Hachette and Harper Collins in the UK are moving into impressive new buildings in London, projecting an aura of confidence and seriousness about their futures.
If publishers cut real estate overhead, would it allow them to pour more money into the books themselves? Or is paying high rent merely the price of doing business?
More from PP:
In an article for the Paris Review, "This Month’s Most Expensive E-Books," Dan Piepenbring wonders what the limit is that people are willing to pay for an ebook.
From the Archives:
Several UK CEOs set the agenda going into next week’s London Book Fair. Top of the list: communicating with consumers and coping with the relentless pace of change in publishing.
"The fact that they advertise themselves as 'Handcooked English Crisps' would certainly have been a red chilli rag to Thomas' fiercely Welsh nationalist views," he said.
2. Walt Whitman – iPads
The new ad for the iPad Air features a voiceover from Robin Williams in his Whitman-toting Dead Poets Society incarnation. The Whitman extract in question is from Leaves of Grass:
O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
Who knew that your verse could come in the form of a mobile Apple device?
Actually, it's surprising that Apple didn't choose Whitman's poem I Sing the Body Electric instead, and claim that iPads come charged "full with the charge of the soul". Only a matter of time.
3. Roger McGough and John Keats – Waitrose products
The first time you hear the poet Roger McGough's lilting voiceover on an autumn-themed Waitrose advert, it doesn't sound like poetry. It just sounds like a soothing recitation of something pleasantly middle class. But then, you realise: it's the same voice as the one on Poetry Please! And it's reading Keats!
Does the fact that McGough is (unlike Whitman and Thomas) knowingly endorsing his product make this better or worse?
Keats is still obviously unaware, however. When he wrote the line "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" he probably wasn't thinking about a three for two offer on Braeburns.