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The Biz Roundup January 8


The economy lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008, government figures showed, the most since World War II ended in 1945. Nearly two million of those losses were in the last four months alone, a sign that the recession accelerated as the financial crisis intensified, and should drag on well into the new year.

Meanwhile the unemployment rate, which is calculated using a separate survey of households, jumped 0.4 percentage point to 7.2%, the highest since January 1993. Economists think the jobless rate, which was just 5% as recently as April, will hit 8% or higher in coming months.

“At this pace, the unemployment rate could well test double digits later this year, and certainly looks well on course to do so during 2010 at the latest,”

(“Jobless Rate Surges to 7.2%; Nonfarm Payrolls Drop 524,000,” Wall Street Journal, January 9) No comment required.

Bad news for self-published authors

Author Solutions, a publisher of print-on-demand books based in Bloomington, Ind., has acquired Xlibris, a rival self-publisher, expanding its footprint in one of the fastest-growing segments of publishing. Author Solutions, which owns imprints including iUniverse and AuthorHouse, last year published 12,000 titles and sold more than 2.5 million copies of its books . . .”

(“Self-Publishing Company Acquires Its Rival ,” New York Times, January 08) Author Solutions is very high-priced and poorly managed — I speak from painful experience. The key to providing value to self-published authors is flexibility and affordability, both of which Author Solutions lacks in spades. Xlibris was a very good firm and it’s a shame to see the self-publishing industry going to the folks who see authors as their primary source of income rather than book sales.

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