What publishing can learn from the fate of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

In the highly unlikely event that anyone in publishing even vaguely remembers me in ten years’ time, it’ll be for this analogy. I can live with that. It was at Frankfurt last year, on a Tools of Change panel with Brian O’Leary and Sheila Bounford, that I first started wittering on about the Austro-Hungarian Empire…

The Future of Publishing Report

In 2011, I was commissioned by Media Futures to research and produce what became the Future of Publishing report. I include an excerpt from it here. To download the full report from Media Futures, click here. Shaping the Future Articles, reports, and conferences on the future of publishing are increasingly common; genuinely useful insights into…

An innovations manager answers your questions

I ended up doing a Q&A for the Guardian after I was rude about their publishing coverage. I’ve been rude about it since, but they’ve not asked me again… As many of you will know, we’re active tweeters at @Guardianbooks. We follow many interesting and funny people and we enjoy taking part in some lively…

A Bibliography of Sponges; or, can publishers mop up the backlist market?

Not much to add to this, except to note that the Google settlement is still no closer to becoming a reality… With Google’s interest in ebooks apparently on the wane, might successful e-publishers step into the breach? The announcement last week of Bloomsbury’s new venture, Bloomsbury Reader, will have prompted a few nods of recognition…

A Visit from the Goon Squad

I’m including this review partly out of a desire for completism, but partly because I wonder whether a publisher would consider developing such an app for a novel now, even for an experimental yet popular novel like this one. Evan Schnittmann’s claim a few months earlier that the enhanced ebook was dead has mostly come…

Futurebook 09/10 – what’s another year?

This post looks back at the first FutureBook conference in 2009 and towards the second. Some things have changed in the intervening years, as one might expect. Publishing’s cultural cringe towards the music industry has, as suspected, diminished, and piracy is less of an over concern, though George Walkley’s optimism regarding cloud storage widening our…

The view from Frankfurt 2010: who controls the ebook business?

Victoria Barnsley and Mike Shatzkin discuss the risks posed by Amazon and the need for publishers to focus on readers. So little has changed… One of the most in-demand events at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair was Friday’s round-table discussion: The eBook Business: Who’s in Control? Entry was so carefully restricted that even panel member…

#dearpublisher: an open letter to the industry

An early piece on the need for publishers to engage with readers through social media. In a blogpost at Futurebook, shortly after this year’s London Book Fair, Sam Missingham, the Bookseller’s unofficial “chief twitterer”, suggested that UK publishing was using Twitter to engage in a conversation that embraced “authors and their fans, librarians and publishers,…

eBook pricing: learning from other people’s mistakes

My second piece for FutureBook, raising concerns about ebook pricing that we still haven’t resolved, and – three years before Amazon’s announcement of Matchbook – proposing bundling as a possible solution. Rereading this in 2013, I belatedly realise that the person who gave that very impressive presentation at Tools of Change Frankfurt in 2009 was…