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Archive for May, 2009:

Go Green with Your Business Cards

posted May 27, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in uncategorized

I love the idea of business cards with multiple purposes. Business cards are a necessity for many, but they’ve always seemed rather wasteful to me. Even cards with great designs don’t do much other than take up space in a drawer.


I was thrilled, then, to see this business card-bookmark hybrid printed by Pinball Publishing. It’s so clever and utilitarian! This particular business card is for a clothing store, but a bookmark business card would be appropriate for a bookstore or publishing house, wouldn’t it?



The sky is the limit when it comes to creative business cards. Maybe a balloon isn’t incredibly practical, but it’s fun and memorable. The rubber band business card, though? Definitely practical and fun! You can find both of these images, as well as a number of other nicely designed business cards, at this site.

I’m sure there are many more interesting ideas out there. How about business cards that double as coasters? Cards with valuable instructions on them? Any ideas out there? Do you have a multipurpose business card?

HarperStudio: The New, Open-Book Strategy

posted May 26, 2009

Posted by Thomas Riggs in publishing technology

Are publishers too reclusive? Do they hide in their offices, refusing contact with the outside world? That’s the verdict of Carolyn Pitts, vice president at HarperCollins. In an article published in the online magazine Book Business, she argues that publishing companies need to become less anonymous and adopt “authentic, personalized, continuous engagement” with readers, reflecting the model of social media on the Internet. “There are no wallflowers,” she says, “at this digital dance.”

One bright spot noted by Pitts is HarperCollins’s own HarperStudio, a new, experimental imprint intended to address structural problems, including high advances, afflicting the publishing industry. As part of its marketing strategy, it gives Flip cameras to authors so they can create online videos for readers. Another attempt to communicate with readers is the HarperStudio blog, The 26th Story, written by the imprint’s staff. Recent posts discuss crowdsourcing for books (a collective brainstorming process for writing text), the use of public domain classics (such as Edith Wharton) for magazines, and the latest in Twitterature. HarperStudio seems to be directly addressing Pitts’s warning: “Anyone choosing reclusivity or anonymity over engagement chooses irrelevance.”

Here’s a video from the HarperStudio website of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, who signed a ten-book deal with HarperCollins under the HarperStudio imprint.

Leaning toward Digital Printing

posted May 22, 2009

Posted by Erin Brown in books publishing trends uncategorized

Once associated only with vanity presses, digital printing (including print-on-demand and short run) is becoming an increasingly attractive option, and in some cases a necessity, for publishers who are looking to cut costs. Improvements in digital technology have done much to legitimize this method, too. The quality of digital books has gone up considerably in recent years, such that many of them are indistinguishableto the average book buyer, at leastfrom those produced by traditional offset printing methods.

A woman walks in front of a bookshelf at Turin...

In the last few years academic and nonprofit presses have been leading the charge on the digital revolution. Since 2002 the volume of on-demand and short-run digital titles in print has increased exponentially.

On Tuesday Publishers Weekly reported that 2008 marked something of a tipping point for the fledgling industry, as more new books were printed in the U.S. last year with digital technology than with traditional publishing methods. According to statistics provided by Bowker (publisher of Books in Print), “new and revised titles produced by traditional production methods fell 3% in 2008, to 275,232, but the number of on-demand and short run titles soared 132%, to 285,394.”

Reading on the Go

posted May 18, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in technology

Stanza e-reader for iPhone

A while back I mentioned the Amazon Kindle e-reader and how I am enjoying the new gadget. It is certainly a different kind of reading experience using an e-reader as opposed to a traditional book, but I wouldn’t say it is drastically different. If something can motivate you to read more, does it really matter if it’s battery operated?

After getting the Kindle, I immediately downloaded the iPhone Kindle application. It syncs up with my Kindle so I don’t have to search around for the right page. It’s perfect for when I’m in a long line at the post office or waiting in a doctor’s office. You’d think that trying to read on a tiny iPhone screen would be distracting or unpleasant, but the text is very crisp and easy to read.

More recently I downloaded Stanza, another e-reader application for the iPhone (and iPod Touch). Not only does Stanza offer content for sale but it also offers a vast assortment of free books, including many of the classics. I opted for Huckleberry Finn, since I have never read it (I know, can you believe it?). Now I can sneak out my iPhone whenever and wherever I please and read to my heart’s content!

A Virtualized Publishing Industry

posted May 18, 2009

Posted by Thomas Riggs in publishing technology virtual offices

According to Peter Kelly, who headed Nortel’s enterprise division in Europe, the virtual office “is probably the most significant business dynamic taking place . . . the virtual enterprise model will allow companies to leapfrog others. It really is a case of virtualise or die.”

In fact, publishing has been virtualizing since the 1990s, when companies sought to save money by outsourcing to freelancers and allowing employees to work at home. Increasingly much of the actual work on books, such as the editing, took place elsewhere. As e-mail became common, text began to be sent back and forth electronically. It was only a minor leap to imagine going from a physical company with a network of telecommuting employees and freelancers to having a company that functioned entirely out of a virtual office.

This ABC news report highlights three companiesIBM, Accenture, and Crayonthat are heading toward virtualized work worlds. Here in our own business we work through a virtual office and a network of distributed workers, and along with the rest of the publishing world, we are on the edge of a technology explosion that will make our everyday work lives unrecognizable.

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