Monday, December 27, 2010

Comprehensive View of K-12 Educators' E-book Usage, Attitudes and Intent to Purchase

A comprehensive survey of K-12 educators shows that school librarians are leading the way in bringing E-books into our nation's schools - in large part because, unlike classroom teachers, they have funding available to them to support their E-book purchases.

The study, written by John Fredricks, Ph.D., former Director of Global Market Research at Reader's Digest, shows that 40% of K-12 teachers and 50% of school librarians have purchased E-books for either personal or professional use. Of the K-12 educators who bought E-books for professional purposes, however, 70% of teachers say they funded the purchases with their own money, while only 8% of school librarians reported paying for the E-books out of their own pockets.

These findings are but a small part of the detailed data generated from a survey conducted among 700 K-12 teachers and 600 school librarians, the results of which appear in the newly published report, eBooks: K-12 Educators' Usage and Attitudes. The survey was fielded by educational consulting firm Egremont Associates, with support from co-sponsors, MCH Strategic Data and TecKnoQuest Inc.

"Before we conducted this study," said Neal Goff, President of Egremont Associates, "the most basic information about K-12 educators' usage of E-books in schools and attitudes towards them didn't seem to be available anywhere. We believe this survey provides more information about how K-12 educators use E-books, what they think of them, and what their future purchase plans are than any other study yet conducted."

In addition to providing data about K-12 educators' E-book purchases and usage patterns, and non-buyers' future purchase plans, the study includes extensive quotes from educators describing what they do with E-books in their classrooms and what their students think of them.

"I was really struck by the fact that the teachers who have bought E-books expressed such positive attitudes about them," said Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO of, a professional social network for the education community. "Not all educators have gotten on board the E-book train, but those who have seemed very happy with the experience."

Download a free executive summary of the report at

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Six Reasons the Anti-Self-Publishing Movement Is Dead

Is the new world order in publishing leaving the old guard behind? Many industry experts seem to think so, though there are those on the periphery who persist in trying to stop one of publishing's greatest movements: the hundreds of thousands of independent, self-published authors.

First some background. There is no doubt about it: publishing is going through a massive change, both rapid and permanent. E-books are the new reality and traditional bookstores are closing en masse. Bookstore operators are bereft of ways to bring in buyers as Kindle and iPad owners simply bypass them for an easy and instant purchase experience.

The same is happening on a nationwide scale with one of the publishing industry's largest traditional customers: school systems. Digital books may, within a decade, replace all textbooks in America because they are cheap and don't require massive storage space or shipping costs.

The dislocation is unsettling but inevitable as the publishing industry undergoes nothing less than an evolutionary change. One era has ended and a new one is dawning.

One group that may benefit greatly from this change is independent authors, until now kept in check by the dominance of the "big six" publishers. Trying to destroy this independent movement has been the sole focus of a tiny but vociferous cadre of defenders of the publishing status quo. They are the anti-self-publishing pack-or, to quote William Safire, the "hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history."

Under the pretense of consumer advocacy, for years and with little or no evidence, these demagogues were quick to accuse people who worked in independent publishing as scam operators or worse. "Heretics beware" seemed to be their motto as they labeled selected targets in the independent publishing movement as frauds. They hounded their targets with enthusiasm and malevolence, usually in forums and blogs.

But despite this tiny group's best efforts, the independent publishing movement, while never nurtured by the mainstream publishers, was often embraced by them. It wasn't unusual for them to cherry-pick self-published titles for their own lists. And it was always good for a headline.

The independent movement, spurred first by vanity publishers and then by POD, was always welcomed by Bowker, Baker & Taylor, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders.

It seems that the objection to self-publishing by the cadre of modern-day inquisitors had less to do with truth and more to do with ideology-how to control how book buyers chose to spend their dollars and how to keep authors from going independent and wrecking the status quo.

But now the independents are here, and they may be the vanguard of a revolution thanks to the Internet. More than any other factors, the growth in e-books and the sales and marketing potential of the Internet are shaping the future of publishing. That is the indisputable reality. Consider the facts:

* Literary agents are now seriously contemplating charging fees for their services-once a mortal sin in their eyes and still a bugaboo for the four literary agent associations.

* Ten times as many independent authors were published last year as those published by mainstream publishers, according to Bowker.

* Amazon is offering a whopping seventy-percent royalty to e-book authors, compared to the five and ten percent offered to the mainstream publishers.

* The Internet is now a vital resource for promoting books; there are even Internet virtual book tours, and bloggers have the power to drive the sales of hundreds of thousands of copies.

* Many mainstream authors are already deciding to go straight to e-books.

* Many established authors are also buying up their old rights so that they can promote their books online, without the help of publishers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Amazon Provides Free Weekly Nielsen BookScan Data for Print Book Sales

Authors who use Amazon's Author Central service can now view Nielsen BookScan's weekly geographic sales data for their print books for free.

