Showing posts from February, 2013

What is More Powerful: Book or Film? The Written Word or the Visual?

A good portion of  movies are based on books, some 30 to 40%. A no-brainer would be to promote books with movie tie-ins as leads, something a new app free on Apple called The Nudge List is doing. It's based on a clever website,  that does just that - among other nice things.

And the other things are all visual, that's the truly interesting feature of this brand new site. Lots of movie trailers - not just book covers as is usually the case with book sellers. Result? It's much more fun to look at than Goodreads or Bookish. See here:

You don't believe me? Compare with the home page of Bookish, the new site set up by the big publishers (Hachette, Penguin and Simon and Shuster):

Or take a look at another book discovery site, Small Demons:

Yes, lots and lots of book covers here - a bit of a visual jumble, isn't it?

In my view, the Nudge Network has a cleaner, more appealing look and has content going beyond book covers: it reports on book events, festivals…

Italian Election Results: Government Deadlock, Euro Exit?

Italian election results are in and the winner is...Beppe Grillo and his Five Star Movement!

Yesterday, I had predicted a deadlock between the three coalitions: on the left, the PD (Democratic Party of Pier Luigi Bersani), on the right, the PDL (Popolo delle Libertà of Silvio Berlusconi) and placed neither on the left or the right, the total newcomer, the Five Star Movement of Beppe Grillo, a notorious comic, the sort of man who crossed the channel swimming when he went to Sicily for his campaign. In all this, Monti, the premier of the "technical" government that over the past year had imposed austerity measures that were widely hated, was predicted to come in last, around 10 percent of the votes. And the largest party, as always, was predicted to be absenteism.

All my predictions (alas!) came to pass.

The absentee vote was the largest: 35% of the electorate didn't vote, 5 % more than at the last elections in 2008. Monti got in around 10% , Beppe Grillo turned out to be…

Elections in Italy: The Country in the Hands of Buffoons!

Election polls are closing now as I write but we already know that Italy is in the hands of populist buffoons. Exit polls may show unclear results as the three major blocs of votes are head to head and we probably won't know for sure who won before tomorrow.

Consider the situation (this is in rough terms):
A little over a third of the votes goes to the big leftist party, the Partito Democratico, historic heir to the now defunct Communist Party, the so-called "Center Left Coalition":  the question is how much over 33% and whether the government coming out of the election can govern with the support of Monti who's hated by the Italian electors who cannot forgive him his policies of austerity, the property tax and attempts at labor reform;

One third of the votes - or maybe more? -  goes to the "Center Right Coalition" once again led by a Silvio Berlusconi revived from the dead and confirmed false comedian, singer and lover of bunga-bunga parties and young gir…

Why Amazon is Not As Good at Book Selling As You Think

We all know that Amazon is the biggest online bookseller in the world, it sells more e-books than anyone else. In spite of the rise of other platforms, Barnes and Noble, Apple and most recently Kobo, it still outsells them and controls some 60% of the market. In short, it's doing a superb job at selling books... but is it really? Does it know how to assist in book discovery?

The answer is yes and no. 

On the yes side
the site is easy to navigate, you can go straight to their "best selling" and "most popular" lists (not much difference between the two, the latter somewhat more solid than the former) and their "genre" lists if you're a fan of a particular genre. You can tell at a glance how many book reviews, good and bad, the title got and its sales ranking. Book details are well presented, usually with a clear book description (authors make an effort here, well aware that this is what sells their books!) Customer reviews are shown in an attractive …

Meet a Writer who's a Soldier, Sailor, Vietnam Veteran and Much More: Jack Durish

Jack Durish is not your average guy: he's a non-conformist, he's had an amazingly varied life and defines himself as an author, soldier, sailor, Vietnam Veteran, Oath Keeper, Husband, Father, Grandfather - a little too old for a boomer perhaps, but he certainly shares in the rebellious spirit of boomers. As he says, "aging is not for the faint of heart"! I love that!

I met him by chance on the Internet as we both navigated various readers and writers' circles, he's often made some very pointed comments on my blog, and one day, to my total surprise, he emailed me telling me he'd read my book (A Hook in the Sky) and really liked it - to the point of taking the trouble to write a review (see here), something that is always a source of deep pleasure for an author: it's so nice to connect with your readers and find that you're understood and appreciated! Particularly when the appreciation is coming from someone who is himself a good writer...

The Publishing Industry at a Crossroads: The Agency Model is Dead, What Happens Next?

With the US Department of Justice and the European Commission decisions regarding the so-called "agency model", the case is in fact Apple vs. Amazon, "a kind of capitalist Super Bowl" for the publishing industry, as pointed out by Roger Tagholm in a recent article in Publishing Perspectives.  What will happen next is anyone's guess, though several UK publishers are reportedly unhappy, with one going so far as saying that “We are now in a very dangerous situation, thanks to the carelessness of the major publishers.”

Consumers hate price collusion (which is what the agency model looked like) and politicians have obliged. Readers are convinced that ebooks should be cheap, after all production and distribution costs are near zero. The high prices charged by publishers for ebooks were always viewed with suspicion, if not with contempt. And the low prices of indies - self-published books - comforted readers in the opinion that traditional publishers were out to scalp …