On the Joys of the Paperless Office

BlackJewelsTrilogy_Glass Republic Trilogy 3D1I know, I know: conspicuous by my absence. There are a variety of reasons (and if you don’t care for the first, don’t worry; I have others, right here in my desk, kept for just such emergencies!).

The first is that I have been busy Planning – and thanks to that, you’ve got our lovely ebook omnibuses – I trust you’re all taking advantage of the super sale price to stock up on our Beloved Authors – maybe you’ve read the hundreds of rave reviews for Tom Pollock’s Skyscraper Throne trilogy, or you loved Will Elliott’s The Pilo Family Circus but haven’t yet sampled his Pendulum trilogy? Well, now’s your chance: grab them whilst you can.

We’ve more coming up too, including the lovely Ali Littlewood and Tom Fletcher (no relation); just watch this space.
And of course we’ve been busy getting assimilated into the Hodder stable, and in JFB’s case, one of the things this means is access to lots of luvverly data. They have this wonderful Insight Team, you see, who conduct surveys and interviews in an effort to pinpoint, amongst other things, who our readers are, where they buy their books, what format they prefer, how often they buy new books, and how they find new authors. Of course there’s a lot more to it than that, and it’s proving to be really interesting.

I’ve been learning about the different buying habits of Enthusiasts, Bookworms and Lost Generations amongst others, and how the different sub-genres break down in terms of readership. I’d like to say there were some huge surprises there, but it’s just as useful to have what you think you know consolidated and confirmed by actual studies.
We’ve also had to deal with a lot of physical changes too, starting with the move from TBS to Bookpoint; I am in awe of those who oversaw the movement of hundreds of thousands of books from the Essex countryside to the Oxfordshire countryside; apparently not one lorry-load was lost – how incredible is that?

Next up is our own move, to Hachette’s new UK headquarters at Carmelite House on the Embankment at Blackfriars (that’s going to be weird for me, as I spent some very happy years in and around Fleet Street; it’ll be good to see how much the Harrow – the Evening News pub, as it was back in the day – has changed. Oh, and the rest of the area too, of course!) However, we’ve been told that there will be significantly less storage space, so we’re having to cull all our files . . . and more worryingly, our books. So I’ve been looking at my 1993 edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, that astonishing piece of work by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, with Brian Stableford and John Grant, and its matching volume, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, by Johns Clute and Grant, with Mike Ashley, Roz Kaveney, David Langford, Ron Tiner, David G. Hartwell and Gary Westfahl, and wondering if I really need to take them with me . . . after all, I had to blow the dust off them when I took them down to check on the editors. So why would I want to lug 2,426 pages with me when I use the updated and improved online versions all the time? After all, checking out the brief entry I wrote for Doris Egan, at that time she’d got four novels and at least one short story to her name (two of those novels published by me, not that I was biased!) Now, of course, she’s also a highly respected screenwriter, producer  – and the co-executive producer* on Starz’s rollicking pirate drama Black Sails (highly recommended, if it hasn’t yet crossed your bows).
But on the other hand, browsing on the interweb isn’t the same, and once I’d started looking, I kept reading for another thirty minutes I definitely didn’t have (another reason this is late; sorry, Andy!). And I notice neither Amelia B. Edwards (a British writer of ghost stories) nor Claudia (Jane) Edwards (an American writer, author of, amongst other, the Bastard Princess series) made the cut to the on-line edition, although there are plenty of other Edwardeses to choose from.
So I think somehow I’ll be finding the necessary six inches or so on my desk. And if I’m keeping then, then of course I should keep Mike Ashley’s invaluable The History of the Science Fiction Magazine (Parts 1-4). And now I’m off to decide on the dispensation of another dozen such volumes . . .

So much for the paperless office!


Jo sig

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