Not an Ordinary Baronet

20 October 2017

Earlier this year, Mrs. PG submitted a manuscript to Kindle Scout. Thanks to the assistance of many of the visitors to TPV who voted for her book, Mrs. PG’s manuscript was selected by Amazon for publication and has sold quite well.

So she’s going to do the whole thing again.

Her latest Regency Romance, Not an Ordinary Baronet, went up for voting on Kindle Scout today.

Since you may want to know more about this book than the short description Amazon permits, PG is here to help.

Considering the title, you might ask, “What is a baronet?”

By sounding out the word, you might think it was something French. Since PG took several weeks of French in college (shortly after the French Revolution) and got a C, he can explain.

First of all, there’s a war going on. If Baronet Bertie were French, he would have been pillaging Europe with Napoleon. He probably would have been known as Bertie the Bloody, Butcher of Bon Mots.

Then there’s the lack of French spelling. If Bertie were French, he would be Baronette Bertie and his name would have sounded like BærØnette Bêrtïé with a Germanic umlaut and if BærØnette was used in its neutered intransitive form it would have been pronounced with increased azimuth overlaying the glottal fricative.

PG wishes he could find his French professor and say gracias. You never know when you’ll need French.

“But,” you ask, “what about Baronet Bertie?”

First you have to know about Lady Catherine. She’s another one of Mrs. PG’s spunky heroines. And she hears a smuggler talking with just a trace of glottal fricative.

The attentive reader will want to know, “What was the smuggler smuggling in the middle of a war?”

PG doesn’t wish to rush the dénouement, but the only thing Britain and France could agree on was that French brandy was really tasty (muey tesla in French).

They had a lot of extra brandy in France because local brandy-drinkers were all off burning Russian villages and drinking vodka. They didn’t have any brandy in England because the brandy bush (brando arbusto in Esperanto) won’t grow in the rain.

Cross-channel brandy trading might have had a beneficial effect on both sides, but diet-coke-drinking spoilsports in the Admiralty would have none of that. “That would be trading with the enemy” (kauppaa vihollisen kanssa in Finnish, but PG doesn’t remember where the diacritical goes), they blustered.

So Baronet Bertie runs into Ladie Catherine at Home Depot (Ha! Fooled you! It was at a ball and there were no hammers.). He thinks she’s pretty cute. She thinks he’s pretty cute for a baronet (lindo para un baronet). They both like French brandy, but can’t talk about it for political reasons because Admirality.

Thereafter, there is some laissez faire in the shadows, but PG can’t say more or else he’ll give away the big finish (suur viimistlus in Estonian and big finish in Finnish).

If you feel moved to support Not an Ordinary Baronet, you can click here.

And here’s a picture Lady Catherine took of Baronet Bertie standing in front of his hot tub.


Not an Ordinary Baronet

Sonny Bono Memorial Collection

20 October 2017

From The Internet Archive:

We believe the works in this collection are eligible for free public access under 17 U.S.C. Section 108(h) which allows for non-profit libraries and archives to reproduce, distribute, display and publicly perform a work if it meets the criteria of: a published work in the last twenty years of copyright, and after conducting a reasonable investigation, no commercial exploitation or copy at a reasonable price could be found. This provision was enacted at the same time as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.  This collection has been named for Sonny Bono to acknowledge this valuable exemption specifically granted to libraries that was put into the law.

Link to the rest at The Internet Archive and thanks to Tony  for the tip.

One of the publications in the Archive, a magazine titled Your Life; The Popular Guide to Desirable Living, included an article titled, The Frigid Wives of Reno. 

PG notes that those unhappy in their marriages formerly traveled to Nevada because the laws of that state made divorce much easier and faster than the divorce laws of other states did at that time. By 1909, Reno had earned the title of “the nation’s new divorce headquarters.”

Back to The Frigid Wives of Reno:

“In all the world there is no traffic jam so pitiable as the one which congests the through-street which is the Frigid Road to Reno.

The highway of frigidity is at once the least popular and best patronized of all roads to divorce. Its terminus in court is marked with such weasel signposts as “Mental Cruelty,” “Desertion,” “Non-Support,” and the like. Face-saving markers they are, legal euphemisms to mask the truth that almost every unhappy marriage shows some sign of sexual maladjustment.

Frigidity is the more pitiable because it is a great unseen divorce factor which is, in the main, preventable. It is even curable.

. . . .

