February 2011

What’s a book publisher to do?

I read about the bankruptcy of H.B. Fenn and Company, a venerable Canadian distributor and publisher, with a good deal of disappointment.  I love books and used to work in the industry and can’t help but feel saddened by the loss.

In part, the problem stems from Canadian distributors losing the rights to distribute titles from the big American houses because they are now going direct.  As a result, Canadian companies can no longer use the revenue from U.S. bestsellers to help defray costs for high-quality-lower-sales Canadian books.

So along with many other industries, the Canadian publishing and bookselling model is broken.  

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Inside PR 2.41 – my show notes

Skype issues meant we broke from our usual Friday recording time for Inside PR and instead talked on Monday – which meant Gini and I could extend our birthday celebrations a few more days…

We start with listener comments, first from Megan Getter, a student in Barbara Nixon’s PR class, who contends Kenneth Cole’s mis-tweet is similar to the poor judgment in the Groupon ad on the Superbowl.  Gini mentions Dino Dogan who wrote a blog post about how some brands seem to be setting out to create controversy when promoting their products.  Another listener, Liz, responds to our discussion on the Internet shutdown in Egypt and likens open online access to the right of free speech. Finally, Victoria Procunier asks about LinkedIn product recommendations. Gini believes we should filter through what’s real in the same way we filter reviews on other sites.

Joe congratulates Terry Fallis, Inside PR and Thornley Fallis co-founder, on his first novel’s selection as the essential Canadian novel of the decade in the Canada Reads competition. It’s a literary and social media success story and a great case study or publishers. It’s also a terrific read!  

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Good publicity is not a bad word

I don’t like euphemisms.

And we have so many to contend with whether it’s jargon at work, legalese, political correctness or just plain obfuscation. We hide behind words for many reasons. Sometimes we’re scared, other times it’s to make us feel smarter or make what we do sound more important.

In any event, all a euphemism does is muck up communications between people. That’s one of the things I like about social media; it lets us be more direct when we talk to folks. Sure we can be stylish, educate and entertain, but by being understandable and honest, we’re able to build credibility and trust.  

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Countdown to PodCamp Toronto

One of the things I like best about PodCamp Toronto is the collegial atmosphere. And I mean that literally. It’s held at Ryerson University and is a free-flowing gathering that harkens back to the pioneer days of social media (say five or six years ago).

Maybe it’s the campus setting, the law of two feet, the loose organization and entropic energy, the exchange of ideas, the oft heated discussions, the casual atmosphere and the final night party in a student pub… all of which reminds me of my college days.

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Twitter on TV and more on Inside PR

In a recent episode of Gray’s Anatomy, Bailey catches the Chief’s ire (again!?) – this time for tweeting in the OR.  That is, until they find themselves the middle of a complex procedure and get helpful advice to save a patient’s life from TV surgeons following the conversation online. (Hopefully, they’re not in the middle of their own surgeries at the same time.)

Does this happen in most hospitals? I don’t think so.  But a Twitter 101 lesson on a mainstream TV shows how embedded Twitter’s become in our vocabulary and stories.

That’s one of the things we talk about on Inside PR 2.40 – as well as the Gov 2.0 conference Joe attended and Gini’s take on Kenneth Cole’s tweet-in-bad-fashion-taste.

Have a listen and let us know what you think.  We’d love to hear from you.