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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Osnos’

How Advances Worked in 1984

In The Atlantic, PublicAffairs Books founder Peter Osnos wrote an essay about working as a young nonfiction editor 1984–shedding light on how advances used to work.

The article spotlighted bestselling Random House authors Dr. Seuss and James Michener: “Neither author took advances. Their revenues were so large and steady that they had a permanent drawing account and relied on the publisher and their financial advisers to see that the money was properly invested.”

When former-vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro auctioned her manuscript, it sold for $1 million; prior to auction, Osnos was told to offer $50,000. One year later, Osnos paid $1 million to publish politician Tip O’Neill’s memoir Man of the House. Now politicians and celebrities enjoy much larger advances. (via Jose Alfonso Furtado)

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Publishing CEOs Share Stage with Google Executive

At The Big Money’s Untethered conference yesterday, we covered The Future of Book Publishing panel with an all-star lineup. In the video above, a publishing CEO shared thoughts about bundling and a Google executive offered publishing predictions.

The panel was moderated by Peter Osnos, the founder of PublicAffairs Books. Panelists included HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy, and Google director of strategic partnerships Tom Turvey.

Follow this link to see more eBookNewser coverage of the conference. Here’s more about the panel: “When it comes to printing, shipping and selling books at retail, bits are far cheaper than atoms. How are the economics of this industry changing in the tablet era? Who ultimately will control pricing, distribution and profit margins?”

PublicAffairs Founder Defends E-Book Bundling

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Peter Osnos, the founder of PublicAffairs Books, has entered the e-book pricing debate that has been raging all weekend–urging publishers to bundle e-books with print books as a “multiplatform object.”

Over at Daily Beast, the editor suggested that these bundled print be priced around $25. He also pointed out that e-book adaptation is happening rapidly–at a recent board dinner of the International Center for Journalists, around one-third of the participants had a Kindle.

Here’s more from the article: “For the publishers, authors, and booksellers, the scenario as I’ve envisioned it above would doubtless be considered, at least initially, as a terrible idea. Each format for a book now comes with a separate pricing and royalty structure and it would be damnably hard to come up with a model that would assure revenue splits that would satisfy everyone in the chain from author to retailer.”

Booksellers Roll With the Caravan

The Washington Post’s Bob Thompson has a lengthy feature on the Caravan Project, a print-on-demand tool created by Peter Osnos and supplied to select bookstores by Ingram which enables customers to order digital version of select titles, including academic treatises, audiobooks, large-print formats and regular hardcovers. “The trick for you,” Kent Freeman, who works with the Caravan Project, told booksellers, “is to answer a simple question: “How does the physical bookstore provide digital content to the consumer?”

At the moment, Caravan’s reach is tiny: only 23 books are on offer. But most who have seen it in action have high hopes. “[Osnos] trying to do nothing short of change the way the entire industry publishes their books,” says Mark LaFramboise, the head book buyer at Politics and Prose. If it works, “it would be huge.” “This could be a pilot for what all publishers end up doing eventually,” agrees Tom Dwyer, director of merchandising at Borders. Right now, Dwyer adds, bigger publishers are mainly focused on “digitizing all their content.” But when it comes to distribution, he says, he’s sure they’re “planning something in this direction.”

Other publishing types aren’t as sure of Caravan’s importance in publishing. “Peter is a trusted figure in the community,” says another big-company executive, declining to be quoted by name. But “my two cents is that this is not likely to be at all significant.” And Osnos himself hopes the Caravan Project will be irrelevant in a few years’ time. Why? Because at that point, “we’re going to say: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, now you know how to do it.’ Publishers should know how to do the books in all the formats. Booksellers should know how to sell them. And we go away.”