Very good piece looking at the competing fortunes of Quercus and Waterstones. I’d add a small amount of caution here. Firstly, the Waterstones figures are for the year up to April 2013 whereas the Quercus figures are more up to date. Even so you can follow the logic through from April 2013 until today, in many ways that makes sense because the impact of the kind of policies highlighted here would be more dramatic on publishers in the key Christmas Trading period than at any other time:
Now, cash management is closely related to stock management, so it should come as no surprise that Waterstones’ stock has come down as their cash has grown. I have no knowledge of the state of Quercus’ stock management, but it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ve got too much stock, probably of extremely good titles, sitting in a warehouse, intended for those big orders that never came from the retailers with those challenging conditions.
For independent publishers to remain independent, and sadly it looks as though Quercus will not, we need a relentless focus on cash management and cash generation. Our businesses and the titles and content that make them need to be profitable, and we need to use the digital print and e-book technologies that enable us to hold the lowest stock possible. Easy to say, and probably pretty obvious, but if we don’t hold it as a top priority we can easily be caught out.
This is not, nor shall it ever be, a baking blog. But I do bake.
Coming up to Christmas I make sugar cookies based on a recipe given to me by my girlfriend’s aunt in Evantson. I also make gingerbread men from Delia’s recipe online. I could lie and say that I do this for the kids, but the truth is, cookies and gingerbread men are great and especially at Christmas.
We also undertake the rather more grueling task of 144 mince pies, made with our own mincemeat (always fun) and my girlfriends pastry (buttery, crumbly goodness).
Whereas I’m a messy kitchen hand, others in the house are not, so I tend to make my cookie dough in advance of baking and I did that tonight (along with wrapping some gifts it really made the night PRETTY Christmassy) and I thought I’d share a gallery for the fun of it!
They are both sitting pretty in the fridge right now waiting for tomorrow (or maybe even Thursday) when I break them out, roll them, cook them and ice/sprinkle them! Even more fun on the way!
It is difficult when writing about such a huge category as Children’s books, which as within it so many genres and sub genres, to choose just three books, but somehow I have managed it.
Ancient Folk Tales of Ireland
Hawkhill Publishing is a new house, run by Colm Ennis formerly of Hughes & Hughes. he has had a fairly good start and Ancient Folk Tales of Ireland continues his run of good releases. Illustrated by Paul Bolger a somewhat unknown (for reasons I cannot fathom) illustrator of some talent and based on the stories collected by Douglas Hyde Ireland’s first President, this is a wonderful book of the kind all homes should have. It brings to life many of the older and now sadly neglected Irish folktales that warrant our attention.
The Circus Ship
Written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. This is a wonderful book. The images shine and he text sparkles and more importantly, they work well together. The production values are something else. I love the book for all those reasons and because my searching leads me to believe that the book is based (in the REAL LIFE STORY sense of the word based) on an actual event, the Sinking of the Royal Tar (Google Docs).
A Little History of the World
E.H. Gombrich wrote this book in German in 1935 and it was only translated to English and released in 2005. It is a startlingly good read and while it strays towards the upper end of the Children’s category, I think it worth adding here to encourage the reading of solid non-fiction by children.