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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Things I Like This Week - 9th February 2012

  • The new Polaris website is now up and running. At the time of writing, the co.uk address is the one that’s currently live, but the main .com one is expected to come on line any day. There’s still some work to be done with the content, but I hope you like this new beginning.
             Here’s the homepage video to give you a taster:





  • Remaining on the subject of films, here are some great examples of films being shot in HD on… iPhones. Absolutely brilliant. Get your creative juices flowing – see how easy it is to convert your ideas to produced film without vast expense (as long as you already own an iPhone 4 or 4S - slight caveat that, I admit).





  • This blog is designed to give you an insight into the publishing world and to discuss pertinent issues at hand. Reverting to the former goal, I stumbled across the below video. This in no way represents publishing. In any way. No way. Promise….





  • Debate of the Week Number Two: Now, here’s an interesting concept… bestselling Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho, actively encourages pirates to steal his work and distribute it for free online. Madness you say? Well Coelho believes that thanks to free editions of his books circulating the internet, his sales have seen an enormous growth increase, particularly in countries where he had previously been anonymous.  This is not a tactic that I would necessarily seek to emulate, but it makes interesting food for thought.

    •  You can see from a few of my previous posts – and the Polaris homepage video – that I’m into my stop animation at the moment. This video is just a delight – you can read about how it was made here: http://bicyclesonthemoon.tumblr.com/


    • Now, I can’t really write a blog like this without at least a passing mention to Facebook’s public offering. Are they really worth $5 billion? Will investors ever see their money again? Time will tell, but before it does, Mark Zuckerberg has revealed Facebook’s core business values. For all that I generally hate management speak, I have to admit to rather liking these:


    • New and noteworthy apps on the market:
    - Stephen Fry narrates Inside The World of Dinosaurs - http://tinyurl.com/83kvf5q. Very cool. I’m a general sucker for Stephen Fry endorsed products but this app is tremendous in its own right, even without his soothing, dulcet tones.
    -  the first independently designed templates for iBooks Author are now available on the Mac App Store - http://tinyurl.com/6lr8v4b. Get out there and get designing your interactive iPad book apps everyone!

    • And just as a random ‘this is amazing’ post check out these nanobots synchronised flying:



    • Oh, OK then, here’s another random ‘this is amazing’ item. 3D printing, incredible (I can't embed this video into the blog for some reason, so you need to follow the link below):


    Hope you enjoy the above selection. Any thoughts or opinions on any of these (or on anything featured throughout this blog), I’d love to hear from you.
    Speak soon.


Amazon, Amazon Everywhere




Hello world. As unpleasant as it is to crow, I’d just like to bring your attention to (in case you’ve missed it) the news/ rumour that Amazon are going to branch out into physical stores. Are you ready for the crowing? Here goes… I told you so!

For reference, please see my insightful Casandra-esque blog piece from August 2010 http://polarispublishing.blogspot.com/2011/08/rise-of-ebooks.html

And here is the New York Times’ take on it:


Sticking to Amazon (as the title of this post suggests we ought), the other piece of big news is that they have launched an e-commerce site in IndiaJunglee.com. For the time being, Junglee does not sell anything directly to the customer, rather it is a central marketplace that guides shoppers to sellers’ individual websites (it should be noted that Amazon is one of these).
India is a market that has incredible potential for the publishing industry (for those yet to tap into it), but it is difficult to crack for small to medium sized publishers who do not have a base there. International bestsellers will do as well in India as anywhere else in the world, and publishers who have an international bestseller (but who do not, like Penguin India, have a base) will be able to explore the option of printing in India with production values and print-runs that can cope with the low cover price demanded by the market. For the rest of us, importing books into India isn’t really a viable consideration because of that low price selling point – there is very little return, if any; in fact, on the few occasions that I have looked into exporting into India, it has transpired that we would be selling copies at a loss once we incorporated shipping costs and local sales commissions.

So the alternative solution, you would imagine, would be through eBooks. But again there are snags – from poor internet bandwidth to promotion and, most crucially, a dearth of reliable and prominent retailers. What is most interesting to note is that Junglee sell Kindles, but does not (yet) list Kindle eBooks. When that position changes and the eBook market becomes viably accessible through Amazon’s existing central online distribution channels, then the issues over reaching the Indian market will suddenly alter dramatically. There will still be issues over bandwidth and promotion, but those are issues that can be tackled once market access has been gained – and Amazon are the most likely to achieve that and achieve it well. My eyes – and those of the rest of the publishing industry – are peeled. 

Speak soon.