where the writers are
Some Good Short Story News
James At Beach.jpg

Finally, there is some good news to report on the publishing world. According to the Short Story Review blog (http://theshortreview.blogspot.com/2009/02/100-short-story-collections-published.html) in the past month there have been at least 96 short story collections published in February alone.

Of these, more than a few are reissues from more well known authors, but there are no small number of debut collections being published as well. I cannot testify to the quality of these collections or if they merely represent a number of MFA graduates' final projects, but the fact that publishers (probably small, independent publishers) are taking a good long look at short story collections is very good news.

This also, I hope, points to the fact that the business models adopted by the larger publishing houses are outmoded and in need of reform. In a world where customers expect greater service and customization (as a result of the Web and related technologies) there is a real long tail effect that can be reaped when large blocks are broken down into industry segments as well as geographic segments. I hope that these small publishers are understanding the concepts they need to embrace in order to engage in successful niche publishing that takes advantage of Web communications and related technology to create a long tail effect that is highly profitable. Other industries have managed to do this well and I believe that publishing is well suited to do this as well.

I would also suggest that small independent publishers not only organize themselves to build stronger sales and marketing models, but that they learn to partner with much larger distributors and publishers to create powerful distribution systems that can leverage a number of efficiencies. For example, publishers and Amazon may be natural competitors when it comes to books, but given the size, scope and cost efficiency of Amazon's distribution network, they are also natural distribution partners. This is a great example of mutual value creation where both entities can find their unique differentiation points to compete on (price, type of books, quality of books and etc). They may find that rather than competitors they are far better partners.

I suppose too that these groups have already begin to establish these relationships.