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E-books: Flash in the pan or a role well earned in the book industry?

When e-books first became popular and began to be widespread about eight years ago, the fad for them made observers predict that these convenient books in electronic form, transmitted to your e-book reader (generally Kindle from Amazon) would take over the reading market.

And indeed, releases purchased in e-book form quickly went up to 20 and even 30% of the book market in the heady days of 2014 and 15.

E-book or print softbound?

Readers remarked on the ease of having a book transferred in a moment from Amazon to a Kindle or Nook reader, the convenience of using the device to read in a car or on a trip, the advantages of having electronic storage instead of an overloaded shelf of books that will never be read again.

By 2017, though, e-book sales had begun diminishing. Market share of children’s books in e-book form fell sharply and adult e-books were declining—both markets taken together declined 12 %.

What has happened to the book format that was so touted as able to replace the book held in the hand? It turns out that the average reader actually still likes the book in the hands. There’s something comforting and leisurely and artistically pleasurable about holding a book, being able to physically turn a page ahead or behind to check something, stopping to instantly look at the photo of the author as the last page.

And it is of course softbound books that are preferred these days. Some statistics, (which are hard to interpret because they vary a lot) say that paperback books are outselling e-books last year by 20%.

But hardcover and gifting softbound books are one reason print books are holding their own and making a comeback. In the first place, publishers have been featuring stunning and beautiful graphics in many books for sale on Amazon. Illustrations throughout a book, or even a striking cover, done imaginatively can make a book a pleasant aesthetic experience, an appreciated gift, or even a keepsake. Christmas still comes and birthdays still appear, and wrapping up or packaging a book with an arresting or beautiful cover often beats giving someone a gift card to buy the dull electronic book online.

In the first flush of the fad for e-books, libraries rushed to stock them through the company Overdrive, which held an exclusive hold on the market and had technology to allow patrons to take out tiles and read them on their Kindles. The books then disappeared from their e-book systems after a reasonable amount of time.

Vincennes Indiana library director Emily Bunyan said recently, “All our patrons were so eager for us to stock e-books for them to take out, and we did that. Then the demand began to cool and they are not particularly popular these days. Our readers enjoy print books still.”

Electronic formats for books will always be a factor in reading. Readers now have choices.

Eighteen percent of the electronic book market is audio books. More on that next time.


Nancy Niblack Baxter, Senior Editor Hawthorne Publishing


Posted in ebooks |

Interest in Doris Day Grows. . .

Mary Anne Barothy, our author of Day at a Time: An Indiana Girl’s Sentimental Journey to Doris Day’s Hollywood and Beyond

In the past three months since the passing of Doris Day on May 13, 2019, interest in this movie star among devoted fans has grown. Case in point—I recently spoke with Cindy Nevin, Administrator for the Doris Day Fan Club on Facebook, and asked her about the growing interest in membership.

Cindy, a DD fan since age 8, said when she first joined the Doris Day Fan Club on Facebook, in 2014, there were around 4,200 members worldwide. She was eager to step up and help “co-administer” the group when the then sole administrator, John McKenzie, put out a notice asking for someone to help. Cindy had been a big DD fan since seeing Doris in With Six You Get Eggroll in 1968. On September 9, 2015, Cindy became co-administrator for the Doris Day Fan Club and soon moved up to administrator, having full reign over the growing fan club.

Currently there are 14,877 members worldwide, an amazing growth since those first days. There are there are members from the USA, Philippines, the UK, Canada, Russia and some other places. Here are some stats on the international distribution:

Top countries:
United States: 10,632
United Kingdom: 1,371
Canada: 742
Australia: 496
Germany: 232

Top Cities:
New York: 336
Los Angeles: 177
London, England: 107
Sydney, Australia: 104
Toronto, Canada: 93

I asked Cindy if she was surprised that more members were joining after Doris’s passing.  “Yes and No. It was shocking the amount of member requests we received.  A constant flow the first few days after her death. There were 400 plus new members added during this time.  I think interest piqued after her death.  It didn’t surprise me that there was so much interest because of who Doris was. I am sure people were reading all over the internet and hearing on TV about her life. Doris is widely cherished and loved…no question about that.”

Cindy added membership is approximately 70% women, 30% men and with a growing interest of young people who are joining on a daily basis.  If you would like to join this interesting group, go to Facebook and look up Doris Day Fan Club where you can request membership. Among some interesting members are Jackie Joseph Lawrence who starred with Doris on “The Doris Day Show”; Scott Drier who does the “Doris and Me” shows; and Paul Peterson from “The Donna Reed Show.” Over the years I have had the privilege of getting to know several members of the original Doris Day Society, several of whom came here to live here in the USA. I have also made friends with some of the members on Cindy’s DD Facebook page.   We all share a deep love for Doris Day! I remember when I first joined the Doris Day Society, as that particular group was called in those days, in the late 1950s in London England, we had to wait for the quarterly DD Journal which was sent out via regular mail. How wonderful that today you get the news and stories instantly.  My, how times have changed!!!!!

You can order Mary Anne’s Hawthorne Best-seller Day at a Time: An Indiana Girl’s Sentimental Journey to Doris Day’s Hollywood and Beyond by clicking back to the website, softcover.

Posted in Doris Day |

Doris Day: What we have taken for granted in her movies is Illuminated by a new generation’s perspective.

By Mary Anne Barothy, author of Day at a Time: An Indiana Girl’s Sentimental Journey to Hollywood and Beyond.

