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 »

Of Mills and Penguins

The Readmill-Penguin deal is being touted as all sorts of things - I was asked recently to comment on the possibility that it was the first blow in Random House-Penguin’s insurgency against Amazon. (And it would be an insurgency, which actually says a lot about where we stand.) I felt uncomfortable reading the Guardian piece, not because it’s not what I said - it is, if not absolutely verbatim - but because I came across unclearly. Read more »

Get your Geiger counter out (e-book royalties are back, and this time they're toxic)

E-book royalties have been fixed at around 25% for a few years now. The unanimous position of publishers has been that that was what was affordable. Read more »

Your Book Is Watching You

I'm quoted in the Guardian's piece on Joyland and filesharing today, and on the basis that if you're here at all it's because you're prepared to let me flesh out some ideas, that's what I'm going to do. In the words of George Cyril Wellbeloved: "I expect you're wondering what I think about all this." Read more »

Railroaded? Second hand ebooks revisited

What a tangle: Amazon has received a patent for a system for selling “pre-owned” digital files, opening the way for a secondary market in ebooks - and putting the electronic cat amongst the analogue pigeons. Read more »

Data Rights?

A long, long time ago - well, about four years ago, but back then people were still saying things like “ebooks will only ever make up 1% of the market” and other stuff which now looks a little odd - I suggested looking at the idea that using a book as a data set for research using data analysis tools, and then using the results to create digital tools such as algorithms might be a new derivative use subject to the usual rules of copyright ownership. Read more »


Amazon’s AutoRip service is simple. You buy a CD, you automatically get a digital file of the same content. (A similar logic applies in DVD purchases of a lot of films these days - you get a free download as well as a hardcopy.)

The Future, Again

The FutureBook Conference had an air of possibility about it.

That's the best way I can sum it up. In a way which it definitely didn't a couple of years ago, the conference buzzed. Interesting things are happening. Read more »

Free Fall and Substrate

Clark Kokich nailed it for me in this article in Forbes: "It’s less about advertising and more about creating an experience that transforms what it means to be a customer of a brand." Basically, the persuasion industry is in free fall. Read more »

Iceberg Ecosystems: Random Penguin in context

In case you woke up and went to work in a sort of benign Monday haze: Penguin and Random House have confirmed a deal. Read more »

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