It feels like an age since my last post. Its been a hectic fortnight and I’ve been somewhat distracted, but an equilibrium of sorts has been restored.
Today though its well beyond time for a little light posting, with some recommendations and thoughts.
Sometimes in all the digital brouhaha we forget the power of well-staffed bookshops. Yesterday I was doing my customary ‘in between books’ ramble around Unity Books when proprietor Tilly Lloyd spied me and pounced. The approach began with some seemingly innocuous questions; was I a triple acquarian (wasn’t terribly sure what that meant actually, as far as I know I’m a scorpio)? Did I have a younger brother? How did I feel about westerns? And before I knew it I was the proud possessor of the The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. A book I did not know I needed but am now very much enjoying. Tilly I salute you on a sublime rendition of the art of hand-selling.
Very much enjoying these analyses, from Nils Pratley at The Guardian and Philip Downer, of WH Smith’s performance. Whatever else you may think about it they have a plan and at present it seems to be working. Do you need to be a beloved brand to work?
Over at Idealog there’s a great piece that gives some insight into what the marketing enabled publisher of the future might look like and is supported partly by this piece at Publisher’s Marketplace talking about how shifts in publishing structures.
Peter Brantley’s recent article at Publisher’s Weekly here, is something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to. In the past, we kept our ‘media’ in very separate compartments physically and therefore in many ways mentally. We waited for our favourite TV shows each week, read books in bed or on the tube and listened to the radio in the shed. Each had their place and to some extent that division was a kind of market regulation, they didn’t compete with one another to the fullest of their potential. Now we can carry all of these on one device in our pockets. We can access them when and where we choose and they are directly vying for our (limited) capacity to give them our attention. Peter outlines the issues this raises very well:
And that’s so much more of a problem for all of publishing, really, than just Kobo or B&N, because now the competition is for the customer’s attention across all media, in one device. It means that publishing has to very seriously consider what kind of experiences creative artists can design that will be appealing on highly portable mixed media platforms.
We are witnessing a convergence of media consumption that will shape the way we seek information, inspiration and entertainment in a truly fundamental and Darwinian way.
And to finish, who better to write a Zombie story than Roberto Bolano and not just a story but an animated story. Imagine running this as a serial?