Absurdity

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Not sure about all this change

For someone who ironically is on the move all the time really don’t like too much change. In Stockholm always get breakfast from same place if have to do work and get some coffee always go to one of two places (String being one, of course and Helgulundens Korta Varor being the other – both in ‘sofo’). In London always hang out (again because I can work) at Hoxton Bar & Grill, Smiths for breakfast and the Eagle for Sunday Lunch. And in Los Angeles always stay at same place in Long Beach and drink at Clancy’s and have breakfast at Americana. Anyway, you get the idea.

In New York, I have in recent years worked at Workman Publishing who have (had, sorry!) a huge rabbit warren of an office at 708 Broadway. And we always used to go to lunch at the Bowery Bar just down the street on East 4th Street. I know this is one of those places that gets castigated for being too trendy (or at least ten years ago I think) etc etc. Although, I do remember a year or two back (in popbitch) that apparently Bob Dylan was seen hanging around after hours as he was seeing one of the waitresses. And a friend of mine just IM’d me and said he was there last week and Ed Harris was sat next to him drinking Guinness so I guess there may be something to all that it just isn’t too evident on a Tuesday lunchtime. But, anyway we mostly just went for lunch and beer after work and I always liked it. Good drinks, impossibly tall waitresses with cowboy hats, great service and good food. It also has great outside bit so you can circumnavigate the New York smoking laws for part of the year anyway. It is also right on the edge of the East Village so is an excellent staging post for a night of nonsense.
Anyway, Workman have now moved almost cross town to Varick Street – so will have to find another lunch time hang out and just try and cope with all the change.

Bowery BarBowery Bar GardenBowery Bar EntranceBowery Bar Restaurant

Filed under: Food

Someone else questioning publishers and websites

This lady from lovereading.co.uk questions publishers spending lots of money on websites albeit because her company already does all that.  But far more interesting is that as far as they are concerned people buy by genre.

Filed under: Publishing

Turkeys accepting Christmas is coming

Ok a really clumsy analogy thing. But, like this post on the Snowbooks blog that really picks up on the theme I’ve been running with lately – ‘what is it a publisher actually does?

Filed under: Publishing

Websites, publishers and positive things

Aware have been a little down on publishers and their websites liked this bit in the Guardian at the weekend from Joel Rickett about Salt Publishing and their web focus. Salt Publishing have always seemed to be that bit ahead of the curve when it comes to actually selling their books including (if I remember correctly) being amongst the first to grasp the importance of their bibliographic data and to get accredited as being Onix compliant.

Filed under: Publishing

New York Stories in Stockholm a month and a bit on

Wanted to include some updated photos of the new English language bookshop in Stockholm – New York Stories. I had previously taken some shots on the basic camera on my mobile phone I think the weekend before it opened. Wanted to add some more images showing the store when it was up and running.

Downstairs at New York Stories

Upstairs at New York Stories

Closing Up at New York Stories
And a quick quote from Margaret the owner:

‘So far the response to the shop has been very positive and with new books
coming in all the time I hope to welcome lots of customers before the
holidays…I’m having the time of my life, meeting all sorts of wonderful
people.’

Filed under: Publishing, Swedish Life

A publisher who gets all this stuff

Was pleased to see Snowbooks in London get a mention in site of the week in the Guardian today.

Filed under: Publishing

And what was the point of the publisher exactly?

Following along on the recent theme of the need for publishers liked this article – if the book could have been produced POD what was it they needed a publisher to do exactly. Realise playing devil’s advocate here (and in other entries) but this stuff needs to be thought about if we all want to be here in ten years.

Filed under: Publishing

Always good to hear of Tom Waits

From the Observer in the UK this morning – Off beat.

Filed under: Music

The website fixation

Come across this time and time again where publishers without any real systems seem to concentrate so much time and energy on a website. There always seems to be some grand plan that the new all singing all dancing website will sell loads of books and generate lots of traffic and interest in them. Which will lead to all sorts of … well they are generally not quite sure what the ‘all sorts’ will be but it’ll be good and definitely justify the 9 months; ten of thousands; and lord knows how much management time which should quite frankly been looking at other things.

What gets left behind is the content that is intended to populate this website – all the rich bibliographic information that helps sell the books in reality. No, this stays in odd word documents; a quark AI etc etc on someones desktop (i.e often not even on a network drive where it may stand a passing chance of being backed up).

But what I find interesting about this perhaps most comes back to the theme of recent posts. Publishers are under the illusion that readers buy into publishers and not the books themselves. I’m sure that in reality as most of the publishers I know are smart people they can’t really believe that but the fiction seems to be continued.

It works like this – I may read a review/a friend may recommend etc. then I might do a google search and it probably pick up the Amazon entry. I’ll read a bit and then if it sounds like something I might like then I’ll order it. The second principal buying process (for me at least) works like this. I am stuck in a city centre for some reason (waiting for meeting/train/whatever) and will wander into Borders (the recent reviews/recommendations in my subconscious somewhere) and will browse around and buy whatever looks interesting. I am by the way a sucker for the 3 for 2 stuff if a book I want is in the promotion then I’ll just pick up one/two other that look ok. At no point does the name of the publisher ever into the equation.

So, who goes to publishers websites? Well, a quick straw poll around the table a few days ago reveals that publishers go to publishers websites. Oh, and someone mentioned that they really like the Penguin site but not so much that they had actually bought anything from it. As why would they as they could go on Amazon and buy it for half the price. As illustrated by this quick example – sorry for it being Jamie Oliver (personally I don’t mind him too much but aware he drives some batshit crazy):

Penguin site:

Jamie on Penguin

On Amazon.co.uk:

Jamie on Amazon (UK)

I’m not saying that publishers shouldn’t have the best website they can put together. All I’m saying just remember what its for and the amount of time/money invested should reflect that. ROI! It is obviously important when the site is your face to the outside world that it conveys the right message about who/what and where you are. And the best sites do convey the values of a brand; give you information that you won’t find anywhere else and build a sense of community around the books.

And the biggest failing? Looking at a website in isolation. It is just the method of delivering content. Content that needs to be created, managed and distributed. So, look at the system for this as part of the process.

So, in conclusion:

1) Think about how people actually buy books.

2) Think where you can add value to what is already out there (i.e what is on my site as opposed to what someone can just get on Amazon).

3) Are you currently effectively managing the crucial title information now? If not shouldn’t you be looking at that first?

But, if you could get it right think of all that discount currently given away that you could keep? And for the authors mostly being paid on net receipts would be even better.

Filed under: Publishing

More on the importance of categorisation

Following on from the post Imprints mean nothing of a couple of days ago I thought this article was interesting on Thomas Nelson and how they have essentially abolished imprints and replaced them with specialised publishing units based on the BISAC category codes.

And it looks like must have raised some awareness as the entry is also on the Booksellers site and went out in their daily news feed. Although strangely they call the article ‘BIC: Wake Up’ and list me as a columnist for some reason.

Wake Up

Filed under: Publishing

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