The Shatzkin Files

Publishers adding value on the marketing side

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Obviously my day job, consulting, informs a lot of what goes into The Shatzkin Files. I guess it is just as obvious that I can’t quote everybody who tells me something or attribute everything I want to write about to a specific company or individual. I don’t make a living writing this blog and I wouldn’t make a living at all if people in the industry couldn’t trust me to keep their confidences.

But once in a while people inside competitive companies tell me things that they want the world of publishing to know about what they’re doing. That’s happened twice this week and, in both cases, publishers were making it very clear that they are doing things that will add real value to authors’ marketing efforts, things that no self-publishing author could do for themselves. Self-publishing authors could be wrong, but a read through the comment string of a recent post here makes it clear that they don’t much believe publishers add value in marketing.

On Monday, I was talking to Fritz Foy, the senior VP for Digital Publishing and Strategic Technology at Macmillan. My mission was to recruit speakers from Macmillan for Digital Book World. The conversation turned to the question of “collecting names” for marketing purposes. I had learned previously that Macmillan really has a company-wide effort to do that. That’s something I have advocated. I thought it was so important that I went to the unusual (for me) effort of learning some fundamentals of direct contact management and writing about them on the blog 14 months ago. But Macmillan is the only company I’m aware of that makes email address capture an objective across the company, although we see pockets of name-gathering activity in other majors.

Fritz emphasized that collecting names wasn’t the only priority. Using them, using them well, and tracking what happened when they used them were the keys. (I was reminded, as I was again by the next conversation I’ll describe, of the adage “you can’t improve what you don’t measure”.) To demonstrate, he pulled some October numbers from, which one would assume, based on the relatively longstanding effort, probably constitutes the company’s biggest single pool of email addresses.

And they had a lot of them, enough to have sent over 650,000 emails to their lists in the month of October. That’s impressive. But what’s positively stunning is that more than 30% of those emails got opened (that’s more than 200,000) and more than 20% of those clicked through: took the action that Macmillan asked them to take in the email. That’s in the neighborhood of 40,000 actions.

Now the actions were, for the most part, to get free access to more content. (Only 15% of the mailings were purely “marketing”.) They weren’t selling anything. But what Fritz was demonstrating was the growth of what I call “investment marketing”: marketing that produces a result that makes subsequent marketing efforts cheaper or more productive. These numbers are going to grow, inexorably. Another indication of how solid Macmillan’s lists are is that only 0.1% unsubscribed!

If I were an author (or agent) looking for a sci-fi publisher, it would impress me that Macmillan has lists that get a 30% open rate. It would make me feel they could do things to promote my book that another publisher without those lists couldn’t do. I don’t know what the growth rate is on those lists, but most things (sales, device penetration, self-publishing) in the digital publishing world have been more than doubling each year and these could well be too.

The key point to take on board here is that is a flagship; Macmillan is doing this across their company. They are building other verticals as well. If other publishers aren’t systematically taking names, getting email permissions, and testing what can be done with them, Macmillan will build up marketing capabilities that it will get increasingly expensive to compete against.

There is little doubt that Amazon’s author-recruitment efforts for their imprints include the promise to mail to known buyers in the author’s genre. They almost certainly can send more than 600,000 emails in a month for many books and genres. But can they get a 30% open rate and a 20% clickthrough?

And Amazon, a retailer, can’t get trapped into just pushing the books it signs up when their consumer brand, and their sales, depend on offering full range of selection of available titles across publishers’ lists. That conflict is compounded as they sign up more and more titles as proprietary. (But it will also be ameliorated if the titles they sign are higher profile than they’ve been so far.)

The day may not be far off when agents are going to be asking publishers “how many emails can you send in support of this book on publication day?” If I were in Amazon’s shoes, I’d be pushing that question. It looks like Macmillan is methodically building the ability to provide an answer.

But not everybody with a modern view of marketing agrees with me (and Macmillan) about the importance of name-gathering, which brings us to the second conversation this week.

We got a call from Open Road Integrated Media asking us to come down to their shop and learn a bit about what they’re doing. Open Road is an ebook publishing company founded by former Harper CEO Jane Friedman which has been an annoyance to the big publishers. Jane has been in the business for more than four decades in high positions at major houses (at Random House before Harper). She knows the agents and she knows how the game of signing up content works.

