Answerable and unanswerable questions

Some questions, some answers: some obvious, some mad, some interesting — from the web this week.

When will Flickr let you upload videos? Bit obvious, you might think in the YouTube era. They've been talking about it for ages — but when will it happen? Next week, maybe? (via Video Voo)

When can you listen to Mark Thwaite of the Book Depository talking about book blogging on the radio? Earlier today is the answer, but thanks to BBC Radio 4's "listen again" feature you can catch up with the programme for the next few days.

What is going to make "blooks" and e-readers such as Kindle redundant? Podiobooks, according to Molly Flatt at the Guardian Unlimited. Unless we are talking Harry Potter or exam revision, not at Petrona Towers, however.

Why is bookselling on the UK High St "flat"?(Bookseller news) Lots of answers to this one, but to pick one, how about ringing the changes on the offers? Borders, Waterstones, WH Smith, and smaller chains such as British Bookshops, all have exactly the same 2 for 1 or 3 for 2 or whatever, offers. Why can't some of these chains have different books on offer? Central control and publisher deals are the reason, I am sure — but a bit of nose cutting off to spite face is going on here, especially as more of these shops are installing cafes and otherwise encouraging long stays by customers (not only inadvertently at T5). If each bookshop was more autonomous, it could be more flexible about offers, and – er – sell more books.

Oh well, back to more realistic questions. Would you accept a dinner invitation with Socrates? No thanks, says Mary Beard. Find out why at her posting at A Don's Life.

Finally, when do too many Cooks spoil the broth? When they are called Gray, or Gary, or Gary J, as PrairieMary found out when writing about that estimable genre, Montana Noir (see also yesterday's Petrona post and comment).

Books suffer from T5 fallout

Passengers and would-be passengers were not the only people to suffer in the chaos that is Heathrow Terminal 5, it seems. According to the Bookseller news, "Hughes & Hughes' two new branches at Heathrow Terminal Five have experienced a shaky start to trading after the problematic opening of the airport's fifth terminal. Sales were down 70% on budget, after dozens of flights had to be cancelled owing to a combination of security, staffing and IT problems." Not only is the lack of passengers affecting the number of potential sales, but the shops are having to process credit-card transactions manually. "Around 70% of the concessions don't have the lines for using credit cards," one of the bookshops' assistant managers said. "BAA has been saying it's our machines but the company that provides them say they are fine. Everyone is blaming each other and we're caught in the middle.Considering the shops that are here it's quite funny that people are having to use these stone age machines to pay for something from Gucci."
If I were stranded at an airport for many hours with no flight, I'd head straight to the nearest bookshop (assuming I'd finished the two books — one current and one next — that I invariably carry about my person). But admittedly I might not be prepared to stand waiting in yet another queue to be able to buy anything. I suppose the obvious option faced with all of this is to move to the bar instead and order a stiff drink – paid for in cash.