Perhaps you are one of that numerous group who have been taken in by stories of the sophistication of modern youth. You think young moderns “know it all.” If that is the case, visit the divorce court a few days and have your eyes brutally opened.

You’ll find that the sophistication of the younger generation is little more than a bluff’ and a sham. Thousands of girls graduate from high school and college each year and enter marriage with an amount of information about sex which ought to be a disgrace to a pupil in the upper grades.

Boys are just as ignorant as girls. It might be said that for their ignorance of the facts of life they pay a tax of strife. A dismaying proportion of frigid wives like Mrs. Q. give up their attempts to make marriage successful because of their own and their husbands’ ignorance.

The only living man

20 October 2017

The only living man who could commit five grammatical errors in a single sentence is dead.

Poet e e cummings on the death of Warren G Harding

Why the Seattle Mystery Bookshop Must Close

20 October 2017

From Seattle Mystery Bookshop:

I’ve worked here almost since the day it was open for business. At first, I was here just one day a week, so that Bill could have a day off – which he used to do bookkeeping at home. I remember their long dinning room table which was covered with pile after pile of paperwork. I don’t know where they ate dinner. Slowly, this place absorbed my life until my brain looked like Bill’s dining room table. In ’98, when he felt like stepping back from ownership, Bill offered to sell it to me but, happily, he kept working with us all. It has been a great honor to own the Seattle Mystery Bookshop since 1999. Sadly, that is now going to come to an end.

The Seattle Mystery Bookshop will close on Saturday, September 30th at the end of the day.

Why? There are so many reasons. Blame Amazon? Sure, that’s the easy thing to say but the massive changes in the world of bookselling are far larger than that. In fact, the changes in the over-all economy make it a much, much bigger story.

To be fair, you have to look back to the rise of mega-stores like Barnes & Noble. They were exciting but they began the phenomena of deeply discounting books. They wanted bodies in the stores, they wanted customers to buy books and CDs and calendars and to drink coffee and browse magazines and they were willing to use books as a loss leader to get you in there. And people went. There was no way for small independents to compete with what a large corporation could do, or what they demanded from the publishers. Publishers paid more attention to them because they had to. Publishers let them do things (claiming a certain percentage of damage from each shipment without detailing which and what; getting placement fees for putting books in prominent places; author events denied to small shops) not allowed to the small independents. That would come back to bite them when Borders collapsed and left a significant hole in the publishers’ business model.

The next blow to independent booksellers came from the rise of e-books and here, too, publishers made a terrible mistake. For decades, publishers released some books in hardcover and some as paperback originals – mass market paperbacks to be precise. In a year, the books in hardcover would usually be released in paperback. That way, those who could afford to buy hardcovers and who didn’t want or need to wait could get it when it was new. Those who couldn’t afford the hardcover price knew they could get it at the library or get it in paperback in a year. This was a model that allowed all budgets to get books – a true mass market for books.

. . . .

[Publishers] allowed a far less expensive version of their books to be available right away, undercutting the sale of hardcovers with the cheaper e-version. What they should’ve done was to give the hardcovers time to sell before releasing the e-book along with the mass market. But they didn’t. They way they did it took the legs out of the publishing of hardcovers. In reaction, in order to make up for dropping sales, they upped the price of all books, driving more of the market to the cheaper alternative of e-books. And they blew it with paperbacks, too. They said the marketplace was moving away from mass markets, that readers, and bookclubs, and booksellers wanted trade paperbacks at twice the price of the mass market. The mass market paperback was dead. If it was, they murdered it.

. . . .

The American Booksellers Association moved to stem the tide of readers going to e-books by making it possible for independents to sell them too. But it was pointless. You can’t pay the rent and your employees with the sale of dirt cheap e-books. That’s a business model that cannot work unless you’re a huge outfit that also sells tires and tubesocks.

. . . .

For the last decades, the entire publishing world – bookshops, publishers, authors – had been supported by huge post-WWII generations who moved up through their jobs and had the extra money to spoil themselves and their children, and to begin collecting books, collecting hardcovers. After all, there was no alternative to the printed book until books on tape in the late 80s.  As their collections grew, they became more sophisticated in their collecting. They demanded first editions, preferably signed. They’d wait for them, not needing to read them when the book first came out, as long as they’d be able to add another signed copy to the shelves. They’d backfill too, searching for titles they’d missed from an author they’d only recently began to collect. Author tours became the thing and bestselling authors were created from huge lines of collectors and fans. Piles of books would evaporate during a signing and unknown writers quickly became bestsellers authors.