Author Central is a free service provided by Amazon that helps authors promote their books and reach more readers, the Company noted. Also announced, Author Central has added a feature that shows authors past history on the Amazon bestsellers rank for their books.

"Authors are an important community for us," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Amazon. "We're really happy to make it easy and free for them to see geographical BookScan data updated weekly, as well as historical Amazon bestsellers rank, for their books. We hope this creates an improved feedback loop for authors and enables them to develop more effective methods for reaching the widest possible audience."

Authors can access timely geographic sales trends aggregated across retailers by Nielsen BookScan, a source for industry print book sales. The new "Sales by Geography" feature displays a map of the continental United States, highlighting the areas where copies of authors' books have been sold. The new "Sales by Week" feature displays a bar chart of an author's sales recorded over the trailing four weeks. Authors can also see how many copies of each title were sold by print-edition type, e.g. hardcover or paperback. Digital book sales are not included in BookScan data. Nielsen BookScan estimates that it tracks 75 percent of print trade books sold in the United States, collected at more than 10,000 online and offline locations.

In addition to these new features, authors who use Author Central have the opportunity to share the most up-to-date information about themselves and their work with readers, according to the Company. Authors can view and edit their bibliography, add a photo and biography to a personal profile, upload missing book cover images, add video, information about speaking events, and use a blog to connect with readers. Authors only need a book listed in Amazon's catalog to be eligible to join Author Central. The Author Central service is also available in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

Monday, December 20, 2010

List of Ten Trends in Children's Books from 2010

Scholastic, the largest publisher and distributor of children's books, today released a list of 10 Trends in Children's Books from 2010. The list was compiled by editors from Scholastic, including children's literature experts from Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs.

"We've seen some exciting innovation in children's publishing in 2010, including new formats and platforms for storytelling that are helping more and more kids become book lovers," said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Book Clubs. "At the same time, we're seeing a rejuvenation of some classic genres, which I think is evidence of the timeless power that stories and characters have on the lives of children."
  1. The expanding Young Adult (YA) audience: More and more adults are reading YA books, as the audience for these stories expands.
  2. The year of dystopian fiction:  With best-selling series like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, readers can't seem to get enough of fiction that suggests the future may be worse than the present.
  3. Mythology-based fantasy: Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series set the trend – and now series like The Kane Chronicles,Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls are capitalizing.
  4. Multimedia seriesThe 39 CluesSkeleton Creek and The Search for WondLa are hooking readers with stories that go beyond the printed page and meet kids where they are online or via video.
  5. A focus on popular characters – from all media: Kids love to read books about characters they know and recognize from books, movies and television shows. Titles centered around those popular characters (like Fancy Nancy, David Shannon's "David," or Toy Story characters) are top sellers.
  6. The shift in picture books: Publishers are publishing about 25 to 30 percent fewer picture book titles than they used to as some parents want their kids to read more challenging books at younger ages. The new trend is leading to popular picture book characters such as PinkaliciousSplat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books.
  7. The return to humor: Given the effects of the recession on families, it is nice to see a rise in the humor category, fueled by the success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dav Pilkey's The Adventures of Ook & Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, and popular media characters like SpongeBob, and Phineas & Ferb.
  8. The rise of the diary and journal format: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is the most well-know example of this trend, but the success of Wimpy Kid is leading to popular titles such as Dear Dumb Diary, Dork DiariesThe Popularity Papers, and Big Nate.
  9. Special-needs protagonists: There is a growing body of literary fiction with main characters who have special needs, particularly Aspergers Syndrome and Autism. Examples: My Brother CharlieMarcelo in the Real WorldMockingbird, andRules.
  10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires: The success of titles like Shiver and LingerBeautiful CreaturesImmortal, andProphesy of the Sisters shows this genre is still uber-popular and continues to expand.

Ready to Finally Write Your Book? The Skills Every Author Doesn't Know

A new and enlightening interview is now out with national book writing coach and published author, Lisa Tener, who serves on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School continuing education course on writing and publishing books, while she speaks and teaches throughout the United States.

In the interview Lisa shares important tips, most authors do not know about. Two of the many edifying suggestions are:

1) Writing for Everyone: "We all start out thinking our book is for everybody. I sure did. Doesn’t everyone need help with {my subject}? What I learned, though, is that it’s hard to sell a book to “everybody.” People want to look at a book that says, “me” all over it. When you get clear on a niche (or more than one), you can tailor your book to the needs of these groups and make it much more appealing to them.

2.) Putting the Cart Before the Horse: "If you plan to pitch your book to a traditional publisher, write the book proposal first (overview, market analysis, competitive analysis, author bio, marketing plan, table of contents, chapters summaries and sample chapter(s)). Once you get a publisher, it’s time to write the book."