So she moved against the establishment by offering a standard deal of a 50% share of ebook revenues, when the major publishers are holding the line at 25%. (Open Road’s deal includes the ability to recoup one-half the digitization cost before paying what we usually call royalties but which they call “profit share”. ORIM says that comes to less than $500 per title. Open Road pays no advances.) She used her understanding of the ambiguities in legacy publishing contracts to sign up backlists from both living authors and estates, including Willam Styron, Lawrence Block, Carl Hiaasen, Alice Walker, and others.

Those have been the headlines about Open Road and that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of their proposition. Without any other knowledge of their economics — their ability to raise money, their burn rate, their sales — I was skeptical about the sustainability of their model, if it rested primarily on paying 50% for what others were paying 25% for and gathering high-quality backlist of titles not nailed down already for ebooks, which is a limited resource.

It turns out they have a lot more going for them than that. But they don’t gather names.

Open Road’s head marketer is Rachel Chou, who worked with Jane Friedman at Harper. Jane and Rachel, and former Scholastic CEO Barbara Marcus, who is an advisor to Open Road on children’s and YA acquisitions, made the point that Open Road is a marketing company. That’s what they do. And their bullpen with about a dozen people in cubicles working away is just about exclusively devoted to marketing. Except that, in their eyes, marketing and sales and author relations are all the same thing to them, and they see a workflow built around that perception as a key differentiator.

In fact, they see the consolidation of functions in their shop as a significant competitive advantage. In the ebook world, marketing and sales are so closely related that it is hard to see how to parse them. That’s partly because the promotions by ebook retailers could be the single most important marketing component (a point made emphatically by Diversion Books’ Scott Waxman at our eBooks for Everyone Else shows in New York and San Francisco), but it is also because all marketing efforts at Open Road are aimed at driving sales to the ebook retailers. (Their widgets all have buy buttons for the full range of retailer choices.)

But that’s not where the competitive advantage of their structure comes into play.

Rachel spelled that out. One of the major retailers came to them in the past few weeks with a big sales opportunity. They could place 15 Open Road titles in a major promotion that would sell a lot of books. One catch: they needed the titles cleared for the promotion within 24 hours.

Another catch that is characteristic of the ebook world: this was a price promotion that required clearing the participation of each book with its agent. That’s 15 agents. Rachel and her team of marketers, who have the agents of the Open Road ebooks on their own speed-dials, got the job done and got all 15 books into the promotion.

Moving that fast would be a non-starter in any significant publishing house. Whether the opportunity came in through sales or marketing, neither team would own the agent relationships. I believe in most houses it would be necessary to have the agent calls made by the editor who had signed the book. Certainly, the editor would have to be consulted before anybody from marketing or sales could make such a call. And that round of communication, which would include explaining the promotion opportunity to each of the affected editors, would never be attempted within a 24-hour window. Realistically, 24 days would be a challenge.

Open Road is organized differently than legacy publishers because there is so much they don’t have to do! There is very little in the way of a production department (there is a person who creates their covers and Pablo Defendini, who was a key player building Macmillan’s, is their “interactive producer”.) There is no sales department. There is no inventory management. Everybody works in a room that is dominated by a wall with a 2-month marketing calendar, listing all the events and anniversaries they might promote around. They have 75% or 80% of their company dedicated to marketing, which everybody — including all the big publishers who have expressed an opinion to me — agrees is the prime responsibility of the book publisher in the digital era.

But, even within that, Open Road is organized for efficiency and speed based on the realities of the value chain for ebooks. Their marketers are assigned books which “fit together”, so they are consistently going back to the same blogs and websites for promotion. They can develop relationships. They’re not really a “vertical” publisher (by genre or by topic) but they do have multiple titles from the same author, which helps.

To be fair, the other major publishers are reorganizing themselves constantly into more marketing-focused and less bureaucratic organizations. Just this past week, Simon & Schuster announced organizational changes which effectively shift resources from physical store sales to online marketing (which is admittedly an oversimplification.) The big companies all have great leadership and they’re well aware that they have to change. And I know for sure there are plenty of initiatives I haven’t heard about because the houses feel there’s competitive advantage to keeping them quiet. In fact, Rachel Chou told me about newsletters that are published readers at HarperCollins were getting open rates when she was there a couple of years ago that were even higher than Fritz’s numbers in October!

