Saturday, 27 February 2010

ISBN Agency Study Paper

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E-books and ISBN's remain a testing issue for many publishers. I have also come across a great deal of misunderstanding from authors who self-publish as well. A recent study paper by the International ISBN Agency reveals that they still stand by their 2005 recommendation that all electronic formats of a book should have a separately assigned ISBN.

From the study paper:

"Since its creation in the late 1960s the purpose of the ISBN has been to facilitate book supply chains which by their very nature will evolve and create new demands over time. In the digital environment, it has become less clear how supply chains will develop and, because of that, there has been uncertainty amongst some publishers of the role of ISBN in this market.

One of the principles of ISBN has been that it identifies a unique product (e.g. an edition of a book). This has facilitated discovery and acquisitions, and enabled e-commerce, distribution and aggregation of product information, and sales data reporting. The ISBN standard, ISO 2108, has always required that different product forms of a publication, where these are made separately available, be assigned separate ISBNs.

When the standard was revised in 2005, there was considerable discussion about the appropriate level of granularity for electronic publications. It was agreed that the same rules that had been applied to printed books should also apply to e-books and the current edition of the ISBN standard, ISO 2108:2005, therefore reads:

Each different format of an electronic publication (e.g. '.lit', '.pdf', '.html', '.pdb') that is published and made separately available shall be given a separate ISBN."

If you want to read the ISBN Agency Study Paper, then please click here.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Hughes & Hughes Book Chain Enter Receivership

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For any international traveller passing through Dublin, Cork or London City airports, wishing to pick up a book for their journey or holiday abroad—they would be very familiar with Hughes & Hughes bookshops. Hughes & Hughes, in many ways, represented Irish independent book retailing to international consumers and readers.

Today, the company entered receivership with the closure of all 13 shops, including its five airport branches and the loss of all 225 staff. Hughes and Hughes requested Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd to appoint David Carson of Deloitte as receiver.

From 1990 through to 2008, Hughes & Hughes enjoyed steady expansion and was an exceptional supporter of literature and writing in Ireland through its promotions and in-store events. However, their airport branches played a fundamental role in the 26 year history of the company, and reduced travelling footfall through airports and ‘collapsing consumer demand’, combined with sterling exchange rates and growing internet competition led to a focused period of economization.

(UPDATE, Saturday February 28th)
As of today, all Hughes & Hughes airport bookshops remain open for trading. 

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Lulu Launch Open Publishing Platform For Developers

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Lulu used the last day of the O'Reilly Media Tools of Change conference in New York, where they are a sponsor, to announce the launch of an open publishing platform for software developers, publishers or any company wishing to use Lulu's publishing engine. This will allow a company to develop, build and integrate their own brand using Lulu's publishing engine on an open platform.

Some small independent presses have used Lulu's publishing engine and marketplace, but up until now Lulu have not openly sanctioned this practice. This marks a significant development and opens a myriad of possibilities. What will make or break the new Lulu Publishing API is whether it can prove itself to be a commercially viable model for clients.

Here is the full press release.

Lulu Opens Doors to Developers

New Lulu Publication API provides direct
 access to industry’s most robust open publishing platform

February 24, 2010 (Raleigh, N.C.) — Lulu, the open publishing pioneer, today announced that it has opened its platform to developers, giving them direct access to its publishing engine and creating new opportunity for publishing innovation. 

The Lulu Publication API lets individuals, publishers, businesses and other organizations create a new breed of Web application enabling on-demand publishing through Lulu, marketed under their own brand names. Using the API, a software company, for example, could instantly publish hundreds of manuals and gain worldwide distribution. Or a publisher could build and host a branded application letting independent authors publish and distribute under a new imprint. 

“Two words define Lulu: open innovation,” said Harish Abbott, Chief Product Officer of Lulu. “We have built an open publishing platform agnostic to both the type of content creator and the type of content created. We can’t wait to see the kinds of applications our ecosystem of innovators develop using the Lulu publishing engine.”

The announcement today coincided with the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference in New York, where Lulu is a sponsor. 

The combination of Lulu’s Publication API and powerful market and distribution platforms ensures a range of development opportunities and wide selection of offerings in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats.  

The publication API is just one element of the open publishing market that Lulu is building. Lulu is committed to helping anyone publish and sell anywhere and reach targeted audiences through its social discovery platform.

