Thursday, September 11, 2008

Old long tail and new gadgets

Yesterday I printed out a submission and read it - I was really keen to see it as I have known this book was coming for over two years. Now, I could have read it on my computer screen, which is a large, matt Apple G5 screen, perfect for, well anything, like writing this blog on. However, I couldn't face two hours reading from a screen. It is just the case that screens reflect light and are tiring on the eyes.

A few days ago I read that Jan Dalley, literary editor of the Financial Times, likes the Sony Reader. She is influential, and I began to worry, a lot.

Today, I am not worrying, because I bet she has picked up and read more books since her experiment with the electronic gadget.

We are currently looking for front list - including comedy plays. But at the same time, I know front list is a huge risk. We've been lucky in so many cases - but many months, it is our backlist that pays the salaries - a sprinkling of sales over 200 titles. Some are doing well just now - Last Exit to Brooklyn is in a banned books promotion at Borders, which is a huge help, and Borders are also promoting The Concubine of Shanghai, as are Waterstone's. But lots of front list does not get picked by the large retailers, and we can work as hard as we like gaining publicity, if they think a book is not going to sell, it does not get a chance. I do feel for the buyers - they have so many books to choose from, and they have to use gut feeling, just as I do. But the thrill when publicity and sales come together, as well as loving working on books, means we do more risky things than anyone with any sense should. Sadomasochism for Accountants with your Kindle, Sir? That'll do nicely.


The Mock Duckling said...

Oh I like that line! What I find funny is when you look for SM4A on Amazon and it comes up sandwiched between lots of books with bottoms and bondage on the covers! It looks quite sweet peeking out from between them.

Does that sense of risk make it more exciting too though, maybe? Or am I just being an incurable romantic?

I don't know about ereaders etc. Can you read them in the bath? That's what I'd want to know.

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