Open Road’s team would point to other distinctions between them and other publishers. (They not only claim to be different from the legacy print publishers, they don’t recognize any of the other ebook publishers as true competitors either.) They do extensive video interviews with every author (or a descendant in the case of a deceased author) which creates a rich library of video content. It’s a point of pride with ORIM that these are not fodder for video trailers, but give them real editorial material that can be made into solid programming, often combining video from several authors thematically into “mashups”. They distribute that video aggressively and claim they’ve now reached the point where they’re a recognized B2B brand by some digital media and bloggers who come to the Open Road website, unbidden, to pick up video. Of course, all the video is tagged so the Open Road marketers can track its placement, downloads, and any clickthroughs that result to the retailers.

And that leads us to metrics. Open Road is relentless about data and analytics. They make the point that they can test different covers or tag lines on Facebook or in other media and have answers within hours about what works best. The Open Road team believes that the big houses don’t give their marketers the kind of tools ORIM has to measure the impact of campaigns and that their competitors’ corporate structures don’t enable fast changes in the pitch or the artwork based on data.

These may not be sustainable advantages. Tools can be provided. Workflows can be changed to permit faster responses when that’s necessary. The established houses can raise their royalty rates. How fast things will change in the big houses is an open question (and the answer is different for every house), but it is undeniable that the decision-making structures that worked for print books readily accepted time lags that are a real handicap in the evolving ebook world.

Jane Friedman and her team claim that there is a marketing plan for every book for every quarter! (They admit there’s some ganging there; a bunch of different books might be part of the same Mother’s Day effort.) Whether that is scaleable and replicable when they are ten times their current size (approximately 1400 titles) is another question. But it is certainly a point of differentiation today.

Open Road doesn’t sell direct, only through intermediaries. And they eschew name and email address capture of end users, preferring to rely on the combination of the viral distribution of content and their always-developing relationships with bloggers and websites.

Both Macmillan and Open Road are doing things that no big trade house could have imagined five years ago. Macmillan is applying scale; Open Road is applying the speed and flexibility enabled by a smaller organization. But both of them are employing what I’d call “investment marketing”: doing things on behalf of their books that build their capabilities to do more on behalf of subsequent books. I think that’s the key for publishers who want to give authors and agents convincing reasons to publish with them in the future.

We’ll do a panel on “investment marketing” at Digital Book World in January. Of course, Open Road and Macmillan will be on it. So will F+W Media, a vertical publisher (investment marketing is much more natural for vertial publishers) and we expect to add one more Big Six house which is doing interesting things in this regard.

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  • Chris

    Interesting info on Open Road. 

    So, 30% gross (company and author) after Amazon receipts (assuming the majority of their sales come through that channel). 1400 titles, a dozen staff… yeah, I do wonder if this is sustainable and scalable too. Begins to look a bit thin once the spread increases.

    Good effort, though. At least Jane Friedman is willing to challenge the notion of what a traditional publishing house is.

    However, I still think this model is going to continue to face massive disruption for some time to come. 

    • My hunch is that they sell Amazon on wholesale terms getting 50% of their “suggested retail price” which doesn’t need to be Amazon’s price. It is almost certainly less than that most of the time.


      • Chris

        I keep forgetting that wholesale is still industry norm!

      • Actually, Chris, *hybrid* is the “industry norm.” Amazon will only do wholesale (except for the Big Six and KDP authors.) Apple will only do agency. You want to do business with both of them, and most people do, you do both, even though they conflict.

        Nice, hnh?


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  • Mike
    your thorough, in-depth coverage in this area is tops – and an extraordinary service to us on the many edges of this fast evolving world of publishing…. as a former journalist and an author of three books (years ago) with an interest in interactive books I eagerly turn to each new post you offer and am telling others … note to other readers, no i  am not his mother or sister:-)

    • Kare, thanks so much for taking the time to say that.


  • The expert voice in marketing is Seth Godin. If you’re going to try and compete with Seth I would include what he has to say in your posts. 

