Top 2006 Google search terms

Link: Bloggers Blog: Bebo Top 2006 Search Term on Google?.

I don’t know whether I believe this, but according to Bloggers Blog (link above) the top 10 search terms on Google in 2006 (the year not quite over yet, though) are:

  1. bebo
  2. myspace
  3. world cup
  4. metacafe
  5. radioblog
  6. wikipedia
  7. video
  8. rebelde
  9. mininova
  10. wiki

As Bloggers Blog points out, no Britney Spears or ebay. My surprise is that there is no porn or s*x (anti spam device)-related words listed, but maybe those are pre-censored. Bloggers Blog points to number 4, metacafe, which is apparently a video-sharing website more popular than YouTube (which didn’t make the list). I wonder if Google (who recently bought YouTube for tons of money) are worried? Bloggers Blog expresses surprise that Bebo is top because it says "nobody has heard of it". Hah! Try being around teenagers and pre-teenagers for about 5 minutes. Bebo used to be popular with younger kids before YouTube and MySpace came along — recently it has surged ahead on popularity with the teens as well as their younger counterparts, according to my carefully collected anecdotal evidence. I have never heard of 8 or 9, and I am not sure what is meant by a radioblog (5), so maybe I’m not as hip as all that.

The Bloggers Blog posts also refers to a link which compares the Google, Yahoo and AOL top lists. Fascinating to see how these sites are used by different types of people: "most people use Google to find social networks, videos and World Cup information, while Yahoo users want celebrity gossip and the boring (sic) AOL users want weather information and dictionary links." Speaking for myself, I am proud to be boring yet don’t use AOL or Yahoo, apart from when I am forced to (if I want to visit Flickr).

Failing a Gender Test

Would you pass or fail Scott Adams’ gender test?

Link: The Dilbert Blog: Failing a Gender Test.

Mystery review of mystery book

Maxim Jakubowski writes in Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog – books: The unsubtle art of crime reviewing about a review of Britt-Marie Mattsson’s new crime novel Fruktans Makt. Just a small problem with the review. Can you guess? The book isn’t written yet, but is only at outline stage. Seems to be a black mark for the reviewer, Kristian Lundberg, and the newspaper that published the article, Helsingborgs Daglad?

So you might think, but Lundberg seems incomprehensibly unrepentant: "The errant reviewer was however both less apologetic and frankly candid, telling Svensk Bokhandel magazine that he had "got worked up in advance about Britt-Marie Mattsson because I detest her so very greatly. But let’s hope the book is published so I get the chance to say it for real." "

Jakubowski finishes his article with another chilling anecdote:

"Which mischievously reminds me of another true reviewing story: some 10 years ago, a crime critic of my acquaintance, who shall remain nameless, had just come out of a torrid affair with a book editor. Out of spite he literally tore to shreds in his column, for several months in succession, every novel the female editor in question had been involved in. Who said the book world was genteel?"

Has POD’s time finally arrived?

The POD (print on demand) publishing model I keep on asking about seems to be getting even closer to critical mass, as outlined here: Joe Wickert’s Publishing 2020 Blog: The Tipping Point for Print on Demand?.

My basic and oft-repeated point is to wonder why the "mainline" book publishing industry operates on the huge advance/remainders system, as the quest for the next Harry Potter or Da Vinci Code is losing them (on average) a lot of money. These days the big publishers won’t look at books unless submitted by an agent, so they aren’t even experts at selecting the books any more; they have become marketeers, trying to catch a commercial trend rather than being innovative and original. Hence this Christmas, one can’t move for books with titles almost identical to last year’s "surprise hit",  "Does anything eat wasps?" and last Christmas it was the same for piles of books called, with minor variants, the same as the previous year’s bestseller,  "Eats, shoots, and leaves".

Why don’t publishers use POD as standard? Random House does it in a limited way. Probably other publishers do too. The idea is that most titles would be selected for publication by the publisher, but not actually printed. Instead they are "marketed" by the publisher’s website (lots of traffic via advertising and so on), and copies sold print-on-demand.

The few authors that get published now would not, in this system, get the big advances unless they were already established, but many more perfectly good and interesting authors would get published by this method even though they won’t sell millions or even thousands of books. In the POD system, the publisher isn’t losing oodles of money on gambling on a few potential big sellers and ignoring the many other good authors whose themes don’t fit some preconceived market demand. On the contrary, by using a combination of a big marketing budget for promoting a programme, and a POD system for providing the books to order, the publishers can take advantage of the proven economic benefits of the long tail.

Because of blogging and the internet, authors of the books can link to their entries on the publishers’ website and provide wonderful "niche" marketing and help to sell their own books directly via the publisher, a win-win situation. If the publisher links into sites like the independent booksellers’ network, the distribution is taken care of as well — purchasers can order the book online at the publisher site and pick it up after it is printed from their local bookstore.

There must be something wrong with this utopian vision because it hasn’t happened. Publishers are still churning out "celebrity" books "by" Victoria Beckham and a host of other people I’ve never heard of — which go direct from Christmas stocking into the remainder bin. Lots of excellent authors are not being published at all.

Joe Wickert’s post linked above is about a new POD system called Espresso, which Joe suggests the big chains install in their shops in order to compete with Amazon. Sounds good for books, good for readers, and good for authors. So what’s the catch in all of this? Why isn’t it happening globally across the industry?


A Christmas books tradition

The excitement building up about Christmas is understated but reaching an almost unberarable pitch at Petrona Towers, on this longest shortest day of the year and only four more days to go. At the moment the girls are out for a day at their old childminders’ house; later on they will all go to see a panotmime, "Peter Pan". So all is quiet and peaceful here just now. Although I should probably be upstairs wrapping up presents or whipping together a few dozen mince pies, I am in fact reading (very belatedly) about a million blog posts.

I loved reading this one: dovegreyreader scribbles: Our Christmas Books in which dovegreyreader writes about the pile of Christmas books she brings out each year for a nostalgic read. I am afraid I haven’t initiated this tradition here with the books that the girls have enjoyed reading when very young and as they became older as I never thought of it, although we do usually all read together  "A Child’s Christmas in Wales" each year.

Do you have books that you read each Christmastime?

Battle of the maps

Martyn Daniels notes that Google has just bought the Internet mapping company Endoxon in this post: Booksellers Association: Google Maps All Faster.

"Just like hundreds of years ago when famous explorers and sailors captured for the first time the world in charts, today there is a race to capture the world in minutia and make it available online to all."

Martyn Daniels, a digital publisher of considerable experience, outlines the business reasons for the purchase and Google’s likely strategy in the rest of his post.

Good deeds for the day

Scott Pack writes here: Me And My Big Mouth :: My Christmas Angel Moment about how he was able to help the man in front of him in the Waterstone’s queue by providing the title and author of the book the man was trying to buy (without remembering the author or title, a frequent occurrence in bookshops as has been noted here.) The book, by the way, is The Woman in Black, and the author Susan Hill.

I had a similar experience the other day: one of those rare occasions when my day job came in useful "by chance". I was walking up the stairs at Wimbledon station in a mass of coummuters when two young women behind me began to talk about their upcoming chemistry exam. "I can’t even remember who won the Nobel prize this year", one of them lamented. I was able to turn round and enlighten them. I think they were so surprised that the name would have stuck in their minds at least until their test came up.  (The answer is Roger Kornberg.)