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I’ve been too busy with Clarion South to be able to write longer posts, so here’s a round-up of a few interesting tidbits I’ve seen around the interwebs lately.
Winnie the Pooh to the Rescue
Apparently a Pooh sequel is in development. PersonaNonData quotes a Times article: “Michael Brown, for the trustees who manage the affairs of A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard, said that he had been hoping to give the green light to a sequel for a very long time.” This intrigues me since I was fairly sure A. A. Milne’s works entered the public domain in 2007.
Self Publishing Continues to Grow
Martyn Daniels over at Brave New World comments on the continued rise of self publishing as an option for authors finding it hard to be published. It may be cheaper and easier than ever before. But watching my members’ experiences with POD and self-publishing at QWC, it seems the only ones making money out of it so far are the service companies Daniels mentions, like Authors Solutions.
Canadian Wine Meet Canadian Content
Mark at Index//mb has a nifty marketing idea: pair Canadian books/authors with Canadian wines. Mark, Australian Coriole Wines did a brilliant promotion using exactly this idea a few years ago with Adelaide poets. Poetry and poet bios on the labels, attractive limited edition half-cases with royalties to the poets, and even “Poets in the Vineyard” events with readings and music. I hope Canadian wineries can follow the example!
There are two fixed points in the cultural economy of books; the writer and the reader. Everything in between is up for grabs. And everything in between will need to earn its piece of the action by providing valuable services to writers and readers. Publishers especially have shown little regard for readers and most will need a radical change in culture in order to create a strong enough service culture.
So folks in a 2019 publishing office will be connecting writers and readers with passion, elan, humility and respect. Or not at all.
Ebook readers: it’s a war story – Times Online
Mark Harris finds that DRM, price and limited range of titles all undermine the eReader hype in the UK, but mostly DRM.
Small Book Publishers Offered New Technology – The NY Times
Getting together with your friends to buy as a group can make some things cheaper, like wine, books and, of course, digital publishing services! Perseus unveils Constellation. This is fantastic for indie publishers. [via Booksquare]
How to find love, literally – The Independent
Search for a good book… find a date! Penguin plays match maker. Oh boy!
Bloomsbury unveils academic imprint – The Bookseller
A goal kicked for Creative Commons. Bloomsbury is launching a new “on demand” academic imprint that will make titles available online for free under non-commercial CC licences. Looks like Richard Charkin is making his presence felt at his new home.
Buy to Own versus Rent to Read – Brave New World
Wot he said. (Although written from the perspective of someone in the UK with flexible data/broadband plans. If only it were so in Australia! *sigh*)
The second thought is really a looking-at-it-backwards inversion of one Martyn’s comments in his blog post Create Digital First:
…we are the start of a digital consumer offer but it is…based on yesterday’s physical cost model, processes and perceptions. Merely taking the finished book and generating a digital rendition that mirrors the physical one is what music did with CDs. Is it logical to merely replicate the book and create just another rendition? We don’t envisage the same demand change as music experienced in selling just fragments (tracks), but it is possible to see the selling of instalments or part works, where all the complete ‘book’ may not be bought.
Or looking at this another way, couldn’t the book be the fragment? I wrote a little while ago about the idea of extensibility, that books could be surrounded by, in William Gibson’s words, a ‘quasi-spectral hypertext’ that extends the frame of the text beyond the information contained only on the page. This is the kind of thing Harlequin are beginning to explore with their Enriched Editions.
So if consumers are open to new pricing models and new ways of configuring book content, especially fragments and parts of works, doesn’t it also stand to reason that the basic text of a book could be the fragment, and consumers pay a premium for enriched versions that have value-adds? This would bring it more into line with the DVD retail model of included special extras in limited editions. It would also help publishers to differentiate between general retail audiences and niche fan audiences.
Whoa, lots of thoughts and ideas prompted by Martyn Daniels’ blog post Create Digital First.
It’s the consumer perception that really counts; after all they pay at the end of the day. Do we know or understand their perceptions on digital pricing, or do we assume we know their views? The UK’s Book Marketing company, have stared to extend their highly respected services to cover digital consumer trends, but is it enough, and are we all contributing, listening and responding to any findings?
First thought is that if an Australian digital publishing taskforce is looking for project to take on this would be one of them. It was pretty clear from our first meeting that publishers are a competitive lot (as they should be) and keep their projects and intel under tight wraps until they’re ready to go public. But market research about consumer perceptions and expectations is data from which we can all benefit. It would be an expensive burden on any one company but might go better as a shared resource.
Yes, I’ve been away from the blog a long while. Work travel, flu, two seasons of Veronica Mars, Ekka, fiction deadline. In that order. Mea culpa.
To make up for my non-posting, here is a selection of links for your reading pleasure. I’m off to MWF later this week so I endeavour to give you better blog than I have lately. Or, you know, any blog.
Short Fiction in the Age of the EBook – The Digitalist
Gary Gibson muses on a possible digital renaissance for short stories. As a short fiction writer and reader this gives me warm fuzzies.
10 Reasons Not to Write Off Reading From a Screen – The Digitalist
Also at The Digitalist, Michael Bhaskar writes in defence of screen reading. Yes! It is absolutely about multiplicity of channels. After all, video really didn’t kill the radio star.
Because I read his RSS feed instead of visiting the site, I had no idea PersonaNonData had such a marvellous list of recommendations for books and reports about the publishing industry, all handily arranged in an Amazon store. I think my credit card is cringing.
An Open Letter to Random House
Publishers take note: this is why DRM makes customers unhappy.
The Kindle Kronikles – Print is Dead
Despite the hype, and various guesstimates about sales figures, I am not a Kindle believer. I think this is cul-de-sac technology and any consumer uptake or design/tech improvements achieved by eReaders are destined to be folded back into mobile phones. Nevertheless, this multi-part post series by Jeff Gomez, author of Print is Dead, is a good read and an interesting primer.
Audible Launches IndieFirst – Brave New World
Martyn Daniels is my favourite commentator on publishing futures. This post has some interesting analysis on the launch of an independent publisher initiative by Audible (the Amazon-owned audiobook retailer)