The Friday book video: Penguin English Library

For my money, Penguin have always led the way in design based creativity in the publishing industry. They are one of the very publishers to have actively cultivated and developed their brand for the reader. Their cover design and visual style can always be relied upon for originality and elegance, particularly with respect to series and backlist publishing. The Great Ideas series (designed by David Pearson) is a perfect example of taking backlist and re-presenting in a fresh original and compelling way (and spawned a number of spin-offs from Penguin and imitations from other publishers). What’s more, this kind of approach is an object lesson in how high design standards can pay off in commercial success.

And now Penguin are revivifying another of their backlist strands with this beautiful piece of online excellence. What I love about this most is that plays to the heart of what I think the core business of the publisher, telling the story of the story in as compelling a manner as is possible. To sell stories, we need to capture reader’s imaginations before we can prise open their wallets.

In this case the story telling is a marriage of old school elegance made possible and amplified creative technology. Brilliant.

And you can see more of the campaign on Facebook.

What does a story look like?

Let’s ask Chip Kidd.

 

In the future publishing will not be judged by how it puts books (in print or digitally) on bookshop shelves, but how good it is at telling and propagating, the story of the story. And it will need morepeople with this kind of creative approach to making stories and images that cut through to be successful.

Opening salvoes

Am still busy with this:

And this:

But audits and house moves aside there’s too much going on today not to comment a little. And of course it’s all about Amazon, Apple and agency. Ostensibly this is an anti-trust case focused on the agency sales model implemented by Apple and the 5 main US publishers.  But the stakes are what make the case really important. And what is at stake is the future no less of the book industry eco-system itself.

With bricks and mortar book retail declining rapidly in influence and Amazon’s market share now becoming pivotal, it may be that High Noon is approaching. If the US Department of Justice wins its case then the reputational and commercial damage to publishing could mark a seismic shift in the industry that places Amazon firmly in the driving seat.

So here’s a quick round-up of the issues and the responses. First an excellent precis of the issue from Laura Hazard Owen at Paid Content. John Sargent CEO of Macmillan responds here and John Makinson of Penguin here. A copy of the filing can be found here, and this is a good analysis of it from Philip Jones at The Bookseller.

In the UK, in the light of this Guardian story about Amazon’s tax status, former Ottakars chief James Heneage warns against a dominant Amazon and is joined by Tim Waterstone who piles on here.

As Eoin Purcell notes this is going to be really interesting.

Moving house and other blog impediments

I meant to be on blog way more this week but we’re moving house next weekend (5th time in five years, so weirdly used to it) and I’m busy with the BC annual audit. So very light posting till after that. Have been working on the author post though and I think I have a good idea of the ground I want to cover.

Until then, Happy Easter