Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Book Standard

Today also sees the launch of The Book Standard, which is a highly commercial site intended for book-trade professionals and a few readers. It is the brainchild of trade-magazine publisher VNU, which apparently is the parent company of a host of book-trade and showbiz journals, such as The Bookseller, Kirkus Review, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, et al. VNU also owns Nielsen Bookscan, which collects data on sales of books from some 6,000 (US) locations.

Some of this site's content is going to be free, allegedly, and some of it will cost you $9.95 a month. Whether any of it is going to be worth reading remains to be seen. Today, however, you can find a link to a story about a blogger who got a book contract, and another one to a report on the firing of the editor of the Paris Review. For a magazine with such a small circulation (10,000 copies), the PR gets one hell of a lot of press coverage.

Another snippet which is buried fairly deep in the site is that, in the US market last year, 200 books represented 10 per cent of all sales. This demonstrates, should you need a reminder, the power of the blockbuster and the winner-take-all mechanisms which currently operate.

The Book Standard site is definitely US orientated, but the book world is a global village these days so you can reasonably expect at least some coverage of the UK and other English-speaking nations, with no doubt the occasional peek at the rest.

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