Media & Communications
Penguin and Random House Merger PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 29 October 2012 14:04

Publishers, Weakly: What The
Penguin/Random House Merger Really
Means
By: Michael Levin

When I saw the word “synergies” applied to the proposed merger of publishing giants Penguin and Random House, I laughed out loud.  “Synergies” is Wall Street-speak for “Let’s merge two failing companies, fire half the employees, run the resulting business more cheaply, suck out all the money we can as quickly as we can, and then leave the wounded, gasping beast that is the resulting company to die a miserable, public death.”

Which is exactly why “synergies” best describes the merger of two of the biggest names in the publishing industry, which is wringing its hands over the immediate consequences of this deal, which really represents one more death rattle of the once thriving book publishing trade.

Here’s what happens now:  lots of editorial, marketing, and other jobs will vanish.  Agents will have fewer places to sell books.  Fewer books will be published.  Authors will get even less money (if that’s even possible, since some publishers are paying zero advances whenever they can get away with it).  And the pontificators will pontificate on what it all means to society (not much, since most of society has already given up on reading books).

Here’s what happens next:  the remaining major publishers will find it harder to compete, because the resulting publisher (Penguin House?) will be able to produce books more cheaply.  So they’ll fire people, merge, fire more people, and eventually roll over and die.

All because publishers never figured out how to deal with the Internet and how to sell books in a wired world.

All because publishers considered themselves “special” and thought they could get away with selling products they didn’t market.

All because publishers are English majors wearing Daddy’s work clothes and pretending to be business people, running their businesses on whim and gut feeling instead of figuring out what people want and giving it to them, the way smart businesses work.

I have no pity for the fallen publishers.  In Wall Street terms, there isn’t enough lipstick in the world to make these pigs kissable.  They had the responsibility to shape society by providing it with books worth reading, to create a cultural legacy for our generation and generations to come.  And instead, what did they give us?

Ann Coulter, Navy SEALs, and Fifty Shades of Gray.

The publishers will blame everyone in sight for their predicament, but this is a self-inflicted wound; what the Brits would call an “own goal.”

You can’t run a successful business passively waiting for people (in this case, literary agents) to tell you what you should produce.

You can’t run a successful business by throwing 10,000 strands of spaghetti (or 10,000 books a year, in Random House’s case) against the wall of public opinion and seeing what sticks.

You can’t run a successful business selling information in the form of printed books by putting them on trucks to distant cities, hoping that booksellers (anyone who can fog a mirror, run a cash register and repeat the phrase, “We don’t have it but we could order it for you”) will actively work to sell your stuff to people.

Bottom line:  you can’t run a successful business when you are essentially competing with yourself.  If Barnes & Noble doesn’t sell a Simon & Schuster book within three weeks, it sends the book back to Simon & Schuster, at Simon & Schuster’s expense, only to have that same space on the shelf filled with…wait for it…a different Simon & Schuster book.

That’s not marketing.

That’s masochism.

A New York editor who worked at Penguin once told me that his boss called all the employees into a meeting and said, “If there’s any merger talk, you’ll hear about it from me and not from the New York Times.”

A few days later, he was reading The New York Times on the subway on the way to work, and read that Penguin was merging with another publisher.

Here we go again.

If it weren’t for Fifty Shades of Gray, Random House (and Barnes & Noble, for that matter) would have been on life support.  There would have been nothing left to merge.

Penguin’s owner, Pearson LLC, is the smartest guy in the room, dumping off Penguin’s trade publishing on Bertlesmann, a German conglomerate which somehow still thinks it can make money selling books.

And now a few thousand more publishing employees are going to leave the world of books and hit the bricks.

So let the handwringing begin.  The collapse of a once proud industry has taken a giant step forward.  And there ain’t no synergies in that.

New York Times best selling author and Shark Tank survivor Michael Levin runs www.BusinessGhost.com, and is a nationally acknowledged thought leader on the future of book publishing.

