Flashlight: Strobing the book world # 5

I’ve got a rather full agenda at present. There’s suddenly a lot to think about in all sorts of ways and while a lot of it should be on the blog, I’m a bit pushed for time to think and write.  Here in the interim are some of the things that I’ve been been looking at this past week.

Not a lot to say on the demise of Waterstone’s 3 for 2 promotion largely because it is just the retirement of a promotional tactic and not the fall of the Roman Empire. The fact though that it caused so much ink to be spilled is in itself a telling comment on how important this simple pricing mechanic had become to the perception of the Waterstone’s brand.

Critics of the move are absolutely right to point out that it will have an impact on sales but I think the point has been missed that what we are seeing is not just a shift in promotional strategy but a deliberate alteration of their brand positioning. Clearly this is an attempt to move away from a value-led proposition to a more value-added proposition. I have no idea whether this will work because I can’t yet see what the full shape of what that new offer will look like. Obviously this is risky but while the sales impact may well hurt, if Waterstone’s is successful in redefining its territory, it may pay off. We watch with interest.

James Bradley is an Australian novelist who has written a very thoughtful, considered response to Ewan Morrison’s Edinburgh Festival lecture. Absolutely a must read. As is his book The Resurrectionist I might add.

Faber and Faber partnering with Perseus is highly interesting news, marking as it does, the evolution of Faber’s business model towards an offering that supports the business of publishing in tandem with the publishing itself.

Alan Cooper gives a new view of how the local bookshop might reinvent itself.

Paul Carr cuts up rough with Graham Swift on the remuneration of authors.

And who could forget its Booker Shortlist day. Very interesting list it is too. Have absolutely no idea which book will win.

Lastly I really enjoyed watching the Twitter feed from last week’s #Bookcampaus run during the Melbourne literary festival by If:Book Australia. Great idea and surprising how much inspiration you can get from 140 characters at a range of over 2500kms. I also enjoyed this lecture by If:Book’s Chief Executive Kate Eltham.

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