For more information about the Lulu Publication API, visit:

Lulu Reinstate Live Chat Support

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Last year Lulu chose to withdraw their 'Live Chat Support' service and this drew a great deal of criticism from Lulu authors. Recently, Lulu's forum has been full of much discussion about the poor response times from Lulu support by email.

Well, it appears the penny has finally dropped with Lulu and they have decided to reinstate the Chat Support feature. It is still in development and they are running it in beta at the moment. Here is a snippet from the announcement by Lulu's Community Architect, Nick Popio.

"You asked for it, and we listened. Our new chat support (beta) is live. We’ve spent the past several months finding a solution that not only responds to your inquiries quickly, but gives you the answers you need.

Beginning today, you’ll find a chat button in the upper right of the Lulu support page. Initially, we’ll offer live support in English from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. East Coast time Monday through Friday. This ensures that we will cover the period when we see the heaviest volume of support inquiries. Rest assured, we’re working on expanded language and time support."

Oneworld Launch Calder Collection Using POD

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The Calder Collection is a new imprint launched by Oneworld Classics. It will publish classic titles from the John Calder catalogue which it acquired in 2007 as well as new titles. The imprint will publish the first ten titles in March, and will be followed by another ten to twelve titles every month. The lists will include books by Kafka, Stendhal, Ovid, Louis-Stevenson and Walter Scott.

Oneworld will use short  POD (print on demand) runs of 100 to 300 units per title and they will be available in both paperback and hardback with a website to accompany the launch. The new imprint will operate on no advance – royalty based terms.

PublishAmerica Invite Themselves To Dinner At Random House

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I don’t mention PublishAmerica here too often. There are many reasons why. Some of the reasons are contained in the articles and comments on the links, here and here. The Wikipaedia entry for PublishAmerica provides a better and less critical overview then they actually deserve. In a nutshell, I consider PublishAmerica the modern face of old-style vanity publishing, as transparent as a concrete block, and about as useful as one for an author looking for a self-publishing solution. If I might paint another description in your thoughts: imagine a Fox News or Voice of America of author solutions services. Better still, PublishAmerica presents itself as the epiphany of publishing.

Random House publish about 3,500 titles per year. PublishAmerica last year published 4,800 titles. What is the difference in regards to sales? The single top title for Random House would easily outstrip all of PublishAmerica’s sales a great many times over!

So why have PublishAmerica popped up here today?

Balls, guile and sheer marketing audacity are one thing for a company to ply in the pond of self-publishing, but too often, PublishAmerica wear the Emperor’s new clothes and swim with the deliberate and contrived innocence of a goldfish taking on the might of shark and whale in the open seas of the commercial publishing industry. This morning, many PublishAmerica authors (they do have their devotees) received the following email.

Dear Author:

PublishAmerica will submit your book to Random House!
Random House, the publishing company? Yes. We’re submitting your book to the world’s most famous publisher so they get a chance to read it and see if they want your book.

Every writer dreams about becoming a published author. Once they have reached that goal, as you have, many dream of the next step up: to become a Random House author. Random House is one of the most prestigious publishing names. Their extensive operation a few miles from our own headquarters makes them virtual neighbors.

We will submit not one, but up to five copies of your book to Random House’s acquisition editors, so that they can also pass the book around their imprints if they want. They may do anything they choose with the books. We will alert you immediately if Random House shows interest, and in that case we will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition. Since PublishAmerica is not affiliated with Random House or its owner Bertelsmann, we would totally share in your pride.

Here’s how we do it:

If you want to have books on hand, order now, and we will donate up to five copies to Random House. And you receive a 50 pctdiscount!

Go to, find your book, click on it, then add to cart, indicate quantity, and use this coupon: Random50. Then click Recalculate and finish the transaction. Minimum volume is 10 copies.

By using the coupon you are authorizing us to donate the books to Random House. You may also request that we ship five FREE books to you instead.

Full-color and hardcovers excluded. Offer expires this weekend on Sunday night.

Thank You,
Publish America Author Support Team

Audacious, cheeky, or just downright taking the piss and abusing the gullibility of their authors (customers), I think. This is the worst, crudest and clumsiest effort I have ever seen by using the carrot and stick illusion of publishing dream to flog very expensive books by retail norms at the expense of their own foolish authors. Does Random House know anything about this? You can bet they don’t, and just what they will make of a heavy stream of poorly designed and edited self-published books turning up at the offices from next week doesn’t bare thinking about. I’m sure the new arrivals will be greeted with equal perplexity and distain.

