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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An industry awash with English graduates | @Tom_Chalmers

I read with interest that the Publishing Association had recruited a Communications Manager, who previously worked at the professional association for Anti-Money Laundering Officers.  Appointments don’t usually catch the attention but in this case it was just the bringing in of new skills from a different industry – an opportunity to bring in relevant but also fresh skills to add into the mix. It brought back to my mind what I have long thought an overlooked but major issue for publishing – the shockingly narrow experience range of those in the sector. Read more »

A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One

[Lady Justice via Wikipedia, under CC Attribution-Share Alike Licence 3.0 Unported, see here for author etc.]

I've been a bit quiet recently, at least in these pages, because I've been working on actual books rather than thinking about publishing, but I have to put my head above the battlements to query some of Richard Mollet's polemic from Jan 3. Read more »

The OFT and children's apps

Last week, the UK Government Office of Fair Trading released their recommendations on freemium and free-to-play in children's apps.

The psychologist Dr Simon Moore (my partner at Kriel Sorrell & Moore) and I were advisors to the process, via the Children's Media Foundation. Read more »

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What do we do if Amazon stops growing?

We have for so long thought of Amazon as a dominant player in the books market, that we might have forgotten to think about what will happen when the giant retailer stops growing. Read more »

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Setting Up Communities: Author, Reader and Publisher

The first thing Hugh Howey would do, he said last month, if someone put him in charge of a publishing company would be to create a community for his authors. He says:  Read more »

A pirate's logic is not for me

When your enemy is making a mistake, suggested Napoleon, it is best not to interrupt them.

An equally valid axiom from Margaret Thatcher is that one shouldn't give the oxygen of publicity to those with opposing opinions.  But now and again, an opponent may make such a stultifyingly false move that the urge to expose the folly outweighs any possible disadvantages in doing so. In such cases, these historic pearls of advice should be ignored. Read more »

A Song of Fire and Water

There’s a line in All About Eve where Birdy, the cynical old dresser replies to Bette Davis’ characters protestations that Eve Harrington does love her with the line “sure, like an agent with only one client”. 

It came to mind while reading some of the closing remarks to the PRH UK announcement earlier this week:

 “This is our unique opportunity for Penguin Random House UK to come together across our publishing businesses as one company around the consumer. We are in effect creating the blueprint for a publisher as a consumer brand.”  Read more »

Through the window

This week, Pan Macmillan launches The Window Seat, a lifestyle site aimed at women. Increasingly, our marketing focus is on audience groups rather than genre and, more and more, we want to speak to those audiences directly. It’s no wonder, then, that a large part of our digital strategy involves making our websites more consumer-friendly. Read more »

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