Interesting and smart stuff:
In the same way that making automobiles smartphone-compatible has proven to be vastly superior (and more cost-effective) than reinventing smartphone functionality and building it into every car’s dashboard, the television set paradigm has just shifted. Why pay extra for expensive technology built into your screen when you can bring your own bell and whistle to any screen you want?
That’s exactly what Google is saying with Chromecast.
While an arms race among television makers has been mustering over the development of “smart TV” that lets people use the Internet on the biggest screen in the house, Chromecast is like Dropbox for TV. Everywhere you go, you can have your stuff, on any screen, doesn’t matter if it’s “smart”, dumb, big, or small. And you can use your frigging phone or mouse instead of a remote. I think it’s one of the smartest moves the company has made in some time.
via Like Dropbox For TV, Chromecast Changes The Game | LinkedIn.
I have two questions about this that have only occurred to me having read this yesterday;
1) If the book trade is so badly impacted in New Zealand and ebooks are growing so rapidly, why is the sales team being retained, surely they’d be about the first to lose their usefulness?
2) The implication of this story (although it isn’t in fact stated) is that local authors are not holding their own against outside authors, why is that and what are the implications for other smaller English language territories?
HACHETTE New Zealand, the local arm of the global publisher whose titles include biographies of Richie McCaw and Mark Todd, is to cease publishing locally with the loss of 12 jobs including its long-serving management team.
The New Zealand company, which publishes locally under the Hodder Moa imprint, will continue as a marketing and sales office for the group’s international titles and New Zealand backlist, according to a statement from Malcolm Edwards, chairman for Hachette Australia and New Zealand.
Local finance, administration and IT functions will be relocated to Australia and publishing will cease in New Zealand after the completion of its 2013 programme.
The New Zealand publishing business has shrunk largely because of “the increased sourcing of books from overseas, at the expenses of the local trade, and the rapid growth of e-books,” Mr Edwards said.
via Book publisher Hachette closes down in NZ | Herald Sun.
Of course Chris McVeigh is making lots of sense here:
The idea that Amazon’s raison d’etre is to destroy the publishing industry has been repeated so often that it’s almost become the accepted wisdom in some quarters and as so often, the accepted wisdom is wrong.
Amazon are interested in selling books as a retail commodity – plain and simple. There’s no philosophical or ideological element to their approach. Books were simply the first commodity Amazon used to establish themselves in the online retail environment – as such they probably still hold a special place in Jeff Bezos’ heart. To believe that books are the main drivers of Amazon’s business strategy is to vastly underestimate Amazon’s ambitions and to vastly overestimate the importance of publishing in the wider scheme of things. Amazon doesn’t even break ‘Books’ out as a separate category in its’ accounts, they are lumped in along with DVDs, CDs and Movie & Music downloads under the catch all title of “Media”
via Jeff Bezos Ate My Hamster | FutureBook.
That James Bridle is such a smart fellow:
The literature industry’s fear of technology is what really sits at the centre of this debate. There have always been two complementary and effective ways of countering Amazon’s dominance, and neither has been taken up in the (English-speaking) publishing world: these are investing in building national ebook stores, as has been done in France, Germany, Scandinavia and elsewhere; and relaxing the ferocious demands of Digital Rights Management, which make purchasing an ebook from anyone but “verticals” like Amazon and Kobo a virtual misery.
via Apple should be breaking new ground – not the law | Books | The Observer.
Rather nice piece from Philip Jones, a bit of a kick for everyone along with a solid dose of realism and practicality:
Booksellers must find ways to emphasise their uniqueness: the smart ones offer an experience at the heart of which is the content and the theatre. But they must do this in an environment that is unsparingly tough, with customers who have a myriad of choices not just about who they buy from, but what format they use.
via The adjusters | The Bookseller.
I can’t say I agree with this argument
But there’s another downside, which is the negative impact on thousands of writers the public has never heard of or, more importantly, had the opportunity to read. In that sense, it could even be argued that Rowling’s well-intended hoax has backfired, turning into yet another story about fame in the modern world.
via JK Rowling’s book ruse is a cautionary tale for unknown writers | Joan Smith | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.
For one thing, readers always have the opportunity to read debut authors, though they may never consider them and they may choose not to read them, given that readers’ time is limited and the chances of getting a bad book are high, it’s understandable that they often pick authors they already know and like.
Secondly the publishing industry has always been hit driven, there’s some argument that it is becoming even more so with the bandwagoning effect of the internet, but that’s a question of scale rather than kind. New writers always struggle to get exposure in this environment. But even the hits start small until something or someone pushes them over an edge, that can be advertising spend, celebrity endorsement, top line publicity, word of mouth or just dumb luck, but even JK Rowling started at the bottom with Harry Potter, the initial print run for The Philosopher’s Stone was around 1,00 copies!
Finally no writer is entitled to success, just as no publisher or bookseller is entitled to it. We all have to work to reach readers and entice them to read book (hopefully our books). Sometimes that means publishing a few books before gaining a readership, sometimes it may mean a writer never gains that readership despite being talented. There’s no foolproof way to guarantee success, you just have to keep plugging away at it and finding good partners to work with and hoping you can do everything right so that if success comes, you’re ready.