you.

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Filed under content creation, content management, editing and writing, future of publishing, technology

Coming Soon: Copyeditcat.com

I’m building a website for CopyEditCat Editorial Services. That’s right: I’m building it. So it might not be live for awhile. 🙂 But I’ve bought my domain name, and I’m piling on the bricks to build this baby as fast as I can. It’s fun to be the wizard pulling the levers behind the curtain. At a certain point, I’m sure I’ll move on to HTML editing software — such as Dreamweaver — so I can wow my clients, but for now I want to learn the code myself so that I understand all the parts of my website.

Thus I now have a new service to offer: markup. With so many platforms available on which to publish content, storing content in a form that can be applied across platforms is a must. This is called content management, and markup is part of the process. Markup identifies the various components of stored content. It’s persnickety, detail-oriented work.

Perfect for an editor.

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Filed under content creation, content management, future of publishing, the Internet and us

The Self-Publishing Revolution

Self-publishing is an exciting development for authors and freelancers. Gone are the days when self-publishing was equated with vanity press publishing. Self-publishing has empowered writers and editors to come together without the need for the big publishing house as middleman. Check out www.writer.ly and authorconnections.com.

Award-nominated writer Nina Munteanu spoke to the Toronto Branch of EAC recently, and she was enthusiastic about the future of publishing. Although the industry has experienced an upheaval, what remains is the desire for great storytelling. It can therefore be argued that the partnership between writers and editors has never been more important.

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Filed under content creation, editing and writing, freelancing, future of publishing, self-publishing

How To Save Local Bookstores

I’m always on the hunt for new ways to deliver content in the digital age. Here’s a great article that urges bookstores to embrace print-on-demand machines and e-books. I think the author makes some great points. Booksellers earn a greater profit on e-books compared to the old-fashioned variety (yes, the profit may not be a lot in actual dollars, but it’s only a matter of time), and I would love to see local bookstores get a piece of the e-pie. As for print-on-demand, the upfront costs are great, but, as the author points out, rent is killing bookstores, and investing in machinery is a long-term business strategy. What do you think?

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There’s an App for That, but Will You Use It?

This year’s International Festival of Authors features Marisha Pessl, author of Night Film. I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s full of creative extras, including a “Night Film Decoder” app that can be downloaded and used to scan images in the book (print or e-book) that unlock multimedia content.

I love innovative stuff like this, yet I can’t help but think, “Who has the time?” I have yet to read Chaucer, Eliot, and Waugh — I’m never going to catch up.

In an article in the National Post, Pessl said that the reading experience is sacred, and she wouldn’t want readers to be interrupted by their phones. She said the app is for “insane readers” — and we’ve all been there, haven’t we. If the Brontë sisters had broadsheet companions to their works — imagine fake missing person ads for one Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights, or stagecoach timetables and maps of roads leading far, far away from Rochester’s Thornfield — I’d have pored over every square inch.

But can there be too much of a good thing? I want to experience an interactive book to see what kind of value the extras add, and how they change the reader’s experience and understanding of the story. I think extra content certainly appeals to a wider audience — not only to those readers who love text but to those who love art and poetry and technology and surprises. In twenty years I’m sure today’s toddlers won’t be asking themselves if too much content is a bad thing; they’ll be happily picking and choosing their content as they see fit.

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Book is Dead

I’m reading Amanda Lang‘s Power of Why. It’s about letting go of preconceived notions, so that we can solve problems effectively. It occurred to me that anyone holding on to the old model of print books is not harnessing the power of why.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: book, like God, is dead. Book publishing the traditional way, that is. For a similar case study, look no further than Blockbuster. Instead of asking themselves why customers were leaving and how the business could get in on electronic content delivery, Blockbuster kept sinking cash into real estate, while Netflix won the battle.

Book publishers may not be sinking money into real estate, but they are sinking money into co-op sales, point-of-sale displays, and premium shelf space. Meanwhile, Amazon is delivering electronic content that is eating into print sales. Why? Because electronic delivery is cheap and convenient for the consumer.

For an excellent example of innovative thinking, look no further than Toronto’s own Preloved. If you love clothes and love re-purposing, then you’ll love Preloved’s funky fashion created from used clothing. It used to be that no cool clothes were offered online; finding hip duds meant a trip to somewhere like Queen St. West in T dot. Owner Julia Grieve loved having a store presence and found herself opening more locations until she got it: let the big companies sink money into real estate and distribution. She stopped the retail madness and went wholesale and online. I’ve seen Preloved goods at Roots and other retailers around the city. Grieve says it was difficult at first to revamp the business, but sales are estimated at $2 million this year.

That’s the power of asking why. Why are we doing it this way? Can we do it a different way? A better way? Amanda Lang would be proud.

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