    The latest is Seth and Leo’s juicy interview with lots of learnings (is learnings a word?) about the Domino Project and the book business, happily shared: On The Domino Project and on Zen Habits

    Take care Mike and keep on going. I will certainly continue to read you.

    • Chris

      Thanks for the link, Michael. I’m avid follower of Godin’s but I had missed this interview.

  • Mike —

    As always, you’re at the cutting edge of ebook publishing and marketing.  I love reading your stuff.

    A couple of random comments about the two publishers you reference in your article:

    1) Last spring I was at a family reunion and talked to the husband of one of my cousins — a guy who has a Nook and is an enthusiastic genre reader (mostly sci-fi/fantasy and thrillers).  Without thinking I asked a classically stupid question only someone who’s worked in publishing would think to ask someone who hasn’t: “What sci-fi publishers do you read?  How about Tor?”  Of course he had never heard of Tor and couldn’t tell me who published any of the books he scarfs down like candy bars.  I suppose all Tor can do is keep growing their email list and not worry about such types, but aren’t they far and away the most common, whether they’re genre readers or not?

    (A related observation: got my Kindle Fire yesterday and after downloading the sample of Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography couldn’t help noticing that at the outset Simon & Schuster has a thank you page that encourages you to “Sign up for our newsletter and receive special offers, access to bonus content, and info on the latest new releases and other great eBooks from Simon & Schuster.”  There’s also a big red Sign Up Here button that on the Fire is actually clickable … except I just pressed it and was taken to an S&S web page displaying the embarrassing query “Looking for something? Sorry, the page you’ve requested has been moved or taken off the site.”) Oops.

    2) I read my first Open Road Media book last summer: its unexpurgated edition of James Jones’s *From Here to Eternity*.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, but was frustrated by a couple of niggling issues:

    A) An unexpurgated ebook edition seemed like the perfect vehicle to allow readers to see what had been censored and what not — ideally with an on/off preferences setting that would highlight restored text.  There was no such feature, though I guess we’re still in the ereader stone age and adding such a capability would have been nontrivial.  Still, the book included an afterword that offered only superficial details on what was restored … including reference to an extraordinary number of profanities that were expunged the first go round for what seemed to be no other reason than Scribners’ squeamishness.

    B) The text was marred by a fairly large number of typos, including at least one I can still recall that was clearly generated by underperforming OCR software — the word “liable” had been turned into the nonword “hable”.  I’m under the impression the book was scanned from a manuscript, which would make goofs like these understandable if not entirely forgivable.  On the other hand there was an instance of a character’s name being misspelled — Mazzioli became Mazioli — that I suspect may have been carried over uncorrected from that same manuscript.  Either way, it would be nice if Open Road could spend a little less on their video interviews and crack marketing and a little more on the tedious business of proofreading.  (Not that these lapses actually spoiled my reading.  Indeed, Jones’s novel is so full of rich details about Hawaii that I began to envision another kind of ebook edition — one that embedded contemporary photographs of many of the places Jones lovingly weaves into his narrative.  As a novel it rivals Joyce’s *Ulysses* for geographic specificity.)

    • Chris

      Consider the S&S big red sign-up button stolen.

      Thanks for creating more work for me! 🙂

    • Great comment. Thanks.

      Open Road is a young company. Their focus and investment has been on marketing. In fact, Rachel made the point when we talked that their marketing engine was the core “system” for their company. They weren’t working around what the warehouse needed, or what the editorial department needed. Just to say that refining their editorial quality controls might just happen slower…

      What S&S is doing (and I’m sure they’ll get that web page fixed!) is something I’ve been expecting for a long time (and it suggests a name-gathering operation over there, doesn’t it?)

      I love your editorial imagination about From Here to Eternity. I’m sure there’s a way to do it, but it might really escalate the cost. Might be something they could do as a follow-on at a higher price.


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  • Great post, Mike. Thank  you. These two approaches to marketing realities in the digital age (Open Road / Macmillan) speak to just some of the opportunities emerging. Open Road, with it’s investment in a “just in time” infrastructure for direct marketing and Macmillan’s investment in customer acquisition, are bookmarks, in a way. One is an investment in agility, the other in old-time “life-time” value of direct customers. Without meaning to knock my friends at Open Road, I would say one of the key differences between these two overall strategies is one of burn-rate vs. attributable contribution to overhead. Who can say which strategy makes more sense in the end.

