Peggy Hageman

Peggy Hageman is a book editor, book reader, and all-around bookish type. You can follow her on Twitter @Greenpointless.


Articles by Peggy Hageman


Ebook readers report that one of the biggest benefits of digital books is the inherent portability. By their very nature, e-readers and tablets have a huge storage capacity and offer the ability to keep an entire library in the palm of your hand. Books that are back-breakers in hardcover, or even entire series of books, can be easily carried wherever you go-sometimes even in your pocket. However, shorter works, such as short stories and articles, novellas, even pamphlets and newsletters, are gaining traction among those who e-read.
Column/Ebookworm - June 2013 Issue, Posted Jun 11, 2013
There have been many studies of consumer shopping habits and what drives the purchase of unplanned items. Product displays, sales, placement, packaging, signage: These all play a part in driving purchases, particularly for items that were not part of the reason the consumer went to that store. Emotion and instant gratification play a big part too. But do these same rules apply when it comes to ebook shopping?
Column/Ebookworm - March 2013 Issue, Posted Mar 12, 2013
When you think of the word "book" there are two distinct and different versions: the first is the physical item with pages, a cover, etc; and second, the story contained therein. The nature of ebooks, whether they are thing or e-thing, has been hotly debated since their inception. Are they a physical entity or disembodied story? Now, a new wrinkle: can you resell a used ebook?Amazon seems to think so.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Feb 28, 2013
It was a busy month for ebooks, and Ebookworm is taking a look at all the news -- from the Digital Book World Conference to Pew Ereading Report and the controversy over the lack of a digital edition of Robert Jordan's A Memory of Light.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Jan 22, 2013
Another year in the digital age has come and gone, and ebook sales are still growing at "exponential" rates. All indicators would suggest that we've turned a corner and ebooks have been fully embraced by much of the book-consuming public. It's certainly been a banner year for sales, with record ebook and e-reading device sales. According to a Pew study, Christmas 2011 sales of e-readers and tablets almost doubled all of 2010's ownership rates bringing the market penetration to 20%. You don't have to be a genius to realize Christmas 2012 will likely blow that out of the water. But will those sales turn into long-term ebook growth? You can only sell so many e-reading devices, but there's no limit to ebook sales other than reader demand.
Column/Ebookworm - December 2012 Issue, Posted Dec 11, 2012
Just as New York City publishers were bracing for Hurricane Sandy, in stormed the news that Random House and Penguin, two of the largest publishers in the world, would be merging in the second quarter of 2013. [Insert sound of a needle scratching across a record here.] Larger publishers have been gobbling up smaller imprints since the 80s but this, this is something different.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Nov 15, 2012
Last month I wrote about some of the immediate effects of the DOJ ebook settlement, including the reduction of prices on many HarperCollins e-books within a few days of the court's acceptance of the settlement. This month Hachette -- a former settlement holdout -- released JK Rowling's first adult book The Casual Vacancy. However, a look at the Amazon Kindle page shows a note that reads, "This price was set by the publisher." When initially released it was listed at $17.99 (and had quite a few formatting errors.). It's been lowered to $14.99 this week, but it's still more than half the list price for the hardcover. Amazon is selling the hardcover below list, at $20.90 but the Kindle edition is still substantially less.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Oct 18, 2012
It wasn't so long ago that self-publishing was viewed as a bit, shall we say, déclassé. Distribution was often facilitated by the trunk of the author's car, and word-of-mouth was the only form of publicity. Thanks to ebooks, the internet, and the availability of digital publishing platforms, however, things are changing. The stigma of self-publishing has diminished, and even previously trade-published authors are giving it a try.
Column/Ebookworm - October 2012 Issue, Posted Oct 09, 2012
It's September, which in the marketing world means it's almost Christmas, so it's been a big month for announcements. First, Amazon unveiled its new Kindle line-up: two tablets, the updated 7" and a new 8.9" Kindle Fires, HD (from $199 to $499) and the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader ($119/3G model $179). The new Kindle Fires are high definition with dual Dolby speakers and some with 4G wireless capability. My personal pet peeve with many tablets is the glare (I'm looking at you, iPad) but Amazon claims the new Fires have "anti-glare technology for rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle." The high-end Paperwhite features free 3G wireless along with longer battery life and better resolution.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Sep 20, 2012
Tor/Forge Books, a Macmillan imprint, announced in April that it would remove DRM (digital rights management) from its books. Many readers and authors were ecstatic. They believe that DRM is too restrictive and hinders end users from using/storing/sharing/enjoying ebooks in perfectly legal ways. Naysayers were sure that removing DRM was like handing over the keys to the store to digital pirates and that sales would plummet.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Aug 16, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, an older relative of mine mentioned that he'd heard on the radio that a publishing company announced a deal to lend ebooks through libraries. I said, "Well, there are quite a few libraries already lending ebooks right now." He looked confused and said, "No, the radio said this was a new thing." He couldn't/wouldn't believe it was already happening. I have no idea when the last time he actually went to a library was but I was still surprised he didn't already know that library ebooks were an actual thing.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Jul 19, 2012
BEA is great for a lot of things-finding out what new books are coming soon, reconnecting with old colleagues and friends, and maybe even snagging a bound galley or two. But what's also very cool is getting to see and find out more about the people and companies who work in different aspects of publishing, particularly the emerging technology fields. For a content creation person such as myself, it's fascinating to learn more about content delivery and the mechanics that go into it.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Jun 14, 2012
Lately, it seems that every other article about ebooks is news about a new lawsuit. Ebooks have a series of legal ramifications inherent to the format, problems that did not exist (or did but to a far lesser degree) in other book formats. Collusion, piracy, and who owns the right to publish what are just a few of the legal boondoggles that ebook publishers and authors are currently facing.
Column/Ebookworm - June 2012 Issue, Posted Jun 12, 2012
