Social Reading and Writing

Ebooks open up a whole range of possibilities, from how people consume stories to how they talk about books they’ve read, and even how they find new works to read. Because ebooks are digital, authors and readers have many opportunities to be social with their books. Continue reading


Zola Books: A Review

I had the pleasure of meeting three of the employees of Zola Books, a new ebookstore, at BEA. Zola Books is, according to their pamphlet, “not just an eBooks retailer, but a community and a platform for everyone who participates in the conversation around books–including authors and curators, independent bookstores and publishers.”

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Writers, Readers, Publishers: Present Tense, Future Bold #2

Last night’s meeting for Present Tense, Future Bold featured guest speak Rick Joyce, the chief marketing officer of Perseus Books. Perseus is a publisher and a printer/distributor for over 300 indie publishers.

According to Rick the digital transition happened distinctly in each industry (music, books, etc.), and was not monolithic. But, the future of print books may not be as dire as some in the publishing industry may believe. According to Rick Joyce, although record stores are no longer around, CDs still comprise 40% of the music business. Most CDs are bought in stores such as Walmart and Target by 50-year-olds.

“What we think we know is heavily shaped by what the media reports,” Rick said. (And they don’t always cover everything). For example, self-publishing became a much bigger deal last year, mainly because media outlets such as The New York Times reported enthusiastically about it. However, Rick said that while there were 11 self-published authors on the bestseller lists last year, there were thousands of other self-publishers.

So the big question of the night was, what will publishing be like in 2020? Continue reading

ChannelCaster, a new social mobile app

Apps are becoming a big part of our culture. Recently my sister has gotten into the app world. Right now she’s working for ChannelCaster, and here’s what she has to say:

ChannelCaster is a new mobile app that allows users to discover, mash and share content on their mobile/tablet devices. Users are able to create and broadcast their own channels featuring any interest they may have by combining the latest news from sources like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and other blogs. The app is created by OneLouder, completely free on the Android market and super addicting….I heard about the app through a campus ambassador program with Youth Marketing Connection and have been promoting the app on the UCLA Campus. I have created some great channels like Around the World on a Discount and Dining and Entertainment in Westwood, CA. For more information on ChannelCaster or to download the app follow this link and get connected!

Coca-Cola, Advertising, and Santa Claus

Over the weekend, I went to visit my uncle in Battery Park. We were at the dinner table, dropping fish balls and slices of beef into a hot pot, when my uncle told me something shocking:

“Santa Claus wasn’t a jolly fat man dressed in a red suit until Coca-Cola made him that way.”

I’m not surprised he knew this. Back in the ’90s, he collected coke cans from around the world and made them into a necklace. But I was taken aback to discover just exactly how powerful advertising is. I always knew it was powerful, but I had no idea to what extent.

It’s even on the Coca-Cola website. In between the world wars, Coke reinvented Santa Claus. Before, he was a skinny elf. But then in 1931 the company wanted to depict coke as both a warm-weather and cold-weather drink, so they hired an artist to reinvent Santa. He became warm, friendly, and plump, and he has stayed that way ever since.

Flash forward to the present, and advertising is still very powerful. But now, instead of art and print ads, it’s all about social media and going viral. Here’s an informative presentation about how to make something go viral:

The Future of Publishing, According to Richard Nash

Today in my Interactive Media class, we had guest speaker Richard Nash. Nash, former publisher at Soft Skull, is now launching a start-up company, Cursor, which is a social approach to publishing.

Anyway, he was a very interesting speaker, so I’d like to share some of his thoughtful quotes.

“Of all the media, games and books have the most in common with one another because of the time spent engaging in them”

“The revolution currently transforming publishing is really desktop publishing”

“We’re really in the middle of a 2.0 revolution that has it’s 3.0 revolution yet to come”

“Not only can social media be used to sell books, but books can naturally be plugged into social media”

“There’s not one original thing that I’m suggesting. But the reality is no one is doing it (systematically)”

“What we want to own are the readers, but only if the readers are willing to be owned, because we’re giving them a sense of belongingness, challenging them in interesting ways”

“We’re not in a transition from one state of the industry to another state of the industry that is stable. Effectively the media business is shifting to a state of permanent self re-invention.”

“We [the publishing industry] are not going to find an answer, and that will be the answer for the next 15-20 years.”

Regarding the sort of post-partum depression writers feel after being published: “Being published is not the thing. Being read and loved and understood and engaged with was the real thing. Having your book published by a big publisher was a means to an end only.”

And lastly, my favorite, because I am a writer and so far all I’ve heard is about how lonely a professional writing life is: “Writers aren’t particularly asocial. And there is nothing in history that suggests writers could have been asocial.”