Go Read This | Travel guide gurus open new chapter in publishing career

I’m intrigued by this news on many levels. There’s much to admire in Text. I can see how the ending of the Canongate link up may present challenges but opportunities too, especially when the new owners are possessors of deep pockets like the Wheelers. It’s the hint that the move on Canongate’s part might be a defensive one, a move to retrench back to the UK market that intrigues the most.

The Wheelers bought their stake in Text from Jamie Byng, the head of Edinburgh-based publisher Canongate with which Text entered a partnership in 2004. Negotiations took place over the past few months, with the deal sealed last Friday. Mr Byng said he sold to refocus on the UK market.

Text Publishing was established about 20 years ago by former McPhee Gribble publisher Di Gribble as part of Eric Beechers Text Media. Michael Heyward has run the company since publishing its first book, Shane Maloneys Stiff, in 1994. He, his wife, senior editor Penny Hueston, and Mr Byng bought the publisher in 2004 from John Fairfax, owner of The Age, which had bought Text Media in January of that year.

via Travel guide gurus open new chapter in publishing career.

Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 11/12/2009

Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews to close. Frankly I find this a little strange. Even spinning them off might have been better, though survival on their own would have been pretty unlikely without serious reorganization and a fundamental rethinking of the business models.

Canongate is profiled in the Wall Street Journal, that Jamie Byng has an eye for a book that can be packaged. It’d almost make ya jealous.

Frankly, I don’t buy this Apple Tablet nonsense much. Apple cannot single-handedly change the industry, though they may try. In any case when Steve Jobs announces this on a stage somewhere, I’m sure I’ll want it, but until then, I shall waste no energy waiting or wanting.

On the other hand, both Mike Shatzkin and Michael Hyatt have articles about new display systems for content that they claim will change the book world as we know it. I think both are right that change is coming but I have more sympathy with the Sports Illustrated demo video on Michael Hyatt’s post. After all that looks like a faster webpage with some extra features rather than something new. Webpages are the answer and so putting the web in every hand you can is the way forward for publishers and makes more sense than creating new, confusing and unnecessary formats. The trick is to make the customer pay for access to your content, not find a fancy way to display it.

The fate of smaller markets

Eoin Purcell

With big ones on their doorstep
Hachette is launching a Scottish division. BookBrunch comments:

In non-fiction, Hachette Scotland will be a rival to houses including Mainstream (half-owned by Random House), Birlinn, and Black & White. It will have the clout to put greater marketing efforts behind commercial fiction than would be possible at the independent houses.

On the surface this might seem like a fine idea. In truth it heralds a weakening of the independent sector of the Scottish Publishing industry, and they have been very impressive folk in recent years. I’ve a piece kind of related to this (as in it references Ireland not Scotland) in the forthcoming Bookseller so I’ll wait till that is out and about before commenting too much.

So more to follow,

Canongate buys rights to Obama’s book

Eoin Purcell

From the BookSeller Bulletin
I was reading over the daily e-mail I get as part of my Bookseller subscription (Not extortionate and quite valuable) and this caught my eye:

Canongate has bought UK rights in The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, a leading Democrat contender for the nomination to run for US President. In the US, the book — described by Anya Serota of Canongate as “truly inspiring and important” — has sold 1.3 million copies. Canongate bought it from Crown, the world rights holder, and will publish on 10th May 2007.

As a total US Politics nut this really interests me. I have seen the Obama book as someone I know has an american edition and I will no doubt read it soon but I wonder how well this effort will work in the UK. I can see a lot of interest and I hope sales but I wait to see if the star power that Barak is generating in the US follows his publication here.

All very interesting

PS: In Canongate are very cool and you can look at their website here.