A Thought On | Book Publisher Hachette Closes Down In NZ

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.

Go Read This | Jeff Bezos Ate My Hamster | FutureBook

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.

Go Read This | Apple should be breaking new ground – not the law | Books | The Observer

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.