Friday, May 30, 2008

for niche players

"There are a lot of people who like trends that run counter" Demographer, Bernard Salt.

He was actually talking about the rise in V8s (counter to the general shift to smaller, more environmentally friendly cars) as a backlash against everything smaller cars represent. But it struck a chord with me - markets often seem to be going in opposite directions at once. And especially for smaller and niche players in large markets, it's a thought worth bearing in mind I think.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I went to a panel session at the Sydney Writer's Festival yesterday and four out of the five writers on the panel had written for Lonely Planet at some stage. In our small pool, Lonely Planet has had a huge impact on our literary (especially non-fiction) culture by giving opportunities for writers to write and be professionally published.

PS I liked the free events that you could just drop in on - and the speakers outside for those who missed out on a seat inside. It gives a real festival flavour (rather than a sequence of ticketed events).

rent-seeking and coupon-clipping

Henry's latest post is very interesting read.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

slang & CJ

'slang is the illegitimate sister of poetry, and if an illegitimate relationship is the nearest
I can get I am content'

C J Dennis

Thursday, May 08, 2008

end of the current crop of film independents?

It's interesting reading in Variety about the "independents" having been purchased now being folded into the studio structures. Is this a sign of a cold economic winds? Here's a link

but here's a quote that caught my eye:

"Horn cited the fact that 600 pics get released annually as having made the specialty biz less attractive financially in recent year. He also said that such pics have becomce more likely to screen at multiplexes rather than art-house venues and expressed confidence in Warner's distribution side to ensure that smaller films receive the proper handling.

Horn admitted that the announcement's likely to be interpreted as Warner Bros. getting out of the indie film biz but stressed that it will still acquire and produce specialty pics. He cited the success of such fare as "March of the Penguins," "Before Sunset," "We Don't Live Here Anymore," "La Vie en Rose" and "Snow Angels" as examples of the kinds of projects that Warner will still look to buy and produce."

Friday, May 02, 2008

Do Travel Writers Go to Hell

A fascinating and funny read, even if (or maybe because) Thomas proves himself to be the self-involved and self-indulgent twat that he describes other people saying he is in the first chapters of the book.

And it raised all sorts of interesting issues for a publisher. What's fair return? Emma at our local bookshop made the point that eveybody wants the job of travel writer so you get paid peanuts - and that's just the deal. LP says they pay better than most. But if that is less than needed to get the job properly (as Thomas says) is that smart?

Thomas is perceptive an interesting about the evolutionary cycle of a company, especially a publishing company. He sees it an inevitability the growth from the "raw growing" " "clumsy teenager" of a company "not yet in full command of its newfound size and bulk" that still held it alternative and gutsy persona of its early years"when he wrote a Costa Rican guidebook to them in 2000 to what it has become today.

Maybe LP is now the perfect example of the industrialization of publishing described by Alberto Manguel in the City of Words, this year's CBC (that's Canadian) lectures.

His point about LP's influence on developing parts of the world maybe too much of a good thing echoes what Manguel is saying - the machine is more powerful than the intention of any of the parts.

Anyhow a recommended read from me (adults only).

Treasure fever

At the book shop, Miles (my 8 year old) brought Andy Griffiths latest "Treasure Fever" up to the counter and asked if there was an edition without the pencil case shrinked wrapped on the back, which surprised me. I don't want to be a snob and I have no objection to finding ways to encourage kids to buy books (and here's hoping they then read them) but I was surprised he didn't want the "treasure". There was no option though and we left with the pencil case as well as the book. I questioned him about it and he said he thought the pencil case didn't look cool and it would just be junk. When we got home he stripped off the shrink wrapping and folded the pencil case out and found it to be bigger than he'd first expected and decide it was cool after all. (Now I'm wondering whether the satisfaction with the pencil case will stop him reading the book. I'll see what happens and let you know.)