This is the equivalent of inviting yourself to The White House for dinner with the Obamas, and not flinching an eye when Barack and Michelle sit down at the table and enquire who the hell you are and where that crappy pile of books came from.

I wonder if Michaele and Tareq Salahi had books with PublishAmerica.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

O'Reilly Media TOC Conference: NY, 2010 - Day One, Overview

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Day one overview from Hannah Johnson of Publishing Perspectives.
(Courtesy of Publishing Perspectives)

The Future of Publishing will live on, in, and around the Web community: Richard Nash of Cursor
(Courtesy of O'Reilly Media - Tools of Change New York, 2010)

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Shape of Publishing To Come: Jason Epstein, NYRB

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Jason Epstein has written an illuminating and epic piece on the future of publishing in the March edition of The New York Review of Books. A must read.

Jason Epstein is an American editor and publisher with a career spanning more than forty years. He has worked for Random House and Doubleday. He was co-founder of The New York Review of Books, the Library of America, and On Demand Books.

Self-Publishing: A Better Bet All Round?

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Robert McCrum writing in the Guardian UK this morning is unconvinced that 2010 is a bad time to be a writer. He suggests this assertion comes particularly from authors who have been involved in the traditional publishing world since the 1980’s. McCrum goes on to say that the outlook for self-published authors presents evermore promising opportunities.

“Self-publishing has now become much easier and more affordable, a better bet all round. Of course, it is not the same, I concede, as working through an established imprint, or an influential corporate house such as Penguin or HarperCollins. But how much longer will these giants survive, at least in their present form?”

iUniverse: Best-Sellers or Bottom-Sellers?

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iUniverse has today revealed its bestsellers for the month of January. Some time ago (2008), we examined book ranking and what kinds of books sold best when published through some of the larger author solutions services. Here is the top ten for iUniverse for January. I have included the current Amazon ranking as of today.

1. Spinning Tails, by Jan Hornung (2003); (History). More than thirty writers contributed stories, poems, and insights that represent myriad adventures, heartaches, ecstasies, horrors, and wonders that helicopters have to offer. Helicopter history, winged wisdom, and flight facts are scattered throughout the book. Sales Rank: #4,090,914 in Books

2. The 45 Second Presentation that Will Change Your Life, by Don Failla (2009); (Business). The 45-Second Presentation that Will Change Your Life is a virtual training manual on network marketing. Sales Rank: #190,417 in Books

3. Research Strategies, by William Badke (2008); (Business). Now in its third edition, extensively revised and 32 percent larger than the second edition, Research Strategies is your indispensable guide to informational research. With his concise, empathetic, witty manner, William Badke shows you that research does not need to be painful. Sales Rank: #51,112 in Books

4. The 10Ks of Personal Branding, by Kaplan Mobray (2009); (Business). In this inspiring guide, learn how to focus your life's goals with your life's actions to create a powerful package called "you." Sales Rank: #113,330 in Books

5. The Tao of Montessori, by Catherine McTamaney (2007); (Education). Evocative and unique, The Tao of Montessori offers a quiet balance to the noisy demands of teaching and parenting, through a special blend of encouraging verse. Sales Rank: #43,891 in Books

6. The Transform Diet, by Brett Salisbury (2008); (Health). The Transform Diet is a blueprint on eating correctly. Salisbury shows how specific foods prove to harden the body, while others do not. Sales Rank: #769,738 in Books

7. The Respect Dare, by Nina Roesner (2009); (Relationships). The Respect Dare is a 40-day devotional guide that will take away the mystery that is keeping you from speaking the language of respect with your husband. It provides real-life examples from women who have developed closer relationships with God and their husbands. Sales Rank: #15,150 in Books

8. Making News, by David Henderson (2006); (Media). From the perspective of an accomplished expert, and with advice from leading journalists, Making News provides a deeper understanding of how the news business functions, how journalists judge the value of a legitimate story, and how you can communicate with the media to achieve outstanding results. Sales Rank: #179,793 in Books

9. The Monfils Conspiracy, by Denis Gullickson and John Gaie (2009); (True Crime). Highly detailed and meticulously researched, The Monfils Conspiracy reveals the true story of a botched case that landed six innocent men in prison. Sales Rank: #68,755 in Books

10. Becoming a Justice Seeking Congregation, by William K. McElvaney (2009); (Religion). Designed as an ecumenical study guide for local congregations, clergy groups, and seminarians, Becoming a Justice Seeking Congregation addresses the why, what, where, and how questions related to practicing justice. It provides a fresh invitation for the church to work for systemic change in the world. Sales Rank: #369,598 in Books

Firstly, we are dealing with some difficult dynamics. iUniverse are presenting the above top ten based on all sales; to the author, through their online bookstore, other online distribution channels, and, if was the case, through brick and mortar sales channels. The Amazon ranking I have included is for sales ranked as of today, and based on data extrapolated from the links below.

