This week sees the publication of 800 new titles on one day, 1 October. With authors as various as Jeremy Clarkson, Kate Mosse, Stieg Larsson, Keith Floyd, and Freddie Flintoff (two of whom are no longer with us), this is a big day for publishing and bookselling. The launch of so many titles on one day began in 2008 and signals the start of the run up to Christmas. In the past, surprise bestsellers have come through in the Christmas period, for example Eats, Shoots and Leaves (2003) by Lynne Truss, which went on to sell half a million copies within six months of publication. Will Super Thursday leave little room for the smaller titles (or the ones with smaller marketing budgets), or will word of mouth recommendation (from both readers and booksellers) still win out?
The world of ebooks has moved on in the last few months. Sony have launched a new touchscreen version of their Reader and have announced the arrival of a wireless version (to match the Kindle from Amazon). They have also announced that by the end of the year all their ebooks will be available in the ePub standard. This standard is becoming commonly acceptable in the industry alongside the PDF (which still remains the best solution for complicated text with tables etc.). Google is also issuing its public domain titles in the ePub format.
This leaves Amazon and their Kindle standard as the main exception. For Amazon there is the advantage of tying Kindle users to their store (the Kindle has yet to launch in the UK); but they are left with the concern that their standard will go the way of Betamax in the age of the video recorder – VHS came out on top.