About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

business quick takes

As I type this I'm a few hours away from boarding a plane to Melbourne, Australia for WorldCon with some travel Down Under following.  I may not be able to do all the cross-linking and such I try and do usually because the Blogger site I post in is a little more cumbersome to use on an iPad. This post an example of that.  But I will try and do some posting.  

A few business things to mention before I go...

Borders is going live with their AreaE sites this week, and we've been watching them go from big red tables to more fitted out but I'll be away for the official launch. Not impressed. At some stores these big red tables are replacing and thus doubling as the information desk, so customers trying to test a Sony or Kobo will compete for attention. Can't wait to see how that works on 21 December. And even where the table is dedicated AreaE most of the table space is taken up with computer stations, not eReader display space. The center of the table will have room for a few display units of eReaders surrounding a riser with info posters like "download our app.". Nothing like what Barnes and Noble is doing with their Nook desks. I thought they had an intriguing approach of how to contend in the eReader space in spite of being late to the party, but the way AreaE is looking so half-assed it's like they think the war is lost and are fighting for appearance's sake and that alone. 

Andrew Wylie, a major literary agent who recently started his own ebook company, has settled his dispute with Random House over rights, rumor has it ceding the rights battle but getting a higher escalating royalty rate.  Well, those royalty rates have to start going up if agents and authors are to continue to do as much business with publishers, we'll see how many other circumstances Random may need to do similarly.  I spoke in more detail on these questions in a guest post I did for the Clarion blog, which I linked to in an August 17 post.

Barnes and Noble is in the middle of a proxy fight with an investor group having proposed an alternate slate of directors.  Their last earnings report didn't thrill, same store sales down a bit and profit taking a hit from digital initiatives. 

The Kindle 3 has gotten rave reviews from David Pogue in the NY Times and Walter Mossberg in the Wall St. Journal, both major people in technology reviewing. I am not a fan of E-Ink based devices like the Kindle vs iPad multitaskers, but no denying that the reviewer buzz for Kindle 3 is there.     


Tez Miller said...

Hopefully you'll enjoy your time here in Melbourne.

P.S. Due to time differences, you'll be able to watch US Open night matches in the Aussie morning. If your hotel gets pay-TV, it'll be on one of the FOX Sports channels (currently FOX Sports 2).


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you haven't conformed to the Kindle. :)

Good luck with Worldcon!

Shawn said...

If you think those area E are cumbersome as a customer, imagine the effect working there. Nice to meet you the other day (in the south bay), I'm loving Peter's first novel and have sold a few based on the copy he gave the store. Very good stuff.