But now that generation of collectors has begun to retire from it. They’re downsizing from the homes in which they reared their children and are moving to smaller apartments or condos or retirement centers. They don’t have room for the collections they so lovingly built. They want them to go to others who will cherish them because their kids or grandkids don’t care.

. . . .

Then, too, there was me. I don’t have the easiest personality and I rub some/many people the wrong way. I can be too impatient and prickly and more than a few people have referred to me as a curmudgeon. I am all of that. I have always known that I have been the shop’s greatest drawback and I know it contributed, in some way, to the fall in sales. If I caused you to shop here less, I apologize.

. . . .

We’ve fought with publicity departments [at major publishers] for over two decades to be seen as a viable location for their Big Name authors. I’ve made the point that if they don’t send their Big Name authors to us we won’t be here to help their beginning authors get to be Big Names.  I’ve beseeched authors we used to normally get for formal signings but who are now brought by only for stock signings that we need their help, that we need them to talk to their publicity departments. Most shrug it off, declining to get involved with tour schedules. Those who have benefited from the exposure and attention of little shops, who are so grateful for our help launching them into bestsellerdom suddenly do not wish to use their power and leverage to help those who gave them attention and benefits.  “I contacted sales and all the tip-ins went to Barnes and Noble. I have no control over that…” Well who the hell has more control that a major bestselling author?  We’ve done what that author said, we’ve repeatedly asked authors for help… and here we are.

Link to the rest at Seattle Mystery Bookshop and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Fast-Draft Writing for NaNoWriMo and Every Other Month

20 October 2017

From Writers Helping Writers:

I am an advocate of intentional writing, which almost always means slow writing, but sometimes it makes sense to write a fast draft of a book – if, for example, you are participating in NaNoWriMo, have a chunk of time with few distractions, or have a fast-approaching deadline you are motivated to meet.

Writing fast still requires intentionality. You still need a plan – a clear idea of the point you wish your story to make and a grasp of the best narrative structure to get you there. That is to say, you need to know what you want your reader to walk away feeling after they read your novel and what they will walk away believing about the world or human nature. You also need to know where the story starts and ends and what the reader will be tracking along the way.

Let’s assume that you know all those fundamental elements and you’re ready to write. How do you write fast?

The main idea is this: don’t get mired in too much detail. No long descriptive passages about places or people, no finely wrought dialogue (unless you happen to be able to write that fast), no clever turns of phrases that take hours to hone. Aim to get the bones of the story in place – the character’s motivation, the arc of change, the cause-and-effect trajectory that drives the narrative from one scene to the next – and leave everything else for revision.

. . . .

In NaNoWriMo, fast draft writing may mean sacrificing the NaNo wordcount and not “winning.” Winning NaNo with a manuscript that has to be slashed and burned is going to feel good for about a week, and then it’s going to feel really bad as you struggle to rescue the story.

Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers

An Exemplary Mouse

20 October 2017

PG just wore out a lovely mouse.

Fortunately, he had a spare so his online life could continue without tears.

Animal cruelty had nothing to do with this. It was the other kind of mouse, the one his hand grasps many times during a day without the conscious intervention of his mind. PG suspects that, over many years of computing, his brain has developed a lobe devoted entirely to sliding his right hand around his desk in precise patterns.

It would be unfair to call PG a mouse connoisseur. He’s not at all snobbish about his mice. French designs and limited edition mice hold no attraction for him.

He is, however, persnickety about his mice. Long ago, he learned he could work faster and longer at a computer if he used something other than the cheapo mouse that arrived in the same box as as a new computer. He is similarly particular about his keyboards.

PG doesn’t regard his high finger and palm standards as moral failings. Collecting Italian sports cars is far more expensive.

For a long time, PG was partial to a couple of different Logitech mice and used each until his palm wore off the silkscreened company logos and they stopped working.

A couple of years ago, PG had a wrist problem that required a wrap. Unfortunately, it was his mouse wrist and the wrap made it difficult to use his mouse.

A family member suggested an ergonomic mouse made by a company called Anker. PG had tried a couple of ergonomic mice in past years and found them both overly expensive and, while comfortable, not terribly good at being mice. Evidently the manufacturers had put all their money into the cases and scrimped on the quality of the inner works.

