Wednesday News: Apple and the good old days, UK bestsellers of 2013, publishers pick up the pace, and LEGO literary recreations

Wednesday News: Apple and the good old days, UK bestsellers of...

How Apple Went from Underdog to Cult in Six Design and Innovation Strategies from the Early Days – Pieces like this make me sad for what Apple used to represent to me — anti-establishment innovation. Now, in the wake of agency pricing and artificially depressed engineering salaries, I’m balking at the idea of buying another iPhone. Still, the forward-looking brilliance of these six recommendations that Hartmut Esslinger — the man who invented the Snow White design language — presented to Steve Jobs in 1997 makes me want to believe in fairy tales.

Within the new marketplace these advancements were creating, Steve’s biggest concern was Sony, [which], as a leader in micro-electronics that also owned Sony Music and Sony Studios, could be Apple’s most dangerous competitor. But … Sony was asleep at the wheel, as was Samsung and a number of mobile phone companies such as Motorola and Nokia, who were expected to move into the emerging market of universal digital convergence. These companies made good and well-designed products, but they didn’t understand that they actually were putting computers into people’s hands, which could enable them for a totally new experience and culture. . . . –Brain Pickings

The biggest books of 2013 across print and digital – What’s neat about this article is that it breaks down the way that format shapes sales numbers. While Gone Girl was not the top-selling printed book in the UK in 2013, it was the bestselling book across formats, which gives you a nice view into how and why format is important to consider when discussing the term “bestseller,” which, as any reader of genre fiction knows, is a word that is greatly overused and under-defined.

But the bestseller across all editions? Step forward Gillian Flynn. Gone Girl (Orion) was the UK’s true “book of the year”, selling more than one million units across all editions. It was both the third-bestselling printed book in the UK last year and, according to publishers’ e-book sales data, the third-bestselling e-book. Combined, however, it was the UK’s overall number one in 2013. Aided by excursions into e-book retailers’ deep-discount promotions, the thriller sold more than 400,000 units in “e” last year, with 40% of its total sales of 1.038 million coming from digital editions.  –The Bookseller

Impatience Has Its Reward: Books Are Rolled Out Faster – Oh, gee, publishers are putting more books into the market at a faster rate. And why? Well, because readers obviously want them to, of course! And guess what? They’re blaming it on Fifty Shades! Oh, and binge-watching television shows! Thanks to Berkley’s Cindy Hwang, for the nice, reasonable, cautionary comment, though I’m wondering how many publishers are watching for that balance.

The practice of spacing an author’s books at least one year apart is gradually being discarded as publishers appeal to the same “must-know-now” impulse that drives binge viewing of shows like “House of Cards” and “Breaking Bad. –New York Times

Bookstore Recreates Famous Scenes From Literature Using LEGO Bricks – This is one instance where a corny reference to Pride and Prejudice really works. The title of the article says it all. Enjoy the genius of the staff from Waterstones Bookstore. –TAXI