Still busy and thinking through my ‘authors’ post, but there’s a good deal going on that warrants comment albeit by necessity too briefly.
First up, I think this potential alliance between Barnes and Noble and Waterstones to internationalise the Nook is very exciting. Amazon will be tough to beat and Kobo have done some smart work as the insurgent start-up but to make this market work and continue the innovation there’s got to be more players in the game. Elsewhere you can see Eoin Purcell’s take on Barnes and Noble’s corporate culture here (with the NYT article he references here). The American Editor blog volunteers an idea about franchising the B&N brand (and idea I’d be very wary of, brand dilution alert). I suspect B&N (with added Waterstones?) vs Amazon will be a major theme for 2012. Update: even more on B&N. (HT Graham Beattie.)
The ebook reader advance looks to have moved forward substantially again over the Christmas period though perhaps not quite as quickly as was imagined before Christmas. Mike Shatzkin looks at some of the initial data. PW looks at the adoption of ereaders here and the rapid advance of the Kindle Fire here. Six million units sold in the final quarter of 2011. As I said, tough to beat.
Finally, I retweeted this over the holidays, but reading it again there’s much food for thought in an article by Stephen Page on the Guardian that looks at the history of publishing and segues that into a view of the future for 2012. Two money quotes:
There’s a riot of cross-dressing going on; a scramble as roles are redefined by usefulness, not legacy.
The demonstrable creation of value and the fair sharing of it. Publishers exist to create value and audience for writers, and this needs to be at the centre of all publishing endeavours.
Which will lead me on nicely to a future post.
Am slowly (first physically then I’m sure at some point mentally) returning to work. Much good relaxing, reading and thinking done over the holidays, and I managed to do it fairly off grid too, which was rather nice for a change. Still good to be back to the joys of the internet, and just to ease us back into blogging, check out this little video:
Lots of interesting developments appearing post-Christmas so much to talk about.
It’s definitely an interesting newsday in the book world.
Kicking off with this article by Ewan Morrison from the Edinburgh Book Festival via the Guardian. It’s an excellent, though very bleak, article that I need to digest some more before commenting on properly.
I’m interested in this piece which looks at the possible entry of some unusual players into the book market. No doubt many non-traditional players will seek to enhance the offer to their customers through selling content actively, but the fact that there might be some increased competition to Amazon in the UK is highly significant. I also think it interesting that Argos would consider developing a reading device, which in terms of their product range would be a much easier sales proposition for them than ebooks themselves.
This piece from Philip Jones is good, both for its observation that the tenor of the publishing/bookselling debate is still worryingly defensive in character and for invoking Douglas Adams.
This article from the National Literacy Trust is a timely reminder that the universality of the skill of reading is one we cannot take for granted.
Lastly, from Galleycat I hear that The Decemberists have reenacted a scene from David Foster Wallace‘s Infinite Jest in their latest video. Which is as good a reason as any to have a musical interlude.
Update: This piece from Marcus at Vicbooks is just lovely.