Friday, July 11, 2008

The age-ranging debate is certainly an interesting one

I just can't see that age-banding on the backs of books will actually persuade people who don't buy books (for children) to go out and buy them.

From another English commenter:

From my years of sales experience at Walker Books I found all level of age banding on shelves, displays, removable stickers simply did not achieve a great result. The majority of booksellers in the large stores would run a mile to avoid 'that messy kids section'!

Which left me feeling that my sense that booksellers often undercook the kids section was absolutely right.

age ranging

I liked this age-ranging quote from Alan Garner:

Books are not shoes. They are not shirts. They have no sell-by, nor read-by dates. Their content is a unique creative interaction between text and reader. The evidence of my correspondence files going back nearly half a century show an age span of more than sixty years of people willing to engage and re-engage with the same titles. Whoever devised age banding knows how to sell detergents.

Statistics from a somewhat comparable country

Here's some snapshot Canadian publishing statistics from Statistics Canada.

From 2005 to 2006 operating revenues dropped 1.2% after a 3.2% in 2005. Expenses were up almost 1% and added all together the profit was down to 10.3% from 12.1%.

So up a little, down a little - just statistical noise for me.

The more interesting bit was that the export of books was up - and the Canadians seem to have been working hard on this, harder than the Australians and it seems to be paying off.

And even more interesting: while household were spending less on books, magazines and periodicals the trend has been for quite a bit more on books (average household spending on books rose from $86 in 1998 to $111 in 2005).

Thursday, July 03, 2008

top publishers

The top 7 publishers in the world by 2007 revenue are:

1 Thomson
2 Pearson
3 Bertelsman
4 Reed Elsevier
5 Wolters Kluwer
6 Hachette Livre
7 Planeta + Editis

which to me shows the strength of educational (i.e. non-trade) publishing


There's a lot of greenwash slopping around (including a bit among publishers - the best contribution would in some cases just not to publish that unnecessary bit of consumer flummery that no-one really benefits from). The best example of greenwashing I've come across recently is the Marbig Enviro Box - just the same old cardboard box - it's just as recyclable as the Strong Archive Box and the Super Strong Archive Box, which are also in the Marbig lines,, and made from just as much recycled board (100%) -  but excitingly it's been given a new environmental friendly name.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

back to paper

I had a drink with my an illustrator friend the other night, down at the Builder's Arms. He announced that having been down the electronic route but he'd returned to paper. He'd found that the micromovements of electronic rendering on a tablet could place an strain on very specific muscles in the arm. I've always associated muscle damage to Herculean physical efforts involving big weights - the thought of tiny little repetitious movements doing damage was a surprise.

He added that he was enjoying painting on paper, especially enjoying the textural feel of bristles crossing paper, the resistance the paper gave to a brush full of paint - and also, even more importantly, the little accidents that happen on paper that change the path of an illustration, which don't happen when working electronically.

I would like to quote from our forthcoming Monsieur Rat (August): "Even when you are sure of where you are going , you can still stumble and change direction."

I'm wonder how much of a back-to-paper trend there is. We doing more scan now than we were doing say a year ago.