Disregard the Booker nominees. Forget the Nobel. The Pullitzer? Pfft. The shortlist has been announced for the only vaguely literary award that matters: the Diagram Prize for the year’s oddest book title.
Archive for February, 2012
Tuesday last was the Society of Young Publishers’ career speed dating evening, which I was invited to appear at as a digital expert. Basically, a group of publishing students and people who are interested in working in publishing come along and ask you about your job and how you started out and what your day-to-day entails, and you’ve got six minutes to turn your own blank look into something like worldly advice.
Any UK publishers currently working up a mild sweat at the state of the industry should maybe consider a sojourn in the east: figures released by Nielsen BookScan India this week show a voracious, widespread appetite for the printed word emerging on the subcontinent, with the Indian book market growing 40% in value and a huge 45% in volume in the first six months of 2011 alone. Adult fiction took the biggest leap of any category, with that same six month period showing a 49% growth in value and an astronomical 82% growth in volume, and further “steep growth” in the latter half of the year.
Picture the scene: you’ve made it to the end of the horror movie. Someone’s been killing off every element of traditional publishing one by one, like a bottom of the barrel knock-off of Se7en, but you’ve managed to stay alive and now you’re the last girl standing (not to be sexist or anything guys, but c’mon – you ever seen one of these movies? If you’re still alive at this point, you’re definitely a girl, and you’re probably not getting any).
It’s time to unmask the killer. Every clue points to Amazon: the forward thinking business plan, the wide, eclectic user base, the global reach, the ubiquity in our daily lives. The killer’s distracted or asleep or checking Facebook or something. You reach for his hood, snatch it from his head and – no! It can’t be! Then all those clues were red herrings! Oh my God, all this time it was actually Twitter! Wait, what? No, it wasn’t. That’s just stupid. It definitely wasn’t Twitter. That doesn’t make sense even in the context of this weird hypothetical slasher flick where websites are people.
I saw that donut meme about social media for the first time last week and had a good laugh at the reductive accuracy of the whole thing and then another good laugh at the expense of Google+ (who I love dearly for their attention to detail, but can’t find a decent use for) and I was all ‘what the hell is Pinterest?’ and then I looked it up and realised it was like a mini Tumblr, and I was all ‘why would I care at all about this?’ and then I kept looking at it and I was all ‘hmm… wait a second…’. And then I requested an account.
There was lots going on in educational publishing as Online Store Kno Sues Publisher for Pulling Its Digital Textbooks and Nature Publishing Group Officially Launches a New Interactive Textbook. Apple and Others Strive to Be the Next Wave in Educational Publishing, and as Inkling Previews Its Semantic Publishing Platform, which looks to be a pretty good response to iBooks Author, there’s yet another authoring platform released by Sourcefabric.
As The publishing industry has gone mad for film-style trailers, we also had news that Publishers win battle against illegal e-book sites. Go team!
And BookWrap leaves you this week with 29 Soundbites On Writing And Publishing.
Honduran designer Carlos Campos debuted his autumn line this past weekend at New York Fashion Week, claiming that he took inspiration from Gabriel García Márquez’s Love In The Time Of Cholera. Experts (well, the New York Post) called it ‘as poetic and nuanced as the novel’. To the untrained eye, however, this has just resulted in a lot of orangey-reddy clothes, presumably because red has long been associated with passion and heat, an’ that. So we’re calling bullplop (that’s right – bullplop!) on the whole Márquez inspiration angle – if you’re going to claim a novel as inspiration, designers, at least get a bit more out there with it. Here are some suggestions for ways you could get started.
Sticking an ever so dignified and respectable two fingers up at Amazon, beloved London bookseller Foyles has this week launched an ebook store and accompanying apps. The venerable, iconic independent chain – with five branches in London and one in Bristol, for the more adventurous metropolitan – already has over 200,000 titles on offer, which is presumably more than are contained even in its flagship five-floored Charing Cross Road shop.
Legacy publishing is not a thing. Sorry, maybe it’s this thing. But in the context of the publishing industry, supplanting the word ‘house’ or ‘printed’ for ‘legacy’ is used as a tool only to insult mainstream publishing and assist the few who are benefiting from this false dichotomy (thanks, university degree) of publishing houses vs author.
This meaningless phrase is used as meaningless phrases are: to cover holes in our understanding of things. In this case it is being used to describe a gap in our understanding of digital publishing. In our rush to seem up-to-date and not go the way of the music industry, we create such labels and then throw them around in order to draw a line between ourselves and them. Those others. Those morons with old ideas. Those… Saruman-like dictators of culture.
On the digital front this week, there were Nine truths about e-book publishing, 5 Career Tips to Survive Publishing’s Digital Shift?, and there was good news for comic fans as Aquafadas Offers Self-Publishers Digital Publishing Tools for graphic novels.
But with the cascade of new epublishing tools, it’s best to remember the Tortured Language – Discerning Ebook Rights in Ancient Publishing Contracts.
This week’s big bout was Amazon vs. Big Publishing: 800 lbs vs. 798 lbs.?