Summary:

I’m pleased to announce that Laura Hazard Owen has joined paidContent as a staff writer to cover the intersection of digital and traditional…

I’m pleased to announce that Laura Hazard Owen has joined paidContent as a staff writer to cover the intersection of digital and traditional book publishing.

The traditional book-publishing industry is, of course, facing more significant challenges than ever before, as book lovers in greater numbers are reading on their laptops, phones, Kindles and iPads; more well-established authors are either self- publishing or thinking seriously about it; and Amazon.com (NSDQ: AMZN) is aspiring to be not just a retailing force but a publishing force as well.

But it’s also an exciting time for anyone in the book business.

Sales of digital books and e-readers are growing rapidly, and there is evidence that people are now reading more than they ever have. Social media provides readers, writers and publishers with unprecedented access to each other. Authors and publishers can find and target previously untapped pockets of fans, while a host of new startups are trying to use the power of data to make it much easier for readers to discover new books, which could also fuel book sales.

It is these challenges and opportunities that Laura will chart for paidContent. In fact, she’s already started doing so. Examples here, here and here. This week, she’ll be covering BookExpo America, the biggest trade book fair in the U.S. Laura, who is based in New York, was previously the editor of Publishing Trends, a newsletter and website for the trade book industry, for the past three years. During that period, she has written extensively about reading, writing and publishing in the digital age, covering topics like the evolution of e-book bestseller lists, the rise of reading on mobile phones, new-style book reviews, and social media strategies for publishers and authors. Before Publishing Trends, Laura was an assistant editor at the independent publishing house Skyhorse Publishing.

If there are topics you would like to see addressed, let us know. Laura can be reached at laura AT paidcontent.org or on Twitter @laurahazardowen.

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