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Posts tagged UK

Amazon wants co-op payments, and also concessions in the UK
June 24, 2014 | 4:02 am

So, thanks to a leak, we’ve finally found out what the Amazon/Hachette spat is over. The New York Times reported a couple of days ago that an anonymous source within Hachette says that Amazon wants to extract extra fees for a number of services, including the pre-order button, placement in personalized recommendations, and so on. It looks kind of skeevy at first glance, but it’s really the same kind of “co-op” promotional payment Barnes & Noble extracts for prominent placement of books in its stores. You know how you sometimes see displays dedicated to a single book. or...

Redesigning the small bookstore
June 2, 2014 | 3:35 pm

books1What would the bookstore of the future look like? The Economist’s Intelligent Life magazine asked four Commonwealth architecture firms to come up with their futuristic vision for a small High Street bookshop with two floors of 1,000 square feet each, and a limited budget of £100,000 (about $168,000) to make all the improvements. The visions they came up with are certainly interesting. They differ in details, but they all agree that it’s not just a matter of moving furniture around to make it look nice. They need to redefine the bookstore’s business model, and then design a space to...

British printers struggle to cope with shift toward digital media
April 15, 2014 | 5:46 pm

printingpressMy friend Michael Brotzman pointed out this story to me from the New York Times, about how the printing industry in Britain is coping with the decreased demand for its services. Even as high technology leads to printers that can print bigger runs, faster, more efficiently, and with fewer operators, demand is dwindling and so are employees. The British printing industry is down from an estimated 200,000 workers in 2001 to fewer than 125,000 now. And for the jobs that are left, the UK is more and more often having to compete with lower labor costs of printers in continental...

Amazon doesn’t know it’s supposed to fail
March 29, 2014 | 9:00 am

I happened upon a Bookseller piece by Agent Orange (who I’ve mentioned before) noting that UK publishers have been making a lot of noise about the putative foolishness of Amazon’s plans. It’s funny how they seem to keep doing that, and Amazon never seems to pay any attention, isn’t it? Agent Orange notes: It is depressing how often we have been here before. Publishers pour scorn and disregard on Amazon. Amazon presses on with its plans regardless (announcing it is massively expanding in the UK this coming year) and a year or two later publishers discover they have lost yet more...

Genre lines: Why literary writers won’t self-publish
March 29, 2014 | 5:58 am

jetpackI just happened to sit down and read the Robert McCrum article on struggling literary fiction authors that Paul covered earlier this month. It was interesting enough, and I’m don’t think I have substantively anything more to say about the content of the article itself than Paul did. But I was intrigued by a couple of the comments. Paul Bowes suggests that the reason literary writers can’t or don’t want to self-publish is a genre thing. Guardian Books, and the literary world generally, have a tendency to conflate 'writing' with literary fiction: or at least, with literary fiction and the kind of...

London Bookstore Sets ‘Cli-Fi’ Table For Climate Books
August 26, 2013 | 11:55 am

Cli-FiDuring the sweltering British summer of 2013, Foyles bookstore in London did something that was a long time coming: It set up a dedicated ''cli-fi'' table with a simple yet eye-catching sign promoting fiction and non-fiction books with climate themes. Among the books seen on the table in the photograph to the right above are Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" and James Lovelock's "The Revenge of Gaia" as well as Stephen Emmott's current bestseller "10 Billion" sitting alongside such dystopic scenarios as J.G. Ballard's "The Drowned World," John Christopher's "The Death of Grass," Joe Dunthorne's "Wild Abandon" and Liz Jensen's "The Rapture." Most...

Edinburgh’s mystery bird sculptor: Is this where she works?
August 22, 2013 | 12:58 pm

The work—and identity—of Edinburgh's mystery bird sculptor has been a recurrent theme throughout the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Speculation continues to revolve about who she might be and what inspired her to produce her captivating series of works. Now here's one possible solution to her enigma—all of it pure speculation, but based on some good evidence. Walking back to my digs in Edinburgh, I stopped off at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to see their fascinating "Witches and Wicked Bodies" exhibition. In their permanent collection is this work by André Breton, entitled Poème Objet (Poem-Object): Now, remember that the very first sculpture created...

Barnes & Noble makes UK blooper with promo deal ad censure
August 22, 2013 | 10:38 am

Already under fire for its incoherent policy on tablets and e-readers and its continuing missteps versus Amazon, Barnes & Noble has just been formally criticized by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority over its recent promotion of discounts on the Nook e-reader to £29.00 ($45.23), for failing to ensure "sufficient availability of the product at the advertised price." The silver lining, if any, for B&N is that at least the unanticipated response shows how high the demand for e-readers can be—at the right price point. The original—shown here courtesy of The Guardian—ran in the last week of April 2013 in the UK press, stating: "Only £29 RRP...

Library legacy cassette collections and the future: What’s the answer?
August 19, 2013 | 11:37 am

libaryMy younger brother is dyslexic, and an avid consumer of audiobooks on tape and CD. (He's been unable to get too comfortable with digital downloads and streaming yet, but he's getting there.) He's probably digested more books than any other member of my family besides me. (Thrillers and detective fiction mostly.) And naturally, he borrows a lot from the library. Hampshire local libraries, as it happens, have an appropriately substantial legacy in their audio collections of tapes and CDs. Cases are often worn and tattered, and in any case are bulky, awkward and hugely inconvenient to put away or to travel with....

Barnes & Noble’s UK sales strategy is working better than I expected
August 16, 2013 | 2:30 pm

Nook Simple TouchI'm often highly critical of Barnes & Noble. Part of the reason for that is due to the fact that because I love their hardware, I cringe when they make what appear to be stupid and short-sighted decisions. I also want at least one strong Amazon competitor. I don't think Amazon having the vast majority of the e-book market is a good thing. So a few months ago, when I saw Barnes & Noble had deeply discounted its Nooks in the UK, I cringed. Imagine my surprise when I read a recent Forbes blog post that seemed to show I had cringed...

Irate UK librarians call for no confidence vote on Minister Vaizey
July 30, 2013 | 4:02 pm

A group within the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)—the UK's professional association for librarians, and not normally a hotbed of sedition—has grown so incensed with the implementation of library policy that they're calling for a vote of no confidence in Ed Vaizey, the UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries with responsibility for libraries, at the CILIP annual general meeting on September 21st, 2013. The wording of the motion proposed for the AGM is as follows: "In view of his failures to enforce the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, this Annual General Meeting of CILIP has no confidence in Ed Vaizey,...

Latest Nielsen UK figures show slowing e-book market, still overtaking paperbacks in 2014
July 24, 2013 | 4:09 pm

e-bookThe latest UK Nielsen BookScan newsletter for July 2013 showed a continuing decline in print book sales by 5.6 percent in value and 6.1 percent in volume, based on year-on-year sales for the 24 week period to mid-June 2013, with a total value of £538.6 million. But according to the same report: "Nearly 8.5 million adults, 18% of the population, have bought at least one e-book. But fewer new entrants are coming to the market. The March total of 227,000 is down on the same period in 2012, and 48,000 fewer than the four-week average since the start of 2011." From the report: "Acquiring an...