By Lori Hope Baumel
Originally appeared in Around Wellington Magazine on January 1, 2014
Video preview of the Miami Book Fair International 2013…
See the MBFI video! Go to: http://youtu.be/Q7DqJFSRuww
Video photos courtesy of MBFI 2013
Readers from all over the world with authors from all over the world will meet, talk and share ideas.
Yes, readers, “Wellyworld” is a comfortable, beautiful place to live and play. For the first time, as your cultural arts columnist, I am going to give you a very good reason to cross the county line. Download an audiobook to play in the car while you head south to the Miami Book Fair International (MBFI). The MBFI is the oldest and largest gathering of authors coming from all over the world with an attendance of 250,000 people of all ages over a period of 8 days. Thus far, such luminaries have confirmed their attendance:
Dan Brown, Angelica Huston, Reza Aslan, Dave Barry, Christopher Kenneally, David Kirk, Paul Pope, Karen Russell, Darrell Hammond, Nikki Giovanni, Richard Russo, Roy Blount, Russell Banks, Wally Lamb, Amy Tan, Cristina Garcia, Patricia Volk, Pat Conroy, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Edna Buchanan, Tom Healy, Patricia Engel, James Reston, Ann Hood, MK Asante, Dr. Paul Farmer, Erica Jong, Jennifer Weiner, Ben Katchor, Adam Mansbach, Geoff Dyer, Mark Halperin, Brad Meltzer, Lori Roy, Mitch Albom, Jamaica Kinkaid, Diane Ladd, Robert Pinsky, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many, many more.
It’s important to reserve your tickets now! The prices are reasonable and many of the ticketed events are free. There are programs, concerts and activities for the entire family. For information about the week-long event go to:
Also featured will be Generation Genius, Destination: Comics and much, much more…
For more info go to: http://www.miamibookfair.com/events/childrensalley/default.aspx
For more info go to: http://www.miamibookfair.com/events/destinationcomics/default.aspx
A Conversation with Christopher Kenneally
“This is a story about a business – the book business. This is the story about a court case – and in America we do our court cases very well. This is really a story about human folly. This isn’t Athens verses Sparta. But when you really get down to it, Apple verses Amazon is the Athens verses Sparta of our day.”
– Christopher Kenneally
“Christopher Kenneally is the host and producer of the Copyright Clearance Center’s (CCC) weekly podcast series, Beyond the Book, and for OnCopyright Education, CCC’s Educational Services brand, he presents a variety of programs on copyright and intellectual property issues. As a freelance journalist, Christopher Kenneally reported on education, business, travel, culture and technology for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and The Independent of London, among many other publications. He also reported for WBUR-FM (Boston), National Public Radio, and WGBH-TV (PBS-Boston). Mr. Kenneally is also the author of Massachusetts 101 (Applewood Books), a history of the state “from Redcoats to Red Sox” – CCC website
Mr. Kenneally will be moderating After the Apple e-Book Decision: The New World of Book Publishing and Book Selling at the Miami Book Fair International on November 23 at 2:30 PM along with Andrew Albanese and Oren Teicher. Recently, I was fortunate to interview Mr. Kenneally about his upcoming panel discussion:
LHB: What attracted you to attend the upcoming Miami Book Fair International and to lead the panel discussion on the Apple e-book court decision?
CK: Copyright Clearance Center and I have attended and presented at the book fair for a number of years now. I believe we began working with the fair organizers in 2005, if my memory serves me, and, over time we’ve presented a number of programs that are very much about what’s in the news. We always try to come up with a program that will be newsworthy and also devoted to readers.
What really impresses me about the Miami Book Fair is that this is a reader’s book fair. So many other book-publishing events are for the trade as they say; they’re for publishers, authors, for the insiders, “the inner sanctum,” if you will. My feeling is that what Andrew Albanese and Oren Teicher have to say about the case and its implications for the book business will be [of great interest].
People get into book publishing, not just to publish books, but to sell books. What we’re seeing today is a real revolution in the way that books are sold, in the kinds of value the people place in the book as an object and what does it mean when a book isn’t on your shelf any longer, but in your e-book reader? These are things that have changed the way we all read. These are questions we’ll ask that we really do not yet have the answers to. These are things that have changed the way we all read. Now the fact is, and this is a good thing to emphasize: people are reading more than ever. We’re seeing more books published than ever. We’re seeing more people buying, downloading and reading. So reading is doing great!
