Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Neilsen figures

I've been looking at Neilsen Bookscan figures and one thing that is impressing me is how the YA writers I'm seeing around today (say at the Melbourne Writers Festival) have a longish publishing history and you can see their sales building from book to book, each release doing better than the other. It's commonsense but it reassuring seeing it writ in the figures.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

pricing ebooks and other formats

I just bought Suzanne Collins Mockingjay (the third book in the Hunger Games series from Scholastic): a print copy for $18.99 from Tim's Bookshop (our local) as a gift for Daniel, and I downloaded an ebook format on the iPhone from Kobo for myself. (We just finished Catching Fire as an audio book last weekend.)

The list price on Amazon is US$ 17.99, which converts to a little over the $20 AUD mark in my calculations, but Amazon has discounted it to US$8.45, which they convert to $9.78 and then they add $11.55 in postage and packaging giving a total of AU$21.33, and I have to wait up to 30 days for my book.

And I could have bought it on audio for $19.58 from Audible for instant download.

The Kobo scenario looks good pricewise and in terms of convenience and I feel quite green about it, Tim's pbook pricing looks good in comparison to Amazon, but who will have the better reading experience, Daniel or me?

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I'm observing the increasing spanification of the US and thus the world. I happened to note two Spanish language titles in the top 10 TV morning shows in American on my Variety feed this morning, and I'm enjoying the growing numbers of Spanish and South American restaurants in Melbourne.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

a dead tree by any other name

Given that most of our electricity (in Victoria, Australia) comes from coal then the p-book is the dead-tree edition and the e-book is the really-dead-tree edition.

Australian Amazon v US Amazon

The table is definitely sloping away from us.


I reckon that kids like to get away from the screen to read a book. Screens are for homework, games and social media. A book is picked up for an escape from that environment. Comment?

who is reading ebooks?

Do let me know if you live in Australia and ARE reading ebooks?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

ABC claims copyright for Greens ad

The ABC says it can't release the ad created for The Pitch on The Gruen Transfer as they can't be seen to be supporting one side or the other. Fair enough. But it does raise the question of why the ABC is demanding exclusive copyright for the ads created for the Gruen Transfer. To quote the ABC:

"@empatt Yep. All pitches in Gruen Nation and Transfer sign over copyright. Otherwise too risky for a organisation like the ABC to do it," it said on its Twitter account.

Risky? I'm not a lawyer but bollocks. Why don't they just ask for a non-exclusive right?

Congratulations to Sue

Congratulations to Sue for After being highly recommended in the 2010 Australian Family Therapists Award for Children's Literature. Of course Sue's Allie McGregor's True Colours won three years ago. Both are great reads - with issues that challenge and provoke the reader.

Welcome to Gitsi

Gitsi joined us as our new publicist on Wednesday. And that's very exciting for us, and for our authors, illustrators and everybody in the black dog community. Thanks to KT for all her hard work in holding the publicity fort over the last months.

Congratulations to Lili

Lili has won the IBBY Ena Noel Award for Scatterheart, which is very EXCITING. And here's the announcement from the IBBY newsletter:

Scatterheart by Lili Wilkinson (black dog books)

Lili Wilkinson reveals on her publisher’s website that her most treasured possession is her collection of 32 different editions of Alice in Wonderland. As such an avid collector of the fantastic it is not surprising that fantasy finds its way into her historical narrative, Scatterheart, and informs its title.

A novel for young adults, Scatterheart is the story of Hannah Cheshire, an indulged, motherless, only child who enjoys a privileged lifestyle in early 19th century London before her father’s fortunes fade spectacularly and she is left destitute and alone. Before long, she is wrongly accused of a petty crime and after languishing in a filthy prison cell, finds herself transported to Australia.

Each chapter of Hannah’s story begins with the tale of Scatterheart, a fairy tale version of her own search for happily ever after. In a novel that is an interesting mix of historical fiction, fantasy, adventure and melodrama, Wilkinson has created in Hannah a strong character undergoing a metamorphosis from the spoilt and self centred society miss to a resilient, resourceful and loyal young woman. Her descriptions of well researched settings are equally memorable, from the dank and dangerous prison cells to the harsh realities and privations of life aboard a prison ship and in the penal colony of New South Wales. The amalgam of styles and stories revealed in Scatterheart engages, informs and entertains and is indicative of Wilkinson’s versatility.

