Passive Guy blogged about the original interview before, but this is worth considering.
From Digital Book World:
I found Ms. Hirschhorn’s comments intriguing and honest. The most stunning thing she said seems to go completely against many posts about ‘traditional’ publishing not being dead and that print sales would continue to drive publishing: that digital would be over 50% by 2015.
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Not getting sucked into the app thing is something that became apparent about six months ago when everyone was getting deluged by app designers yet there was little return. Although I imagine the Kindle “app” gets used a lot. Would a publisher’s app be used? I think it’s possible, especially in bundled non-fiction. Cookbooks is a great example where an app might work. A organic app that has constant new content (perhaps from authors???) might be good. Right now, many authors are flailing about on their blogs. Perhaps a smart publishing house could aggregate their authors into an app or web site? Or, even smarter, aggregate the same genres of authors to make it more audience specific? (S&S is doing this with the four content verticals)
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Direct to consumer is encouraging. While many in the industry whine about Amazon, why don’t they just sell their own books to readers? Is the mindset still so caught up with distribution to retailers that this fundamental truth of internet sales is ignored? I often go straight to the manufacturer when seeking to make a purchase on-line.
Sadly, I did notice the word ‘author’ was mentioned just a single time in the interview (a mistake– it was mentioned five times– as Father O’Shaungesy would say: mea culpa). It often seems implicit when talking to big publishers that they view their role as more important than the role of an author. Yet in a digital world, the distance between author and reader is the distance and time lag of the internet which is wifi and practically immediate. The key for a publisher is to facilitate that relationship.
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I often forget that my only title under my own name still with a traditional publisher is a non-fiction book: Who Dares Wins: The Green Beret Way to Conquer Fear and Succeed. I forget because since publication date, I’ve never heard a word from S&S, the editor was let go, I was never informed who was now responsible for the book, and experience has taught me trying to ‘talk’ to a large publisher is whistling in the wind. As one editor told me: we can hardly promote our frontlist, never mind our backlist.
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A major thing most of the Big 6 are overlooking is the gold mine of their backlist. I can sell more of one of my titles in eBook in a day than St. Martins (3 collaborative NY Times bestsellers) or S&S (my one title) can of my backlist in six months based on the royalty statements I just received this past month. Why? Because the best marketing person for a title is the author of that title. If a publisher can hire people in-house to work with those authors of backlist, the return would more than cover the cost of that department, I believe it will greatly increase a publishing house’s bottom line. Remember—if someone hasn’t read a backlist title, it’s frontlist to them.
Link to the rest at Digital Book World and thanks to Elizabeth for the tip.