Publishing's hits and misses

"Self-publishing through Amazon changed my life but the way Macmillan have handled me has made that grow." And so writes the author Kerry Wilkinson in a blog about his journey from self-published 'Kindle King' to Pan Macmillan author. Read more »

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Self-publishing changed my life, but my publisher grew my sales

Two and a half years ago, according to more than one national newspaper, I was the 'Kindle King'. Brilliant, yes? Except two of them also called me a "she", which gives you an indication of how deep their research goes. Read more »

Why Huge Publishing Advances can be Huge Steps Backwards

The reality of a six figure advance is highlighted this week by the failure of Harper Collins to realise its investment in Kindle best-selling sensations Mark Edwards and Louise Voss. A lot of noise was made in 2011 as the Harper Collins joined in a desperate scrap to secure the writing talents of the duo. Sadly and not surprisingly the transition from Kindle sensations to mainstream authors did not work for either Harper Collins or Edwards and Voss.

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Adaptive, Attractive, Interactive: A New Chapter for Digital Textbooks

It sometimes seems that not a day goes by without another article on the death of the textbook. This is perhaps with good reason; the classroom of the future is one that’s connected, collaborative, and built around tablets and digital devices. That’s if it even exists physically; many point to MOOCs and virtualized learning environments as the way forward. Either way, the isolating world of the print textbook seems to be one that will soon be consigned to the dustbin.   Read more »

What books want

Who will determine the future of the book? Readers? Writers? Publishers? Educators? Technologists? The discombobulated west, or confident emerging markets? Existing trends, or behaviours that haven't yet come to light? Selecting this month's winner of The Bookseller's Essay Competition was a very tough call, because each of the shortlisted entries took a very different approach. Every one doubled in richness and relevance when read alongside the rest. Read more »

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Publishing has entered a new and different era

“Describing yesterdays as if they were tomorrows”… That’s how author Hugh Howey recently characterized publishing predictions. There’s more than a grain of truth in his assessment. Read more »

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The fall of the house of books

Format shift doesn't always work as you'd imagine. It is an interesting quirk of publishing history that when paperbacks began to drive the market in the 1970s and 80s, they were often published by specialist publishers unrelated to the publisher of the hardback edition. These paperback publishers licensed the rights off the hardback publisher--and only over time did these publishers get consumed into the bigger houses, and authors accept the inevitable verticalization of their output, whereby their primary publisher became their only publisher across all formats. Read more »

Hugh Howey's revolution

On Radio 4's Today programme this week I overheard a discussion between climate change denier Nigel Lawson and the climate scientist Sir Brian Hoskins. It ought to have been a slam-dunk for Hoskins. Not only is Britain experiencing the worst floods in a life-time, but no serious person now denies that man-made climate change is a reality. But actually Lawson came out on top. Where Hoskins expressed quite reasonable scientific doubt, Lawson was confident, bombastic, and assured. Lawson's best rhetorical technique was to use Hoskins' words against him. Read more »

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Fifty Shades of Innovation

Fifty Shades of Innovation

Publishers need to stop flirting with innovation and tie the knot if they’re to avoid inevitable demise.  So says Elvin Turner, an innovation consultant to brands in disruptive industries.

“No-one has a clue what to do,” a global publishing CEO recently told me during a conference break.  “We’re permanently waiting for someone else to make the first move in case we get it wrong.” Read more »

The biggest books of 2013 across print and digital

What was the biggest selling book in 2013, across all editions, including digital? My former colleague Philip Stone reported the following in The Bookseller last week. Read more »

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