Month: January 2008

Some interesting thoughts from Kaplan in the Atlantic 150th Year Anniversary edition

Eoin Purcell

Sea power in the modern era
Amongst a number of other great articles, the 150th Anniversary Edition has one thoughtful and exceptional one from Robert D. Kaplan. It deals with the imperative of the US have a function and effective navy. Given the excellent news that the Atlantic has opened its archive I can link directly to the piece:

“Regular wars” between major states could be as frequent in the 21st century as they were in the 20th. In his 2005 book, Another Bloody Century, the British scholar Colin Gray, a professor of international politics and strategic studies at the University of Reading, explains convincingly that these future wars will not require any “manifestation of insanity by political leaders,” nor even an “aberration from normal statecraft,” but may come about merely because of what Thucydides recognized as “fear, honour, and interest.” Wars between the United States and a Sino-Russian axis or between the United States and a coalition of rogue states are just two of the scenarios Gray imagines.

Are we prepared to fight these wars? Our Army and Marine Corps together constitute the most battle- hardened regular land force in the world. But it has been a long time since our Navy has truly fought another navy, or our Air Force another air force. In the future they could be tested to the same extent that the Army and Marine Corps have been. The current catchphrase is boots on the ground; in the future it could be hulls in the water.

As an added bonus the article in print carries references to two classic titles: Alfred T Mahan’s, The Influence of Sea Power upon History and Julian S. Corbett’s Some Principles of Maritime Strategy. The print version even offers brief aside on Mahan’s work written by none other than Theodore Roosevelt.

Worth reading all three!


Bookseller Column: The Irish Blook

Eoin Purcell

I’m quite pleased with how this came out in the end.

The Irish blook


Blogging has been brewing up a media storm in the Irish media. Two weeks ago, well known commentator, John Waters, attacked the entire blogosphere on Newstalk, one of Ireland’s talk radio stations.

Following the lead of Andrew Keen in his book The Cult of the Amateur, John Waters said that blogs were “stupid”, “entirely cynical”, “entirely negative” and equivalent to the “wall of a toilet”. He also attacked the lack of authority and suggested that much of the internet was given over to pornography and self-gratification (of which he believes blogging to be an extension).

Unsurprisingly he was rebutted and lampooned by the blogging fraternity. Eventually he came head to head with one of Ireland’s more erudite bloggers Feargal Crehan (a barrister) and the results can be heard here.

Whatever about the merits of Waters’ arguments, they do raise the question of blogging’s role in Irish publishing. There are more than a few success stories in the field.

For more go Here

(Links are a bit tricksy for some reason though!

Enjoying P&Ls (is that odd?)

I made the Long List

Eoin Purcell

Irish Blog Awards
Very surprised and very pleased to have been nominated and to have made the Leaked Long List for the Irish Blog Awards* in the Specialist Category!

Smile on my face today,

*Speaking of which the process of authoritative leaks of many of the long lists has been a very clever ruse for building attention. I’m impressed.

Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 28/01/2008

Eoin Purcell

James Bridle always has interesting stuff to say and today’s point is as well made as ever.

When we are on the topic it would be a shame not to mention today’s excellent post about e-book pricing on The Digitalist.

Oh and on the blogger and books Damien Mulley has an interview with controversial blogger Twenty Major (the first Irish Blogger with a book deal if not the first to be released).

And finally Laurence Orbach [CEO of Quarto) has a nicely considered post that recalls somehting that was said to me at a strategy meeting;
“Survival is not guaranteed!”

All in all a fine mix today!

The Equivoque Principle arrives on my desk: I’m pretty excited

Eoin Purcell

So I spilled the cash for The Friday Project’s tasty looking special edition of The Equivoque Principle and boy does it look sweet. I cobbled together a few pictures into a little video:

Sorry about the naff music, I’m still learning with these slideshows and what not!
Next time I’ll get it right!

I’ll have to hold off reading it for a bit. It is not just the huge TBR Pile:


But also as Penguin have kindly reminded me that I was sent The Waves SIX MONTHS AGO and need to get my skates on! Opps!

Worried and sorry, is it really six months already!

Some thoughts on Mike Shatzkin’s thoughts (part one)

Eoin Purcell

Mike Shatzkin* is clever
If you doubt that, read some of this article [hat tip: Joe Wikert’s Kindleville]. There are so many great ideas there that I almost don’t know where to start.

But I have to because it is so interesting
And two do stand out as being very interesting because one is a trend that seems to be emerging in Ireland and the other is relevant to news heard just a few days ago:

4. Publishers will start acquiring specialized Web sites to get content for their books and to target niche audiences. By year-end, every major publisher will need to have an understanding of how to put a value on Web sites, because the old measures—namely, sales and profits—won’t necessarily be relevant and because the acquisitions will be smaller than what the companies would normally consider. The process will be similar to acquiring books, requiring a bit of imagination to see how the deals will pay off.

5. Christmas 2008 will be the first one in which sales of customized books, enabled by the Internet and print-on-demand, will become substantial. Make-your-own books have been creeping into public consciousness for a couple of years: Apple has made it easy to produce one-off picture books and author-services sites like have enabled author-generated books for some time. Travel book publishers have played with the concept. What is new is that technologies like SharedBook are moving make-your-own and assemble-your-own into consumer areas like food and sports. So far, this is outside the mainstream of the book business, but consumers will buy enough of these to create interest among publishers and online booksellers.

4. Is an interesting one
And clearly true. In Ireland alone: Overheard in Dublin, Ice Cream Ireland, Twenty Major and Head Rambles have been tapped for content.

I have good reason to believe there are a few more to come over the next few months. Some I am interested in and hope to put under contract and others that I am sure rival publishers will contract. Although this isn’t exactly the same notion, it does I think touch on it.

I wonder though will G&M actually acquire OverheardinDublin eventually? Should they? It has already generated retail sales of €473,556.37. Even allowing a 60% discount that means the books have earned G&M around €190,000.00 Assume a decent royalty rate of between 10% and 15% Net Receipts and the pay-out is Between €19,000.00 and €28,500.00.

Would it have been worth €50,000 to buy the site and hire its authors, financing the roll out of new products based on each of Ireland’s major cities (and perhaps a few county based ones too: Overheard in Kerry anyone?). I don’t know. If I was them I think I would risk it but that’s me. It would be a fascinating experiment though!

5. has worried me for a while
And I have written about it before too. I suspect there will not be a huge call on this in Ireland but I know that several friends and relatives have already had photo-books printed and I have also used though it is less about publishing (not that the validation it provides for other self publishing forms is not important).

I cannot add much to the debate except to say that there is no reason why Irish Publishers cannot hit this area hard. After all, we could sign agreements with or or even (or any POD Publisher) for access to their efficient and cheap single unit printing and deliver individually tailored books at higher prices to customers at will. Maybe someone will this year.

UPDATE: Random House have done a deal with SharedBook!

I’d like to see some experiments

* Or read this which I linked to before.

Links – 23/01/2008

Visit Gongblog for a series of great graphics on China and India’s role in the world economy. For while I have been annoying one of my good friends with the idea that China has traditionally accounted for about 30% of the world economy and will over time return to norm. Its a nonsense notion in one sense but seems to be emerging as truth. Of course it could as easily not have happened this way since 1920 or so but it has. Interesting.

Lost and Found. One of the best documentary movies I have ever seen. I lost the address, got the address and finally got around to posting it. and sending an e-mail I’d love the answer to be positive on!

Sweet! Stanford University iTunes lectures. Download-a-go-go! [Launches iTunes]