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Beth Cox Report: December 2015

Dear Loyal Readers, Authors, and Publishers,

As 2015 draws to a close, I'd like to share with you an online article, published in July, that superbly summarizes the drastic, ongoing changes remolding our society. It's "The WTF Economy":

The article begins with some incredible facts - "In San Francisco, Uber has three times the revenue of the prior taxi and limousine industry. Airbnb has more rooms on offer than some of the largest hotel groups in the world. Top Kickstarters raise tens of millions of dollars from tens of thousands of individual backers, amounts of capital that once required top-tier investment firms."

The digital revolution allows for more detailed, faster communication than ever, and has also eased and secured the flow of money, enabling individuals to go into business for themselves as never before. An author can write a short story, publish it online as an ebook, and start receiving money from the ebook's buyers all in the same day.

I strongly recommend reading this article, as it encapsulates both the present day and the future. Not only will more and more businesses compete with global rivals; they'll also be competing with ordinary people at home.

And for those of us in the children's/YA book business, I recommend investigating December's Link of the Month, JacketFlap:

a website that forges connections between more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers, and creators of books for children and young adults. Membership is free.

For the sake of comparison, I'll also mention a website that seeks to provide a similar service for publishing in general, in exchange for a membership fee. It's Publisher's Marketplace:

However, I cannot tell you whether Publisher's Marketplace is worth its $25.00 monthly subscription fee, because I am not a subscribing member. Publisher's Marketplace does offer the public a free daily digest email, "Publisher's Lunch".

Here at the Midwest Book Review, we certainly don't have all the answers about the digital revolution, or changing economic times, or difficult problems that beset the world. But we frequently see books that just might have a few of the answers, and when we do it's an honor to review these titles and spread the word.

My choice for December's Book of the Month is a sobering reminder that no matter how difficult keeping up with the post-modern economy may seem to be, the challenges are trivial compared to what some people are forced to endure:

In Order to Live
Yeonmi Park with Maryanne Vollers
Penguin Press
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781594206795, $27.95,

In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom recounts the terrible price of freedom, a notion foreign to Yeonmi Park, whose family endured a brutal world in North Korea. More so than most accounts of life under Kim Jong II, Park's saga depicts a savage world in which her father was imprisoned and tortured for trying to trade on the black market to provide for his wife and two young daughters, and one in which escape into China brought with it even more dangers. Sold into sexual slavery in China, freedom seemed an impossible dream and physical and psychological torture an ongoing way of life which didn't end with their escape from North Korea, but seemed their destiny wherever they went. With her sister missing and her father dead, Yeonmi and her mother continued to endure impossible conditions and fought as hard for food as they did for life itself. In Order to Live is a powerful saga of their journeys, and a testament to the human spirit's ability to endure the impossible. It's a top pick for any who would learn about life in North Korea and on the hard road to freedom.

That's all for the December 2015 Beth Cox Report. Happy New Year!

Bethany Cox
Managing Editor
The Midwest Book Review

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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