Random House & Tesco team up to make a book club

Eoin Purcell

I’d like to say I saw this coming
But that would not be true. In fact it is only in retrospect that the obviousness and the attractiveness of this type of deal is evident. The Bookseller has details:

Random House is to set up a book club with supermarket chain Tesco. Tesco will select one Random House title each month which will be featured in stores nationwide, clearly marked with Tesco Book Club branding.

The launch title is Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir, followed by One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson in July. The books will be Tesco Special Editions with a branded bookmark and each will feature exclusive extra content. Titles will also feature in Tesco Magazine and be promoted to Tesco.com customers via an email campaign.

In terms of publishing coups you have to say it is quite the score for Random House. I wonder if it means the other big houses will rush to deals with the remaining chains? Of course none is quite as well positioned as Tesco is (Apparently £1 in very £8 spent on groceries in the UK is spent in Tesco).

Seems like an interesting development one way or the other.

Rich Multi-Media

Eoin Purcell

I may be biased but:
The RTE Election 2007 site has really triumphed for me this election. Firstly I am listening to the radio coverage (far superior to the television coverage) and watching the studio on web cam. That in itself was great but by far the best feature has been the liberal use of rich visual tools for displaying data and great access to that data. Excellent stuff.

If I had a favourite section, it would be Results Extra.

Tired but happy (as far as it goes)

LibraryThing Early Reviewers feature: Slick!

Eoin Purcell

The more they do the more I like
It is funny that I mentioned Random House Uk yesterday, because today they feature too. LibraryThing has launched a lovely new feature called LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

It’s a pretty Funky Dory idea. I kinda hope it expands. Tim says:

Members should understand what this is, and what it isn’t. We’re going to talk about LibraryThing Early Reviewers, but won’t be pushing Random House’s or anyone else’s books at you. Similarly, getting a free advanced readers copy comes with NO obligation. Under no circumstances will a bad review change your chance of getting another.

If more people want the books than we have copies, we’ll have to ration them. The basic algorithm is randomness, but other factors come into play. We’re going to try to spread the wealth around. And if you complete a review—good or bad!—you’re more likely to get another. Finally, LibraryThing’s matching algorithm will try to match up books with readers, based on the rest of your LibraryThing catalog. For publishers, that’s the interesting part; we’re anxious to see how it turns out.

I can see a couple of big uses here and not just at this late a stage in the publishing process. But I guess that is for the future.

Getting election fever!

Opps: The early version had a slight error in the placing of quotes so please forgive me!

Random House & Imprints (Are they getting ready to shed them?)

Eoin Purcell

Call me crazy but . . .
I don’t pretend to be privy to anything that goes on at Random House UK but I was searching through their rather excellent new online bookstore: rbooks, can you find their imprints listed there? I can’t. Which is odd because for all the books listed on their front page and deeper (for example: Wicked by Jilly Cooper), Amazonlists the imprint.

Sure, you can find the list of their imprints on their home-page but you have to know they exist and click a menu drop down to go to them and helpfully they offer an explanation for those who don’t know what an imprint is:

Each imprint has a slightly different publishing philosophy. Most imprints publish either hardback or paperback editions, so the same title usually appears under two different imprints. For instance John Grisham is published by the imprints Century and Arrow which are both part of Random House.


The lack of positioning for the imprints on the retail site is important because it reflects the reality both of the book-selling trade (I guarantee that Waterstones, Borders and Foyles shelve by category and not by Publisher) and the customer experience (few readers care what imprint publishes their book, though for sure some might know the better known houses they will not know the endless sub-divisions of the giants).It also makes perfect sense. The books are what are important not the imprints. And rbooks does a lovely job of displaying Random’s books.

Am I getting ahead of myself?
Maybe they don’t plan to phase them out and rbooks is in its infancy so they may simply be learning lessons critical to online selling (Though they seem to ignore the discounting policy so prevalent at Amazon.co.uk eg Pig Island).

Maybe they have thought about it and see the benefits. I’d advise them to read Michael Hyatt’s assessment of the Thomas Nelson moves in the recent past as further support for doing away with them. All in all, I hope they do eradicate their imprints. Despite the many proud names that might disappear, book publishing would be stronger and better for it I am sure.

Thinking heady thoughts