True story: there are some really, absolutely, unquestionably terrible book covers in the world – ones that make you want to approach bookshelves with a flamethrower rather than an open wallet – and while we’d like to curse these to that terrible time in history when ‘fashionable’ was synonymous with ‘seizure’ (the 80s), this isn’t always going to be the case. Given that some people still believe a large stock image and a whacky font is a winning way to represent their title, I don’t think we’re going to be stuck for contenders for the worst book cover award any time soon.
Can’t say there’s been much news this week – no big mergers to report, and no-one has invented the Next Big Thing to save/destroy publishing, which leaves me discussing something rather close to my own heart. Something I see all too often when I’m trawling Twitter, or browsing pins, or trying unsuccessfully to suppress a rage-induced hernia while posting on Facebook. Something more horrifying than a Justin Beiber fan and more plentiful than 50 Shades of Grey knockoffs.
Last week, a new alliance between supermarket Sainsbury’s and social reading site aNobii rocked the publishing world. As I’ve said before, aNobii have been ramping up their online presence of late and it seems to have paid off with this deal, sparking some discussion as to whether this was Sainsbury’s well and truly making their move into eBook retailing. But can they realistically take on the giants of the book selling industry? In a fight between young-gun Sainsobii and godly Wamazon*, who would win?
or The Future of Storytelling Might Not Be So Fancy
Two weeks ago, a friend of mine, knowing my penchant for all things techy and mental, sent me links to two websites, both of which contain experimental digital fiction. One, a short fiction website called Dreaming Methods, uses clever coding to create an app-like experience in your browser. The second, Nawlz, is a more conventional interactive comic where the frames move and change depending on user interaction, thus giving the reader the illusion of control (it’s actually rather good).
Recently, I wrote a post here which encouraged everyone to revisit their relationship with children’s non-fiction. Originally, I didn’t have space to address an interesting comment that Nicola Davies and Vivian French made at Booktrust’s London Book Fair seminar: that children’s non-fiction seems to be more popular in the US than in the UK. As an American in London, I know that cross-cultural idea exchange is a great learning experience, and this really intrigued me. I wanted to find out why two successful non-fiction authors would feel this way, and whether things are different for children’s non-fiction across the pond.
I spoke further with Vivian French about her personal experience and got on-the-ground insight about children’s non-fiction in the US from Dr. Joan Kindig, an education and reading specialist at James Madison University, who certainly has her finger on the pulse of US children’s publishing trends.
Here’s what I think the UK publishing industry should take away from our counterparts in the states…
Last week, after my observation that Waterstones is not in a better position to offer bundling now than it was last year, I had a brief debate on Twitter about pros and cons of bundling print and digital during which someone (oh so rightly) asked the question: ‘do customers even want an eBook version of the printed novel they just bought?’ This led to a couple of posts, and Sam Missingham brought out some numbers over on the Futurebook blog from a survey done with 4,000 customers 9 months ago. Here’s a summary:
Some might say I was a late bloomer when it comes to the publishing industry. At the tender age of 24, my eyes were opened to the world of book PR via a small pub event. As I began to mingle, I realised how much I enjoyed talking to everyone about things that I really cared about-rather than just smiling and nodding. At the time I was doing work experience in events and paying the rent by working in a dog grooming salon. Nevertheless, I thought that I could reignite my childhood passion for reading (I was a proper bookworm) and combine it with talking a lot, meeting people and chin-wagging over a glass or two of vino. Subsequently, I decided to hound a Publicity Director I’d met-and three weeks later started working for her and never looked back.
That was just over two years ago, and now I am fortunate to have a job I love, great colleagues and friends I have made in my short career, alongside a swift education in social media. I get to meet amazing authors, journalists and fellow publishing folk, and despite the taboo subject of pay (publishing is notorious for this), I wouldn’t swap it for anything. Admittedly no expert on employment and a relative newcomer myself, here are my personal top tips for getting into book PR.
Everyone’s a critic
The web, and not least Amazon’s customer review functionality, has been blamed for the demise (or at least the endangered species status) of the professional literary critic. There’s not doubt that the amount of space in the national press given over to books is less than ever, and the number of literary editors has diminished too. Needless to say, the whole newspaper market is changing and shrinking, thanks to this Internet thingummy. So, Bookmachiners, I ask you – is this such a bad thing?
I have a weird dual perspective on this issue…
A decade or more ago, elearning was heralded by many as the panacea to organisational training needs. The reality? It didn’t live up to the hype. Elearning was too often just a bunch of files uploaded to a website or learning management system; unhappy eye-strained learners read reams of text on screen. Today technology has moved on, and elearning can finally deliver what most learners really want: personalised, interactive, social and mobile learning experiences. So, for anyone who still thinks elearning is dull, disappointing or dead in the water, here are eight tips to debunk your views.
If, like me, you spend a lot of time on the internet (like… y’know… enough to clock when adverts change on the same web pages) you will probably have noticed the intense ramping up of aNobii activity across all digital channels recently. In the past two months, their online advertising reached the level of intense saturation usually reserved for dating websites – displaying as gates on pirated videos before you watch them, weird sidebar ad placement on forums, promoted tweets, heaps of whacky Pinterest boards… and so on.
So given the company launched in 2006, why now?