Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
CEO of Harper Collins: Direct to the consumer
Story from The Bookseller 19.11.07
Publishers are becoming "direct consumer" businesses, according to HarperCollins chief executive Victoria Barnsley.
Speaking to the Independent, Barnsley says: "We've got to embrace the fact that we're becoming a direct consumer business. We have a website and we can have a direct dialogue with our readers. We can capture your name and ultimately sell you something. That's a complete change."In the past, publishers had to rely on persuading a bookseller to stock their product, in the hope the right reader would stumble across it. Now, internet search engines mean that people can immediately identify books on subjects that interest them.
With this in mind, HarperCollins is about to launch a new website, Authonomy.co.uk, which will allow unpublished authors to upload their manuscripts for others to read and comment on. The website will provide an opportunity to spot promising new work, but also, more importantly from the publisher's point of view, will create an online community of readers and writers."Our whole business model will change," says Barnsley. "Up until now we have received unsolicited manuscripts. This is about encouraging people to build a community where they will judge each other's content." She adds: "My view is more people want to write a book than read a book." Independent
Bookman Beattie suggest she is almost saying Harper Collins will soon be able to live without the bookshop. Worrying stuff for booksellers whom I hope will be letting their views known to Barnsley and her colleagues around the world.