Monday, January 11, 2010

Prithee, Inform Me: Best and Worst of 2009

Now that 2009 is... well, last year's news, I thought I'd open up a discussion on the very best and worst of 2009: books, transformations in the industry, e-readers, you name it. Although I'm interested in hearing about your publishing-related thoughts, deviation from the proposed topic is, as always, welcome.

My vote for Best of 2009: The overwhelming attention paid to the e-book format. The future is coming, people!

My vote for Worst of 2009: The Target/Walmart Price War. The future will be terrible, people!

Have at it!


  1. Worst? All the Twilight mania... I think there was a book in 2009? Whatever, it hung out too LONG.

  2. Worst of 2009: The overwhelming attention paid to the e-book format.

    The imminent death of printed books is wildly exaggerated. I have an e-reader and I like it, but it doesn't compare to reading a printed book.

  3. I think the worst aspect of 2009, which is merely the latest year in a long trend, was the persistent popularity of authors like James Patterson, James Rollins, Janet Evanovich and Nicholas Sparks. The same prevalence of and love for simplistic, poorly written stories can also be found at the local multiplex. (see: WILD HOGS) Good writers are still selling books, but the bestseller lists are clearly dominated by people who should be working at the DMV or playing marbles in a supervised setting.

  4. Hi Keith,

    I hear you. That James Patterson commercial in which he threatens to "kill off Alex Cross" if you don't buy his new book is giving me an ulcer.

  5. Hi, Eric,
    I read or heard somewhere that Mr. Patterson doesn't personally write many of his books, but hires other people to write in his style and then puts his name on the cover. In your professional opinion, could something like that happen?

  6. Best: Advancement of ebooks into the mainstream consciousness.

    Worst: Escalation of advances for "sure thing" authors. That just makes the problem worse.

  7. Worst: Harlequin Horizons debacle *facepalms*.

    Best: Discussion of e-books and new royalty structures of the futuuuuuure! :)

  8. AHAHAHAHAH. I love the tags :P. Hooray/yay!

  9. Hi Keith,

    It can happen and it does happen.


  10. Best of 2009: Lorrie Moore is writing novels and Jennifer Egan is writing short stories.

    Worst: It lasted for 365 days.

  11. Worst of: The world economy. It's adding to the publishing industry problems, no doubt, as well as hurting lots of others.

    Best of: It's over. Maybe this year will be, dare I tempt the gods, better.

  12. Worst of 2009: These's not enough room for the list But here's my Top of the List:

    Corporate Greed (and it's still here - look at Wall Street bonuses) - every bit as detrimental to the USA and world economy as Al Quaida

    National political parties (particularly Republican obstructionism) that can't find common good for the country - centralism

    e-books (won't be buying one - not interested)

    technical gadgets in general. Not needed. Better people learn how to do the job.

    USA companies that outsource American jobs and then want US tax dollars to bail them out when their businesses fail.

    Need I go on? No. There's plenty to write about but if the American people don't start going to their local government bodies (city counsels, school board meetings, etc.) and hold those who have beeb elected accountable, none of us will be able to afford books at all and libraries will be closed permanently.

  13. I have to agree with you. My new Kindle is the best thing that happened to me personally as a reader and a writer. And WalMart selling books just makes me want to slam my hand in a car door. I've successfully avoided WalMart for almost ten years, other than a few 3 AM emergency purchases. (Think elderly dog, new carpet.) I can't bear to see the publishing industry follow the WalMart "Cheap crap and lots of it!" value system that kills off competition by driving prices into the ground, then starves manufacturers in favor of sweat shops. We've already seen some scary exercises of their buying power. I've NEVER bought a book at WalMart, and I NEVER will.

  14. She Wrote and Joni, I'm with you. I wonder when Americans are going to realize how RS they are.

  15. Worst of 2009: The overwhelming attention paid to the e-book format.

    Seconded. I am so incredibly sick of hearing about e-books twenty times a day, every day. The technology's out there, it's getting more popular, now can we please get over it?

    Also worst: Harlequin Horizons (*siiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh*) and the Price War

    Best: The fact that every now and then, some blogs have actually made an entire post without talking about e-books. They've been breaths of fresh air.

  16. Best: E-books. I have my Kindle and love it, even if it's already an outdated device.

    Worst: Incessant coverage of e-books ties with the big box price wars. The first one is exhausting and the second one depressing. Also, news of so many brick-and-mortar bookstores closing. I know buying my e-books isn't helping that last issue, but I do buy physical books, too. I just enjoy e-books for travel, commuting, and general portability.