Such skill is worthy of encouragement in an emerging young writer. The judging panel congratulates Lili Wilkinson, recipient of the IBBY Australia Ena Noel encouragement award for literature for young people.

EN judges: Jane Connolly (Qld), Judy Moss (Tas), Robin Morrow (NSW).

Henry tells it like it is

Henry's blog

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

the old and the new of reading the newspaper at breakfast

unavailable in Australia

Only one of the Barry Lopez titles that audible.com has is available for download in Australia.


… to Nic Brasch on his win in the Australian Educational Publishing Awards for The Science Behind.

No we didn't publish it. Macmillan Ed did. (Congratulations to Stuart and Col among others.)

But we did publish So You Want To Be Prime Minister (famously read to a class of primary students on TV by Julia Gillard shortly after publication last year) and Gallipoli: Reckless Valour, both very excellent books by Nick Brasch.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Not fair!

It's frustrating - ebooks and audiobooks I want to read, and listen to, are just not available to an Australian purchaser.

Here's a list of what I couldn't buy this week:

Plainsong (Kent Haruf) audiobook
A Wrinkle in Time audio book

We're in effect being intellectually impoverished by the way ebook market is evolving. An American reader has more access to much more reading (listening) than an Australian reader. The Australian government should look to an e-equivalent of the 30/90 day rule to force books to be available here in this territory.

And the same goes for music.

The publishers benefited from the introduction of the 30/90 day rule here so it would be a shot in the arm to the local branches of the multinational publishers based here. A win/win situation!

Final Twilight film due …

for release on November 16 2012. The end of the franchise is nigh? The of vampires as a genre? The end of paranormal (aka bit lit) as a genre?

Monday, August 02, 2010

"Blokes, Books and Brekky"

I've been off talking to Scotch College boys and their fathers about recommended reading for boys - with James Roy, Leesa Lambert, Eva Mills and Kristin Gill. After much reduction (using intense heat) I got the list down to ten series and authors, which was still too many for the 5 minutes of allotted time.

Here's a long (but still incomplete) list of picks:

For lower secondary (and upper primary):

Dragonkeeper series by Carole Wilkinson. - Carole helps everybody to realise that they have a special talent. A beautifully told magically realist tale.

The Cherub series by Robert Muchamore - AND the Henderson Boys. The poms do spies and thrillers really well.)

Boy Soldier series by Andy McNab - another good pommy spy writer.)

Town by James Roy - for those who love dipping into linked short stories)

Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials - the movie was The Golden Compass, which was not a patch on the books.

Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy

The Spooks Books by Joseph Delaney

Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games. Two books out and one to come. Enough political depth to provoke thought. The provinces versus the centre

Black Dog's the Drum series.

Hatchet and its sequels, by Gary Paulsen

Shirley Marr's Fury - smart and sassy, a bit girly for guys just maybe, but a guy needs to know how girls think.

The Mortal Engines series by Phillip Reeve (and his Here Lies Arthur)

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

anything by Morris Gleitzman. My brother picked up Two Weeks with Queen at 36 and commented on how good it was without thinking of it as a book for kids.

Eragon and Brisingr

Con Iggulden is hot at the moment and keen on Mongols

Louis Sachar's Holes (and the rest)

William Nicholson's Wind on Fire series

Patrick Ness's

Tomorrow When the War Began - after you've seen the movie, which is due out in September

The Joshua Files

Garth Nix of course. Any of his series.

Alex Rider

Charlie Hickson's Young Bond

Mark Walden's Hive series

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Joshua Files

And for the older reader

Q&A by Vikas Swarup - the book on which Slum Dog Millionaire was based.

Hostage by Karen Tayleur - a road book.

Ellen Hopkin's Burned, Crank, Tricks and Glass - that's three books - just out from Simon and Schuster.

Scott Westerfield's Pretties etc

The usual thriller culprits: Dan Brown, James Patterson et al

John Green, maybe try Looking for Alaska

Annie Rose's Sex and Other Stuff - essential reading

Mama's Song by Ben Beaton, for how blokes think girls think.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Qantas and Virgin Blue carbon offsets are not tax-deductible

Carbon offsets that are done direct with Qantas or Virgin Blue for business flights are not tax deductible!

A business is much better off making an offsetting donation through Greenfleet. This renders the Qantas and Virgin Blue programs very unattractive. The airlines should be lobbying the government to change that — if they're smart.

Of course any offsetting personal donation with Greenfleet is just as deductible.

That's a message worth getting out and about.