December 5th, 2006



This is so not fair.

There are several packages in the office today. They all have an address with our street and post code on, but say Mint House rather than Software House.

Yes, it's let's bring large amounts of Hotel Chocolat stuff in day.

Development time against run time against saved time.

I spent nearly two days writing this code. (OK, it could have been quicker, but I'd never done a Perl XS extension before, so there was a little learning curve in there while I worked out how to return a string back to Perl from a DLL written in C.)

It takes 25 seconds to run.

It be run only once, ever.

But it saved huge amounts of time - if the work had been done by hand, it would have been hundreds of man hours, and been very prone to error.

The future of publishing?

Amazon takes on Lulu? (The Inquirer)

Allegedly, Amazon is looking at doing more print-on-demand of titles, rather than maintaining warehouses full of books. If so, it's going to be directly impinging on Lulu's business model.

More to the point, it looks like a shift in the way that future book publishing takes place. Assuming that this trend progresses, I can see the following happening:
  1. Most titles will become print-on-demand.

  2. The big book presses will still print the majority of books. If this seems to contradict (1), that's because a small number of titles will have very large print runs, and it will still be more efficient to use big presses for these bestsellers.

  3. Presses won't even be cranked up except for very big print runs. Even so, when sales tail off, they'll switch to PoD

  4. Specialised printers will remain. There's no way these presses could do Folio Society type stuff.

  5. Books will no longer go out of print.

  6. Writers will negotiate limited term licenses, instead of having reversion occur when a title does go out of print.
Now I may well be wildly wrong on some of these - I'm not in the publishing world, and I've not talked about this with any publisher. But I don't think we're that far any more from a situation similar to when printing moved from flat presses to rotary ones.

Of course, digital paper is the wild-card here.