Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trouble at Bloomsbury?

The publishing world is buzzing with the news at the moment that Bloomsbury Press are to make 8 people redundant, primarily in their marketing department. They claim that this has come about largely as a result of the demise of Harry Potter, although we all know, that as a public limited company it is more to do with keeping greedy share holders happy with their investment. Some are even saying that the company may be the subject of a takeover with Pearson the owners of Penguin, the most likely candidates.

Agents are questioning some of the company's more recent acquisitions - Publishing News mentions £1 million paid to Take That singer and songwriter Gary Barlow, and £400,000 for David Blunkett. Nice work if you can get it.

It seems to me then that if the company is in trouble, then this is the real cause of it all, and nothing to do with the demise of Harry Potter. I mean £1 million for a book detailing the memoirs of celebrity singer that will be off the shelves within 6 months of launch? £400,000 for the memoirs of an adulterous MP - is this really what these people are worth, and do their books really sell in these amounts. If so then it says an awful lot about the mentality (or lack of) of the great British public. If you want my honest opinion, it is all just a flush in the pan. The future does not lie with these pile em high and sell em cheap celebrity memoirs, but with the slow and steady sales that come from back list titles that can be relied upon from year to year. There does seem to a change going on in the industry at the moment and a move towards acknowledging the importance of these titles and that is a good thing too.

Don't get me wrong, we do need fresh new blood in the form of new and interesting books, but that is my point. Most of these books may be new, but to the majority of the reading populace they are just not interesting at all. People have better things to do with their time than sit around and read celebrity memoirs and other such rubbish. They may appeal to a certain brand of 20 something Heat magazine reading blondes, but these readers are very much in the minority. It is the baby boomers of my age (40 somethings) that they should be catering for much more, as not only do we have the spending power to buy many more books, but there are also far more of us ....

Everything though today seems to be aimed at the young - I hear it all the time - young people this, young people that, well most of them wouldn't be here if it wasn't for their slightly more middle aged parents - and we don't get a look in ! Our time though will come, as everything moves in circles.

On a personal note, I have been offered a job ! Before you get too excited I am not going to be the Acquisitions Editor at some big publishing house, but a part time sales consultant for a local retailer.

The job is not particularly well paid (the basic salary is just above minimum wage), but with bonuses the opportunity is there to earn a lot more. Apparently their top people can earn bonuses of several thousand pounds (perhaps I will be able to afford an ad in the Bookseller!).

The hours are 10am to 3pm 4 days a week (Monday to Friday), which means that I will still be home in time to carry on my telemarketing campaign. The best time to make these calls I have discovered is late afternoon, as Managers tend to have meetings with reps in the morning and then have late lunches. I start on Monday 19th November. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Tracy Saunders said...

Hey June,
Good luck with the job, but don't forget where your real talents lie! Everything you have written has been like a course in POD for me. I haven't even graduated yet!iUniverse now focussing on Christmas as a publishing date, but that'll be too late for me to market. Am aiming now for an Easter promotion. Hypnotherapy also on hold until after Christmas - oh, but all those New Year's Resolutions (?)
I'll be in touch later in the week for those Christmas orders, and will be working on the Review after next weekend.
P.S. Bloomsbury must be rolling in the profits from HP. I doubt that any changes are financially related (unless they have made some VERY bad investments!)