The Publishing Treetops Shake

So the last few weeks have been full of interesting news for the book industry. In fact, I was planning on posting on this last week, since it was more topical then (and I would have found easy access to the relevant links, now I’m just going to talk about it) but had that run-in with a falling teen from the sky and ended up a little out of it.

So we’ll discuss it right now instead, between bits of pre-work on Starforge. So then, what’s to talk about?

Well, when I say “book industry” I really mean one area: Traditional publishing. To be more specific, the big five. The last few weeks have seen a number of shakeups across the big five, from Simon & Schuster switching CEOs (even as they’re up for sale) to other publishers replacing high-up corporate positions, funneling their long-held higher officials out and bringing in new ones with the hope that they’ll bring change.

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GoFundMe for Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore Open Once More

Quick update to the post from this weekend concerning Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore. The GoFundMe is officially open once more and being run by bookstore folks (confirmed on Uncle Hugo’s Facebook page here). So if you’d like to help donate to Uncle Hugo’s in the wake of this tragedy, you can rest assured that your money is going to the right place.

Here’s the link. Let’s restore the oldest independent Sci-Fi bookstore in America!

Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore in Minneapolis Burned Down During Riots, GoFundMe Open

So this one hit me a little.

I’ve never been to Minneapolis (and this post will not be about the rioting or the situations associated with it, as I’m not trying to invite a firestorm of angry, opinionated people). I’ve never once set foot in Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore. I’ve never even ordered from them.

But I have heard stories about them. This is the place that picked up a self-pub book to sell before indie was a real thing and started sending it to publishers with notes along the lines of ‘here’s how many copies I bought, why are you not publishing this?’ From the stories I’ve heard at cons and from other authors, they’ve flat-out kickstarted a lot of careers.

The store itself is only halfway regarded as a store by many, given that the owner loved collecting rare Sci-Fi books. Many also referred to it as a “museum of Science Fiction literature.”

And well … last night it was burned to the ground. Complete loss. Here’s a picture of what the place normally looked like:

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Here’s a picture of it this morning that was uploaded to Facebook. Linking, since it’s not my picture.

Given the stories I’ve heard about this place, this one hit even me. I’ve never even been there but I’ve heard the stories.

Worse, it seems that the insurance will not cover civil disturbance. At least, not to the degree that would be needed to recover from such a loss.

A GoFundMe page has been started to raise funds for recovery from this. EDIT: The GoFundMe is now open again and verified! Huzzah!

 

Op-Ed: The Fall(out) of Barnes & Noble

This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while now, but basically been bouncing back and forth on exactly how since while I have some insight on the subject … I really don’t have a lot compared to some others. Put plain and simply I don’t deal with Barnes & Noble. At least, not as an author. Very rarely, as a customer, but that frequency has dropped from a couple of book-buying visits a year to a visit every couple of years, and even then it’s rare that I walk out with something.

Which doesn’t paint a rosy picture of their business in the first place, if my and my friends experiences are anything to go by (or B&N’s own reports). But as an author, I don’t deal with B&N at all. Most notably because I’m indie, and B&N has never really had much to offer authors in that regard.

Oh sure, you could sell on their Nook service for a small royalty. But the Nook has always been such a niche market that it never really seemed worth it. Now that B&N has cut the Nook, that seems like a smart proposition (especially considering I heard nothing but mixed messages from it when it was around).

Right, I feel like I’m either getting ahead of myself or slightly off-topic. Only slightly, as B&N’s treatment of the Nook does seem to illustrate how we get to today. But let’s wrap that back in. Effectively, what I’m saying is that while I’m curious and intrigued about what the fallout of, well, we’ll talk about that in a moment, but let’s just call it “it” for now, is going to be … I’m on a side of the publishing industry that doesn’t rub up against B&N too much, so a lot of what I think could happen is mostly speculation—light speculation—about the shockwaves rolling through a side I don’t really know. I know there’s going to be a lot of fallout, just as one knows when a nation topples that the status quo has just been upset … but in the spirit of that analogy I’m on the other side of the continent, or maybe even across an ocean. All I know is that when someplace like Rome falls, everyone feels it.

That clear as mud? Okay? Well, then let’s talk about “it.” The big deal. I’ve talked about it before on here, but only in passing. To put it simply, however …

Barnes & Noble is going under.

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