There is much talk about how Amazon arrives at the rankings of books you see online, and it is fair to say, at best, it combines a multitude of factors from frequency, volume and consistency of sales. Amazon are reluctant to fully explain their own rankings, but analysis by publishers and the links above have led me to this approximate average of books sold based on Amazon ranking.

copies per week

I do not present the above as any exact science of Amazon book sales, but merely a general guide.

There is much talk about how Amazon arrives at the rankings of books you see online, and it is fair to say, at best, it combines a multitude of factors from frequency, volume and consistency of sales. Amazon are reluctant to fully explain their own rankings, but analysis by publishers and the links above have led me to this approximate the average of books sold through their international sites.

What is immediately apparent is that iUniverse’s top ten is considerably at odds with the Amazon rankings. Their no.1 is actually the lowest on Amazon at the moment, and in theory, has not registered a sale in February at all! To be fair, Spinning Tails may be selling by the truckload through Jan Hornung’s own website, or many brick and mortar stores. It is the oldest published book on the iUniverse top ten (2003), and I would have expected a degree of steady sales for such a book.

The highest ranked book is ‘The Respect Dare’, by Nina Roesner, a self-help relationship book. By our own analysis, it is selling 50-55 copies per week. But, again, it would be foolish to simply say, online sales are 3 to 7% of all book sales, depending on genre and territory, and so, this book must be selling in excess of 1000 copies across all sales streams and outlets per week. We would expect self-published books to have considerably higher sales online, as against bookstore sales. Indeed, for many self-published books, we may be looking at an entirely inversed market—90% online and 10% through the author and bookstores.

At this point, I would rather set aside ranking and sales and focus on the kinds of books in this iUniverse top ten, because I believe it reveals far more about self-published books and books published using author solutions services.

Let us look at the genre split of the above ten books,

1. Business 3
2. History 1
3. Education 1
4. Health 1
5. Relationships 1
6. Media 1
7. True Crime 1
8. Religion 1

And now, the year of publication,

1. 2009 5
2. 2008 2
3. 2007 1
4. 2006 1
5. 2003 1

The above data suggest the same trends since the last time we looked at book rankings on titles by author solutions services. Fiction does not work well with self-publishing and it is dominated by self-help and business orientated books. Also, older books (2003, 2006 in the above top ten) will continue to sell using POD, but in extremely low figures, never making then viable for a traditional publisher, but perhaps significant enough for a self-published author.

As an aside, I ran the bestsellers for iUniverse today as a comparison to their January list. It did not surprise me that only three of the original titles above remain in that top ten!

Fiction fares a little better when you run Outskirts Press and look at their top ten best sellers through Amazon. I won’t reproduce the data, but you can take a look for yourself here.

I talked to a few UK and US publishers last week about Amazon sales and its ranking system. Many were derisory and suspicious about the Amazon ranking system, yet, they all admitted to checking their titles there regularly. One publisher told me not to even entertain a title if its ranking was more than four digits over a week.

What the above does suggest, for the most part, is that self-published titles barely register a blip on the radar of acknowledged published books, and the vast majority of sales occur outside of what would be considered normal channels. But then, we exist in a publishing industry where Nielsens Bookdata does not tract e-book sales or any independent retailer without proper point of sale scanning terminals. It’s a murky world out there, and I don’t believe the publishing world is getting a true reflection of where they are or should be—no more than self-published authors know how much inroads they have made into the industry itself and where exactly their place is within it.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Five Stones Press - Overview

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We know the story a hundred times over. Published author doesn’t get his contract renewed – finds himself out in the big bad world – decides to start his own publishing press and self-publish, and maybe even make a few dollars by getting some other paying-authors on board. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?

David Fulmer is the author of six historical mystery novels with Harcourt Books. He is also an editor, broadcast producer and journalist. He has won a Shamus Award and a Benjamin Franklin Award and has been nominated for a LA Times Book Prize, a Barry Award, and a Falcon Award. In the spring of 2008, Fulmer’s publisher, Harcourt Houghton Mifflin, following a merger, decided not to take up their option on his next book. Stellar reviews for Lost River in the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and many other national print media did not lead to stellar sales. No contract; an economic downturn in the publishing world; ball burst—game over...

