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Morning Coffee – 26 October 2020

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning.

  • Mike Shatzkin is heralding the death of the Big Five.  (This outcome was to be expected once the major publishers started abandoning the midlist author.)
  • Library ebook lending surges in the UK
  • A new study shows there’s a negligible increase in reading speed when text is formatted with two spaces after a period. 
  • Library ebook use surges in Quebec.  Clearly the publishing industry is doomed.)

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Disgusting Dude October 26, 2020 um 11:46 am

Careful drinking the Shatzkin koolaid.
He is a creature of the fresh produce world and shows no sign of understanding the economics of the connected digital world.
The big publishers may be losing their deathgrip on retail outlets but they retain their control over the IP; specifically the copyrights. They’re milking the old model for all its worth but their multinational bosses won’t hang around for the long term restructuring of the business.
S&S is already up for sale. The others will follow.
To see where things are headed, look to the emerging video silos and the gaming world where Microsoft and (yes) Amazon are sowing the seeds of a new business model, marginalizing Sony and Nintendo.
Books won’t end up quite the same but the same dynamics apply.
The literati won’t enjoy what’s wiol replace the old ways.
Hint: rereaders and hoarders are a tiny minority.

Xavier Basora October 26, 2020 um 12:41 pm

Disgusting dude

But alot of readers are walking away from tradpub properties. I’m an example. In English I don’t read tradpub stuff. it’s all independents via crowdfunding.
I’ve enjoyed what I sponsored and will continue to do.

I’ll read the tradpub properties as they fall into public domain or the publishers are literally giving them away via 99 cents.


Disgusting Dude October 26, 2020 um 6:57 pm

Tradpub is still moving $14B in books a year.
They have been doing that since 2003. No real growth.
The big publishers have been playing games to show (minimal) growth on paper but their unit sales have been going down so yes, a lot of people have moved away from their output.
But $14B is still a lot of books, even if their profit margin Is low and their market share steadily shrinking.
Its no different from B&N which is losing tens of millions each year, but they’re still moving $2B of print books each year.
Dinosaurs take a long time dying.
And those dinos control a couple million book cooyrightsm
And along the way, somebody will make something useful out of those books.
Just don’t expect most authors to get much out of it.

T Semple October 26, 2020 um 3:30 pm

So all the way at the end of the article it is revealed that the study used mono spaced NewCourier font, because ‘eye tracking studies usually use mono spaced fonts’. And of course no actual books use mono spaced fonts. Another case of looking for lost keys where the light is best, and not where they are likely to be found.

Nate Hoffelder October 26, 2020 um 3:57 pm

Oh, was it it utter bunk? I admit that I gave up after the 3%

Allen F October 30, 2020 um 5:51 pm

I don’t know about 1-2 spaces after a period, but I do know there are too many times I have to grab the text off some webpage and drop it into a doc file so I can change to font to something more readable.

Nate Hoffelder October 31, 2020 um 10:45 am

Indeed – I use Instapaper for that purpose.

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