book trade in the journal
news | 2012.10.05 | book trade
Our books and catalogues are at the Buchmesse, on the stand of Coen Sligting Bookimport: Halle 4.1, K547.
link | 2011.09.07 | book trade
”... the likes of Amazon, Google and eBay are no longer the loss-making start-ups they once were, but are now among some of the largest companies in the world.”
Some years ago I recall events and publications in the early 1990s there was some noise about the ‘designer as author’: graphic designers would have a hand in writing (or maybe ‘authoring’) the texts that they also designed, and designers could even be considered as authors. It follows from the technology: the text gets shaped by designers, and the last touch before publication may now be in a designer’s hands. And there is the fact that content is always embodied in its form, and so to make form is also to shape content. But it does not follow that the designer needs to become an author. I don’t believe we should give up on the ideal of the designer working hand-in-hand with an author: listening, thinking, suggesting possibilities, making changes to first proposals, and often following an author’s wishes. There are clear advantages in a separation of the two roles: designers see things that authors can’t, and vice versa. (Against all this, the arrival of another new technic screen displays of content may take this process in another direction: away from the hands of any designer and into the domain of the ‘browser’ and its settings, and of the particular screen that is used.)
An obituary of Bernard Coutaz, founder of Harmonia Mundi, an exemplary publishing company.
We are at the London Book Fair next week, with a metre-width of space at stand E200.
The National Mental Coach of the Netherlands Wim de Bie recently visited Zutphen (‘book-city Zutphen’) to ask and answer the question ‘how do you choose a book?’.
link | 2009.04.13 | book trade
More on ‘one of the most powerful forces in the publishing industry with the power to make or break a book’: another in an occasional series that started here.
Further to this discussion of the Benjamin archive book, published in English by Verso, some invaluable notes on the history of the publication of Walter Benjamin’s writings can be found here, as a prelude to the publication next year of Erdmut Wizisla’s Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: the story of a friendship, 19241940. Let the Verso editorial staff read these notes, and learn.
As any long-term reader and watcher of Penguin Books knows, the company has always cultivated its own history, seizing the chance of an anniversary to make an exhibition or put out a book celebrating its own story. And, as with any history, a full account one that takes in the downsides and the incoherencies and failures is always more interesting, as well as truer, than a story that looks just at the high sunlit pastures. This more rounded account will also be more complimentary than the bland self-celebration: one sees the great achievements in the context of difficulties overcome.
Two demon constituents of capsule English-language biographies (for book-flaps, catalogues, CVs, and so on) are ‘currently’ and ‘based in’. ‘Cormac Wrathbone is a freelance writer and critic, currently based in London.’ What’s wrong here? It’s not just the tiredness of the phrasing.
This and this, and this and this, show why it is safer to look at the website of the publisher of a book, rather than at one of the websites of the internet shop Amazon. Very small publishers, especially, tend to change the details of their books (number of pages, cover design, price) even weeks before publication, and they also tend not to have enough time to inform the big selling beast that these things have been changed since the book was first announced. For more on Amazon, and why it should be regarded with some doubt, see here. (Update, September 2007. By this time Amazon had found the final cover images of these books, and improved its description of them. So now we have to explain that the first and third links here were to provisional images and advance details. The mystery of the line Buy this book by Nicolete giovanni M Gray today! remains. These words really did appear on the Amazon website, as if it is robots who write the script.)
We are taking part in the London Book Fair, at Earls Court, from 16 to 18 April. Find our books at the stand of our representatives, Troika, stand Z640.
When it launched its website in July 1995, the internet seller Amazon seemed a wondrous thing. Here was a bookstore stocked with almost every title, and one that would reach parts of the country (the United States of America) that were far from any bricks-and-mortar shop. It was indeed based in Seattle, and its employees, one imagined, were mainly grunge-kids in baggy jeans and t-shirts, fetching and packing the books for minimum wages. The company seemed endearing to those of us who like brave new ventures.
Architectural and design publishing has seen remarkable changes in recent years. How does this sector of publishing work now? How did it come to have this structure? What part does the design of these books play? This article tackles these questions and suggests some answers. After a wide-ranging survey, we profile a number of publishers that help to make up the liveliest sector of the present scene. This text was published, with many illustrations of the books discussed, in Domus, no. 847, April 2002