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August 11th, 2007

Book Cash, Part Four

Over on Making Light, Teresa Nielsen Hayden has a post on Angus & Robertsons recent grab for cash:

I have a theory about what A&R is up to. Traditionally, when a publishing house is acquired by some big conglomerate, the bean counters take a look at the accounts, turn pale, and have a talk with the publisher. It has come to their attention, they say, that many books lose money, and most of the others make a small profit at most. Almost all the publisher’s profits come from a small number of bestselling titles. “True,” says the publisher. In that case, the beancounters reply, would it not make more sense to only publish the bestsellers?

I’m wondering whether A&R thinks they’d do better business if they only stocked the bestsellers. (If you look at the sixty-odd reader comments on the news story in question, you can see the actual reaction the book-buying public has when they find a poor selection on offer in a bookstore.)

Alternately, it’s possible that A&R’s management stands to personally profit if the company goes public and the initial stock offering does well, so they’re running a quick slash-and-burn raid on their more vulnerable suppliers in order to temporarily make their company look more profitable. Or maybe it’s something else. It’s tacky and stupid and self-defeating, whatever it is.

Worth a read, it is.

Personally, next week, I'm going to drive to my local Angus & Robertson and ask them to give me petrol money. I don't play to buy anything. I just think they should pay me to go to the store. It seems like the kind of thing I can do now.

Black Sheep

Here's an entry on K's Bookcrossing Blog about Black Sheep:

This is not a happy book, but I think it is realistic - not because of the events it portrays but the way it portrays them. For most of the part we see only what Isaao Dazai sees and he creeps to understanding very slowly; the ending is largely unresolved. But - Yo! Dystopian! When was it ever gonna be happy? On the surface 'Black Sheep' is a story about racial segregation, with each city split into three - asian (where most of the action happens), african and caucasian. However in Asian Sydney, caucasians and africans are so remote that they might as well be aliens. Thus segregation occurs on a much finer scale - Asian Tokyo versus Asian Sydney. I think this probably illustrates that people will always look to find differences between each other, no matter how alike they apparently are. In 'Black Sheep' the only people who are truly the same are the 'Assimilated', bleached of all colour and self will.


Isaao Desai, a history teacher, is ambivalent about his home city, Asian Tokyo, and even more so about his adopted city Asian Sydney. He's a pawn in lots of games. The government uses him to test out new entrapment laws, his wife uses him to assuage her own guilt, while Peek uses him to explore the rights of the individual versus the benefit to society...

In summary: well written and prose flows nicely. It's not as accomplished as 26 Lies/One Truth but, given 26 Lies is the more recent book, that's probably a good thing.

Still waiting to see official like reviews, but here's this, until they appear, stripped of what might be spoilers.

The book has been fixed, incidentally, and Sean Wallace is waiting for new copies to arrive. All looks good. There might be a few dodge ones in circulation, but, if you want to risk it, you can by the book here, at Amazon, or here at Galaxy Bookshop.