Fascinating move this. It will be interesting to see how things develop. I get the sense that many US service providers see UK publishers a potential clients, and they might be right:
Perseus will combine its Constellation digital-services technology with Faber & Faber’s Faber Factory to offer services to independent publishers seeking to convert their new and older titles to digital form, including file conversion, digital book production and social-media marketing services.
via Perseus Books Forms Digital-Services Venture in U.K. – WSJ.com.
Not much to see here you might think on the surface. A company announcing a new product and a partnership at an industry event.
But hold on! It’s Faber (yeah, that Faber) not DK making the announcement. Who would ever have expected a solar system App from them?
What’s more, the partnership is not just another sign of just how established brands face challenges from all across the board (and Faber’s own brand is threatened too), but it shows that savvy publishers like Faber can move fairly rapidly in the digital space.
Faber is publishing an e-book app on the solar system in its first collaboration with digital publishers Touch Press.
The new venture was unveiled today at The Bookseller’s FutureBook Conference in London where Henry Volans, head of Faber Digital and Max Whitby, co-founder of Touch Press showcased their launch title, Solar System for iPad.
The interactive book, priced £7.99 and available from the App store next month, is written by New Scientist cosmology consultant Marcus Chown. He previously wrote popular science book Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You (Faber). The new book, a complete guide to our solar system, uses interactive software to include ‘multi-touch’ 3D planets and custom-made animations and videos.
via Faber teams up with Touch Press for galaxy iPad guide | theBookseller.com.
I hate to say, I told you so!
It has been a hobby horse of mine for some time that Bloomsbury’s clever bolt on acquisitions have real potential for online and digital development:
nearly all the moves place them in a position to exploit the brand potential of all these properties and to do that through new digital avenues if and when they choose to. All told Bloomsbury has acquired or built a tidy little reference and academic division featuring quality brands and properties.
And then today we see the announcement (Bookseller story and econsultancy report) of a new social network based around The Writers & Artists Handbook brand & content:
The redesign will allow users to create a public profile that will enable them to promote themselves and be contacted by interested parties using the site. Additionally the site now provides free searches of the Yearbook listings for people happy to supply their contact details. THE BOOKSELLER
This seems like a very sensible and I predict it will have an impact on the online community of writers and aspiring writers who are increasing in number every day. One of their key goals seems to be building profiles of who these writers are, what they want and what they might be willing to pay for. We rarely value the data that can be gathered from collecting the searches of site members even though that is partly what Google’s amazing dominance of search is based on. From the econsultancy report:
The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook website will also be encouraging data collection among its users by offering free searches of the Yearbook listings to those happy to provide their contact details. This will enable the Yearbook, A & C Black and Bloomsbury to engage them with relevant information and offers.
I really believe that the Writers & Artists site will enable Bloomsbury to exercise a degree of leadership in this area. That might sound far fetched but think it through, there are few sites around with this depth of information and reputation. Equally if A&C Black and Bloomsbury play their cards right this could just enable them to move ahead of Faber who with their Faber Academy have extended their brand most sensibly and effectively.
Of course they might not be able to over take Faber, maybe they will have to buy them. I suspect if the shareholders could be convined, Bloomsbury could afford it, they do have rather a lot of cash!
Thinking about brands, publishing and the web.
Odd but honest
I read a great story today in The Bookseller headlined: Paxman hit finished by Irish writer
It goes into considerable detail and its fascinating:
Paxman stated that he resisted repeated requests from the book’s editor, Albert DePetrillo, to write the book, and added: “In the end, the solution arrived in the form of the young Irish writer, Neil Hegarty. Quite apart from pulling together the various elements—scripts, research notes, ideas and other material—his creative talents ensured, I hope, that the book is a worthwhile thing in its own right. He is a gifted writer and we shall, I think, hear much more from him.”
Published in February to coincide with a landmark BBC series, reviews of the television tie-in had highlighted Paxman’s ability to “turn a phrase”. The book is riding high at number eight in this week’s hardback non-fiction list.
BBC Books publicist Caroline Newbury said: “The TV series and book stemmed from Jeremy’s own fascination with Victorian art. Well before the series went into production he had been researching the topic and had written a lengthy introduction and outline for the book, as well as the scripts for the series. In order to help shape the text he had already begun, Jeremy worked with Neil Hegarty to bring the book to completion. Neil’s role in editing Jeremy’s material and supplying additional research is fully credited in the acknowledgements and the publishing page of The Victorians.”
And here is the website of the man who ACTUALLY wrote the book.