Back to Anker. Here’s a photo:

Here’s a photo of a hand belonging to an unidentified human holding the mouse:


PG was not instantly adept with this mouse, but his wrist felt better and, over the course of a couple hours, using the mouse became automatic (perhaps his large brain lobe had something to do with that). And the mouse was comfortable. In a few days, the wrap went away but the mouse stayed.

Tweaking photos often requires much more precise mouse control than dealing with documents, so PG used his prior mouse with Photoshop and Lightroom for a few weeks, but the Anker quickly came to dominate his right hand for all purposes.

Did PG mention that this mouse doesn’t cost a lot of money?

PG had looked at ergonomic mice prior to learning about the Anker and typically prices ranged from $75-150 on Amazon. The Anker mouse currently sells for $19.99.

PG keeps a spare mouse as a backup (although this is the first of the Ankers to wear out) plus another in the computer bag he takes on trips, so the demise of his original Anker mouse (with the logo mostly worn off) has not slowed down PG a bit (although he has, of course, been distracted enough to write this post).

Here’s a link to PG’s favorite mouse of all time.

Your carpals and metacarpals will thank you.

Australia’s Amazon Book Battle

20 October 2017

From The New York Times:

When Borders opened in 2002 across the street from Readings, Melbourne’s best-known independent bookseller, retail experts predicted catastrophe for the musty old shop competing with the shiny new chain store.

Instead, Australians rejected Borders right into bankruptcy.

Starbucks has also failed miserably here in a country where cafe loyalty is king. And when it comes to Amazon, which has announced it will open its warehouse-based online sales juggernaut soon in Australia, many book-loving Australians are not shy about hoping for another epitaph.

“I want to beat them,” said Mark Rubbo, Readings’ co-owner, discussing Amazon as he stared across Lygon Street to where Borders used to be. “I don’t like the idea of this monolith devouring everything.”

. . . .

 But changing Australians’ reading habits may be more of a challenge. Books are bellwethers of great symbolic weight, not just because they were Amazon’s first product and because the company often uses them to wedge itself into new markets, but also because books and bookstores are tightly linked to Australia’s sense of itself, and to the country’s beloved ecosystem of local commerce.

. . . .

You know all those bespoke experiences that American urbanites have been reviving: the artisanal butcher and barber shops, the gourmet grocer and the community bookstore? In Australia, though weakened by shopping centers, they never really died.

This is still a place where many Australians can buy a novel, sausages and shampoo in three different shops, each owned by a neighbor with children at the local school.

Big box stores are rare and independent bookstores are strong: Their sales accounted for around 26 percent of Australia’s book business in 2015, according to Nielsen, up from 20 percent in the late 2000s, more than double the share for independents in the United States.

. . . .

Amazon’s arrival is a stress test not just for individual retail categories but also for Australia’s own writing, and way of life.

“Our culture is, and all cultures are, being swamped by outside influences,” Mr. Rubbo said. “We’re fighting to defend our voice.”

. . . .

Amazon hasn’t explained why it’s taken so long to bring its full retail operation to Australia but Australians have been able to order from Amazon’s American site for years and even with shipping costs, book prices are often equal to or cheaper than what can be found in Sydney or Melbourne.

There are other digital booksellers already in Australia too, including Book Depository, an Amazon subsidiary from Britain, and Booktopia, a start-up that nearly went public last year.

Tony Nash, the chief executive of Booktopia, which according to the company, controls about 4 percent of Australia’s book market, said that Amazon has already made everyone more competitive.

Booktopia, for example, now uses conveyors, automatic packing machines and a staff of 150 people to get books into customers’ hands, in some cases on the same day they’re ordered.

“It’s not about price,” Mr. Nash said. Especially in countries with small widely dispersed populations like Canada and Australia, where 24 million people are spread across a continent the size of the United States, “it’s about the logistics.”

. . . .

“You’ll never be able to beat the prices of Amazon, but you can save on time by going into a store,” he said. “And people like supporting local businesses.”

Australians already buy more books per capita than Americans (based on Nielsen sales figures) and spend more hours reading.

. . . .

“Let’s not outsource our minds to the narcissism of the global algorithm,” warned Anna Funder, the author of “Stasiland” and “All That I Am,” at a booksellers conference last year. And she’s not alone.

“People who work in the book industry are agents of culture rather than just instruments of commerce,” said Tim Winton, the author of Australian classics like “Cloudstreet,” and one of Australia’s best-known writers. “When you take away their role as agents of culture and reduce them to instruments of capitalism, it changes the dynamic.”

