Bookish website

Bookish is a new book recommendation and e-commerce site competing with the likes of GoodreadsLibrary thing and Amazon. Although some question the effectiveness of these sites, Bookish promises a different experience based on the resources and expertise available to publishers driving the project.

Bookish is a collaboration between a group of major publishers  claiming their recommendations engine, with input from real editors, is the best yet. With publishing heavyweights like Penguin, Random House and Scholastic on board, the site has already collected an impressive list of contributors, 400 000 author profiles and 1.2 million books in their catalogue.

At this stage, Bookish is leaving the social aspect of recommendations to established sites like Goodreads although they do link to Facebook. Their focus is editorial content – delivering magazine style essays, articles, news and reviews written by authors and professional editors.

Bookish represents an interesting commercial model for publishers to position themselves as an alternative to community based book recommendation sites. Whether Bookish stays impartial, only time will tell.

inkpop: the online community of rising stars in teen lit

inkpop is a recent innovation by HarperCollins Publishers. Providing an online community for aspiring authors, members can vote for their favourite stories, which will then be read by the HarperCollins Editorial Board.


The website explains more:

inkpop is an online community that connects rising stars in teen lit with talent-spotting readers and publishing professionals. Our social networking forum spotlights aspiring authors and the readers who provide the positive springboard for feedback. inkpop members play a critical role in deciding who will land a publishing contract with HarperCollins. Whose work will you help rise to the top?

The FAQ page explains:

inkpop invites unpublished, published, and self-published authors to create their own personal inkpop page and post their books, short stories, essays, and poetry for public viewing. There is no word-count minimum for short stories, essays, and poetry, but authors must upload books that are at least 10,000 words in order for them to be read and critiqued by the inkpop community.

Visitors can comment on submissions and choose their top five favorites. inkpop counts the number of times a project appears to be among the five favorites of community members and uses that information to rank the projects. inkpop also recognizes the visitors who consistently recommend the best projects and uses that info to rank the most influential Trendsetters, who play a critical role in selecting top authors.

In short, talent development is a collaborative process at inkpop. Readers are talent scouts and critics who become community leaders in their search for standout projects. In turn, writers get to load up on valuable feedback from a target audience and make their projects the very best they can be.

Please note that users must be over 13 years of age and currently, English is the only language that submissions are accepted in. As per any resource used with students, please check the site out for yourself as the content is constantly changing.

inkpop sounds like a supportive community for aspiring authors. It is great to see publishers creating such resources for would-be authors.

‘Cheaper’ books, but at what cost?

Both The Age and The Australian are reporting today on the Productivity Commission‘s decision to advise the Federal Government to implement it’s recommendations in yesterday’s report.

Publishers fight cheap books

Jason Steger

July 15, 2009


"We won't have Australian authors if we don't have Australian publishers,'' says writer Peter Temple.
“We won’t have Australian authors if we don’t have Australian publishers,” says writer Peter Temple.

BOOKS could be cheaper in Australia if the Federal Government implements recommendations in a report issued yesterday by the Productivity Commission.

But it faces a hostile campaign from the bulk of the book industry, which says the commission’s report is flawed and will damage publishers, printers, smaller booksellers, authors and Australia’s cultural wellbeing.

The commission urged the Government to scrap territorial copyright protection for writers and publishers to put Australian book prices more in line with those in the US and Britain.

In its final report on the parallel importation of books, it recommended the lifting of all restrictions after a three-year adjustment period; the rejigging of financial assistance to the book industry; a new survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics; and a review of the brave new world after five years.

It said the current legislation, under which Australian publishers have 30 days to publish editions of books published overseas or face competing editions, stopped booksellers from importing “cheaper or better-value-for-money editions”.

The recommendations were welcomed by Dymocks boss Don Grover, the driving force behind the Coalition for Cheaper Books. However, he told The Age a three-year delay would cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, “and that’s unreasonable”.

Opponents of the change said they would turn their attention to lobbying. The majority of the 560 submissions received by the commission, including those from state and territory governments, opposed the lifting of restrictions.

Scribe publisher Henry Rosenbloom, who has funded much of his local publishing by acquiring rights to overseas titles, said there was no guarantee of cheaper books. “It’s crazy to recommend policies now that will lead to the destruction of significant parts of Australian publishing, book selling, writing and printing that are dependent on exchange rates and the behaviour of booksellers.”

Penguin chief executive Gabrielle Coyne warned that if the Government adopted the recommendations, it represented a “move away from evidence-based policy”.

Authors such as Tim Winton, Richard Flanagan, Kate Grenville and Morris Gleitzman have spoken out strongly against any change to territorial copyright. Yesterday crime writer Peter Temple added his voice. “We won’t have Australian authors if we don’t have Australian publishers,” he said. “If you think Australian publishing is important, if you want them to take risks on authors, backlists, bringing on talent, then you care more about product than simply profit. If you think it’s important they stay in business, you don’t do this to them.”

The Printing Industries Association of Australia claimed the recommendations put at risk hundreds of jobs. PIA policy manager Hagop Tchamkertenian told The Agethat Maryborough “would be devastated. One in four workers depends on the book printing industry.”

Michael Heyward, publisher at Text, pointed out the irony of the commission recommending changes to benefit the consumer but advocating a review of the grant system that could mean higher taxes.


The Australian report focuses on job losses:

 Cheap books will cost ‘at least 500 jobs’

July 15, 2009

Article from:  Australian Associated Press

A PROPOSAL to lift copyright restrictions on books may deliver cheaper prices but at a cost of more than 500 jobs, a union says.

A Productivity Commission report yesterday called for an end to century-old laws that limit the importation of cheaper books from overseas.

Supporters say consumers are overcharged $200 million a year because of the restrictions and that dumping them will boost competition and cut prices.

But there is no guarantee this will happen, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said.

What is more certain is the direct loss of 500 jobs within the publishing and printing industry, the union’s print division secretary Steve Walsh said.

Other estimates put the figure at 3000.

“In this economic climate, where every job is precious, it would be terrible news for our valuable print industry,” Mr Walsh said.

“It would allow books printed overseas a major advantage over Australian suppliers.”

Many local authors believe scrapping the laws will strip them of income.

Writer Tim Winton used his acceptance speech for his Miles Franklin award in June to defend the legislation as it stands.

Mr Walsh said: “If retailers … are so concerned for access to cheaper books, they should revise their profit margins rather than asking printers to lose business in pursuit of books printed cheaply overseas.”

It will be more than interesting to see (especially in these economic times) if the Federal Government acts on the advice of the Productivity Commission.