And I’m in the office.
You’ll notice I don’t say “still” in the office. Because, truth be told, I only got here five hours ago – after an adventure-filled evening out.
I think, about working late, I like the quiet best. The quiet and the empty corridors – like one of those Japanese horror films where the kill-ee is working late and sees a ghostly figure on the CCTV monitor, walking down the corridor. And then its gone. But is it?
But tonight there are no ghosts, just a bottle of beer from the mini-fridge, strong coffee from the machine and a pile of emails that just couldn’t wait tomorrow. Today.
You see, I currently find myself moderating this debate between Google Print and the head honchos of various international publishing houses. The kind of people I really shouldn’t be mixing with. Leave me, I’m not worth it.
It’s the brainchild of Richard Charkin – the CEO of Macmillan, Chairman of the Publishers’ Association and one of those publishers who understands that working with Google, and maybe even allowing it to scan books for index-and-search purposes, isn’t necessarily a Bad Thing. He also has a Blackberry and knows his way around Wikipedia, which probably puts him in the top one techno-percentile among his peers. Oh, and his company distributes our books, and as such I would gladly do any favour he asked of me.
So, yes, the debate is his idea, it’s being hosted by EPS, sponsored by the Publishers’ Association and moderated by me. I shouldn’t really talk here about the careful process of cajoling people into taking part – impartiality is key – save to say that it’s going to be interesting to see how people with such passionately and sincerely-held views (’Google is Good’;’Google is Evil’; ‘What is a Google?’) are able to come together create the future of publishing.
It’s a pretty big deal, really. I feel a bit like Mo Mowlam.
But not quite, obviously.
Ok, one more thing. At the moment, the office is filling up with other people’s books. Books that have been published in other ‘markets’ (the USA, Australia, mainland Europe) and that the publishers seem to think we might be interested in buying the UK rights for. Some of them fit our web-to-print brief, many don’t. And the ones that do are, by and large, really fucking dreadful.
But on my desk, next to my tiny souvenir ‘I (heart) Chicago’ mug, there currently sits The Exception To The Rule (as it shall henceforth be codenamed). A book, previously published with a tiny print run in a tiny market, that fits perfectly with our way of doing things and which is absolutely brilliant. Really, absolutely brilliant.
I think we might acquire the rights to publish the second edition, if they’ll let us. We could do amazing things with it. Things which would make the authors modestly wealthy and the readers delighted. It’s really, really fucking excellent.
And for that reason I’m not, under any circumstances, going to tell you what it is. Sorry.
My beer is warm.
My coffee is cold.
I’m going to bed.