American University Press Annual Meeting

On 15th June will be on panel at the American University Press Annual Meeting in Mineapolis to discuss some options for managing their title information that may be available to smaller presses.

I will around for a couple of days so if you are a university press and would like some help/advice/demo etc. then please feel free to drop me a line and I will set aside some time.


Filed under: Onix, Publishing

Google Book search

I really think for the most part a great and marvelous thing. But does often strike me that would be helpful if the results could perhaps be a little more uniform. Perhaps, dare I say it employing the industry standard Onix? So, results could always have some core information to help you discern between, for example, editions etc. So, you have always the Title, Subtitle, Edition, Product Form and Annotation (short description). Just a thought.

Google Book Search

Filed under: Onix, Publishing

Snowbooks – it’s no accident

I am extremely aware that in this blog I come across as a rather sycophantic Snowbooks groupie (just search ‘Snowbooks’ in the box to the right!) but really their success is real affirmation of faith that publishers can look towards the horizon and up to the blue sky etc etc.  I spend a large part of my time with publishers (large and small) who not only don’t get that the world of changing but more than that consciously/willfully  (and occasionally violently!) bury their heads as deeply in the sand as possible.

And this is a great example. Having been present at a few publishers when they do their submissions for these sorts of things usually a photocopied/scribbled form faxed late with a bound proof to follow. It is no mystery to understand how Snowbooks are a cut above. Anyway, read this post detailing their submission for the Small Publisher of the Year 2007 award (they are the current holders of said award) and repeat after me: ‘we’re not worthy’.


Oh and they have very excellent taste in title management software using our software to manage their title information and to become one of smaller publishers to become fully Onix compliant in the UK.

Filed under: Publishing

Lily bloody Allen and iTunes

Just one of those people who for some reason pisses me off. Made an average record and dresses like a couple of hundred of thousand other women wandering the streets of London – ‘style icon’ my arse.

Anyway, read this article in the Wall Street Journal about how she feels bullied by Apple into providing exclusive content in order to get on the front page of the iTunes store. As far as I understand it in traditional music retailing access to the best points in store are available (as indeed in bookstores) in return for straight cash.

The iTunes store is (again as far as I understand it) based on editorial judgement (and at least in the Swedish store this seems relatively sound) in respect of what’s interesting/new etc. coupled with additional exclusive content provided by the artist. Surely, a better approach for the consumer?

Filed under: Absurdity, Apple, Music

Mobile roaming charges – such a big deal?

Was reading this article where they are talking about charges being capped when you take your mobile out of whatever country it naturally inhabits. I remember that for me the charges were often incredible running into hundreds a month.

But these days is it such a big deal? With wifi in airports/hotels etc/hell even in the street I just use a lot of Skype which now even sends (not receives) SMS coupled with a local SIM for wherever I am and just plug in ‘my home SIM’ once a day or whatever to check messages etc.

I probably wouldn’t have worked so hard at the alternatives if the mobile operators hadn’t taken the piss quite so much. So, with the advent of new phones with wifi and voip clients is it not going to just make a lot of this stuff consigned to the ‘horse stable door bolted’ make a sentence pile?

Filed under: Absurdity, Daily Life, Free wifi, Technology

The world is changing

I know I know a drum I bang almost to death but still see so many publishers who just not thinking about any of this stuff. Another article raising/reinforcing/whatever term you want to add. This is from the Guardian.

Filed under: Publishing

A few days of Onix evangelism in the UK

Spent the last ten days traveling in the UK trying to see and help as many publishers as possible with their title information. Will write a little more later about what I found in terms of the acceptance and understanding of the importance of good title information and the role Onix has to play in the publishing supply chain. Anyway, a pictorial diary of a typical week.

Waiting on Sunday at the Bombay Bar by gate F63 for the SAS flight to Heathrow:

Bombay Bar, Arlanda Airport

Horrible hotel room in North London as had to spend time with France Lincoln in Kentish Town the next day but at least could walk to their offices from there:

Queen’s Hotel

Dinner comes from kebab shop by Tufnell Park tube station:

Kebab shop

Then spend time working on title information and training Frances Lincoln staff on Onix and title management generally and spend my evening before going back to lovely hotel reading newspaper and having dinner at Assembly Rooms pub in Kentish Town which importantly has free wifi:

Assembly Rooms

Then I have to get the train from Kentish Town up to Luton Airport so I can check in to the airport IBIS hotel in order to catch the 6.30 am flight to Edinburgh. Get up at 4 am and get ready; check out and get across airport to terminal and check in for flight. Arrive in Edinburgh and go straight to Edinburgh University Press and do much the same in the morning as was doing in London and then go to Black & White Publishing also in the city to again to talk up Onix. Like this image in their lobby not sure who the artist is:

