Friday’s announcement of this year’s Guardian and Observer Book Power 100 (no relation) told largely the same story as has been repeated over and over throughout the year: digital publishing is conclusively changing the way we consume books. Hearteningly, however, the list – compiled by the writers of those newspapers’ literary desks to chart who influences the reading habits of the British public – also makes clear that, at least thus far, the medium has not yet entirely become the message, with authors still by some distance the largest group to feature proportionally (hang in there, poets! Keep chasin’ that rainbow!).
Earlier this month the great and the good of the Indian publishing industry descended on Goa for Publishing Next, a conference designed to get people talking about the future. It was great to be there as part of a British Council YCE initiative along with Oliver Brooks of Complete Novel/Valobox and Michael Bhaskar of Profile. James Bridle and Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones completed the UK contingent for the event, masterminded by Leonard Fernandes and the team at Cinnamon Teal.
This was an event loaded with useful nuggets of knowledge about the publishing community in India and the book industry in general. Here are 5 takeaways.
There’s no question that this week’s top story is Canongate’s explanation of Why we are publishing Julian Assange’s (unauthorised) autobiography. Yes, a juicy tale this one, though the irony of Assange’s manuscript ‘leaking out’ appears lost on him as Assange savages “duplicitous” Canongate.
In other, somewhat less dramatic news, an NY Times Journalist explains Why I’m self publishing my next book, and In France, publishers seek to break Apple’s rigid terms and 30 percent cut.
For all the designers out there, here’s Three Typography Websites You Don’t Want to Miss, and if you’re interested in the future of textbooks, this podcast from O’Reilly explains why they should not be consumed in isolation.
And finally, last weekend saw a successful Publishing Next conference in Goa, great work by Leonard Fernandes and everyone at Cinnamon Teal.
Last night via Twitter, BookMachine held its first #BMhour, a chance for anyone interested in publishing to spend an hour talking to each other on a given subject using that hashtag. Our first topic – ‘what effect will digital publishing have on access to content in developing countries?’ – provoked a lot of healthy discussion, with participants from both developed and developing countries; so much in fact that we won’t be able to fit it all in the recap. Here, though, are some selected highlights, edited together into a form that’s hopefully fairly coherent. I’m going to let the tweets speak for themselves in order to fit in as many as possible, but thanks to everyone who made it a success, in particular @Book_Aid for its contributions and Sophie at @eMCDesignLtd for coming up with the idea.
In the style of so many 90s TV shows, the short story is making a comeback, and if you think Captain Planet is cool as hell, you ain’t seen nothin’. While huge publishers like Random House, and… booksellers, Amazon, are now discovering something most of us have known for years (that short fiction is the greatest writing there is) there are a bunch of publishers out there who have been promoting the form for longer than I’ve been alive.
This evening (Wednesday) at 18.30 GMT we are holding our very first on-line #BMhour. We have never done this before and really hope you can join us to kick off as we mean to go on.
The topic is: What effect will digital publishing have on access to content in developing counties?
- If you think about this a lot – please come along and share your wisdom
- If you want to learn more – please come along to follow and learn
During #BMhour you’ll:
- Mingle with other BookMachine folks; those who work in publishing, those who aspire to and those who work with publishers in creating content
- Discuss interesting topics related to publishing in developing countries
- Learn from others who are well versed in publishing in the developing world
How to Participate:
- On Wednesday 21st September 2011 at 18.30 sign onto Twitter
- Join the conversation using the hashtag #BMhour
- Be heard, learn something new, meet others
We must give credit to Sophie at EMCDesign who came up with the idea. She also started the event with a blog post on her site, right here. Have a read to get thinking ahead of tomorrow’s chat.
If you’re not a Tweeter/Twitterer (?!) then check back here on Thursday for a review.
That’s all, see you tonight!
The chances of anyone reading this not knowing by now may have passed slim-to-none some time ago, but just in case, consider this a public service announcement: as part of its autumn books season, this past Saturday saw The Guardian officially launch its own Book Swap, leaving thousands of books in various public places around the UK just waiting to be collected for free by eager readers, in what will prove to be either a tremendous act of collective altruism or the worst case of mass littering since the day after The Lost Symbol came out.
Who will be there? Journalists, digital media companies, writers, illustrators, photographers, magazines and newspapers will gather together to discuss what lies ahead for publishing as it faces a pivotal ‘make or break’ point in its evolution. Sounds exciting, eh?
There’s a host of expert speakers from Alistair Horne (Cambridge University Press) to Anna Lewis (CompletelyNovel and Valobox) and Dan Franklin (Random House). You don’t need to hear it all from me though; check out the programme right here.
So, get booking your tickets, early booking ends today! Look forward to seeing you there.
This week, the sad end of a former giant was chronicled in a Borders epilogue: ‘We were in perpetual crisis’; but this year hasn’t been as bad as all that for everyone – Summer’s Over—and the Kids’ Bookstores Are All Right, so good for them.
Having already cornered the market in sales of print books, e-books, and numerous formats as yet uninvented, probably, rumours abound this week that Amazon is currently sitting in a car with tinted windows outside the houses of libraries the world over, screwing on a silencer, and waiting patiently for a clear shot. By which I mean it’s maybe, possibly, potentially putting together plans to launch an e-book lending system.