Following Microsoft’s investment of $300 million earlier this year, leading American book retailer Barnes & Noble has revealed plans to expand outside of North America for the first time, bringing its Kindle-rivalling NOOK e-reader to UK shores this coming October. Offering an array of over 2.5 million books, magazines and apps, nook.co.uk will become fully operational upon the launch of the hardware, which will itself be made available through bodies which Barnes & Noble currently refers to only as ‘well-known UK partners’ (so roll up and place your bets now! I’m giving very fair odds on it being Elton John and David Furnish.)
First up, if you find yourself in or around Auld Reekie this evening, BookMachin
On the site this week, there’s Beck To Release Most Backward Book Ever, and Bookaboo looking for submissions for new series. Then we had a rush of questions (and answers), including 6 questions for Wendy Toole of the SfEP, 6 Questions for Russell Kerridge of Imagewrite, and Five questions for Sophia Blackwell.
Elsewhere on the web, have you ever wondered Why Self-Published Books Look Self-Published or Why Everything in Publishing Takes So Long? Do you agree that Publishing Is Broken, We’re Drowning In Indie Books – And That’s A Good Thing?
Meanwhile, As time ticks down, publishers and Authors Guild slam ebook settlement, we’re Cruising for a browsing (experience), it’s Rejection vs. Rock & Roll, and there’s some advice on Navigating the World of Literary Agents.
What I am about to tell you may both both shock and amaze, but I swear it is 100% true. There is a magazine featuring the first chapter from three new novels distributed to 10,000 commuters in and around London, and it is totally and completely free. That’s right: content distribution and discoverability innovation that isn’t digital.
The Underground Book Club is a free magazine, now on its fourth issue, of the same ilk as The Metro and The London Evening Standard, except instead of whacking you round the face with their massive horn for Boris Johnson and headlines whose puns are as subtle as a lead pipe to the kneecap, this magazine showcases incredible literature, helping authors find readers among commuters and spreading fiction far and wide. I caught up with Andy Brown, founder of The Underground Book Club, to find out what started it all, some of the challenges with the freemium model, and see where the Book Club is headed in the future.
Unless you’ve had regular contact with very small people over the past three years, you may be unaware of the existence of CITV’s pro-literacy kids show Bookaboo. Since 2009, 26 episodes have been broadcast starring the eponymous ‘rock puppy’, a drummer in a band who refuses to perform on stage (or maybe is physically unable to do so – it’s not entirely clear from the online research if this is actually some sort of psychological disorder) unless he is read a story by a celebrity guest (well, their being a celebrity isn’t a crucial requirement, it seems, but it tends to be the way of things). His problem is summed up by what appears to be his catchphrase, ‘a story a day or I just can’t play’. No word as yet on whether or not he’s also a kung fu hippie from gangsta city.
It seems the publishing and music industry parallels that we all love to hate (and apparently can’t help but point out at every possible opportunity) has taken a hit this week, with Beck announcing that his next album won’t be released as a record but rather a book of sheet music, published in the UK by Faber and in the US by ultra-indie, underground-before-it-was-cool McSweeneys.
Publishers generally don’t sell advertising space. There’s an underlying fear that this will have a negative impact on readers. What is this fear based on and are there examples of how this model can work?
One of the criticisms of advertising is that it offends the consumer’s sense of good taste by insulting and degrading his intelligence. But surely that’s a criticism in itself? I’d like to think that as a consumer you are deemed intelligent enough to decide what is the right product for your needs.
Let’s start with some sums and a hypothetical situation for book publishers and an app build…