Monday, November 19, 2007

Low pay working at the book-face

One must feel sorry for those working in the UK book industry. Such is the penury in which most of them exist, they have created a group on the Facebook website called 'I work in publishing and I'm underpaid.' When I looked last month, there were nearly 800 members of this forlorn group, huddling together online for virtual warmth. How they must envy us here in Australia. No wonder so many of them come and work here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Choking on SPAM

While my days of resisting the internet would appear to be over now that I have an online blog, I'm still maintaining the rage about the ever-increasing avalanche of email, the sole function of which appears to be to prevent me from doing any productive work, or conducting meaningful communication. A well-known Sydney literary agent is clearly on my side. She has announced that her Fridays will be email-free from now on, and that if publishers and authors want to contact her then, they should pick up the phone. It's such a good idea, I'm going to follow suit. Imagine the things I could get done if I didn't have to personally respond to all those Nigerians offering to send me illicit funds. You know, I could even read a book. Remember them?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Iraq for Dummies?

Following the heat the Footscray-based travel publisher has received for publishing a guide to sunny Afghanistan, a recent BBC documentary aired in the UK has revealed that the Lonely Planet guide to Iraq was one of the resources used to plan and execute the 1990 invasion of that country. Yet another sign of military incompetence, or a shameless plug for the BBC’s latest asset?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Frankfurt tale

I hear Louise Adler of Melbourne University Publishing tells a story of how a publisher stopped for a rest on her stand last year at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and they got talking. They had no books in common, but he suggested she go and look at a book by a French author that might be of interest. Twelve months later, Michel Onfray’s The Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism and Islam has been published in Australia to significant acclaim, with the author attending this year’s Sydney Writers Festival. It just goes to show: if a stranger pops by your stand, you should be friendly!