News

Some Sad News

I’ve just heard that an author I worked with at Mercier Press, Dermot Walsh passed away this week.

Dermot was a fascinating and interesting man who talked with passion about his subject, in this case the intriguing and bizarre murder of Nurse Catherine Cooper by Michael Manning in Limerick city in 1950s.

For me he encapsulated much of what it is to be an author of a book on a specific topic. He was like many of his peers, gripped by a subject and unable to let it go until he had dug as deeply into it as he could. The resulting book, Beneath Cannock’s Clock, is here and is well worth a read.

I’ve no doubt he will be missed terribly by those he leaves behind and I hope they can find some comfort in the days and months ahead.

Announcement: The Irish Story & Collca Agree Co-Publishing Deal For Five Apps

I’m really pleased to be able to share this news, it means that at least one (and probably more) of the “Story Of Series” will be available as apps for iOS devices by Christmas.

Press Release
04/11/2010
For Immediate Release

The Irish Story & Collca to Co-publish 5 Titles as Apps
The Irish Story and Collca are delighted to announce that they’ve agreed to develop and co-publish iPhone apps for the first five books in The Story Of series of Irish histories.

The partnership will use Collca’s Condor software and data framework to bring the apps to market in rapid succession starting with John Dorney’s The Story Of The Easter Rising, 1916. The Irish Story and Collca will both actively market the apps which will be available from the Apple iTunes app store as soon they’re published.

The Irish Story publisher, Eoin Purcell, said “I’m very pleased with the deal we have reached. It allows The Irish Story to move beyond ebook formats and into the world of apps, something I’ve been keen to do since day one.”

Mike Hyman, managing director of Collca, added “these books provide a very good overview of key events in Irish history. This deal will help consolidate our position as an electronic publisher of shorter concise texts covering a variety of topics – not just history. I believe that this type of publication lends itself far better to electronic publication than to print.”

Notes to Editors
The Irish Story is a digital first publisher of Irish History titles.

Collca, the co-publishers of the acclaimed History In An Hour series, was founded specifically as an ePublisher. It currently publishes book-derived and other educational and reference mobile apps primarily for the Apple iOS platform (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch). Collca is also actively planning to adopt the ePUB ebook standard as an additional platform for some new titles.

Further information from:
The Irish Story:
eoin AT eoinpurcell.com

Collca:
mike.hyman@collca.com
+44 7980 821222

The iPad Hits The UK (and some other places too)

It’s on sale now!
The company’s website is warning that iPad orders made now will not be sent out until 7 June. It sold more than 1m iPads in the US in the first 100 days after the April launch, making it a faster seller than the iPhone.
Here

Welcome to Agency Town
After weeks of no-comment the three publishers finally released statements on their move to the Apple agency model at 10am today at Apple’s request, though The Bookseller broke the news an hour earlier.
Here

Consumers will do what consumers will do
But John Herbert, 42, city analyst, said: “It does books? I might in the end read e-books on it, but it’s not my main reason for getting one. I’m thinking about movies, music, the web; something for the commute, really
Here

Available on the island, just not the southern end of it
APPLE ENTHUSIASTS in Ireland will be able to get their hands on the iPad from today as it goes on sale in the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland.
Here

Tom Tivnan love iBooks
my first thought on iBooks: yeah, this is the real deal. Miles ahead of the Sony Reader, Kindle or any other e-reader on the market. I have been reading e-books on the iPhone, but the far bigger size of the screen adds a new dimension. The ‘flip’ page technology is smooth and comes as close to a real book experience as you are likely to get digitally. After having a look at this, I can’t really see anyone ever wanting a monochrome e-reader.
Here

The FT injects some reality, which is nice!
In other words, analysts trying to calculate the iPad’s prospects in Europe would do well to remember that the continent’s patchwork of publishers and local laws make simple pan-European deals unlikely. Apple’s relatively small European team has been advertising for publisher account managers. On the evidence so far, they will be busy.
Here

And so does Charlie Brooker
I doubt many readers will persevere to the final page of a novel, unless it’s a book in which the lead character squints a lot, in which case you’ll have a certain empathy.
Here

Mediabistro & publishing perspective’s Edward Nawotka throw out interesting thoughts
Nawotka concluded: “The Europeans tend to be more conservative. It’s taken them somewhat longer to get into eBooks. You can see that reflected in the way they dealt with the iPad launch. It’s no secret that this is going to be a trendsetting device. I’m getting pictures in from Australia, the UK, and Germany–the Apple Stores are just thronged. A lot of the publishers just waited until the last minute to sign up and get their stuff ready.”
Here

And we have an early bestseller!
Chris Evans’ memoir, It’s Not What You Think (HarperCollins), is the early ebook bestseller at Apple’s iBookstore. The book, recently released in a mass-market format with an r.r.p. of £7.99 has been selling at around £5.20 at UK bookshops on average in recent weeks. But at a bargain £3.99, the ebook has shot to the top of the UK iBooks chart.
Here

RTÉ’s US Election Coverage

When theory becomes reality
One thing the internet does is allow organisations provide almost infinite options for their viewers/readers or listeners. You don’t see it too much in practice though.

That’s why I like RTÉ’s US election coverage (*) right now. They have revamped the site so it looks different from the news page: have look here and they have

More importantly they are pulling in material from around the web, provided by others that adds value for their users. The Political Compass, The NPR Feed, The Electoral College Explained and a really nice Electoral College Map and I’ve just spotted they have an electoral vote counter on the main page too!

By far the best element of the site though is the extra content and access to the correspondents and reporters who are in the US. There is a Charlie Bird blog, a Robert Shortt blog that includes some vlogs and a Mark Little blog. That is exactly what a media organisation should be using the web to do, to centralise their content and to pull in the best of the rest.

Very impressed,
Eoin

(*) Some people I know [and like] work at rté.ie so I might be biased. I don’t think so, but I think it’s worth saying.

Bad news: Terry Pratchett diagnosed with rare form of Alzheimer’s

Eoin Purcell

Terry Pratchett diagnosed with rare form of Alzheimer’s

Just terrible news. But he seems to be taking it well:

We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, I
expect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there’s time for at least a few more books yet :o)

Unsettled
Eoin

Hat-tip to Mediabistro

Freakonomics now a New York Times blog

Eoin Purcell

How Strange
The Freakonomics blog moved yesterday from its own dedicated site to a new home at the New York Times. Stephen Dubner has a long post explaining the reasons here.

I guess we should not be too surprised. The value of a site and community like Freakonomics is very clear. The monetizing potential must be high. Sites like it are the model most publishers think of when they think of online communities built around books and authors.

All in all I think this is both a good day for digital content publishers (and book publishers in general) but a bad day I should think for the actual publisher of Freakonomics, William Morrow. Surely they must be reluctant to see such a property go to another publisher, even one as powerful as the NYT. They are left with a much less attractive site to promote the book itself? Was there a deal done int he background?

Perplexed
Eoin