Link to the rest at The New York Times

PG says “Let’s not outsource our minds to the narcissism of the global algorithm” is a unique formulation and sounds quite impressive.

However, there are some days when PG would like the option of outsourcing his mind. He would willingly forgo narcissism, but a global algorithm would be an improvement over local torpor.

PG is indubitably an American, however, and Australians may take a different view. PG remembers when he was much younger and a school friend explained to him that below the equator, the earth rotated in the opposite direction.

Contact Page is now working

19 October 2017

One of the comments to a post earlier today mentioned that PG didn’t seem to be posting items based on tips from visitors to The Passive Voice.

PG has been concerned about the lack of tips he’s been receiving, thinking that perhaps he wasn’t operating the blog in a way that engaged its visitors.

Then a thought popped into PG’s mind (it happens some times).

He checked the Contact Page through which most of the tips arrive on his computer screen.

The code behind the Contact Page was broken. Messages were not being forward to PG and the Contact Page was not returning any error notices alerting visitors that it wasn’t working.

PG isn’t certain how this happened because he hasn’t tweaked the code on the Contact Page for a long time. He wonders if his adventures with a disastrous new WordPress theme a few weeks ago might have caused some collateral damage.

At any rate, the Contact Page is working again. PG apologizes to one and all who may have felt he was ignoring their suggestions.

In the chaotic yet carefully-calibrated selection process for posts on TPV, suggestions from visitors to the site, particularly regular visitors, each receive PG’s serious attention. 99% of those tips end up on TPV because the visitors making suggestions have a very good idea about what will appeal to others like them.

The only real exceptions are (1) if the suggestion is for something that has already appeared on TPV or (2) the suggestion is highly spammish or (3) the suggestion is way, way, way off-topic (Did you know that most of the people you meet on the street are really aliens who want to eat your brain?!?!? And that they are acting under the direction of alien leaders HILLARY CLINTON and DONALD TRUMP who will die unless they eat fresh brains before sunrise every day!!! Click here to protect your family before it’s too late!!!!!!)

On more than one occasion, PG has been uncertain about a suggested post, but put it up and TPV visitors have found real value in the information it provides.

So, once again, the tips line is wide open, so tip away.

Montana Photographer Takes on Republican Party

19 October 2017

From American University Intellectual Property Brief:

In March 2016, Peterman photographed Rob Quist, a musical performer and Democratic candidate for Montana’s only seat in the US House of Representatives. The Montana Democratic Party contracted Peterman to cover the Mansfield Metcalf Celebration campaign event. Afterwards, she gave both the Party and the Quist Campaign limited license to use the photo of Quist, as well as other photos.

On May 9, 2017, Peterman was alerted by a friend that the Republican National Committee (RNC) had used one of her photographs on a mailer. The picture was overlaid with text reading, “For Montana Conservatives, Liberal Robert Quist Can’t Hit the Right Note.” An RNC spokesperson said the photo was taken from the Quist Campaign’s Facebook page. Peterman says that she never gave permission for anyone outside of the DNC or Quist’s campaign to use the photos, and they are committing copyright infringement.

. . . .

It is unlikely that Peterman will be able to obtain any monetary damages from the RNC. She registered the copyright on May 12, 2017, in order to be able file suit. When one party takes another’s copyrighted material, the wronged party may only sue for statutory damages if the material was already registered. Because Peterman’s photo was not registered, she can only sue for actual damages. Actual damages can be obtained when there is proven loss to the offended party. Currently, it is unclear whether she planned to use the photograph for anything besides licensing it to the Democratic Party of Montana. If she did have another use for the photograph, she would need to produce evidence that she would have made a profit in such an endeavor, and prove that the RNC prevented her from making this profit.

Link to the rest at American University Intellectual Property Brief

PG wondered what attorney might have filed this suit. Court documents list the attorney’s name as Erin M. Erickson.

Here’s an excerpt from Ms. Erickson’s professional bio as it appears on her law firm’s website:

Erin was raised in Polson, Montana. She attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.

Erin attended the University of Montana School of Law. While attending law school, she served as a legal writing and research graduate teaching assistant; interned for the U.S. Attorney’s office; served as Vice President of Phi Delta Phi; and was a co-founder of the University of Montana Women’s Hockey Team.

. . . .

Upon graduating, Erin began her legal career with Phillips & Bohyer, P.C. In 2009, she became a shareholder in the current firm, Bohyer, Erickson, Beaudette & Tranel, P.C.

