Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Long Tail

How endless choice is creating unlimited demand.

Chris Anderson looks at how marketing and business is changing in the twenty first century. The Internet has dramatically increased the opportunity for marketing products of all kinds including music, film and books. Shops tend to stock primarily best sellers when selecting products but the establishment of virtual stores means the availability of a greater range of products and the opportunity for more products to be sold, though often in smaller quantities. In the virtual stores the combination of large numbers of items selling small quantities can equal or surpass a few items selling large number of quantities, which is the norm in traditional stores.

A comparison is made with the effect on marketing in the late nineteenth century of Sears & Roebuck with their mail order service from catalogues before eventually establishing retail stores.

Increasing people are using the Internet to purchase items and producers of items are increasingly using the Internet to promote and sell their products which are often not available in conventional stores. This trend is enabling more people, who would normally have difficulty marketing their product, to distribute their items .

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Golden Legacy

How Golden Books won children's hearts, changed publishing forever and became an American icon along the way is the subtitle of this sixty-five year history of Little Golden Books.

In 1942 twelve Little Golden Books were released in retail outlets to be sold for 25 cents each dramatically undercutting the price of other children's books available. In the Golden Legacy, Leonard S Marcus provides the history of the company publishing the books, the writers and illustrators, the impact of the books on the publishing industry and the selling of children's books.

The book is well illustrated with covers of many of the titles and flicking through the pages brings back memories of titles long forgotten but which once were favourites for generations. The Poky Little Puppy, The Three Little Kittens, The Big Brown Bear, The Little Red Hen, How to Tell the Time, We Like Kindergarten and Doctor Dan the Bandage Man are only a few of the the hundreds of titles published over the years.

The names of the authors and illustrators were never shown on the covers of the books but a number including Richard Scarry, Margaret Wise Brown, Mercer Mayer and Garth Williams became well known in children's literature.

Trends in writing for children are discussed especially those in the 1960s when care was taken to avoid stereotypes and include illustrations reflecting the multi-racial makeup of society.

Random House bought the company in 2000.

A number of websites are dedicated to Little Golden Books including:

Little Golden Book Collector -

Little Golden Books: a treasury of children's literature -

Little Golden Books (Random House) -

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Iron Heart

In this sequel to the Eye of the abyss Franz Schmidt has moved to Berlin to become Chief Auditor at the Reichsbank and to continue working undercover for von Strek to undermine the plans of the Nazi Party. His attempts to maintain a low profile in order to concentrate on his mission to copy the plans of the Nazi financial blueprint for war are interrupted when a colleague, Theodore Fischer, is murdered and Schmidt becomes involved in helping the murdered colleague's assistant, Anna von Schnelling, to leave Germany.

Set in early 1931 Marshall Browne graphically describes tensions, conflicts and fear in Germany as the country prepares for war.

Brunetti's Venice: walks through the novels

Toni Sepela provides an exploration of the City of Venice based on the series of Brunetti books written by Donna Leon. Donna Leon wrote the introduction. In the novels Brunetti walks through the streets of Venice or travels in the police boat or other water transport along the many canals as he solves his cases. In this book Sepela provides twelve walks varying from 1.5 to 2 hours duration covering different parts of the city. Each walk contains references to events described in the novels occuring at a specific location. Maps are provided showing the route with the places to stop numbered.

The focus of the guide is on Venice as observed by Brunetti. Donna Leon, through the novels, brings Venice to life and the guide allows both visitors to that city and readers at home to explore Brunetti's home city.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The girl of his dreams

When a young gypsy girl is found drowned in a canal, Commissario Brunetti and Ispettore Vanello discover that finding out her identity as well as how she died is not straight forward. Differences in culture, attitudes to people of different nationalities and the changes in Venice brought in to accommodate the interests of the tourists rather than the locals are some of the issues that concern Brunetti and his wife Paola. The concerns of a priest about the activities of a man who may be obtaining money fraudulently from gullible people is investigated by Brunetti.

In Donna Leon's books Venice and living in Venice provides an important component of the book as are Brunetti's thoughts on the issues that he is investigating.