    • Peter, I’m not sure you meant to suggest this, but I’m not sure it’s either-or. I believe that if Open Road made the decision to invest in a direct-marketing capability, they’d find it enhanced everything else they did. And it will obviously benefit major publishers as they reconfigure to adjust to the new realities. One thing that neither of these address, which will become part of the mix, is putting produc-creation capabilities into the hands of your marketers.

      Anyhow, I think everybody can learn from everybody else and everybody should probably be doing everything that works, in different amounts for different groups of books.


      • Thanks for all the amazing comments. I wanted to clarify that we strongly believe in using newsletters. Having run the newsletter program at HC for a few years I can personally say they should be included in all publishers’ marketing plans. We have one newsletter currently and are working on our first mystery newsletter. Look forward to giving you more details in the new year! RC

      • Thanks, Rachel. Of course, publishing newsletters inevitably means collecting names! So whether that is part of a larger program or not, it is clearly on your roadmap.

        I suspect most publishers are doing *something *in the vein of newsletters.

  • Claude Nougat

    Great post, Mike, as always I enjoy reading you. I’m not surprised though that the traditional publishing world is waking up to the opportunities in the digital age. Growing one’s list of names for a newsletter (or whatever else one wants to push) like Macmillan does makes a lot of sense, but it’s only a first step.

    It looks like Open Road jumped to the second step (focus on marketing campaigns). Obviously the two approaches should be meshed.

    I have no doubts at all that legacy publishers will do so, some sooner, some later but they will all eventually do so. And being teams (as opposed to Indie authors who are always a one-man show), they certainly have an advantage.

    But I always felt when it came to marketing that traditional publishers had a serious advantage over self-published authors though in this post you don’t mention it (perhaps you talked about it in another post? If so, I missed it, sorry). And it is this: they have contacts in the press with major literary critics, they participate in bestseller lists on major newspapers, they can upload books to compete in national book prizes, chief among them the Pulitzer. These are all essential marketing tools that are not available to Indies…

    • Claude, I haven’t called out the high-level contacts advantage that major and other legacy publishers have and you’re right, it’s a substantial edge that shouldn’t be ignored.

      I have to say that every day I realize that the knowledge and brainpower of my readership is one of this blog’s greatest assets! Thanks.


  • Perhaps you can answer a question I’ve had.  I buy a lot of books, perhaps $4000 per year and am now buying almost exclusively ebooks and audiobooks (Audible).  I’m also fairly price sensitive so on Audible I buy 24 credits at once and get all my books for about $10.00 each. I also track ebook prices at which has a neat feature of showing how the price of an ebook changes over time. What puzzles me is the seeming randomness of price changes.  Picking a book at random (Banquo’s Ghosts) it was initially priced at $6.18 on May 25, 2011, then spiked to $6.29 in August, dropping below $6.00 for a brief period of time, also in August, then beginning a precipitous fall in October with a brief spike in the price for a couple of days, plateauing at prices only briefly before falling to its current price of $4.54.  In the case of some history books I’m watching, they started fairly high, around $20+ (sometimes higher than the paperback — I will NEVER, ever, pay more for an ebook than the paperback price)  The price might fall a small amount only to sometimes go above the original starting price.  So who is managing all these price fluctuations?  Some little gnome in front of a computer somewhere? and what is the rationale for such small changes?

    • Eric, all price movement on the Big Six (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster) is controlled by the publisher. That’s how agency pricing works. All other price movement is done by the retailer, although sometimes that might be in concert with the publisher. I suspect much of the price movement by the retailers is driven by spiders and algorithms: looking at what prices are elsewhere and moving prices to suit.


  • Chad

    As a reader, these marketing techniques from publishers have zero impact on what I buy.  In all honesty, I can’t ever remember seeing anything like this and I’m all over the internet every day and signed up to numerous sites.

    The only site that influences me at all is Amazon.  Every now and then I take a look at something they feature.  If a publisher couldn’t guarantee me to be featured on Amazon or B&N I wouldn’t sign if I were an author.  The rest of their so called marketing is just useless.

