Monday, March 30, 2009

Speed to market IRRELEVANT in book publishing

Motoko Rich's piece in today's NYT points out that book publishers are accelerating the schedule on more titles than ever before. I would be interested to see any correlation between speed to market and unit sales. The Warren Commission Report, the Pentagon Papers, the Nixon/Watergate transcripts come to mind as selling furiously for a few weeks. But - one of the bestselling books of the past 6 months - Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals - was published 4 years ago (and tells a 130 year old story). People "hire" a book to do a job - contextualize, entertain, teach ( I agree with Ann Godoff). It's great to wring a little extra revenue from a ms. by making the ebook available early - but the focus on jamming books out into the market that publishers think will sell because of current events is another example of "doing something to do something".