What we have to look at is: how are authors and publishers doing? How are booksellers, bookstores… how are they doing? They’re part of that whole ecosystem. Without the bookstores, without the successful publishers and authors, readers could be deprived of some really great stuff to read.
LHB: This is an in-depth subject that can be debated for hours. I know that I, personally, love Apple products. You are going to have a lot of people going in that loved Steve Jobs and those who hate the amount of control he wanted. Therefore, are you delegating members of your panel to present both sides of the debate?
CK: The happy role I have is to ask the kind of questions that the people in the audience are asking themselves. I’m a journalist by background and very keen to get to the bottom of things, so I think it’s a fair question to ask. Andrew is a colleague and a journalist and I believe that he does his very best, as anybody would, to present the many sides… there are not just two sides. It’s not like Apple verses Amazon or that kind of thing. This isn’t a heavyweight grudge match. This is a story that’s a very complicated story with layer upon layer of players with people’s personalities as much as their professions involved.
It’s my own feeling that what drove some of the publishers to think that they could get away from Amazon was essentially a real personal matter. They held a grudge. They saw their business under attack from Amazon and they thought they could fight back. This is my own personal opinion. That kind of hubris led some of the people involved to do things that, I have no doubt, they regret today. That itself is a real human story.
This is a story about a business – the book business. This is the story about a court case – and in America we do our court cases very well. This is really a story about human folly. This isn’t Athens verses Sparta. But when you really get down to it, Apple verses Amazon is the Athens verses Sparta of our day.
LHB: Despite the lawsuit, do you think that e-books are good or ill for publishing?
CK: E-books are very good for the publishing industry. My feeling is, as a journalist, I have to believe in the first amendment first. I believe in freedom of expression and the opportunity that every human being should have to express themselves. Today, because of technology, you can realize your dream to express yourself so much easier and so much more directly than one ever could in the history of the world. That is a wonderful thing. We have more people writing today than ever before. Writing is in great shape. Reading is in great shape. However, this raises a whole wrath of questions about the business.
LHB: I wonder how you feel about the freedom of commerce, the freedom to sell products at the rate you choose to sell them? It is my understanding that Apple wanted to keep the prices up. They were forcing the hand of the publishers.
CK: That’s correct, you’re right. That is a complicated matter. I think that when it comes to what people will pay for a book today, there is no doubt, I mean the evidence is clear, that they will pay and want to pay less for a digital book, for an e-book, than they want to pay for a print book.
LHB: And the theory is that you don’t have to ship it or print it… there has to be some kind of discount for not having that book in your hand.
CK: That’s right.
LHB: On the other hand, you said that people are reading more. So isn’t that the goal?
CK: It’s going to be hard. There’s no question about it. The fact of the matter is, that while we may guarantee freedom of expression in this country, we don’t guarantee a business model for people. What’s happened is the business model has come under pressure and I don’t know any business that is invulnerable to the kinds of economic pressures that the Internet is bringing. Every business, every single business including your business as a journalist and musician, my business as a writer, any business one can think of has really kind of…
LHB: Forever changed.
CK: Forever changed, exactly.
LHB: As an author, what does this settlement or case mean for you? Bottom line… How does it affect authors and readers in general?
CK: The case was fought about competition. The case was brought by the Department of Justice to promote competition. In the economic world we live in, more competition, in general, drives down price. I believe authors should expect to see the price for e-books to fall. So, that’s a bonus for readers. That’s why the case was brought. For authors that’s tough. But again, unfortunately, this isn’t France where you can guarantee things to people by law. We don’t do that here.
LHB: Is it the same for self-published authors?
CK: I think so, absolutely. I believe that because of the downward pressure on price and because the market is seeing so many more titles, the traditional contract between publisher and author looks less and less attractive all the time. Self-published authors can go into business for themselves. They get to keep more money and they have the control over the work that they wouldn’t have in a more traditional environment. I believe we’ll see the ranks of self-published authors grow over time. Authors looking to maximize their potential “profit” will see the deal that’s being offered them in self-publishing is simply a better deal.
Are you due for a rebate? 23 million customers of Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, and Sony have been directly noticed via e-mail or by postcard that they are eligible to participate in the settlement. To learn more go to:
To hear more about the Apple e-book decision listen to:
Choose your topic! For a plethora of podcasts about e-books go to:
* This article is Part I of a two-part preview of the MBFI. Later this week we will feature interviews with South Florida author Brad Meltzer and poet Julia Wade.