    Direct email marketing?  Click through rates?  What is this 2002?  Is the Nigerian Prince running these companies?

    • Chad, generalizing from one’s own experience is what is known as a “mother-in-law survey”. They’re dangerous to rely on. Very few of us are typical of more than a sliver of humanity with our own behavior.

      In fact, generalizing from one’s own experience is really the way the book business has worked forever until now. Some of us think the use of data to make decisions constitutes a step forward. Certainly Amazon, whose power you seem to accept, is highly data-driven in the way they run their business. You can be sure that they are cognizant of the value of both “direct email marketing” and measuring “click-thru rates”.


      • Chad

        Yes, I know it is only one statistical point, but Peter Lynch made a nice living by using his lone data point to kickstart his investment ideas (of course, he eventually managed more money than their were good ideas).

        I also know that not once has anyone in my life forwarded me an email or mentioned an email from which they have purchased something through.  While, I’m sure it happened a few times, I’m not sure it’s a great model for anything but some doodad that was made in China for $.10 and sold for $19.99. 

        As someone who has been part of a variety (professional service firms, retail, mass production) of businesses in their career the percentage being given up for “direct email marketing” and pseudo “click-thru rates” (all depends on how you count this kind of stuff and no one is probably telling how) don’t seem to be worth the percentage the author gives up.  Obviously, I’m making some guesses as the real numbers aren’t available, but it’s hard to see how this works in the authors favor.

      • It would work in the author’s favor if the publisher could let tens of thousands of people know they’re book existed because the publisher had their email addresses and it was confirmed that they’d open and read the emails the publisher sent. That doesn’t seem complicated to me.

        Whether it is adequate compensation for the publisher’s share or not is another question; depends on the details. But publishers building these capabilities are certainly on the road to being able to create some value and those that don’t are not.


      • Chad

        This isn’t 2 seperate questions, as the ONLY thing that matters is how much the author makes (adequate compensation).  Maybe more people knowing sells more at a lower percentage for the author and maybe not, but that is just a variable in the equation not the answer.  I don’t care if 10,000 or 10 million people have heard of my book if I end up with the same total dollars in the end (yes, this is an extreme example done on purpose).

        It should also be noted that an author can perform the direct email function themselves through various companies that provide this for a flat fee.  Sure, it might not be as targeted as a big publisher’s internal list, but they aren’t taking a huge percentage of sales either.

      • Chad, “performing the email function” doesn’t just mean having access to a service that will send out emails.

        And awareness does translate into sales.

        Sure, the question of “how much additional sales” versus “how much of a cut are you taking” has to be answered. I am pretty certain there are more authors than can benefit from a publisher than there are authors who can successfully do these things for themselves. You may be one of the latter. Good for you, but that doesn’t mean the truth of your experience is universal.


      • Chad

        And, it doesn’t mean it couldn’t be universal.

  • JS

    I’m sorry but this post completely misrepresents the capabilities of the big houses. I’m a marketing director at Random House (what follows is my personal opinion) and we’re doing all of this – huge vertical sites, A/B testing on social media advertising, giant targeted email lists. We can and DO turn around those kinds of promotional approvals all the time. Better yet – we plan far enough ahead to not need to scramble for author approval within 24 hours! Years ago, marketing didn’t communicate directly with authors and agents but that time passed half a decade ago.
    It seems en vogue to assume that big houses are out of touch and sitting idly by while ebooks eat our lunch but it’s just not true. We’re adapting and innovating extremely quickly!

    • It is never my intention to sell the major houses short. I’m delighted to get your post. But I can tell you that I had a conversation today with somebody else from the Big Six who didn’t suggest I had the generalization wrong. So Random House may be in the avant garde here.

      One thing, though. Nobody could have planned past the opportunity I discussed in the piece. Open Road was presented with it by the account on 24 hours notice. It was something that materialized out of the retailer’s shop and which no publisher could have planned on.

      The main point to the post is that publishers do things that authors can’t do for themselves. So I’m happy to get additional confirmation that the main point is true.


  • Operating marketing as a profit center beats operating marketing as a cost center.

