Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why children's books are underpriced

It's interesting that we expect to pay less for things for children. On Wednesday mornings I go to exercise class with Miles, my ten year old, and we only pay for one. I realised this morning I just expect that. Cinema tickets for children are cheaper, and there's of course student discounts on public transport. And so it is with children's books - we expect to pay less for them than for adult books, even though they cost no less for the publisher to produce. Given the importancy of literacy and a readiness to read to a healthy prosperous society, you might think we'd be willing to pay more, which means there's a lot of unpriced social benefits in children's books.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Short history - only two and a half years

twitter history

Twitter excitement

A catalytic moment that news of Michael Jackson's death circulated first by twitter.

Then people went to the newspapers for more information. (There's only so much you can say in 140 characters.)

Radio didn't disappear when television came along. Reports of the death of paper media have been much exaggerated. But the business models are changing. Newspapers can no longer expect to be subsidized by advertising, or at least classified advertising.

It's an exciting time to be in the media.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009



‘Why do children love them [my characters] ? Because I believe in them. Mine aren’t made up. They are real...I don’t sit down to write a story, they come.’

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Joshua Gans wrong-headed in the Age

Joshua Gans wrote in the Opinion pages of the Age yesterday: "Here is a curious fact, as an Australian, I cannot buy my own book." In fact, he can buy his own book and he's lucky to be able to buy it in two editions, the Australian edition published by New South or the US edition published by MIT Press. What he's concerned about is that he is unable to buy the Kindle edition for $12.59.

He believes that somehow the removal of the parallel import restrictions, or territorial copyright provisions, would make his book more available to the Austraian reader, and available on Kindle here in Australia What Mr Gans is not appreciating is that this removal would increase the likelihood of his book not being available at all or maybe just in an Australian edition, if he was lucky. The removal of the PIRs would mean there was less incentive for his Australian publisher to sell his rights overseas. It would also mean that his Australian publisher would have greater difficulty publishing his book at all. He could of course go direct to a US publisher but without the incentive of a successful Australian edition his chances would be much reduced of finding a US publisher.

Would his US publisher make the book available here? There's a good chance they would not. And if they did, it wouldn't receive the support an Australian based publisher would give it. There's a good chance as an Australian author Mr Gans would not find his book in his own land.

Amazon has chosen not to make the Kindle available here as yet. That's why he can't buy the Kindle version of his book not because 'publishers [intellectual monopoly holders] have not done the deals to make it possible'.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ban the ebook

The Book Fair in Madrid has banned ebooks - "solo papel". If I'm understanding "Soybits" correctly (with my almost non-existent  Spanish), ebook companies are not allowed to have stands.

Odd. but the Spanish can be such fierce traditionalists.

Monday, June 01, 2009


In the new world of ebooks, the booksellers are called aggregators. Not an elegant and inspiring term. Functional.

The differences

The differences between Australian and US publishing sneak up on me, and startle me. I have a hard time getting my head around the Spring/Fall system of seasonal publishing. US publishers are surprised that we don't publish in season but by month - continuously. The seasonal system does iron out some monthly ups and downs, and makes catalogue production a whole lot easier. 

There's also a love of imprints over here. They proliferate. Some branded with an editor's name. I guess its a response to having a much bigger market. 

And there's the distinction between hardback and paperback imprints. And comes across as quite a gap. Upstairs, downstairs.

And there's no half-way house of the trade paperback.