Sunday, December 07, 2008

Media Week 48

The sale of Reed Business Information is rumored to be close to resolution with Bain Capital as the buyer. Apparently according to sources they are the only remaining potential buyer. Reuters quotes the Independent On Sunday as suggesting the price is $1Billion with Bain evidently taking advantage of their 50% off coupon.

There is a long 'expose' of information publisher's Moodys, Standard and Poors and Fitch's in Sunday's NYTimes. This issue was raised earlier this year, and McGrawHill for one saw a big dip in its share price on suggestions that S&P had been lax in their coverage and ratings of debt offerings. The article points to the cozy relationship between the debt sellers and the debt rating companies. A reminder of the general casualness of the various interlocking financial relationships between banks and investment banking.

Holly Brubach had an entertaining profile of Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline) in the NYTimes TMagazine.
Fortunately for readers, he wrote some 40 books, of which 15 are for children and several are novels. The rest fall into a genre now known as autobiographical essays, a classification misleading in these times of me-generation diarists and bloggers documenting the afternoon’s shopping spree. As a first-person narrator, Bemelmans is completely devoid of the ego that prompts so many authors to occupy center stage. In fact, he barely appears onstage at all, a witness whose testimony is so transparent that he might easily vanish from our awareness were his presence not implicit in the things he sees and the way he recounts them. A career bon vivant, Bemelmans lingers at the table and refills the reader’s wineglass. In my experience, he falls in the same category as A. J. Liebling and P. G. Wodehouse: once you’ve read one of his books, you want to read them all.
Many of his stories revolve around hotels and while I have some funny stories about living in a hotel they could never be as interesting as Bemelmans' material.

An RFID experiment in Japan with an interesting statistic (Link)
Unsold books returning from bookstores is an unwanted reality of the publishing business, especially since many of the returned volumes are destined to become waste product. Shogakukan estimates that if just 25 percent of the books returned to publishers in Japan are designated waste, the financial loss would be the equivalent of $1.5 billion U.S. dollars.
The is a new report on the state of UK book retailing (Guardian Blog) and its main finding is that UK retailers have been giving customers too good of a deal. Deep discounting is killing the business they seem to say, which to many of us in the business this finding would seem obvious,

The report, commissioned by The Booksellers Association, found that UK booksellers have been making less money, seeing less market growth, and sacrificing more in discounts than booksellers in countries such as the US, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

In bald terms it means that selling a £20 title - in the shape of Guinness World Records - for £10 has been bad business. This may seem obvious: "I wonder if the BA would look at what bears do in woods," was one of the comments that greeted the release of the report.

Having hooked the book buyer on the heroin (50% off and 3/2 deals galore) however with they break the habit?

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