Questions for 2011, part 1: Will the agency model hold?

2011 opens with perhaps more uncertainty than most years for the trade. You all know the reasons why: a stuttering economy, a shaky high street, falling print sales and, germane to this site, difficulty in gauging which way the digital winds will blow. So, over the next few days, we will attempt to address some of the big questions facing the industry this year.     

First up: will the agency model hold? Read more »

Review: The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce iPhone app

Susie Dent, writer and broadcaster on language issues, and the Dictionary Corner adjudicator on C4's Countdown reviews the iPhone app for FutureBook:Those of us who deal in dictionary making are all-too-familiar with Samuel Johnson’s infamous description of a lexicographer as a ‘harmless drudge’. But there is another definition, written some 160 years later, which prompts a similar wry smile. Read more »

Was it an 'appy Christmas for publishers?

As promised before Christmas, today we launch our first ever survey of digital Christmas trading. With many publishers rushing out apps in time for Christmas Day, and the days thereafter, this year is probably the first to properly test the theory that first thing that happens after the unwrapping frenzy is that book buyers with new digital reading devices look for content.

I spoke to two digital directors before Christmas, and one was convinced that Christmas Day and Boxing Day would be key dates; while the second was convinced by the exact opposite. Read more »

On the road again (with a Clarkson app)

Open up the Jeremy Clarkson app and you're straight into his lair. The scrolling home screen is set up as his study, complete with leather chair, roaring fire and smoking ashtray. The graphics are sharp and you can tap through on any of the framed car portraits that adorn the walls, finding Clarkson's reviews, photos, videos and stats—as well as a "verdict", such as that on the Porsche 911 GT3 - "You don't need humour when you're this hardcore". Read more »

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Appy days

Marcus Chown has kindly agreed to give an author's perspective on the development process of his new iPad app Solar System: It all began in a Soho restaurant in May. I remember it vividly because there had been a fire at BT's Paddington phone exchange -- some kind of national Internet hub -- and none of the chip-and-pin credit card machines in the restaurant were working. Henry Volans said: "Would you be interested in doing an iPad App based on one of your popular science books?" Read more »

Eyewitness report: DK Paris app

DK have just released the new Eyewitness Encyclopaedic Travel guide to Paris app, for the iPad. The app is geared towards researching your trip before you go away, to act as a travel aid while you are there, and to use as a reference after you have left. Read more »

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With a Little Help from My Online Friends

Debut author Talli Roland talks us through her tactics for creating buzz and generating sales for her ebook: In the battle to get books into bookshops, small presses with even smaller marketing budgets are often no competition for publishing Goliaths who shell out for promotions and prime places on shelves. But in the burgeoning market of ebooks – where all books have equal space despite the budget – it’s a level playing field. Read more »

A digital beginning

Last week I attended a Christmas lunch for publishing's digerati organised by The Literary Platform's Sophie Rochester. Much of the festive talk was about how much has changed over the past year and how digital was now being taken much more seriously in-house. As OUP's Ernst Kallus said at the FutureBook conference in November, we need to stop thinking about 'digital publishing' and think of it as 'publishing'. Read more »

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Lost symbol or treasure trove?

I used to spend hours browsing street book stalls, second-hand bookshops and libraries’ ‘throw-away’ book bins. Not for just any old book. But books with real leather covers and decorative headbands, or with embossed cloth-bound covers, or with spines with raised bands and gold leaf lettering. And inside there might be marbled endpapers, a hand-coloured frontispiece protected by china paper, and cream-coloured paper for the text, slightly flecked and perhaps with some linen content. Read more »

Review: Mark Kermode's It's Only a Movie iPhone app

Alex Wormall, a former Waterstone's bookseller and lifelong book addict reviews Mark Kermode's iPhone enhanced e-book app: I think it is only fair to begin this review with a couple of admissions. Firstly, Mark Kermode is a critic who tends to divide people. They are either hugely in favour or very much against him. I am definitely a huge fan and a regular listener to his film show with Simon Mayo. Secondly, I am a book lover, but have an almost instinctive apathy when it comes to reading books in any form other than paper. Read more »

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