By Heidi Komlofske
(Wearer of many hats here at 1776 Productions)
Since beginning this company, we’ve seen the book business morph. Back in the good ‘ol days (and I’m talking 3 years ago), we only had to deal with physical copies of books. Aside from having to invest quite a chunk of change in purchasing many book shelves for the office, with the right tools, it wasn’t that difficult to keep track of the all of the books. We knew right off the bat that we needed to think “high-tech” — and wide and far. We immediately created a robust web-based database to keep track of the book orders, books received, reviews, etc. It’s all in one bucket (shhhh….don’t tell our reviewers that the database they see is actually the scary database we administrators work in, which has about 20 additional fields).
Just when we think we have this book review thing down pat, technology throws us a curve-ball: eBooks.
It’s easy to keep track of what you can see.
One of my responsibilities here is to run our Sponsored Review program. It’s something we put in place for self-published authors who have to publicize their book themselves. Because we receive around 300 books a week to review, going the Sponsored Review route guarantees a review — especially if one’s book release date is outside of our 90-day window. Sponsored books are handled with kid gloves. They’re important to us, and the senders get a lot of hand-holding and communication. And their books are segregated from the masses on the other bookshelves.
Up until recently, I haven’t had to deal with eBooks. I’m up to my eyeballs in Post-It Notes that “represent” a physical copy of a book. If only they made Post-It Notes about 2 inches thick and could stand up on a book shelf, I’d be a happy camper.
The shelf below represents Sponsored books that are out for review. The top shelf are Sponsored books needing to be assigned to a reviewer. Organization by Post-Its.
But, today, I received an eBook that’s only available through iTunes. I can’t download it to our server like the ePub or pdf books. Even those, I can sorta “see.” This one downloaded directly to MY iPhone. Does this mean I have to ship my phone to the reviewer? No. It means I need to now keep track of a truly invisible book (a link, if you will).
Technology is great. I love technology.
In fact, I’ve gone so far as to give away the physical copies of magazines I subscribe to and only read them digitally on my iPad. (For the record, I still don’t *get* that publishers can’t figure out how to not mail a physical copy of something, instead of offering a customer one or the other.) Even as completely on board I am with reading a magazine digitally, I found myself the other day, as I’m going through Sunset Magazine, wondering how I can “rip out” this recipe?
Hmmmm. Gotcha there, don’t I?
Now, where’d I put that darn book?
One-half of the founders of 1776 Productions, which is the company behind the San Francisco & Sacramento Book Reviews. She’s responsible for all things visual when it comes to the publications and websites. You can mostly find her hiding in her office, which is her sanctuary from the chaos that is the rest of the office suite — organized piles of books (or she likes to think that the staff has some sort of organization going on out there). She’s the Julie McCoy of this Love Boat operation — the one you’re most likely to get emails from.