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Category Archives:

What is Quality?

I’m going to argue that success as a writer is going to get harder…unless you are very good, in which case it’s going to get easier.

Quality is going to become increasingly important.

Quality, by my definition, is the extent to which a book delights its target market.

Delighting one person is better than pleasing ten people, …

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Are Returns Really So Bad?

We hear a lot about returnability as the BIG PROBLEM in publishing. Everyone hates returns, including me. But a little analysis shows that returns are not publishing’s big problem.

Richard Curtis has a great post on the BEA session Stupid Things Your Publisher does, during which Bob Miller speaks about returns as one of the two things driving the death spiral of the industry (the other being unearned advances). …

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Digital Piracy and other Digital Thoughts

Once again, Kassia Krozser provides great insight, this time with her discussion of digital piracy. She points out that publishers are being pulled down the same road, kicking and screaming, that music company execs were not so long ago.

Our advantage, for now, is that the physical book is still a superior medium, …

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Jazzing up the Logo

Since the publishing world is changing so fast, we thought we’d jazz up our logo for the web 2.0 age.

Here is our new logo:


Here is our old logo:

Personally, I like ‘em both, but the new one, is more, well, 2009. In any case, …

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Bush: The Sequel

Perseus, our distributor, unveiled a clever stunt at BEA. They gathered submissions for Book: The Sequel, a collection of humorous first lines from imaginary sequels at BEA, and, in 48 hours, released the book in a variety of mediums, from printed to audio to kindle (and many other ebook formats), all in one weekend. It was a nice demonstration of their excellent Constellation capability, …

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E-book Pricing and Denying Reality

I found the NYT article on e-book pricing to be somewhat disheartening, when it comes to the ability of the big publishers to adapt to even relatively minor changes in the marketplace.

Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster, says ““The concept that because a book is an e-book it should automatically be priced significantly lower than a paper book is one we don’t agree with. …

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Philosophy of Advances

We pay advances, generally $5000 to $10,000, but occasionally much higher, with the highest we’ve ever paid being $100,000. When the advance exceeds $10,000, there is always some aspect of the deal that reduces or eliminates the risk of the higher advance (i.e. a guaranteed buy).

We often do deals with no advance, …

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Why We Publish (addendum)

I referred in my last post to the many people who have already been helped by The Cure for Alcoholism. An interview with one of them is available here. 

Why We Publish

I started BenBella because I wanted to change my life. I wanted to move from the fast-paced but intangible role of running consulting firms to the slower but more concrete world of books and writing, a world I’ve always loved.

I had no illusions that the world needed another publisher (the world probably needs fewer). …

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