“I couldn’t afford to leave my career up to the shifting tides of the publishing world. I had no interest in self-publishing. If I was going to release a new book in 2010, I'd need another strategy.”

Fulmer began to do the rounds of small press editors, store managers; anyone who knew more about publishing and bookselling than he did. He chanced on an article written by Malcom Gladwell in the New Yorker called ‘How David Beats Goliath’.

In the Biblical story of David and Goliath, David initially put on a coat of mail and a brass helmet and girded himself with a sword: he prepared to wage a conventional battle of swords against Goliath. But then he stopped. “I cannot walk in these, for I am unused to it,” he said (in Robert Alter’s translation), and picked up those five smooth stones. What happened, Arreguín-Toft wondered, when the underdogs likewise acknowledged their weakness and chose an unconventional strategy? He went back and re-analyzed his data. In those cases, David’s winning percentage went from 28.5 to 63.6. When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win, Arreguín-Toft concluded, “even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn’t.”

How David Beats Goliath, by Malcom Gladwell, New Yorker, May 11th, 2009.

Fulmer decided if he was to succeed he would have to change the rules of publishing itself. With the help and support of two business friends, Tara Coyt, a writer, editor and marketing strategist in publishing, and Anna Foote, a financial services veteran, Five Stones Press was founded. Coyt and Foote felt Fulmer as an author had enough marketability and fan-base to make the publishing endeavour worth supporting.

The publishing strategy would break the normal rules of traditional publishing. Fulmer would sell one hundred shares in his next book, The Fall, a mystery novel, to thirty-two of his family, friends and supporters. If it worked, it would open the gate at Five Stones Press to other established authors left out in the cold by their  publishing houses.

“We were pleasantly surprised at the response. We’re not asking for special treatment. As a legitimate publishing venture, we just want a fair shake. My last two novels were the best-selling since my first. (2001’s ‘Chasing the Devil’s Tail’). I don’t think what we’re doing is an option for anyone who doesn’t already have real momentum.”

Ball pumped back up—game on...

Five Stones Press is a share publishing venture based in Atlanta, Georgia. With Fulmer’s knowledge of the music industry and film broadcasting and production, it is no coincidence it has borrowed ideas and business strategies from these areas. The core model is in many ways the mainstay of the small independent film industry. Five Stones Press operate in exactly the same way as any publishing house once a book project is accepted. Their aim, like any publisher, is to only take on book projects with a reasonable chance of success and keep their financial risks as low as possible. Any writer submitting to Five Stones Press must have an agent and be previously published, bringing with them a proven record of writing experience and an established fan base.

“...we are accepting submissions only from agented authors. Also please note that for the foreseeable future we will not be publishing any first-time fiction authors. We will be considering non-fiction projects from first-time authors, but only those who bring with them serious credentials and marketable projects.”

Five Stones Press are currently using Fulmer’s network of colleagues to solicit and find their next book project. They are hoping to announce a second author and book before the end of this year. All Five Stones Press books will be distributed through Small Press United, a distribution program supported by the Independent Publishers Group and specifically for small press publishers.

David Fulmer’s new novel, The Fall, will be published by Five Stones Press on March 15th 2010 and launched at the Eagle Eye Book Shop with the The Atlanta Writers Club on Friday, March 10th, 2010.

Or Books - Overview

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You would be forgiven for thinking in these hard-pressed times that anyone starting a new commercial publishing venture must be on something stronger and more refreshing than tea or coffee. The current economic challenges to the publishing industry have been covered here and in many other places, ad nauseam, so you will be glad to know for a change we won’t be going down that much-travelled road. But yes, there are new publishing ventures at the moment, in spite of the current climate which suggests if you have a business of any sort, no matter how strong your core client lists are – it is still time to batten down the hatches for a long dry summer.

Colin Robinson and John Oakes didn’t feel this way and back in April we covered their new publishing venture OR Books which is set to be launched shortly. Their basic premise is to stick to modest print runs, viral marketing, print on demand production and ebooks to help increase the capital they have available to market each title – they are talking in the ballpark of $50 – 75k, and even recession aside, for a small publisher, that is impressive. Only yesterday someone emailed me about the OR Books article and suggested I was being a little cynical and harsh on these new ventures. Perhaps I was, but it is borne out of a genuine concern for all involved — as much as I wish any new publisher or author service well – these things have a knack of going belly-up after a year or two and leave many disgruntled authors in their wake. There is nothing worse than a well-meaning publisher to take on authors, rally a decent initial salvo into the world of independent publishing, only to fall flat on their faces, looking undignified, with their new business model stretched to the point it is in tatters. Outside their windows, a mob of desperate authors gather to try and regain their books publishing rights so they can move on from the sorry mess.

