Posted on 2014-Jan-22
Following the internal turmoil Barnes and Noble has revealed to the public recently, the latest update on the executive’s path is not strewn with rose petals. If the ongoing sales decline is an indicator of anything, now it takes a toll on their executive management. On the other side of the blogosphere, Steven Zacharius’s discussion with indie authors has generated heated debate how traditional publishing houses can help authors to publish books. While he insists on expressing his views from where he’s coming from, indie authors spontaneously address challenges that the publishing industry is facing and how they solve problems on their own.
Executive Management’s Resignation at B&N
Barnes and Noble hits the headlines to announce the latest update on Nook Division. Due to a string of resignations that have plagued the bookseller, Jim Hilt along with Jamie Iannone and Bill Saperstein are all company’s executives who decided to jump ship not long after the holiday sales decline and store closures have been reported in this press release. Their positions are head of global eBook sales, digital products director, and VP of digital products.
In its CEO’s own words, “Sales in the NOOK segment declined year-over-year largely because during the previous holiday season the company introduced two new tablet products, while no new tablets were introduced this year. Instead, we executed our plan to sell through our existing high-quality devices," Michael P. Huseby said.
According to The Bookseller, Marry Ellen Keating, SVP of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs released the statement that confirms Bill Saperstein’s resignation and Jim Hilt’s decision to leave in February yet the company will “aggressively drive revenue growth.” Needless to say both Bill Saperstein and Jim Hilt will be replaced by “the new NOOK management team” such as the newly hired Mahesh Veerina, Chief Operating Officer of NOOK Media, and Doug Carlson, EVP of Digital Content and Marketing.
Steven Zacharius’ Response to Self-Published Authors
If you have not heard anything about Kensington Books before, Steven Zacharius, its CEO, takes to several blogs where he has responded to numerous authors why traditionally published authors should not reveal their earnings. Chris Meadows of TeleRead blogs a good write-up that captures how Steven’s response caused a major stir on The Passive Voice among indie authors who have provided him with extensive information how they can publish independently and profitably. Having represented his traditional roots, Steven defends his profession working with his authors and encourages his respondents to contact him directly. However, the comments in different forums paint a different picture about authors being published through Kensington: they hardly gain extra benefits, especially in terms of editing feedback. One of the best examples that illustrates what it was like to be a Kensington author was from historical romance author Anthea Lawson who made a comparison between her traditionally published and self-published book. The traditional publishing route fails her expectations financially and professionally, whereas independent publishing enables her to impose a rigorous control of her publishing process. Although she was disappointed by the quality produced by the publishing team, she has the foreign rights department to thank for their hard work to increase her advance up to 5k a book. Lastly, she admires that Steven has taken the time to talk to authors about their experience with Kensington. Regardless, traditional publishing has become the stepping stone for her to “go indie” with a nice smile.
Bad signals from Barnes and Noble start to reemerge following the company’s disappointing holiday sales. A string of high turnover hits the company hard in such a bad timing now that the two executives have left and another one leaving next month. While it remains to be seen how new recruitment can drive revenue growth, hopefully the existing high-quality devices will save the day and solve their internal issues.
The discussion between Steven Zacharius and indie authors has opened doors to so many opportunities for both sides to exchange views and data. It is an indication that the publishing industry has much to learn from their own authors how they deserve to be rewarded while indie authors can learn to coexist with publishers in case they need extra help to become a hybrid author. Anthea Lawson and her fellow traditional authors’ inputs help shape up the current publishing obstacles that they are facing yet confirm other indie authors to keep doing what they do. As long as readers hold the key to judging each book’s success, being an experienced author will make you realize how you can benefit from going indie and producing a high-quality book with professional assistance and financial reassurance.
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