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Hob’s Blog

The Day War Came – a letter to Parliament

A hundred of the UK’s most prominent authors, illustrators and poets add their names to our letter to Parliament calling for the reopening of the Dubs Scheme to protect 3000 lone child refugees.

Ghosts and Healing in the Exclusion Zone

While researching his next novel, author Julian Sedgwick arranged to make a journey right into the heart of the lands devastated by earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. In our first guest blog, he writes about his travels in Japan, gives us an eyewitness account of a landscape that, eleven years after its triple disaster, hovers between decay and blossoming life. He meets its residents, and its ghosts.

Publish and Be Damned

The British Book Industry has a monstrous fair-trade and exploitation issue skulking beneath the surface which is slowly suffocating everything – it needs to be dragged in to the light and be seen for what it is. Discussion about having a fair-trading arrangement for the production and selling of books needs to be moved up a gear; we need a pricing agreement that is coupled with a covenant about the fair treatment of authors.

We Forge The Chains We Wear In Life

In December 2017 we wrote a letter and, enclosing a book, sent it to Theresa May, British Prime Minister. The letter set out the impact of library closures, the loss of employed, qualified librarians and the loss of funding for the purchase of new books, on the children and adults who use them today, on the future of literacy in this country and also on the British book industry as a whole. This is what we wrote:

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

There are a great many jobs dependent on the way that events turn now; and not just the jobs of booksellers, but of authors and illustrators, those working within publishing houses both big and small, and the great chain of designers, printers and distributors involved in our industry. We need to be careful not to talk about the tensions in this complex industry as if they were a mere scrap between the playground bullies and the geeky kids.

Talk to the Golden Monkey

Is World Book Day a celebration of writing for children, or has it become a celebrity marketing exercise? We are lucky enough to be living in a truly great age of children’s book writing, to fill a day of book celebrations with celebrity is completely unnecessary; this year they had an entire casket of shining jewels to choose from, and they picked out the synthetic ones.

Ghosts and Healing in the Exclusion Zone

Ghosts and Healing in the Exclusion Zone
While researching his next novel, author Julian Sedgwick arranged to make a journey right into the heart of the lands devastated by earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. In our first guest blog, he writes about his travels in Japan, gives us an eyewitness account of a landscape that, eleven years after its triple disaster, hovers between decay and blossoming life. He meets its residents, and its ghosts.
Read More

Publish and Be Damned

Publish and Be Damned
The British Book Industry has a monstrous fair-trade and exploitation issue skulking beneath the surface which is slowly suffocating everything – it needs to be dragged in to the light and be seen for what it is. Discussion about having a fair-trading arrangement for the production and selling of books needs to be moved up a gear; we need a pricing agreement that is coupled with a covenant about the fair treatment of authors.
Read More

We Forge The Chains We Wear In Life

We Forge The Chains We Wear In Life
In December 2017 we wrote a letter and, enclosing a book, sent it to Theresa May, British Prime Minister. The letter set out the impact of library closures, the loss of employed, qualified librarians and the loss of funding for the purchase of new books, on the children and adults who use them today, on the future of literacy in this country and also on the British book industry as a whole. This is what we wrote:
Read More

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
There are a great many jobs dependent on the way that events turn now; and not just the jobs of booksellers, but of authors and illustrators, those working within publishing houses both big and small, and the great chain of designers, printers and distributors involved in our industry. We need to be careful not to talk about the tensions in this complex industry as if they were a mere scrap between the playground bullies and the geeky kids.
Read More

Talk to the Golden Monkey

Talk to the Golden Monkey
Is World Book Day a celebration of writing for children, or has it become a celebrity marketing exercise? We are lucky enough to be living in a truly great age of children's book writing, to fill a day of book celebrations with celebrity is completely unnecessary; this year they had an entire casket of shining jewels to choose from, and they picked out the synthetic ones.
Read More

An Agreement Made by Gaslight

An Agreement Made by Gaslight
In our latest blog, Tamsin Rosewell looks at the events that led to the creation of the Net Book Agreement, explores parallels with today's book market and considers what a new NBA agreement might look like for our times. It is very tempting to suggest that we simply put back into place the agreement dissolved 20 years ago, but I think it is worth examining more closely before we try to grasp back something written for our Victorian selves. Would an NBA for today's market have to look the same as one written for an 1899 market?
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Exclusive discounts? We need to talk about hardback fiction

Illustration to Philip Pullman's Northern Lights, by artist John Lawrence 2008
When a new hardback book by a popular author, like the forthcoming The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, is first published, it is often launched with very heavy discounts - often 50% or more. Why?! A heavy discount implies that something is of less value than its cover price. There is no other area of retail that does this. You wouldn't go to a high street clothes shop and expect all the new season colours and fashions to be half price.
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Burning Bright – The Power of Graphic Novels

Burning Bright – The Power of Graphic Novels

For decades the Graphic Novel was felt to be the reserve of the nerdy and of those who couldn’t face a ‘proper book’. But Graphic Novels have an important place in our cultural canon both in this country, and as a genre that links cultures across the world. Will Eisner’s work in the late 1970s is often credited with being the first Graphic Novel form, but there is a huge body of work that is of great importance to both adults’ and children’s literature that pre-dates it by decades, even centuries. Herge’s ‘Tintin’ books, and Goscinny and Uderzo’s ‘Asterix’ Series’ both told complete tales...

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