Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Random House Takes the Lead

The 11/28 edition of BusinessWeek online is out (www.businessweek.com) and there's an article on Random House entitled, "Random House: Digital is Our Destiny."

The article says, "Unwilling to let a Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft dictate terms in cyberspace, Random House, Inc., the world's largest trade publisher, is taking the industry lead. In early November it outlined ways it would begin to offer its books directly to consumers on a page-per-view basis. Random House will get at least 4 cents a page and split that roughly in half with authors for fiction and narrative non-fiction titles." (See my blog dated 11/4 "Big Day in Publishing News" for the announcement of the press release).

Richard Sarnoff, president of Random House's corporate development unit, was remarkably frank in his interview with BusinessWeek. "'We acknowledge that a generation is growing up that may not have the same visceral connection with the book format,'" he said. "'They have read as much on screens as they have on paper. We need vehicles to translate our books in different ways.'"

An author is quoted in the article as saying, "'The elephant in the room for all of us is Google.'" Google Print's Library Project has energized the publishing industry's search for a new business model. In addition, technology itself is pushing change. Sarnoff says that, "within 18 months, reading devices could be as easy to use for books as the Apple iPod is for music."

According to the article, Random House is the world's largest trade publisher, issuing 10,000 new titles worldwide and generating about $2 billion in revenue a year.

If this behemoth recognizes that it's time to change, don't you think we writers should do the same?

Just musing . . .


For The Trees said...

Well, Maya, I for one am all for getting my books online with Google. I'm self-publishing and don't know how to get my stories into the Google database. What DO small run authors do? The whole thing can't be passing us by.

Joe Konrath (A Newbie's Guide To Publishing) said he is all for getting his books online because it fosters author name recognition. If someone reads part of a novel, they will be prone to getting the whole thing. Right? What do you think?

Maya said...

I responded to "for the trees" individually and specifically addressed the "self-published" angle.

Suggested that he try Google Base, the new Google initiative which resembles free classified ads.

Also, any self-published writer should be reading M.J. Rose's two blogs: Backstory and Buzz, Balls and Hype. M.J. was the first self-published author to really successfully market through the Internet. Her self-published novel was later picked up by a New York house.