Book sales: told ya!

There is nothing better than to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. The other thing that is quite nice is to be right.

In fairness a lot of people were right. Konrath has been saying for years that e-books will replace DTB (dead tree books). I posted a prediction here about what the market will look like by the end of the decade. I said that e-books would win. Guess what: they are starting their winning streak.

The figures are in for the publishing industry (source: Association of American Publishers). The year to date shows strong growth in e-book revenue, declines in anything you can’t download, and that there is a growing market for Christian fiction. Maybe I should write a Christian thriller, with Jesus as the central protagonist, a man who had been forsook, turned to alcohol (well it starts out as water), and investigates paranormal phenomena in the wake of his death. I smell best-seller!

Something that jumps right out at me with these figures is that numbers don’t jump. The other thing is that e-books have essentially replaced the other mediums (if you ignore kids books). E-books have grown from 7% to 18% in 12 months – I hate the 144% figure as it is misleading, I’ve always preferred quoting figures as a proportion of the total. The change in kids books then accounts for the decline in the industry of $100 million.

E-books are doing very well.

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Book Review: Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves by Matthew Reilly

Scarecrow and the Army of ThievesScarecrow and the Army of Thieves by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is a small quote at the start of this book that sums up this fantastic new installment in the Scarecrow series:

The President looked at a wall clock. I was now 5 pm, or 6 am at Dragon. ‘Are you telling me that in five hours an unknown force is going to set off some kind of superweapon that will ignite the atmosphere or the northern hemisphere?’
‘That’s correct sir,’ Gordon said. ‘We have five hours to save the world.’

I was looking for a fast paced adventure/thriller novel a few years ago, I was recommended James Rollins. His books are fast. Then I discovered Andy McDermott; his books are Rollins on caffeine. Matthew Reilly books are what you get from the amphetamine addicted, ADD offspring of both authors. Simply, Matt is in a class of his own in terms of intense and fast paced thrillers.

Sure these are a big budget action movie on the page, a veritable Michael Bay blockbuster on speed, but that is exactly what makes these books so great. Unlike a Bay movie, however, you don’t feel cheap and dirty afterwards.

Scarecrow is my favourite of Matt’s series of books. The Jack West Jnr books have become steadily better adventure novels, but Scarecrow is a straight up thriller, and only becoming more intense with each outing. Fans have had a long wait for this latest adventure. The Army of Thieves book was an eight year wait, but the 10 hour non-stop thrill-fest was worth the wait.

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Book Review: Nemesis by Jo Nesbo

NemesisNemesis by Jo Nesbø
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


All of Jo Nesbo’s translated works have a giant sticker on the front saying, “The next Stieg Larsson.” You obviously expect that the sticker is indicating that Jo Nesbo is a dead Swede, rather than a healthily alive Norwegian. You also obviously expect that reading one of Jo’s books will bring you another boring, long winded, needlessly detailed, “thriller”. Clearly the first 50 to 100 pages will spend more time describing flowers, boats and home renovations than actually introducing the characters and plot.


Thankfully this isn’t the case. Nemesis was actually worth reading. At +700 pages it packs in a lot of plot, sub-plots, mystery and intrigue. This book reminded me of other crime novels by the likes of Michael Connelly and Ian Rankin. Although, at least Jo refrains from including a street map description of Oslo like Rankin does for Edinburgh.


The only complaint I have with this book is that it felt over-written. Nesbo and his translator have done a fantastically skilled job, but there are times when you feel a little lost with tangential prose.


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12 Extremely Disappointing Facts About Popular Music

I had to share this list with everyone, mainly because it says a lot about quality being arbitrary.

  • 1. Creed has sold more records in the US than Jimi Hendrix

    Creed has sold more records in the US than Jimi Hendrix

  • 2. Led Zeppelin, REM, and Depeche Mode have never had a number one single, Rihanna has 10

    Led Zeppelin, REM, and Depeche Mode have never had a number one single, Rihanna has 10

  • 3. Ke$ha’s “Tik-Tok” sold more copies than ANY Beatles single

    Ke$ha's “Tik-Tok” sold more copies than ANY Beatles single

  • 4. Flo Rida’s “Low” has sold 8 million copies – the same as The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”

    Flo Rida's “Low” has sold 8 million copies – the same as The Beatles' “Hey Jude”

  • 5. The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” is more popular than any Elvis or Simon & Garfunkel song

    The Black Eyed Peas' “I Gotta Feeling” is more popular than any Elvis or Simon & Garfunkel song

  • 6. Celine Dion’s “Falling Into You” sold more copies than any Queen, Nirvana, or Bruce Springsteen record

    Celine Dion's “Falling Into You” sold more copies than any Queen, Nirvana, or Bruce Springsteen record

  • 7. Same with Shania Twain’s “Come On Over”

    Same with Shania Twain's “Come On Over”

  • 8. Katy Perry holds the same record as Michael Jackson for most number one singles from an album

    Katy Perry holds the same record as Michael Jackson for most number one singles from an album

  • 9. Barbra Streisand has sold more records (140 million) than Pearl Jam, Johnny Cash, and Tom Petty combined

    Barbra Streisand has sold more records (140 million) than Pearl Jam, Johnny Cash, and Tom Petty combined

  • 10. People actually bought Billy Ray Cyrus’ album “Some Gave All…” 20 million people. More than any Bob Marley album

    People actually bought Billy Ray Cyrus' album “Some Gave All...” 20 million people. More than any Bob Marley album

  • 11. The cast of “Glee” has had more songs chart than the Beatles

    The cast of “Glee” has had more songs chart than the Beatles

  • 12. This guy exists.

    This guy exists. That is all.

Shark attack

I don’t normally comment on current affairs or the news in this blog, because normally the news can be summarized as: war, death, famine, kitten in tree, sport. Of course that is the 24 hour news channel version, the network news shows are more along the lines of: human interest, war, kitten in tree, tragedy, dog puppy in tree, sport, sport gossip. But this news is somewhat baffling.

Apparently Western Australia is going to have a shark cull in an effort to try and kill a white pointer believed to have killed three people recently (article here).

Not too difficult to understand is it? Three deaths in a short amount of time when the world averages 5 deaths per year is something that people start worrying about. What is baffling though is that we are concerned about 3 deaths. People are 300 times more likely to drown than die from a shark attack in Australia. Or put another way, if you wanted to get rid of that jerk at work, you could save the expense on the shark and just use water (see this article on sharks and risk).

Human Deaths in Australia Between 1980-1990, Inclusive (from Stevens & Paxton, 1992)
Cause of Death
Total Deaths
Average per year
Crocodile Attacks
8
0.7
Shark Attacks
11
1.0
Lightning Strikes
19
1.7
Bee Stings
20
1.8
Scuba Diving Accidents
88
8.0
Drownings/Submersions
3,367
306
Motor Vehicle Accidents
32,772
2,979

Last time I checked the Great White Shark was an endangered species and humans are at near plague proportions, especially Americans – the shark’s favourite food. Sixty one percent of the world’s shark attacks are in North America and American’s are making popular shark food in Australia as well. See the big mistake here is that sharks keep mistaking Americans for food.

Now I’d be the first to admit that Americans are very tasty, something has to come of that high fat and sugar diet. But what we really need to do is help Americans to stop looking like food. Is it just that Americans are tastier than the rest of the world’s people? Is it genetic? Or are is it just that the people who were attacked by a shark looked too much like a seal? Either way it is clear that the worry over sharks is more about them not being cute enough, maybe Spielberg should do a revised Jaws movie that focuses on the danger of mosquitoes: When you hear them buzz, you’re DEAD!