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  • Happy Ending Foundation

    Fri, 12 Dec 2008 06:24

    The Happy Ending Foundation is just an "an elaborate hoax, a marketing ploy by ArtScience to promote the Lemony Snicket books." I thought it was a clever trick, but InkyGirl certainly did not. She writes on her blog:
    It would have been different if the scenario was clearly so over-the-top as to be completely silly and unbelieveable. Sadly, we live in a society where book bans and burnings are not completely out of the question, and people like Clare Hughes DO exist. Which is probably why respected news surces like the BBC were taken in, and this in turn helped convince others that it was a legitimate story. I can't help but think that using the issue of censorship and book banning as a publicity stunt is in poor taste.
  • Japanese-style mobile phone books

    Fri, 12 Dec 2008 06:24

    In what is being touted as a "unique collaboration between Orange World and the 5th Estate mobile portal", fans of celebrity chef Nigel Slater will be able to "interact with his new book Eating for England whilst on the move":
    The site is being promoted across Orange's Orange World portal throughout October and is designed to specifically target mobile users that fit Nigel Slater's target audience. It will also be tagged on the forthcoming Underground poster campaign for Eating for England.
    According to John Bond, MD Press Books, HarperCollins Publishers:
    "Everyone talks about innovation the whole time, but few people actually get on with it and dip their toe in the water. Nigel's brilliant new book provides us with the perfect opportunity to launch this exciting new collaboration."
    Of course, nothing is new in the world of innovation and the idea for this came from Japan. From the Wall Street Journal:
    In Japan, the cellphone is stirring the nation's staid fiction market. Young amateur writers in their teens and 20s who long ago mastered the art of zapping off emails and blogs on their cellphones, find it a convenient medium in which to loose their creative energies and get their stuff onto the Internet. For readers, mostly teenage girls who use their phones for an increasingly wide range of activities, from writing group diaries to listening to music, the mobile novel, as the genre is called, is the latest form of entertainment on the go.
    And from the Guardian:
    Armed with the latest in mobiles, Japan's "oyayubi zoku" or "thumb tribe" are lapping up these novels, often written by teenage first-timers, themselves reared on the fast-paced, melodramatic world of anime, the country's vastly popular comic books. Like the comics they go for short, punchy sentences, leave gaps when people are supposedly thinking, and offer little in the way of subtle plot or characterisation. That doesn't worry their main audience, teenage girls and female twenty-somethings, already Japan's primary text messengers.
    Strikes me that Nigel Slater is an odd choice to begin this experiment with, but it will be one to watch, there is no doubt about that.
  • Why free isn't always cheap

    Fri, 12 Dec 2008 06:24

    Most Mondays I write my Bookseller Redux column here on Editor's Corner, but my hardcopy of the magazine didn't arrive this week ... Hopefully, it will turn up tomorrow and I'll do the redux then! Anyway, whilst perusing the 'net over the weekend, I came across an excellent article by Scott Karp entitled Reinventing the Economics of News over on Publish2 Blog. Scott's argument is about newspapers, but it has much relevance to all published content. Scott argues that:
    Everyone is thinking about the shift in the economics of content in terms of paying for content, but what publishers are really facing is a shift in the economics of distribution. We're still paying for a bundle of information to be delivered to our homes — it's just that now that bundle is traveling via fiber optic cable rather than newsprint. It's not that "content wants to be free" — it's that Internet access ISN'T free, and now that distribution and content have been unbundled, people are reluctant to pay TWICE — once for distribution (i.e. internet access) and again for content (paid subscriber wall). ...What needs to be reinvented is the economics of content CREATION, which has been cut loose from the economics of distribution. ...The new economics of news won't be based on monopoly distribution channels — it will be based on networks.
    At one point Scott says of newspapers that "they need to stop asking why consumers won't pay for news anymore. Because they ARE paying to access news." The same goes for music and book content: there is huge demand for it to be networked -- because so much content is already online it is natural that we look there first for new content -- but there is reluctance to pay for it once it is online -- because so much "free" content that is very similar to it is already online (and already paid for via internet fees). How do publishers square this circle? If they don't put content online, they are missing a huge market. But if they do put it online, it has to distinguish itself from the crowd and
  • Yesterday, I gave a talk to the good folk of the Publishers Publicity Circle, down at Foyles in London. (Thanks to Jessica for inviting me down, and to the rest of the PPC for organising an excellent wee event.) I gave a little talk on blogging, why I do it both here on Editor's Corner
  • Reader beware

    Fri, 12 Dec 2008 06:24

    Tess Gerritsen is a bestselling crime-fiction novelist -- my mum's a big fan, actually. Recently, some of her earlier romance novels have been reissued e.g. Stolen. Over on her blog -- thanks Petrona -- Gerritsen reprints one of her ex-fans angry emails:
    I am not in the habit of writing to authors, however after reading all of your latest books and recommending you to family and friends, I bought (in large paperback) Stolen. I feel like my money has been that, Stolen! I have never read (I couldn't even finish it) such utter rubbish. You should be ashamed to have had it print again. I personally shall never buy one of your books again and I have made it my mission to tell everyone that I recommended you too.
    Gerritsen responds angrily:
    I am not, repeat NOT responsible for the re-release of my old romance novels. And any reader who knows how the real world of publishing works should understand that. It still just flabbergasts me that readers can hate the romance novels so much that they will boycott an author for EVER IN HER LIFE having written the genre.
    But that is just the point, isn't it? Most readers don't know about. and most certainly do not care one
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