10 APRIL 2014
LONDON SHOW DAILY
modest Rogers said she didn’t know about achievement–“it’s been a lifetime of indulgence. I’ve done what I’ve loved.”
UK, with FNAC in France, and we have the two largest book chains in Italy. We are starting to see that some stores have really embraced digital and are doing quite well. But
ith ebooks a big part of the conversation at the Fair,
Andrew Richard Albanese
caught up with Kobo’s recently named President and Chief Content Officer Michael Tamblyn.
Congratulations on your promotion. Tell us what’s on your plate.
If you look at the develop-ment of Kobo over time, we started as an apps-only company who then figured out that devices were a great way to acquire cus-tomers, so we succeeded in build-ing a lot of devices and released them into a lot of markets, and we have now figured out how to get partners selling those devices, in a lot of different territories. Now, we’re coming back with a greater focus on the content side of the business. Now that we have all of our partners putting devices on shelves well, and putting them in customers’ hands well, how do we get those partners more engaged in the promotion of the digital titles?
How are your independent partnerships going?
They are going well. We have partnerships with independent bookstores in the US, with big chains like WHSmith in the it is a slow process. Independent stores are of course independent by nature, so there is no centralized training or testing facility.
What kinds of things do you do at the London Book Fair?
The London Book Fair is always a place where people come to check in and find out how we’re progressing. There is a big team on the ground here and we are work-ing and meeting with UK and European publishers, and we have a great presence here from our self-publishing team. And there is the steady beat of new partners want-ing to learn more about Kobo. So it is a big fair for us.
What’s your take on the current self-publishing boom?
It’s become a very significant piece of the business for us. It is now quite easily 10% or 11% of unit sales on any given day. That means self-publishing in any given country is as big as a big five pub-lisher, if you look at it weight for weight. I’d say it’s a transformative force when we look at authors and their relationship to publishers. Authors now know this other means is available to them and that in turn has made publishers step up their game. To me, this is kind of the Golden Age of the author, and we’re happy to help move that along.
Kobo–evolving into a content business
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French Lessons, Hausfrau are hot
memoir by New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins, signed by Ann Godoff at Penguin Press for a rumoured seven ﬁg-ures (agent Elyse Cheney) and by Fourth Estate in the UK, emerged as one of the hottest titles of the Fair on day two. Collins, a provincial American, chronicles her attempts to master French after marrying a Frenchman and moving to Geneva. In its catalogue copy for the memoir, provisionally titled FRENCH LESSONS, the agency describes the work as “a story of two romances”: Collins “falls in love anew with her husband across the linguistic divide”; and falls for “the world she comes to inhabit in a foreign tongue”.Another big book at the Fair is a debut novel called HAUSFRAU, pre-empted by David Ebershoff at Random House. The novel, which is set in Switzerland, is by poet Jill Alexander Essbaum and, as RH described it, explores “family and adultery”. Ebershoff touted the fact that the work was only the second debut novel he has acquired in recent years. He bought Hausfrau from Sergei Tsimberov and Kathleen Anderson at Anderson Literary Management.
Deborah Rogers and Kazuo Ishiguro
Lifetime award for Rogers
resenting his long-time agent Deborah Rogers with the London Book Fair’s Life-time Achievement Award, Kazuo Ishiguro painted a charming and revealing portrait of a woman whose love for high art is balanced by a fondness for high kitsch.“It is true there is an eccentric quality to Deborah,” Ishiguro suggested. No doubt having an inkling of what was to come, Rogers–sitting with her husband, composer Michael Berkeley–blushed but did not deny the charges. The late Angela Carter had advised Ishiguro that kitsch was the way to the agent’s heart. “Even now,” he said, “I never walk past a junk shop without thinking of Deborah, and Angela’s advice,” he said, to much laughter.In the lengthy but always enter-taining encomium, the much-garlanded novelist said that had Rogers chosen to be “a banker or a folksinger”, publishing and litera-ture would have been much the poorer. “Deborah didn’t teach me to write, but she taught me to be writer,” he said. A defender of, and fighter for, her authors, “when Deborah wins a battle, everyone gets closer to winning the war”.Accepting the award, the ever-