Day: September 23, 2010

Interesting Story From The Irish Times Today | Unlikely tale of the playwright and the pugilist – The Irish Times – Thu, Sep 23, 2010

Shaw & the boxer to boil it down, worth reading!

He was introduced to the bard by a fellow marine en route to France with the American Expeditionary Force; by the time he fought for the heavyweight championship he had plowed his way through the collected works of Shakespeare, and could recite Hamlet in its entirety. Invited to Yale to lecture on Shakespeare, he did so creditably, and without notes.

Tunney’s intellectual bent was not universally admired. Will Rogers (no relation to Roy), wrote in his folksy newspaper column, “Let’s have prizefighters with harder wallops and less Shakespeare”, and Paul Gallico, the Columbia-educated sports editor of the New York Daily News�, made light of Tunney’s chances in his 1926 challenge to Jack Dempsey, opining: “I think Tunney has hurt his own game with his cultural nonsense.

via Unlikely tale of the playwright and the pugilist – The Irish Times – Thu, Sep 23, 2010.

Go Read This | Ten things about the agency model in the UK | FutureBook

Great, off the cuff thoughts from Philip Jones about  Agency Pricing in the UK!

5 The agency model is a short term device. No-one I’ve spoken to believes it can last long term; though Evans did indicate that agency terms were used in other sectors, for instance fashion, as well as the app store. I checked the fashion angle with Draper’s deputy editor just now and she said this was “not strictly true”. An r.r.p. is set by fashion houses, which retailers would be wise to stick to if they still want to continue to receive the goods, but there is no legal contract to enforce it. Probably because it would be illegal to have one.

via Ten things about the agency model in the UK | FutureBook.

Go Read This | Brains and brawn | theBookseller.com

The Bookseller has a very nice feature on Estate Publishing on the back of the news about HarperCollins acquiring the worldwide rights to Agahta Christie’s work. Best thing in the magazine this week if you ask me (with the possible exception of an editorial by James Bridle).

He says dealing with the estates requires patience and tenacity: it took seven years of discussions with the Tolkien estate before it agreed for HC to release e-books. His first meeting with the Tolkien estate in 1995 involved him having seven publishing ideas in a row shot down. It was, he says, “the most humiliating morning”.

“You sometimes sit and think ‘have I gone native? Am I asking sufficiently challenging questions?'” he says. “You need to make sure you are not assuming too much. I’m fairly confident I’ve got the right perspective. You keeping chipping away.”

via Brains and brawn | theBookseller.com.

Estate publishing, like Classics and (although no-one else seems to think it) mid-list publishing can and should be territory for experimentation, innovation and great publishing.

Penguin’s Classics for instance have shown recently what just the application of some great design and clever curation can do for a list that isn’t even owned exclusively by one publisher.

What’s Going On With Tumblr?

All of a sudden everything seems to be getting designated a platform even when the claim is a little weak.

The latest is Tumblr which frankly, if it is anything other than a service provider is a network or maybe, at a stretch, a social network and perhaps, an emerging community (but a very fractured and erratic one). In some ways, Tumblr is like the webring of the 21st century the only difference being that it is nicely designed and ‘ultra-hip’.

Yet Tumblr seems to be attracting a huge amount of interest from media and publishing companies as this Read Write Web blog post makes clear:

“Part of what we do is experiment on different platforms, and it seemed apparent to us that there was a sizable number of NPR fans on Tumblr,” he says. “It’s less about pageviews and more about engaging a community that enjoys NPR.”

Carvin says NPR is taking a very experimental approach to Tumblr in terms of curating content to share, engaging one-on-one with followers and determining how to voice the blog.

He adds that he is eager to get feedback from fans, but that there is no “grand plan” for what they intend to accomplish.
NPR Looks to Engage New Audiences On Tumblr.

Taking the Tumblr plunge is just as stupid as taking the Twitter plunge or the blogging plunge if you haven’t the faintest idea why you are doing it? Why on earth would NPR get involved in this while at the same time admitting that they don’t have a ‘grand plan’?

Sure, experimentation is interesting, valid and worth engaging in, but this kind of shot in the dark stuff reeks of chasing an illusory ‘cool’ crowd.

Tumblr is interesting in its own way and there seems to be some kind of community building there, but Tumblr is NOT the solution for publishers and media companies, their own websites offer so much more opportunity for engaging with audiences, audiences who are coming TO them, not being interrupted BY them. Quite a few publishers could spend some time sorting that side of things out before running off to the next pretty ‘platform’ they see.

Still coughing, which is annoying!
Eoin

Go Read This | E-book sales begin to cannibalise print | theBookseller.com

This was, in some senses, bound to happen. If it proves to be true it is the start of the erosion of the print business model, the one that sees publishers forced to cut print runs, reduce their benefits of scale in print and perhaps encourage them to begin converting print readers to digital ones.

The growth in e-book sales in genres such as romance and science-fiction is leading to a cannibalisation in sales of printed books, according to Nielsen BookScan data.

Sales of printed romance books have fallen for the first time since records began at a time when e-book sales have more than doubled.

The data, released as part of a seminar held yesterday with Enders Analysis, ‘Digital Seminar: e-books and their impact on the market’, showed genres such as science fiction and romance are “overperforming” thanks to the tastes of early adopters of e-books. For example, the e-book market share of the science fiction and fantasy sector globally for the 10 weeks since June was 10%, more than treble the genre’s market share of print book sales. The share taken by romance and saga books was 14%, seven times its print market share.

via E-book sales begin to cannibalise print | theBookseller.com.