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Growing Trend of Teenagers, Young Women Read eBooks for Social, Digital Entertainment

Wattpad, a social eBook community, released the Q1 2010 edition of its Global eBook Metrics Report. This comprehensive report covers both desktop and mobile eBook usage of users from over 160 countries.

"The number of users on Wattpad has increased over fifty percent in the last quarter, making this our most thorough examination of eBook consumption habits to date" explains Allen Lau, CEO and co-founder of Wattpad.

Key findings this quarter show:

  1. An uptake in mobile users in the United States and the growing popularity of the iPhone/iPad/iPod family and BlackBerry devices.
  2. The United States now accounts for over 50% of BlackBerry and iOS users, followed by the UK.
  3. iOS users were the more active and social users, spending a quarter of 1B minutes on Wattpad during Q3, while BlackBerry accounted for just 40 Million minutes last quarter.
  4. Wattpad saw 90% of traffic come from young women under the age of 25.

To view the complete report, please visit:

Is 2011 The Year Of Your Book?

You KNOW it has always been in the back of your mind: Some day, you KNEW you would write "that book"! Now you can become a published author more easily than at any other time in history! 2011 might just be the year for you to do it! At the end of this article, you will find a link to a writer's checklist that can be your roadmap to writing, and publishing, that book!

Even if you believe you have no writing talent and no grasp of the English language, you can STILL write that book. All you need are the services of a great "ghost writer" who will take your raw material and put it into manuscript form! No more excuses! Everything is possible today!

Why Write That Book?

First, you've always had plenty to say. You know it's true! Your message is the single most important reason to write that book.

Second, it's a great thrill to enter the world of the published author. It's a great ego trip to see your own book in print!

Third, a published book is a GREAT PR tool for promoting other causes or enterprises you have. Everybody likes a complimentary book autographed by the author!

Fourth, the creative process is a very right-brained activity. Americans are trained to be left-brain thinkers. When you exercise both sides of your brain, both sides of you brain wear smiles!

How Will You Write That Book?

You no doubt have access to a computer. All you need is a good document program, like Word, and you can write on!

Who Will Publish Your Book?

Today, it is very easy to find a publisher! That will come as a surprise to many of you, but it's the truth! You can even "take it to Kinkos" and have it professionally produced., a subsidiary of, is a stellar choice of publisher. They do beautiful work.

How will your book get distributed and sold?

Unless you are a Stephen King, promotion and marketing will be done mainly by YOU. There are so many ways to market and promote for next to nothing in cost. Start with free business cards from Next, make extensive use of online networking organizations like Facebook, MerchantCircle, FastPitch, LinkedIn, Twitter - there are hundreds of these. You will have free access to blogs, newsletters, coupons, even press releases on many of these sites. Use them regularly.

Am I good enough?

The answer to that is yes! You may need a little brush-up and some practice to sharpen your writing skills. One way to begin writing that book is to become a contributor to such organizations as or These are great organizations who foster good writing. Check them out! You can even build a book by writing many great articles and then compiling them into one with a common theme!


It's a perfect time of year to set the intention to WRITE THAT BOOK. You can make 2011 your "year of the book"! Here's the link to the publishing checklist to get you started:

Decide to do it, and then do it! DO IT NOW!

About the author: Sheila Van Houten, DD, PhD, is a published author with two books in progress. Her most recent book, "True Ghosts" is a beautifully illustrated compilation of 22 true ghost stories from her own life. Each of the 30 full-color nature photos by master photographer Louis Wendling contains hidden spirit faces. You can read excerpts at

A New Kind of Literary Magazine Launches

The Writers Federation launched the inaugural publication of the most democratic literary magazine in the world, The Green Dragon Courant.

The magazine is named for the tavern where the Sons of Liberty met prior to hauling up their buckskin slacks and doing their bit to get the American Revolution rolling. Every once in a great while, a gesture sets the world on its' ear and so it is with The Green Dragon Courant's debut today.

"We feel the same way about our writer's website, The Writers Federation. It's the right thing to do. And it's way overdue," said Xavier Sparrow, the site's co-founder. "Many, many people write and have no reasonable outlet for their efforts. And many of these writers are quite good. It's our sincerest hope that by making these writings public, the artist's journey can come full circle. Our writers have submitted their very best work to be judged by us, and only the best of these have been chosen by the readers to be published in The Green Dragon Courant," he added.

The first edition of the magazine features the non-fiction of Twitter star Kelly Oxford as she relives a painful family memory, and Aiofe Dunphy's pensive fiction about an older painter struggling through feelings of loss and the possibility of hopefulness. Uncle Dynamite, another Twitter dynamo, offers a tale about a strange series of phenomena from his boyhood, and a half-dozen more writers present some of their best work.


The Green Dragon Courant: