Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Oz style - 2 be open to a lot of things?

"In Australia to make a living out of conducting, you need to be open to doing a really wide variety of concerts, whereas in Europe you could probably be a bit more focused on the traditional classical orchestral repertoire."
Benjamin Northey, conductor, who collaborated with the Hilltop Hoods and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra on the album "The Hard Road: Restrung".

Christmas shopping season correlations

Greatest hit compilations from the music industry
Hardback picture books from the childrens publishing industry

What other special things we do - sell and buy (as special gifts) - for Xmas that we don't do so much at other times of the year?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Shark Book is coming in March

Dr Mark Norman is following on from cute penguins in the best-selling "The Penguin Book: Birds in Suits" to another hot topic for kids in "The Shark Book: Fish with Attitude". This is not your usual big-fish-with-scary-teeth book. Mark is passionate about the diversity in the world around us. There are 370 species of shark in the world and Australia is home to a massive 166 of them. Only three species regularly attack humans; the great white, the tiger and the family of whalers, which includes the nicely named bull shark.

People eat over 70 million sharks, or so I've been told, and in Australia there have been an average of 1.2 shark attack fatalities each year over the last 200 years. A swimmer is at a much greater risk of drowning than of being attacked by a shark and less than half of the attacks lead to a fatality.

Sharks are an extraordinary bunch. Some sharks are so small they can fit on your hand.My favourites are the cookie cutter sharks who attach themselves to passing beasts with lips like suction cups, and then spin around to cut out a cookie-shaped plug of flesh. One submersible came back from the depths with a nice cookie-shaped hole in its thick plastic window.

Watch out for it! It's an amazing book.

Mother's Day is upon us (just before Xmas)

Everything is so stretched out these days for those of us servicing the retail industry.(Fashion shops are now buying 18 months ahead and planning for product buying for Xmas starts in the preceding January.) We've just finished our sales kits for April-May — 4-5 months away, so Mother's Day is upon us. In the good old days (before my time), when the books were printed, they were then released, which I'm sure was much more civilized. Now we lock in months ahead and we have the printer deliver to the warehouse at least a month ahead of the publication date — to ensure smooth (we hope) and simultaneous (we hope) delivery to every bookseller. We set our the print quantities for our Xmas books back in May, which meant plucking a figure from the air and living hopefully there after. The proof of that Xmas pudding guess will be in January.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dragon Moon short-listed in the Aurealis Awards

Congratulations to Carole Wilkinson. The Aurealis Awards short-list has been announced and Dragon Moon is in the running for the Best Children's Book.

Here's the complete list

the demands of reading

I came across this quote on the web on the weekend: "Many books require no thought from those that read them, and for the very simple reason; they made no such demands on those who wrote them." Charles Caleb Colton (1782-1832)

This echoed for me the pleasure that my friend Brian had in his 11 year old, Gabriel, finishing The Lord of the Flies and saying ,"I didn't enjoy it but I couldn't put it down". Brian felt that Gabriel was discovering that reading was more than just an immediate pleasure.

Flying Dragons from The Companion

One of the Dean's beautiful dragons from Carole Wilkinson's Dragon Companion has taken flight courtesy of studio Mancini:
and it is beautiful! Do have a look.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The mind's antechamber

"The ideas that lie at any moment within my full consciousness seem to attract of the own accord the most appropriate out of a number of other ideas that are lying close at hand, but imperfectly with the range of my consciousness. There seems to be a presences-chamber in my mind where full consciousness holds court, and where two or three ideas are at the same time in audience and an antechamber full of more or less allied ideas, which is situated just beyond the full ken of consciousness. Out of this antechamber the ideas most nearly allied to those in the presence chamber appear to be summoned in a mechanically logical way and to have their turn of audience."

From the program notes to "A Large Attendance in the Antechamber' by Brian Lipson: an amazingly energetic one-man show performed at the Malthouse this year.

I'm reading Olver Sacks's Musicophilia and his many references to Galton reminded me of how quote Lipson had chosen had reverberated for me and in one of those serendipitous moments I happened across the program as I was cleaning my office.

Galton was a extraordinary and scary mind.

In quick summary: "a half-cousin of Charles Darwin, was an English Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician." And the discover of uniqueness of fingerprints. I'm not sure that I'd want to always be first thought of as the half-cousin of Charles Darwin.

Black Dog is publishing a history of number by David Demant, designed by Regio Abios, which is coming out next year and will be beautiful -  a union of content and design. I'm sure Galton will get guernsey.

Australian content seems to be doing better

Shamelessly lifting from David Dale:

The Top selling DVDs of the past three months: 1 Transformers; 2 Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix; 3 Summer Heights High; 4 Family Guy season 6; 5 Wild Hogs; 6 Spiderman 3; 7 Stargate SG-1 complete season 10; 8 Happy Feet; 9 Supernatural season 2; 10 300; 11 The OC complete season 4; 12 Heroes season 1; 13 Entourage season 3 part B; 14 Scrubs season 5; 15 Little Britain Abroad.

and this caught my attention:

Every one of our most watched, top ten series in 2007 was locally made: a mix of drama, comedy, documentary and talent quests. Three years ago US drama dominated and the only successful local shows were reality and lifestyle shows.

TVs in Australian households

Approximately 99% of all Australian households have at least one working television set according to Neilsen. I wonder how many of the other 1% have a not-working television. And how many Australian households don't have a book, other than a phone book.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Canadian publishing foreign dominated!

"A unique aspect of the Canadian book publishing market is that 19 foreign-controlled publishers, which represented less than 6% of all companies surveyed, accounted for 59% of domestic book sales in 2004 (the figure would be similar in 2005). One might say that the Canadian book publishing industry is foreign-dominated."

quote from an industry report

I came across this quote that tickled my fancy

"France has two the only two things toward which we drift as we grow older - intelligence and manners." F Scott Fitzgerald