 
National Friends of Libraries Week Press Release PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Steve Hart   
Monday, 22 October 2012 13:25

Davenport, Iowa, October 21, 2012 -- During  the week of October 21-27, 2012, the Davenport Library and its FRIENDS of the Library will be celebrating the accomplishments of the FRIENDS group as part of the sixth annual celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week.

The FRIENDS of the Davenport Library were established in 1983 and have raised well over $6.5 million dollars for the library to date, including $5.675 million dollars to help build the Eastern Avenue Branch which opened in July 2010 and the Fairmount Branch that opened in January of 2006.   Currently over 200 community members contribute annually to the FRIENDS.  The FRIENDS of the Library operates used bookstores at each branch, recently completed a book sale, and is hosting its second "Chair-ity" auction at the Eastern Avenue Branch on November 10th.

The FRIENDS provide financial support to the Library for programs and resources that are not paid by tax dollars. Programs with which the FRIENDS assists include the summer reading program, author visits, special family programming, Santa at the Library, teen programming and the bi-monthly newsletter.

“The FRIENDS of the Library is a vital volunteer group for the library.  More than 75 volunteers assist customers monthly in its two bookstores plus the Main Library’s book sale area.  They work on fundraising throughout the year” said Library Director LaWanda Roudebush.

The Friends Board is made up of volunteers from the community that meets once a month. Officers include President Ian Russell, Vice President Carollyn Gehrke, Secretary Cari Rieder, Treasurer Laura Hoss, and Immediate Past President Tim Reier. If you would like to become a FRIEND of the Davenport Library, or would like to become a Board Member, please contact the FRIENDS library liaison at 328-6837.

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Author Susan Spence Daniel announces the release of ‘The House That Wanted a Family’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Marketing Services   
Tuesday, 09 October 2012 14:18

Storybook helps children adjust to a new home

RACINE, Wis. – The first day of school is one of the major milestones in a child’s life. Countless stories, books and techniques exist to help children adjust to the experience of starting kindergarten. Contributing a story to help children adjust to a different, but equally significant, moment in life – moving to a new home – Susan Spence Daniel delivers her children’s storybook, “The House That Wanted a Family” (published by Inspiring Voices), which has recently gotten a revived marketing push.

Told from the perspective of an empty house, “The House That Wanted a Family” puts a personal touch on the experience of moving to a new home – a monumental event in the life of a child. In the story, the house sits empty for many months. Only when a family moves in, does the house become a home.

The story puts a lighthearted tone on what can be a difficult adjustment for children. Daniel uses personification to make the new house seem welcoming, friendly and eager to receive a new family, easing the apprehensions children may have about moving to a new scary home.

Daniel recognizes that an empty house in today’s economic environment does not easily translate to a heartwarming story because of the association it has with hardship and financial struggles. “There are a lot of empty homes today,” she says. “Most of them are for sale. I think this puts a more positive spin on what is happening across the United States.”

But many families are faced with the tough decision to move to a new home – sometimes in a new city or state. She hopes to make that transition easier for young readers. Daniel says, “My book has the potential to help children cope with a move or relocation – both in leaving a home they love and moving into a new one.”

About the Author

Susan Spence Daniel has dreamed of being an author and illustrator since she was young. Although Daniel has written many stories, “The House That Wanted a Family” is her first published book. She lives in southeastern Wisconsin and is the mother of one daughter.

Inspiring Voices, a service of Guideposts, is dedicated to helping authors share their words of hope, faith and inspiration with the world. A strategic publishing partnership with indie book publishing leader, Author Solutions, Inc.; Inspiring Voices allows authors to publish inspirational and spiritual books without respect to their specific doctrine, denomination or political point-of-view. Authors published through Inspiring Voices benefit from access to exclusive Guideposts marketing services, with select titles appearing in a special collection at Guideposts.org. For more information on publishing with Inspiring Voices, log on to inspiringvoices.com or call 866-697-5313.