Erin is admitted to practice in all Montana State and Federal Courts, as well as the Confederated Salish & Kootenai and Blackfeet Tribal Courts. She has considerable experience practicing within the Montana Human Rights Bureau and the Department of Labor and Industry. Erin’s primary areas of practice include: insurance defense, insurance coverage, bad faith, employer liability, employment and labor law and EEOC compliance.

Erin is a member of the State Bar of Montana, the Western Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Defense Research Institute (DRI). She has presented at various continuing legal education seminars in the areas of labor and employment law. Erin has also presented seminars to insurance claims professionals throughout the Northwest on a variety of insurance related topics.

PG says this is a perfectly respectable bio but it doesn’t reflect any expertise in copyright or IP law.

What to expect from the new Digital Book World

19 October 2017

As background information, the Digital Book World Conference has been sold to Score Publishing. This post is written by the CEO of Score.

From Talking New Media:

We live in a world where everyone individually, and every organization collectively, is a publisher. Whether it’s full-blown books, or case studies and white papers, or long-form content on the web, audio content like audiobooks and podcasts, multi-modal content like interactive books and mixed-media works, and much more. We’re a publisher nation.

Digital Book World has a rich legacy of influence and impact. We will be making a variety of changes that will seek to build on this foundation of success.

In the weeks and months to come, we will be reaching out far and wide to partner with anyone and everyone we believe has value to the vast community of publishers. Expect to see some surprising and valuable alliances as we re-tool DBW.

. . . .

Publishers right now are trying to decipher how best to bring existing content into a world where people interact with computers with their voice first, and keyboards and screens second. Amidst a raft of technologies impacting old media and new media which we’ll explore at Digital Book World, this sea change to voice computing – yes, led by Amazon – will sit front and center.

Link to the rest at Talking New Media

PG has attended an enormous number of conferences and conventions, including many gatherings of lawyers and technology folk.

He has received valuable information from the legal gatherings although most of his continuing legal education these days is online, usually in the form of recorded talks by lawyers and panel discussions of lawyers provided at various physical conferences and gatherings. Speakers are almost universally comprised of a few highly-specialized attorneys. Some of these sessions are provided entirely online with no associated physical gathering.

Depending upon the technology, there is often a lot more show instead of just telling at technology conferences. For example the Adobe MAX conference, sponsored by the creators of Photoshop, Lightroom and a zillion other products focused on visual creativity is happening right now.

Suffice to say, the visuals at the Adobe conference are more interesting than a table with a white tablecloth behind which a few men and women in business dress are sitting, which is the typical visual element at virtually all lawyers’ conferences. 99% of Powerpoint presentations in such settings are boring and the rest have goofy animations, transitions, etc., that a 14-year-old could improve.

However, major keynotes and new product announcements – typically the biggest draws at a tech conference – are usually streamed live and recorded for later viewing at no cost. For PG’s level of engagement with Adobe, those provide all the information he might be seeking plus much more without attending the conference.

PG has attended a handful of conferences for authors/publishers and, based on that limited experience, suggests that these conferences are visually and structurally, very similar to legal conferences (and even worse than some legal conferences). He hasn’t seen anything like the show Adobe presents.

The reason that the Digital Book World conference has been sold by its prior owner is that conference attendance fees plus fees charged to vendors to set up booths, tables, etc., don’t cover the costs of putting on a conference. PG won’t bore you with the details, but costs are substantial, particularly if the conference takes place in a serious conference setting like San Francisco, New York or Las Vegas.

Most of the revenue a conference like Digital Book World will receive likely comes from attendees who aren’t paying their own way, like publishing executives and employees, plus the afore-mentioned vendors who want to sell products and services to publishers and, to a lesser extent, authors.

What the sale of Digital Book World tells PG is that the complacency of traditional publishers toward ebook sales means those publishers have less interest in cool new ebook technology. At a fundamental level, a publisher needs to convert an electronic manuscript into an ebook and send the resulting file to Amazon, Apple, etc. That conversion probably takes place at the same time the physical books are typeset and is a low-cost offshoot of that operation. That’s pretty much the end of modern digital technology in their operations.

The idea that large publishers would be interested in cool new types of ebooks supported by innovative tech was always a long-shot. Remember, publishers are run mostly by English majors and accountants. Any tech innovators who might have mistakenly believed they had a potential career bringing publishers into the digital age have left for greener pastures by now.

PG says a technology conference for traditional publishing is on about the same level as a technology conference for beekeepers.


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