Black & White Publishing

Check into IBIS in Edinburgh city centre:

IBIS Edinburgh

Leave 8 am from outside hotel to Geddes & Grosset publishers in New Lanark:

Outside IBIS

Arrive at New Lanark. This is an amazing place which is now a World Heritage Site consisting primarily of the old mills and the houses built for the workers:

New Lanark

And Geddes & Grosset are based in the house of the founder of the village (David Dale) with a great great view:

Geddes & Grosset office

Spend night in Edinburgh as 6 am flight to Heathrow next morning so spend evening at cinema and having UK pub food with its quite bewildering allegiance to bits of lettuce (as ‘garnish’) on the side of just about anything regardless of how inappropriate:

English garnish

Day in London catching up on few things then get train to Cardiff to see Welsh University Press to again talk about effectively managing title information:

Train One

So get to Cardiff talk through managing title information then back in a cab to the station for a five hour train journey to Aberystwth. I am going there to talk on behalf of the Welsh Books Council to their member publishers again about the importance of making sure good quality title information gets into the publishing supply chain in a timely manner and hopefully to demystify a little for them this whole ‘Onix’ thing they keep hearing about. So more trains:

Train Two

I note during all these train journeys that the cost of any one of these journeys dwarfs my flights to and from Edinburgh. Indeed for a few hours on the UK rail network you could get a an Aer Lingus flight from Shannon to JFK. Anyway, arrive at the Welsh Books Council high on the hill above Aberystwth bay and talk to lots of publishers and I think they get it but guess time will tell. At the end of the day many of these are small publishers who are under resourced so finding extra time to spend on quality title information is going to be tough when there are books to get out the door. But think I impressed upon them ‘better title information equals more books sold’ and they understand that.

Welsh Books Council

Great view from the door of the Books Council though! Can’t be too bad to have to come to work here everyday:

View from door of Books Council

Night in lovely UK Bed & Breakfast place on the seafront:


Before get back on train for five hour journey to Swindon to see a publisher called Green Umbrella to try and spread the Onix message even further:


Get back in London in time to watch the Arsenal v PSV game in a London pub with my friends Gary and Paul:

Gary & Paul

Get up the next day and attend a meeting with a very switched on guy at the Arts Council and the equally switched on Snowbooks team of Emma and Rob about the UK publishing industry and whatthe future may look like before makng my way to Heathrow and catching the flight home:


Filed under: Free wifi, Hotels, Onix, Publishing

Couldn’t be more delighted

Wrote a little while ago about the nonsense economics of last season’s crop of ‘celeb books’. I think maybe I was a little unfair partly I think it was in frustration at having just done a circuit of excellent small publishers with some very good books who just couldn’t get heard above the celebrity din. There is, of course, always place for books about interesting people who’ve done interesting things I think my real issue was that so many of the books that suck so much money out of the system are about vacuous, irritating tossers.

And speaking of which was pleased to see this article in The Times indicating publishers may think twice before getting involved in such nonsense again.

Filed under: Absurdity, Publishing

Just two things miss about the UK

Haven’t lived in UK for a few years now and nothing I really miss about it and quite frankly an awful lot happy to leave behind. Except two things:

1) I think English supermarkets are the best by some margin in the world. So, if I could just get Waitrose to deliver to central Stockholm that would be very excellent. Choice; quality; the balance of their wine lists; Waitrose Horseradish well anyway you get the idea. Swedish supermarkets (the big ones) are ok but not really in the same league; America just terrible; Ireland has pretensions but ultimately is faking it and it shows and comes at a horrendous cost (although this is getting better thanks actually to Tesco).

Jericho, Oxford

2) I do miss being able to hang out in the Eagle or Smiths or even the Jericho Cafe in Oxford starting with coffee and drifting into wine whilst reading the newspapers. Not the crappy international editions with half the stuff missing (the bits you actually want). But this has now been rectified as my amazing wife has with what sounds like a nightmare of phone calls and a damaged credit card (no doubt!) (surely it should be easier?) has managed to get us at least the Guardian and Independent in their full weekend glory delivered to us in central Stockholm.

Guardian Front

Guardian Guide

Filed under: Daily Life, Swedish Life

“An escalator can never break — it can only become stairs.”

A comedian I recently came across (I think from an NPR podcast) is Mitch Hedberg. Just streams of great (unique) one liners delivered in a slightly stoned sounding monotone. Very funny. I think he has just one CD available. Unfortunately he died very young a couple of years ago so there will be no more but worth checking out. To learn more click here.

Filed under: Absurdity

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