Are you measuring your metrics?

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in the summer of 2012, leading American novelist Scott Turow voiced his frustration at the publishing industry’s failure to study its customer base. He recalled saying to one of his publishers: “I’ve been publishing with you for a long time and you still don’t know who buys my books” and receiving the reply, “Well, nobody in publishing knows that.” Read more »

Selling direct – what you need to know

The concept of selling direct to consumers (D2C) is, traditionally, alien to most publishers. For centuries, their route to market has been almost exclusively through intermediaries. Then along came digital publishing with a bundle of technologies that gave publishers the opportunity to bypass the intermediaries and sell direct to their readers. This prospect looked interesting. Despite being an industry populated largely by non-technical people, they had recently got to grips with converting their print backlists into digital books. Read more »

Direct-to-consumer – it’s the way to go

The distance between publishers and readers has, traditionally, been a big one. It has been based on the simple understanding that publishers acquire/commission manuscripts and edit them, printers turn them into books and booksellers sell those books. Readers can usually tell you about the books they’re reading, the authors of those books, the bookshops from which they bought the books and/or the libraries from which they borrowed them. But if you ask: ”Who is the publisher?” you’ll probably get a blank stare. Read more »


Self-publishing becomes respectable…

The act of publishing your own work because you couldn’t find an agent or publisher prepared to take it on was, until recently, seen as a sign of desperation. And there were plenty of agencies out there to feed upon that desperation, going under the heading of ‘vanity publishers’ who offered grand promises in return for large downpayments. Read more »


Coming of age

Coming of age… Read more »


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 »

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