Guess we don’t always realize what we take for granted until we hear it discussed with the fresh insights of a younger person.  Case in point: a good friend of mine, Joy, who is also an avid Doris Day fan, just turned 60 in June.  She was born in 1959—the year Pillow Talk was released.  I remember going to see Pillow Talk at the Keith’s Theater in downtown Indianapolis when I was 15 in 1959.  AND, I also remember very well going to see Calamity Jane with my mother in 1953 when I was just 9 years old!  The old Emerson Theater in Indianapolis used to show many of Doris Day’s movies in the late 1950s and 1960s.  Yes, I was there often and became friends with the manager, who would often save the movie posters and give them to me. That fan enthusiasm was what started me on my journey to Hollywood, to eventually become Doris’s secretary and live in her home.

In my chats with Joy, I didn’t realize until she told me that she had never seen one of Doris Day’s movies on the big screen.  Yes, she had seen them on TV and on DVD, but never on the big screen.  I guess I just took it for granted that every DD fan had seen Doris’s movies in theaters, but depending on their age, that was just not so. Doris is one of the few Golden Age celebrities who have continued to have a huge and enduring fan base today, including many younger people. Recently Joy had the opportunity to see Pillow Talk at the Marcus Theater in Williamsburg, Virginia, on the big screen for the very first time. It seems some theaters around the country are starting to have special showings of classic movies that stand the test of time. Needless to say, I was anxious to ask Joy what it was like for her to go to a theater and see a DD movie. She was bubbling over with enthusiasm, saying that it was totally different from watching a movie on TV. First, it effortlessly engulfs you in happier times. Then, with the dominant surroundings in the theater and following the plot, you get so much more involved with the movie.  With large scenes circling you and excellent sound, blocking everything else out, you become more a part of it.  The large big screen is definitely larger than life than a TV in a living room and it’s not just another show. That was what she experienced.

Joy went on to say, “When you are home lounging around you are easily distracted either by a dog, a phone call or someone else in the room. In the theater, you are totally focused. I picked up a lot more of the humorous, sexy lines that just seemed to get lost when watching it on TV.  I have seen Pillow Talk at least 10 times before, but never appreciated it as much as seeing it on the big screen.  There is something wonderful and different about going to a theater to see Doris Day.”

Joy also said she had the opportunity to meet an older lady, a fan of Doris Day, who was seated next to her at the theater.  Before the movie began, both confessed how much they were looking forward to seeing “Pillow Talk” and exchanged their views on The Girl Next Door!.

I’m delighted some theaters are bringing back classic films. I say, HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD!!!

Day at a Time is available from Hawthorne: Click back to purchase!

Posted in Doris Day |

Reviving and publishing a book that no longer exists in print: technical prowess

Nancy Niblack Baxter, Senior Editor Hawthorne Publishing

From the Heart’s Closet: A young girl’s World War II story was the first book done in 2005 by Hawthorne Publishing as it emerged from the former publishing company Guild Press. Guild Press, founded in 1987 was sold to Emmis Communications: Guild’s name was changed to Emmis Publishing. Then the team that had originated and operated Guild went on to create Hawthorne.

Anneliese “Lee’ Krauter had spent a great deal of time recalling her time, researching, and checking records so she could tell her story, a memoir of her life as a young girl whose family had found themselves as German-Americans in New York City as World War II came. The family were unjustly interred in Crystal City Texas and then later repatriated to Germany. The story concludes with their return, one by one, after the war to take up residence in the Hoosier state.

Hundreds of copies of the book were sold through Lee’s Schatzi Press and she began a career as a speaker and expert on the human side of German-American children in the war.

The last book of the first printing was about to be sold and Lee Krauter came again to Hawthorne Publishing to get a new edition, slightly updated, out, and also to request that an e-book be created from the book.

How would a reprint of a book originally created almost twenty years ago be done?

Many times a book to be reprinted by the same publishing company which put out its original would be reconstituted from original files held in the archives of the company. This can be quite complicated because the methods for the creation and maintenance of electronic files has changed several times in a space of time even as short as a few years ago. From the Heart’s Closet was originally done in a routine way as an application file, that is, one that can be altered, and then turned into a PDF which could not be altered at that time at the printer’s.  Printing followed and files were stored. Many of Hawthorne’s books were and are held in the archives of our exclusive printer in Dexter, Michigan.

However, in addition to having  our almost completely outdated files from 2005 stored, the entire computer system at the printer’s collapsed three years ago and it took weeks for it to be restored. Among files lost, never to be restored, were the design PDF’s for From the Heart’s Closet.

Today many books without files are reprinted simply by scanning pages of the book itself and then turning them into PDF files for printing. Correction by Optical Character Recognition has been used, but recent progress in methodology has allowed photographic reproduction of pages to become almost flawless.

These technical processes for restoring an out-of-print book do not deal with copyright, which is a central issue in itself. If a book is old, done 75 years ago or more without copyright restoration, a book is in the public domain and may be copied and printed by anyone.

Thus many thousands of books of historical and literary interest have been reprinted this way and are held in archives like the New York Public Library, often turned into electronic versions which are offered free to the public.

But we wished to make alterations in this modern book, many of them minor corrections but important, and that complicated the photographic scanning process. What actually happed to From the Heart’s Closet was that we reclaimed the original long-out-of-use working or application file from our own archives, which are complete for all the books we have put out. Some way President Art restored the old files and managed to send corrected pages from the original to the printer’s to be included in their sharper, photographic restoration.

Sound complicated? You are so right! And expensive, as the long-time head of photography at the printer’s had to work with individual lines and even characters once her page scanning was finished to do the replacements we needed.

But through many phone conversations, some in great detail, and the proofing of pages by printer, publisher and author, this intricate process was completed and voila! The book in a new incarnation was ready to take into the future. And the e-book for the first time could be made from the updated version.

We all live with technology that is sometimes frustratingly complicated, but in the case of a priceless resource of history like this story, it is all worth the effort and time.

Click back and order From the Heart’s Closet, Second Edition by Anneliese Krauter.



Posted in Book Publishing, Self Publishing |