The ebook might not be a physical thing but its presence was everywhere at BEA 2012. The digital bound galley was utilized much more this year, with access via website download codes. The autograph lines were as long as ever but there was even ebook "autographing" available this year.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Jun 08, 2012
At this year's BEA, many digital content companies are focusing on interactive ebooks and self-publishing. OverDrive introduced a new browser based e-reading app, while the industry finally got a look at Kobo's much anticipated Writing Life -- a portal for publishers to turn convert their books to EPUB format.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Jun 06, 2012
For months publishers have been preparing, while librarians, foreign rights specialists, and booksellers planned their trips to New York and strengthened their bound galley-carrying arms. And now it's finally here, the most magical time of the year: Book Expo America! But there may be fewer over-extended elbows this year than ever before. Many publishers are moving to e-galleys and PDF files, saving both printing costs and shoulder pain.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Jun 05, 2012
News in the publishing world this past month has been dominated by the Department of Justice's antitrust suit against several of the biggest US publishers. Authors, agents, and booksellers are sounding off on what they consider to be the severely misguided efforts on the part of the government. The Association of Authors' Representatives board voted unanimously to oppose the suit and settlement and has sent a letter to all members urging them to voice their disapproval as well. Simon Lipskar, an agent with Writers House, has sent his own letter to the justice presiding over the case. (Mr. Lipskar's full letter is available.) He meticulously documents that agency pricing has not harmed consumers and has, in fact, been to their benefit.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted May 17, 2012
Last month I mentioned the rumors that the Department of Justice was preparing to file antitrust charges against Apple and five publishers regarding "agency pricing," wherein publishers set a specific price for an ebook and the retailer receives a certain percentage of that price. (Author royalties are paid on cover price in a similar manner.) Yesterday the hammer fell.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Apr 12, 2012
An erotic novel (with BD/SM and a whole lot of sex) titled Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James, is sweeping the suburbs, the cities, red and blue states alike just like Peyton Place and The Story of O did 60 years ago. On the Amazon paid Kindle bestseller lists, as of the first week of March, Fifty Shades of Grey is No. 1 in both Erotica and Romance and No. 5 overall. Not bad for a self-published book by a first-time author. The TODAY Show estimated that over 120,000 copies have been sold, most of them ebooks. (Amazon is being characteristically tight-lipped on copies actually sold, so only Amazon and Ms. James really know for sure.) A paperback is available by print-on-demand but the ebook version is what's really flying off the e-shelves.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Mar 15, 2012
The marketing of books has evolved dramatically over the past 10 years. Less money is being set aside for marketing, and the bells and whistles are generally saved for the biggest books of the year. For example, these days most authors will never go on a book tour; they're much more likely to go on a blog tour.Much of the marketing is now focused on the internet, and that's doubly true for ebooks. After all, if your target customer has an e-reader, chances are the internet is where they'll be.
Column/Ebookworm - March 2012 Issue, Posted Mar 06, 2012
Kids make up a large portion of the ebook audience. Very often when a parent buys a new device-whether a tablet, smartphone, or ereader-the previous device gets turned over to the kids. As a result, the amount of electronic children's offerings available is growing, both revamped classics as well as new titles designed as ebooks from the start.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Feb 16, 2012
The holiday season has come and just like every other year, publishing sales reports are coming in and people are declaring that sales weren't good enough. The big news was of course ebooks and e-readers. Amazon reported Kindle sales of...well, no, Amazon won't report actual numbers-let's face it, they don't have to- but they did say that consumers were buying over one million Kindles per week in December and three Kindle models dominated their top sellers' list for the better part of December.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Jan 19, 2012
If there is one thing that continues to perplex the publishing industry, it's ebook pricing. How do you structure your pricing in a way that is fair to both the reader and the author and still make enough money to continue publishing operations? Many larger publishers want to keep the ebook price structure high, especially at the beginning, to keep from cannibalizing more profitable hardcover sales.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Dec 29, 2011
No longer is it just editors and agents on the subways and buses with their submission pile on Sony e-readers; it's actual, real, live, nonindustry people who just love to read. Harris Interactive, Inc. polled more than 2,000 people in July of this year and found that roughly 15% of those polled already owned an e-reader, and 15% of those who did not own an e-reader were likely to buy one in the next 6 months.
Column/Ebookworm - December 2011 Issue, Posted Dec 15, 2011
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and it seems many shoppers decided to forego the stampedes and fistfights associated with Black Friday and shop from their office chairs on Monday instead. IBM is reporting that it may well have been the strongest Cyber Monday yet with online sales up over last year by 33%, and order value up 2.6%. Another big change: more and more people are doing their shopping via a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet. Almost 11% of traffic to online retailers was from mobile users. Sales via mobile devices were up as well, from 2.3% last year to 6.6% this year.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Dec 01, 2011
Amazon's Kindle Fire, releasing November 15th, is setting more than a little spark in the world of mobile devices. The original Kindle was a dedicated ereader but with Fire, Amazon is moving squarely into tablet territory. And it's a good thing too!
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Oct 27, 2011
As an editor, my first introduction to digital books was actually as part of the traditional printing process. Over the past few years, I found paper was being used less and less for submissions, galleys, and proofreading. I received electronic versions of the manuscript at various stages and could then email pages to an author for changes rather than mail hard copies, with a quicker response time, and big savings on overnight shipping costs. (And you better believe some of my colleagues resisted those changes as vehemently as they've resisted the ebook.) I've even started editing online, using Microsoft Word and Track Changes rather than a trusty old red pen. The electronic manuscript I work with is in essence an ebook, even though it will eventually be sent to a printer.
Column/Ebookworm - Posted Sep 22, 2011