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Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:40
Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?
David Lamb: A blinkered interpretation of my sales says my market target is female, middle-class, middle-aged or older foody, gardening, pet-loving home-owners. The reality is far more varied and interesting and I am always trying to define and discover illustrated book-loving and illustrated book-needy markets -- concerned parents, adventurous wine enthusiasts, health-conscious cooks, environmentally-aware vegetable gardeners, responsible new dog-owners--thankfully the list is always developing.
BD: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?
DL: The challenge is to answer the question regularly why would anyone buy an illustrated information book nowadays, and the opportunities are to be found in the answers, hopefully. There is great enthusiasm for good books when enough people get to know about them. This often means TV being involved. But it is also heartening to see how important the physical desirability of a book is. I am sure that the latest edition of The World Atlas of Wine is selling more than the the last because it is a more beautiful book.
BD: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?
DL: Pre-sales enthusiasm that allows the business plan, which must accompany any book project, to be viable. Sorry about the business-speak, but we surely owe it to authors and to those who work so hard in publishing houses, to make success enough to build a bouyant future.
BD: What books are you most proud of having published?
DL: BBC/RHS Grow Your Own Veg by Carol Klein marked one of those rare times in publishing when everything worked. Carol and the RHS joined forces to make a really useful reference book, not just a TV tie-in. 300,000 copies sold in 18 months is testament both to Carol's appeal and the zeitgeist to feed ourselves healthily from our own patch.
BD: What books are you working on right now?
DL: Valentine Warner's What to Eat Now, to accompany the new BBC2 series, is a book that many cooks will be clammering for, I am sure. I am very pleased with our new version of The Joy of Sex, which I think will be at least as influential as the original (which is saying something if any of you can remember the influence of the bearded man!)and will help and inspire many loving couples. And I am personally very engaged by a new RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques, to be offered to gardening hobbyists this autumn. While being absolutely up to date, it uses myriad pieces of beautiful coloured artwork to instruct and inspire. There is a timeless charm about it that I think will really appeal to gardeners.
These are The Book Depository's 5 favourite Mitchell Beazley titles:
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