It was stimulating reading Business Network this week in the Age as it featured David and Sharon Marlow's Book Street. As an independent publisher its good to read about our counterparts on the other side of the fence, the independent booksellers, in the mainstream press. It's encouraging to find such passion. My understanding of the bookselling ecology is that the independents are the one's who build the success of books. Some books start big but many build through the handselling efforts of the independents. And the Marlows seem to have this point of difference in spades. I love being sold a book, and I'm happier reading and giving a book that comes with a recommendation. But I'm not sure that it's something that Australians are typically good at - accepting advice in a shop. We not fabulous at giving service, but we're not good at receiving it either. As a publisher it's energizing talking to a great bookseller. It was good to catch up with Lynndy of Gleebooks when I was up in Sydney and to meet Toni and Nicola of the newish Lindfield Children's Bookshop
I've read this section of the paper before but for the first time I knew about the industry. I was a bit shocked that the advice was so generic, big business talking down to small. The best of the advice the Marlows were already following and the some of the rest of it was just plain wonky.
We're working hard to grow our website. Chris Miles is in a day a week or so. It is highly enjoyable - you get such a quick result. An innovation is up and happening as soon as we upload. (Publishing books has such a long cycle by comparison, and it seems to be getting longer.) Visits are increasing, teachers notes, hi res images of authors and covers are being downloaded - we looked at the statistics on Friday and we could see! But it's slow progress. We want a site like a rambling old house with lots of back corridors and attics that take several visits or will only be found by accident.
I'm kind of proud of this my first genuine blog entry, and I'd be chuffed if I got a comment back so please reply.