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Douglas Rushkoff

Is BookScan Helpful Or Harmful?

Is Nielsen’s BookScan good for writers? This was a question raised at today’s eBook Summit, by author Douglas Rushkoff. He thinks it isn’t.

“BookScan is a writer’s nightmare,” he said. “It generates a kind of accountability that is actually counter productive to business. Banks are not accountable to the present. They are only accountable to the future. BookScan removes speculation from the book industry.”

But while an author may not like to be classified by his or her BookScan figures, the Nielsen data service can still help publishers understand a title. Consultant Jim King, a former BookScan executive, admitted that BookScan is not a forecasting tool, but he said that it is a helpful way to understand how titles are selling.

He did admit that this is easier to do with backlist titles than with new releases, but recommended that publishers use the tool to track the life of the book.

What do you think of BookScan?

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Douglas Rushkoff Hates iPads And Discourages Viral Video

In a digital world, we should be worrying less about how to make videos and more about how to find and create good writing, said author Douglas Rushkoff at the eBook Summit.

“Real viral is not a video that people pass,” he said. “Viral means it provokes a cultural immune response. Hemingway having sex with the wrong person or beating something up or is viral. For me, making a video for a book is not viral.”

Rushkoff also used the stage to discuss why he hates iPads. The reason, it is an entertainment tool, not a tool for creating. “It communicates to the user, ‘stay away,’” he said.

Rushkoff recommends that indie authors and publishers take advantage of all of the channels for getting books out. In his presentation, Rushkoff said, “The beauty of being indie is that we are like the rats after the apocalypse. We can exploit every system.”

eBook Summit Book Pitch Winners Announced

Last night we held our first annual eBook Summit book pitch party. At the event, ten finalists gave their two-minute book pitches to a room full of publishing folks and our distinguished judges.

The pitch party winners were: The Robin Hood of Harlem: The Complex Criminal Life of Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, a biography by Margaret Johnson and Leonard J. Greene; No More Tears: A Mom’s Guide to 50 Fabulous Trips, a travel guide by Anne Uglum; and The Speed At Which I Travel, an earthbound sci-fi novel by Chris Cole. Meet the other finalists below. Follow this link to read more about the other seven finalists.

These three writers won tickets to our eBook Summit on December 15th. Judges of the contest — literary agent Kate McKean, Movable Type Literary Group founder Jason Allen Ashlock, and Cursor founder Richard Nash– will share book proposal advice for all writers in a panel discussion at the event.

The one-day summit will feature practical case studies from a range of publishers:  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Mischief and Mayhem, Open Road Media, and HarperCollins. The program also includes digital survival tips from writers Douglas Rushkoff and Ken Auletta. For more information on the eBook Summit, follow this link.

Frontline’s Year-Long Look at the Digital Nation

PBS’ Frontline has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation for a multi-platform initiative called “Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier.”

Digital Nation will explore the impact the Web and digital media have on our lives in the 21st century. The year-long project will unfold through a series of online video reports and user-submitted stories that will springboard to a national PBS television broadcast next winter.

The project is headed by Producer/Director Rachel Dretzin and reported by correspondent Douglas Rushkoff. They give a preview in the video below: