The daftness of publishers • 9 January 2008 • The SnowBlog
The daftness of publishers
I have just had an insight into publisher brands, and it wasn't pretty. So it's a dark and stormy night, and I'm half-heartedly pursuing my hobby of trying to find Robert Smith's contact details on the net (so I can do the book I so badly want to do: a slim poetry-like volume of all the Cure's lyrics, presented as poetry. For that's what they are - life-changing, life-shaping, life-enhancing poetry. Sigh.) whilst doing some admin. So I go to his label's site - been there before, no luck, but you know what internet searches are like - you end up visiting the same places. And it strikes home when I see a form box inviting me to sign up to Geffen's email newsletter. Why on earth would I want to do that? To get updates on Mary J Blige, Snoop Dogg, Keyshia Cole and Lifehouse, and maybe twice a year on the Cure when they announce a concert? Er, hardly. But, on the other hand, I'm a signed-up devotee of thecure.com.
It's just the same with publishers. Unless you're my mum (hello, mum!) you probably don't like Needle in the Blood *and* Monster Island *and* Lint *and* Adept *and* City Cycling. But I bet if you liked Needle in the Blood, you can't wait for Book of Love.
Authors are the things that people are interested in, just like I'm interested (heh) in Robert Smith. I couldn't give a wet slap about Geffen. And sure - their site is pretty, and loaded with info, and shiny bits and tunes and whatnot. But it's too fractured, too diluted. And not at all human.
Maybe because Snowbooks is obviously run by people, not robots, we'll be ok. Maybe there's enough human interest to keep you guys interested. It's funny - I do feel sorry for big companies. Everything's changing, and they're too slow to react. The future's about meaningful interactions with real people, not call centres and corporate-speak. Thank god Rob and I escaped the rats in time.
What do you think? Are publishers - music or book - redundant? Can trade publishers have a brand? Are we doomed? Or are friendly little boutique companies going to be increasingly what people want?