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Davenport Public Library Accredited PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Steve Hart   
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 13:07

iowa Library Services has announced that the Davenport  Library has met the conditions for state accreditation as outiined in ”In Service to iowa: Public Library Standards Fifth Edition.”  Achieving accreditation requires a significant, ongoing local commitment to high quality iibrary  services. Of Iowa’s 544 public iibraries, 349  including the Davenport Public Library - are accredited.

The Davenport Public Library has been recognized for its efforts in all areas of iibrary operations inciuding governance and funding, staffing, library collection, services, public relations, access, and facilities. The accreditation is valid through June 30, 2015.

lowa’s accredited public libraries are recognized for being responsive to their communities and for exhibiting excellence in their provision of library services. More than two-thirds of all Iowans have active public iibrary cards, and use of our public libraries continues to increase each year. Iowa libraries play key roles in workforce and economic development, lifelong learning and government activities. Iowans use their libraries to find jobs, do homework, locate a good book to read, research medical conditions, access government information, and more.

Accredited libraries receive a higher rate of compensation through Iowa Library Services' Enrich Iowa program. They also receive a Certificate of Accreditation signed by Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kirn Reynolds, State Librarian Mary Wegner, and Iowa Commission of Libraries Chairperson Monica Gohlinghorst.

Said Wegner: "The director and board of trustees of the Davenport Public Library and the City of Davenport are to be commended for this achievement and their commitment to excellence in public library services for their community."

 
If Re-Elected, Obama Should End FCC Threat To Restrict TV News, Press PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 28 September 2012 15:23
By: Corydon B. Dunham

Corydon Dunham is a former TV network executive and general counsel, and author of , “Government Control of News.”

On Tuesday, President Obama spent much of his address to the United Nations General Assembly discussing free speech in an era of global instant communication.

“I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech,” he said.

Meanwhile, under his administration the FCC is holding a plan for a new balance, diversity and localism rule that would enable the U.S. government to suppress television news and restrict speech.

The new rule is similar to the old Fairness Doctrine, which the FCC and courts revoked in 1987 when they found it was against the public interest. FCC investigations had deterred and suppressed television news, restricted speech, and prevented criticism of incumbent administrations.

As my book reveals, the new localism rule would have similar results or worse. One new member of the FCC staff who helped draft the localism rule has written that freedom of speech and press is not his “objective,” and that free speech “is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance.” He also concludes the new localism rule could be used to take away licenses in place of the “misnamed Fairness Doctrine.”

Another wrote that television is a “powerful source of homogenization and pabulum,” and recommended using burdensome FCC regulations to “hasten the demise of broadcasting” (later reworded.) That writer applauded a rule which would make broadcasting local events more difficult so “local viewers are less likely to watch the local broadcasters.”

A special report recommended in June 2011 that the localism proceeding be ended because of its destructive burdens. Over opposition from other commissioners, the FCC chairman appointed by President Obama continued it and, after the November election, the FCC could move to adopt it.

The Chief of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a fellow law professor of President Obama, has long urged that the government should take control of news to achieve its political and social purposes. Another former law professor, since appointed by President Obama to the Supreme Court, wrote an article also urging the government to manage news, saying this would be constitutional if news coverage were not “ideal” at a particular time, and government was changing news to that end.

The great historian Gordon S. Wood writes, “Remember that the United States has always been to ourselves and to the world primarily an idea.” Ending this country’s free press and free speech traditions would certainly destroy that idea.

About Corydon B. Dunham

Corydon B. Dunham is a Harvard Law School graduate. His Government Control of News study was initiated at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Smithsonian Institute, and expanded and developed for the Corydon B. Dunham Fellowship for the First Amendment at Harvard Law School and the Dunham Open Forum for First Amendment Values at Bowdoin College. Dunham was an executive at NBC from 1965 to 1990. He oversaw legal and government matters and broadcast standards. He was on the board of directors of the National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Corporate Counsel Association, and American Arbitration Association among other posts.

 
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