Books | Gay Media

Alyson Books Nixes Print, To Only Publish E-Books

In a sad sign of the times, the country's oldest gay and lesbian book publishing house is going all digital.

Parent company Here Media has announced that Alyson Books, which has not put out a print book since 2009, will from now on exclusively publish e-books.

 Publishers Weekly reports:

A"John Knoebel, v-p of consumer marketing at Here Media, has been named interim publisher until a new digital publisher can be found. Knoebel said he doesn't expect Alyson to begin publishing e-books for nine to 12 months. 'We want to develop a strategy that makes sense,' he said, adding that Here Media would like to have the new publisher on board and involved with creating the new business model. The recruitment of a digital publisher "could take some time,' Knoebel said."

One major reason for the change? The recent closure of many gay bookstores. Current publisher Don Weise, who will now leave Alyson, made several unsuccessful attempts to purchase the publishing house form Here. Weise has issued a press release that reads in part:

“I worked for months to get a deal done—not just for myself, but especially for the many authors whose work has defined Alyson for the past 30 years. After shopping the press around to several publishers, it became clear that the only way to preserve Alyson was for me to assemble financing to purchase the company myself. But even after offering a price that I believe to be twice the fair market value, we were unable to come to an agreement.”

Read the full press release AFTER THE JUMP.


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  1. "sad sign of the times": why sad?? times are changing people! change with them or make them change!!

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Oct 3, 2010 2:38:05 PM

  2. Gay bookstores died once Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and other large sellers started carrying LGBT books. It's a business change rather than a specifically gay issue, stemming from the same financial reasons that Home Depot and Lowe's put neighborhood hardware stores out of business, and McD's drove out local hamburger joints, and so on.

    But it's a damned shame, nonetheless, and we all bear some of the blame if we browsed at our local store -- and then bought the same books online at lower prices!

    It's a good thing that big businesses cater to us as consumers, of course -- but, let's face it, don't you miss browsing in a local store?

    Whatever the product, see if in the future you can't find a way to spend more money at small, local businesses. For so many reasons, you'll be glad you did!

    Posted by: K in VA | Oct 3, 2010 2:42:54 PM

  3. It's sad no matter how you look at it. Books should be books. You simply cannot absorb as much information reading digitally (and I do it all day) as you do in traditional forms. Sort of like comparing USA Today to the Washington Post or NY Times.

    Posted by: Paul R | Oct 3, 2010 3:15:20 PM

  4. As one in the publishing business I can say there are ways around the damage Amazon has done, but it is clear that Amazon has done a large amount of harm. Even if people use Amazon they can look to buy from independent vendors instead of simply push the button to order directly from Amazon. Amazon makes that as hard as possible by making their button huge and independent vendors. It's the tiny underlined phrase "29 new" or (whatever number of vendors there are). In most cases one of those vendors will actually save you money over Amazon, which is amazing considering how much Amazon requires as a commission.

    Most publishers now sell on line as well. I sometimes am forced to buy via Amazon but when I do I rarely buy directly from them but use the independent vendors who are the lifeblood of the publishing business.

    Just don't buy the claim that Amazon is making books cheaper. They tend to be the higher priced books on their own site and publishers now routinely prices their books higher than they normally would so they can meet Amazons extreme demands for discounts to the giant. (Bookstores get 40% off list, where Amazon wants 55%).

    Posted by: JPeron | Oct 3, 2010 3:26:56 PM

  5. Alyson would be hard pressed to find anyone to print their books because the crooks that own Here Media don't pay their bills.

    Posted by: B | Oct 3, 2010 5:24:21 PM

  6. I do have a kindle but I still prefer the old fashion book. If we want the bookstore to survive we better start buying some actual books which do not need batteries and can be handed down to future generations.

    Posted by: jaragon | Oct 3, 2010 9:48:37 PM

  7. Too late, Jaragon. Borders will be gone soon and Barnes and Noble will follow soon after.

    In 10 years' time, we'll remember bookstores as nostalgically as we remember "record stores."

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Oct 4, 2010 12:10:12 AM

  8. This is all beside the point.
    This company is fcked out of the gate.
    Lame owners. Majority of these iconic, advocate-- owned by the straight partner now.
    Paying people with personall credit card.
    stiffing others.
    Don't do business with these folks.
    Out of date management style.
    Could have hired well-- smart, creative, proven young people to evolve it all. Instead the last hide out for worthless wags who can say yes with their tongue burie. They spend a lot of time making up assistants, playing call placing games, reek of artifice, employee harassment, and the rest. i'm sure you know who i mean. No talent, insight, connections or industry respect. Damned good with a yes". It's all the gay parter will hire. like playing office, who think being a bitch is the same as being movie-star tough or that it's a Peter Principle Petri Dish...on speed.

    the key here is lying. They've been lying about Alysson.
    Take a tape recorder if you meet with them or no one will believe.

    And to the functionaries, inflate your title again Take credit for things you knew nothing about. Play amateur office politics and believe you are pitting people against each other. Dress absurdly and make comments about getting laid your self with another title. Screw over another.
    Congrats to the former Alysson publisher. To the pros at Avocate and Out, see you soon.
    Not to discredit my poste but, ...Books?

    Posted by: gayfan | Oct 4, 2010 3:07:13 AM

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