I said at the start of this piece that the natural thought is to assume new publishing ventures do not happen at times like these. Well, actually, nothing could be further from the truth, that is, if you follow the logic through. There are a lot of publishing personnel at the moment kicking stones in the morning on their long walks with the dog in the park. You can only feed the ducks so much and pretty soon the kids and grandkids get sick of the sight of you calling round for a bun and a chat even when you bring the buns!

Yes, we might have cast cursory slights at those out-of-work editors and marketers when they toiled away in publishing houses beyond the burly shoulders of their gatekeepers, but the fact is many editors and founders of small press publishers started out at large commercial houses, beavering away with trays of tea until they earned their studs and were allowed to tackle the slush piles of manuscripts. They earned and got their wings before they flew. Some went on to start literary agencies, PR marketing companies, a few grew old and retired to the seaside to stoke long-haired pussy cats and dream of the day they opened a manuscript on their desk and saw the name Hemmingway, Heaney, Patterson or King. Others, when they feel the hobnail boot of the recession kick them out of their established publishing nests, pause for a moment and contemplate the shower of rain upon them, smell the aroma of the side street gutter, dust themselves off and start afresh. Rediscovered passion married with a sharp inventive mind and the love of books, just for the sake of books sometimes does that to a fellow or a gal.

This promotional snippet is doing the rounds at the moment. Featuring Colin Robinson and John Oakes who will soon be launching OR Books, billed as an 'alternative publisher'. Like many who have viewed and hosted this promotional video on their websites, I'm all for alternatives to traditional publishing, whether that is out and out Self Publishing by an author, Subsidized Publishing or Partnership Publishing. All these forms of publishing ventures and paths utilize print-on-demand digital technology for the most part, and what is more, they have being doing it for more than ten years.

So, I'm not sure what Robinson and Oakes feel is 'new' about their publishing entity beyond perhaps not charging authors to have their books published. Their publishing model seems closest to an Ebook publisher who choose the much in-demand titles to issue paper editions of books.

Without further's Colin and John...

OR Books from OR Books on Vimeo.

The above website doesn't give away too much, does it? 

Here is a further review of OR Books as of July 2009 with a few more detailed snippets.

Full Circle Editions - Overview

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Liz Calder lived over her family's grocery in Edgware until she was eleven years of age. She began travelling around the world and became a model and journalist in Brazil before returning to England and getting into the publishing industry. She quickly demonstrated a gift for identifying outstanding writers and carved out a reputation at Jonathan Cape Publishers before she became a co-founder of Bloomsbury Publishing; ultimately spotting the talents of J. K. Rowling and launching the Harry Potter series on the world. She has also launched the careers of Rushdie, Barnes and Brookner, and she was the first UK publisher to snap up John Irving. So, why do I mention Liz Calder?

Calder has started a new publishing venture called Full Circle Editions in the UK. The venture is being founded by Calder, her husband, Louis Baum, a former editor at thebookseller, and two TV producers, John and Genevieve Christie. The first book to be published by Full Circle Editions is a book of poetry called ‘The Burning of the Books’ by poet George Szirtes and artist Ronald King. This first offering is meant to cement Full Circle Editions as a publisher of physically beautiful books inside and outside. The book itself comes in a slipcase and is printed on high quality cream paper with fold out sections. You feel Full Circle Editions are reflecting back to book publishing a hundred years ago when it seemed each published title was unique physically as well as by its content.

It is difficult to say how esoteric and indulgent an offering Full Circle Editions will prove to be, and when we discover this, it will perhaps tell us how long the venture will last. Ultimately, if it is to be successful, it must at first embrace the tastes and delicacies of its founders, carve its mark, but like all endearing and lasting imprints, it must develop its own identity as defined by its authors if it is to survive and raise its head above the mainstream publishing mulch. Liz Calder’s reputation goes before her and there is no one in the industry that deserves to be more indulgent and original in the industry with a new publishing venture, yet, Full Circle Editions faces the same challenges as all new publishers will face this year and any other year.

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