Posts

Showing posts from December, 2014

2014: A Pivotal Year in Publishing

Image
This is the end of the year, a perfect day to draw lessons from the main publishing events in 2014.

First, one bit of good news for 2014: it will be remembered as the year audio-book sales took off. In 2013, downloaded audio books hit an all time high in both revenue and units, and that trend continued in 2014 (see Bookstats.org). In February, I wrote on this blog about audio-books (here) reporting on the fast rise of audiobook titles. On Audible there are more than 150,000 titles in every genre - up from less than 5,000 in 2009, an amazing growth.  And 2014 was the year that saw the creation of the Deyan Institute of Voice Artististry and Technology (see here), the world's first campus dedicated to audiobook production. Yes, audiobooks have come of age! Enhanced e-books, containing music and possibly video clips, long announced but not yet really successful, may come next as the technology progresses.


But the news were not all good. We were all captivated by the show put on by…

For a Happy, Special Day in Florence...

Image
This is how you do it. I just did it a week ago - took three days off and went to Florence, boarding the Freccia rossa, the fast train from Rome, one of the fastest in Europe, we traveled at 250 km/hour, thrilling!

And I wanted to share with you the best day I had in Florence, with my husband of 36 years (that too helped!)

First, consider visiting a monument few tourists ever get to see, yet it's right in the center of the old town, five minutes from the train station, in Via della Scala: the old pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, recently restored, called in Italian, Officina Profumo - Farmaceutica

It has a long story, it began with the Dominican monks, shortly after their arrival in town in 1221. The friars cultivated medicinal herbs in their gardens to prepare medications, ointments and balms for the convent's small infirmary. Then, after the fame of their amazing products had spread beyond Italy, they opened to the public in 1612. By the 18th century, they were known as fa…

Our Future on Earth: Fab or Scary?

Image
This week, our future is the talk of the town, from Tokyo to Lima.The message from the Japanese designers show, "The Fab Mind", is positive, it's a fab future: "fixing stuff, repairing the world" as Alice Rawsthorn, a British design critic wrote in the New York Times (see her article  here).

Repairing? Not quite, Takram, a Japanese design engineering firm, has produced a visualization of the impact of rising sea levels, heightened radiation and dwindling resources on Earth 100 years from now. More scary than fab!


As to the show in Lima, it's the Climate Change Conference organized by the United Nations,  called in UN-ese language: "the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC" - and here the future is definitely scary. The goal is to build the foundation of a new climate agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions before it's too late — an agreement to be struck in Paris ne…

Tom Chalmers, Founder of a Publishing Ecosystem - Interview

Image
Another interview I did under my real name for Impakter magazine. Here it is:
TOM CHALMERS – A COOL ENTREPRENEUR on 5 December, 2014  In less than ten years, starting when he was 25, he built a whole publishing eco-system ranging from fiction and non-fiction to licensing rights Tom Chalmers is young, perhaps the youngest UK publisher in a generation. In 2005, he was just 25 when he started Legend Press, a fiction publishing house. This was soon followed by a series of publishing companies, one for business (Legend Business), one for non-fiction (Paperbooks Publishing), one for self-publishing (New Generation Publishing) and one for writer events (Write-Connections) – all of them brought together in 2011 in the Legend Times Group while a licensing platform (IPR License) created in 2012, remains completely separate.
All these endeavors run the whole gamut of publishing and cover both traditional publishing sectors and the more technologically advanced digital …

Is the Amazon Customer Review System Broken?

Image
In principle, book reviews spur sales. But on Amazon, they don't seem to. Any author who's following the sales of his/her books can testify to this: when good reviews come in, they rarely signal a spurt in sales. Yet book reviews are needed to be able to use the better advertisers like BookBub that will not take an author's books unless a sizeable number of reviews can be shown, and particularly reviews from "authoritative" sources.

Add to this the now confirmed fact that e-book sales have gone very badly in recent months and Amazon's bottom line is showing it. David Streitfeld in an article in the Business Standard, (see here, it was then picked up by the New York Times) has drawn attention to the fact that "to secure its upper hand, Amazon disrupts its own model."

What Streitfeld is talking about is this: some $250 million in profits that had been expected by analysts somehow went missing last summer. Why? It seems Amazon practiced deep discount…