This fumbling universe

2013 was a tough year for old media. Printed book sales were down in the UK, as were UK Box Office takings. CD sales continue to plummet. But then it wasn't that great for new media either. Digital downloads of music fell (marginally) for the first time since iTunes was launched, while e-book growth stuttered on both sides of the pond. Read more »

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The loss leader

We hear a lot these days about disruption. Apple alone has disrupted the music industry with the iPod, the telecommunications industry with the iPhone and the entire PC industry with it's introduction of the iPad in 2010. Amazon continues to be a huge disruption to Publishing and hopes to disrupt all of retail in it's quest to become the everything store. But disruption is not new. Read more »

Launching open value-added bundles in Italy (pbook+ebook)

Italian RCS Libri publishing group has just launched “110 Libri+” (literally 110 Books+), the first mass-market publishing initiative in Italy to offer value-added p+e bundles in the main online bookstores. Read more »

In 2013 we had more questions than answers

I remember writing at the end of 2012 that whatever else 2013 brings, the one thing we can all rely on is that we'll know a little bit more by the end of the year than we knew heading into it. I couldn't have been more wrong. Digital does not move in a linear way. The year asked more questions than we knew we had to answer. Read more »

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Only the unreadable occurs

It is only the unreadable that occurs. That was according to Oscar Wilde, ambitious man of letters and writer, third-party- and self-published. What did he mean? Art allows us take a step back to look at life. When we’re doing that, busy making other plans, as John Lennon put it, life is what happens. Life is ultimately independent of our gaze, but taking snapshots of where we are gives us both a feeling, and small measure, of actual control, which can help us make our next decision. Read more »

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Down with Disruption

Publishing is a business that’s indivisible from language. Most people who go into it do so because they believe in the power of words to tell stories and explain complex ideas. So it seems only fitting that following the first Digital Publishing Xmas Fair, which aimed to encourage closer relationships between London’s digital publishing start-ups and the publishing community, that we spend some time considering the language we use to describe and discuss these businesses. This is because as it stands, I think this might need a little bit of editorial finessing. 
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Shelf Free: Call for new members

Shelf Free is an independent group of people, including representatives from 17 public library authorities, who believe ebooks are a crucial part of the service for users of public libraries.

We aim to highlight the issues, invigorate the debate and explore ways in which the market might be developed to give a better experience to public library users. In 2014 we are planning a national e-lending day in conjunction with a pan-European campaign. Read more »

The professional world of publishing

We hear a lot on the trade side of publishing about how the internet is killing off the gatekeepers and allowing authors to (self) publish and find audiences of their own.

In his #PorterMeets interview on Twitter this week the author Hugh Howey suggested that indie authors were now the sixth-largest publishing group in the US—the newest member of the 'big six'.

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Just because you can, doesn't mean you should

With the rise of digital, we are seeing a blurring of the boundaries: between the book and other media such as gaming; agents who have launched digital imprints; retailers as publishers; publishers as retailers; authors as publishers; readers as critics. Read more »

A bookseller's 5%

When the French government moved to restrict Amazon.fr from offering free postage to customers along with the maximum discount of 5% on book sales, something odd occurred: the phone at Shakespeare and Company, where I've been selling books now for five or so years, rang day and night for responses to the proposed law. We all looked around at ourselves coyly and asked what account we could possibly add to the debate.  Apparently, I came up with the following for the BBC: “It doesn't seem to be discriminatory. Amazon has certain ways of looking at the free market which is Read more »