    From 1998 book The Genius of the System — Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era:

    [the TV show] was an instant hit, and in early 1955 its popularity
    was peaking . . . all the weekly Disneyland segments . . . were designed to
    promote an area of the recently completed theme park . . . The
    [Hollywood] movie bosses were impressed by the general quality of
    Disneyland, and also with the framework it provided for recycling old
    product. But more than anything else, what impressed them was the
    promotional angle. They saw Disneyland as a sustained advertisement
    for the studio, the new amusement park, and the upcoming Disney

    From a March 1, 2004 article in Newsweek magazine:

    hardly a secret that, in addition to being a reality-TV show, ‘The
    Apprentice’ is also a 15-episode infomercial for Trump himself.
    What’s the reward for winning each week? A visit to Trump’s golf
    course (‘The finest course in New York state!’), his country home
    (‘The most beautiful house in New York state!’) and, the piece de
    resistance, his Trump Tower apartment, complete with a marble
    fountain the size of a minivan in the living room. Is it cheesy? Of
    course, but that’s part of the fun. A few years ago we would have
    loathed the self-promotion. But, once again, Trump’s timing is
    perfect. Product placement is practically mandatory on television
    now, and when it’s done as artfully (and shamelessly) as on ‘The
    Apprentice,’ you can’t help admiring the deft salesmanship.” 

    It can be expected, then, that the basis of competition in publishing will shift largely to managing and evolving a portfolio of publisher-owned ebooks that are designed to showcase clients’ ebooks.

    Enter serial novel Eisenhower of The Jobs War, being shopped now.



    “Of the 7 billion people on Earth, there are 5 billion adults aged 15
    and older. Of these 5 billion, 3 billion tell Gallup they work or want
    to work. . . . there are currently only 1.2 billion full-time, formal
    jobs in the world.”

    2011 book The Coming Jobs War, by Gallup CEO Jim Clifton

    “The central fact about Dwight David Eisenhower is that he accepted
    the responsibility for making pivotal decisions at critical points in
    the history of his nation and the western alliance. The most dramatic
    of those decisions, and the ones for which he had consciously prepared himself throughout a long military career [my emphasis],
    produced the Allied victory in Europe in 1945.”

    1990 booklet prepared by the U.S. Army Center of Military History

    “[Author of this novel] Frank [Ruscica], you are a good man. Have
    you thought about joining this team? Your only alternative, of course,
    is venture capital. But their usual models require getting rid of the
    ‘originator’ within the first eighteen months.”

    1998 e-mail from Randy Hinrichs, then the manager of the Learning Sciences and Technology Group at Microsoft Research

    “Frank, I just spent about an hour surfing around [your business plan] with a bit of amazement.

    . . . I guess I’m mostly just fascinated that we’ve been working in a
    very similar vein to the one you describe, without having a solid name
    for it (we call it ‘the age of the amateur’ or ‘networks of shared
    experiences’ instead of CECS [i.e., customized education and career
    services], but believe me, we are talking about the same patterns and
    markets, if not in exactly the same way). Thanks for sharing what you
    have—its fascinating stuff.”

    2004 e-mail from Josh Peterson, then co-founder/CEO of (then a startup with seed funding from

    “Hi Frank, Thanks for your time today. If you would like to provide
    us with further information about [your business plan], we would be
    happy to review it in more detail.”

    2004 e-mail from Tristen Langley, then an analyst at Draper Fisher Jurvetson (then—and now—a top venture capital firm)

    “The country that takes the lead in the twenty-first century will be
    the one that implements an innovation that more effectively supports the
    production of new ideas in the private sector.”

    “North Americans invented the modern research university . . . As
    national markets for talent and education merge into unified global
    markets, opportunities for important policy innovation will surely

    2008 article by Paul Romer, then an economist at Stanford University

    “This book tells the story of a single technical paper in economics [Romer (1990) — Endogenous Technological Change] . . .

    . . . Romer won a race of sorts, a race within the community of
    university-based research economists to make sense of the process of
    globalization at the end of the twentieth century, and to say something
    practical and new about how to encourage economic development . . . ”

    2006 book Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations, by David Warsh

    “[Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations is] a fascinating journey through the world of economic thought . . .”

    2006 book review by Paul Krugman, recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics

    — End of epigraph —

    The chapters online showcase A LOT of books . . .

    Thoughts?  Questions?



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