My feet have barely hit the ground this week. I've been taking advantage, courtesy of Oxford University and the national Being Human Festival, of several opportunities to do what I love most of all – talking to the public about the stuff that inspires me. In my case that's how mediaeval monks and the neuroscience of battle rap can help us tackle the world's wicked problems, but I really would encourage you to grab any opportunity that comes your way to talk to the people without whom we are nothing – the public: it can transform both you and them for the better.
Curated Reading Rooms
If you have been anywhere near the internet this week, you will have noticed that the week's coolest viral sensation (OK, apart from Tesla's new truck) was a library. It's only the second time I can remember that being the case (after that super specular poem a couple of years ago), so it would be remiss not to place it front and center as a reminder of just how aspirational literary culture can be.
It also ties nicely with the news that Overdrive, the leading supplier of ebooks to libraries, is now offering local libraries the opportunity to curate digital reading rooms according to their borrowers' local tastes. This is a great opportunity for indies, who can now access Overdrive through most multi-distributory platforms, to work with their local libraries digitally as well as through signings.
KDP Print Author Copies
KDP print hasn't, let's face it, set the world alight when it comes to getting authors excited, but the introduction of high-volume discounted author copies is certainly an interesting development. And by high volume, the figure quoted in this piece is 50, which is right in that hard to reach place between single-sale POD and a full-on, offset-print short run. Which I guess makes KDP print the publishing equivalent of dental floss. For anyone who, like me, spends a lot of time doing events and readings this may be of interest.
Type and Tell to Close
It was only this spring that we were noting with interest the entry of Type and Tell into the service provider market, and yet they have now announced they will be leaving the stage. With the financial backing of Bonnier and a top-flight team at the helm, they looked to offer a mix of integrity, quality, and resilience that would make them interesting players. Coming just two weeks after Pan Macmillan pulled the plug on Pronoun, maybe the big houses are backing out of indieland.
Buk's New Gadget and Barnes & Noble's New Owner?
We love new tech. Buk offers authors the chance to embed the best bits of their books into social media. We know that stuff with content gets more click-throughs and so on, and gizmos that help authors and give us choice are always welcome. I'm not 100% sure, after looking around, how it is better than Bookbuzzr, which came out nine years ago and offered that plus fabulous customer service, but I'm sure there are people for whom it is just what's needed.
Meanwhile, another week, another development for Barnes and Noble. Stories abounded that Sandell Asset Management was considering attempting to take the chain into private ownership for a price considerably over market value. (B&N has a market value? Who knew?) But it now seems that the offer is not “bona fide”, according to the company. Maybe one day we'll report on a B&N story that doesn't descend into a bit of a shambles.
I couldn't actually bring myself to end on that depressing note, so a reminder of how a platform that does things right can enable an indie who does things right, as Wattpad sensation's Anna Todd (1.5 billion reads) announces that despite having been snapped up by the biggies and had rights sold in 30 regions, she will be self-publishing her latest series.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
How to Create Anything – A One-Day Course by Orna Ross Nov 25 [London]
Literary Writers Conference, Dec 7-8 [New York]
20 Books London, Feb 3-4 [London]
AWP Conference, Mar 7-10 [Tampa]
Book Expo, May 30 – Jun 1 [New York]
Digital Book World, Oct 2-4 [Nashville]