Indie News Beat: Publishing News and Stuff

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time once again for the Indie News Beat. We take the flour and water of facts, knead the dough of truth, and bake up a tasty loaf of information just for you.

Ace reporter Chris James could not be with us. He has been taken hostage by a group of Amazons. Actually, they freed him months ago, but he refuses to leave. We soldier on here at Indies Unlimited.

The L.A.Times has discovered that a lot of people lie about having read the great classics of literature. It turns out, a lot of them just watched the movie instead. I cannot say I am surprised. The article includes the top 10 books people fake having read. In the number one slot is 1984, by George Orwell. Ironically, that is the only one on the list I actually read. I actually liked it. Go figure. There is no word yet on how many people falsely claim to read the L.A. Times.

But perhaps society has just moved beyond these dusty old tomes. Nowadays, we’re a texting, tweeting, live on the razor’s edge, breakneck, no time for nuance kind of society. Thankfully,someone has had the forethought to distill the great classics down to 140 character tweetable summaries.

One of the hallmarks of the digital revolution is the freedom it brings to writers in determining the best length for the stories they tell. Book length is more or less hard-wired into dead tree publishing. Production of a digital book does not have  the kinds of fixed overhead that print has. That opens a lot of doors for creativity. The Guardian sees the Kindle Singles program as the signal event in this part of the revolution.

It’s just not possible to talk about what’s new in the world of publishing without talking a lot about Amazon. Part of the reason for that is Amazon innovates while everybody else equivocates. In yet another example, Amazon’s Matchbook allows customers to buy discounted digital versions of print books they’d previously bought from the retailer. Personally, I’d rather see it the other way around. Still, this Bezos chap does seem to have a lot on the ball. has an interesting article on the rise of what they refer to as hybrid authors. These are authors who have been published traditionally, but also self-publish. This phenomenon makes a lot of work for big ink, who now has to worry over both attracting new talent as well as retaining control over its pool of existing authors.

That’s it for this time around. Join us next time, when we answer the age-old question, If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does that mean you can cut it up and haul the wood out for free?

Author: Stephen Hise

Stephen Hise is the Evil Mastermind and founder of Indies Unlimited. Hise is an independent author and an avid supporter of the indie author movement. Learn more about Stephen at his website or his Amazon author page.

16 thoughts on “Indie News Beat: Publishing News and Stuff”

  1. Hmm. I’ve read three of those and haven’t seen any of the movies. (Only 2 of the 3 were assignments in school many decades ago.)

  2. Speaking of the classics – some have made the “Banned Books List.”
    Next week (Sept 22-28) is Banned Book Week.
    I’m hoping one of my novels makes a future list. I’m only half kidding!
    To put things into perspective…just think how much I could donate to the IU donation kettle.

  3. Sounds to me like an Indie koan….
    That said, great article — and because you sound so knowledgeable, Stephen, i have a question for you — how is it possible that Amazon can take up to 95% of the profits from a POD book without more screaming and gnashing of teeth from authors? I am not good at math, but this is what I figure is more or less their cut on my POD version. (e-version profits are huge in comparison).

  4. Great article, Stephen. Not sure what the answer is to a tree falling in the forest … But, I have read several of the books on the list (not a lie). I have actually read “1984” twice – once in paperback form in high school and once in digital format just a few years ago. It was “double plus good” both times. 🙂

  5. It’s funny, when I first bought my Kindle I intended to use it to find good books, which I would then buy in print form. Didn’t happen. However it might be fun to see what ebooks are available to me on Matchbook. I’ve been an Amazon customer for a long time. Great post as usual. 🙂

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