Of snake oil and self-publishing

I have several clients who self publish their books, some of them extremely successfully. I won’t pretend that hasn’t at times felt a little odd, but by and large we’ve coped with new situations pretty well and in principle I am genuinely delighted they are earning good money from their writing.

I also attend many writers’ events and am in daily contact with many writers. It’s the job. I am asked about self publishing all the time. No one likes to be rejected and self publishing offers a release from the treadmill of disappointments that can be the unpublished writer’s lot. Read more »

PR Fluff and Puff

We are all guilty of it. Terms such as 'hotly tipped literary sensation', 'bidding war bonanza' and 'the next JK Rowling' (Substitute any authors name you care for here, it depends on the genre – Stieg Larsson, Stephen King, EL James etc). These are no more than PR devices meant to engrain in the mind of the casual reader some element of worthiness to their next ‘must-have’ purchase. The same can be said to books which win awards. The reality is that even the Man Booker is no more than a bun fight in a tea shop. Read more »

FutureBook Innovation Awards shortlists

If there's one constant in the publishing business right now, it is the growing recognition of the importance of innovation. Read more »

The second wave

What do you do when digital adoption slows? Move on.

With e-book growth officially slowing now in both the US and UK, much of the talk at the pre-Frankfurt digital shows Publishers Launch and Contec was about where to go and what next? Read more »

Publishing on the Curve

From the instant we acquired The Curve, a mould-breaking book on the future of business, we knew we’d have to break the mould when we published it.

At its heart, Nicholas Lovell’s idea is that all businesses need to face up to a stark reality: your core, essential products are soon enough going to be worth nothing (or very little). A lethal combination of digital filesharing and 3D printing means that the threats we’ve long agonised about in the book industry are coming to everyone, whether they make T-shirts or toasters. Read more »

Playing the Oyster card

There has been a lot of buzz in the bookish districts of the Internet of late regarding the misleadingly monikered, and at this point hypothetical, Spotify for books. This is being amplified by what, we are being told, are the closest attempts yet.

First there was the elegant iPhone app Oyster, an all-you-can-e-read service for a paltry $9.99 a month. Only available via invite and backed by a rumoured $3 million in investment from some top technology companies, it managed to whip book nerds everywhere into a September-long frenzy. Read more »

FutureBook 2013: The big idea

In a blog post on the Faber Factory website Faber chief executive Stephen Page argues the publishers need to keep innovating in order to outpace technological change that might otherwise threaten them. Page, as he has done in the recent past, warns against complacency as e-book sales slow on both sides of the Atlantic. There is a sense, he warns, that "we’ve coped with the format shift and all is finding a new equilibrium". Read more »

Love print

We all love books, right? I mean, isn't that why many of us work in publishing? But print is passé and the future belongs to digital, they say. To ebooks, apps, the web. Content is king and form be damned.

The problem is, I'm not so sure that I agree. Read more »

Amazon in Japan

As Amazon moves into a leading position in Japan’s e-book landscape, desperate local publishers and booksellers are asking the country’s lawmakers for protectionist measures against the Seattle e-tailer. Read more »

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Little voice

One of the things I most enjoy about the annual FutureBook Census is the range of responses: answers come from across the book business—from publishers and booksellers large and small, and from book trade folk across the globe. It's a measure not just of London publishing, but of the larger community. Read more »

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