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Archive for January, 2010

Publishers’ web sites – the good news

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Cornwell Internet spend a lot of time on publishers’ web sites, whether we are looking for information about our clients’ publications, or for some other reason – we even buy books ourselves, occasionally. On the whole, unless the site is one we built ourselves, we are not impressed by what we see. Roger’s favourite example is the site on which you could not find a book unless you knew in which month it had been published.

Ungratefully, we are also prone to complain when publishers renew their web sites: they have been known to delete the whole site and replace it with a page promising ‘new site coming soon’ (often with a completion date which they overrun). Then, when the new site appears, we have to change all our links because material has been moved – or deleted!

So here’s double congratulations on your new site to ISIS Publishing, the audiobook specialists. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s a huge improvement on the previous version. The search feature now works with Firefox! Eack book groups under one title the different formats in which it is available (tape cassette, audio CD, MP3 CD…) so I can link to a title and allow the visitor to choose which format they want. Better still, I can now link to a title full stop – the old site was so constructed that you could only link to the front page.

One result is that where previously I would link to ISIS titles on Amazon, because their site allows me to link to individual items, now it is actually easier for me to link to ISIS’s own site, encouraging potential customers to go to them direct. This has to be good news for them, doesn’t it?


Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

One of the great things about my job is that on Saturday mornings I can linger over my breakfast, my second cup of coffee and the Guardian review section, and I can call it working – because you never know when a client’s name will crop up! Back in December, for example, there was a review of the SF anthology When it Changed, with a special name-check for Chaz Brenchley‘s contribution.

It isn’t always that direct. Ten days ago there was a review of a book by Richard Milward, which included the offhand remark that "Nobody writes about Middlesbrough [like Richard Milward]". Which made me splutter into the last of my coffee, and wonder how many of Middlebrough’s finest the reviewer had read before coming to this conclusion.

I wasn’t alone, it seems. Last Saturday’s paper brought a letter listing some of the people who’ve written about Middlesbrough, from Pat Barker to Bob Beagrie and beyond. The letter was from Andy Croft, of Smokestack Books, though I suspect that the condescending headline "Middlewhere?" was provided by the sub-editor (probably being post-modern and ironic).

I’d intended to link to both the original review and Andy’s letter, but neither of them has yet found a space on the Guardian‘s web site.

Funny, that…

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