Traditional publishers may be johnny-come-lately to publishing digital-only and digital-first, but their efforts bring the weight of deep editorial and marketing experience to the digital-only equation. This spring saw a new push by HarperCollins to enhance its digital-first lines with the launch of Witness Impulse, a digital mystery, suspense, and thriller line that will release its initial ten titles in October under the William Morrow Impulse imprint; the publisher said it is the first of its kind (mystery) from a major U.S. publisher.
Budgets be damned. the number of librarians at BookExpo America (some even paid their own way) attests to the insatiable demand for books in any format and the deep impact librarians, both as library book buyers and recommenders of titles for their patrons, have on the book world. As many panelists at BEA noted, referring to LJ’s Patron Profiles, their influence goes further, since library users, particularly Power Patrons and Power ePatrons, are also avid book buyers in all formats, contrary to what some publishers presume.
Just about the time the Pulitzer board announced on April 16 that it wasn’t anointing a fiction prize winner this year, the National Book Foundation came out with its guidelines and list of judges for the 2012 National Book Awards (NBAs). You might think publishers would be wary of forking over another entry fee (the Pulitzer processing fee is $50; the NBAs, $125), especially with all the grousing that goes on among the major trade houses when their titles are shut out by small presses, who in turn grouse that the big houses get more than their share of the nominees. But the NBAs have one major advantage over the Pulitzers: they are selected by writers, not journalists. As for the National Book Critics Circle awards, they are chosen by book critics and review editors—and there is no entry fee for submissions. (LJ‘s Barbara Hoffert is VP in charge of the awards, and LJ‘s review editors are members.)
A plan for the future of the library is causing consternation in some circles, though it is unlikely to have much impact on the rich/poor divide. It calls for putting most of the research collection into storage and transforming the recaptured space for public use, including additional Internet access, a popular collection, areas for creation and collaboration, and so on.