Howard Schultz: “Onward”

So Howard’s people sent me a review copy of his book today. One assumes that reaching out to marketing bloggers was part of the launch strategy (I’m all in favor of that!) I was also interested to see copies of his book floating around Starbucks outlets (hey, if you have a massive retail footprint, why not use it?)

I confess I have not yet read the book but please check back for some deathless prose on the subject!

Here’s the blurb:

ONWARD
How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul
by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
March 29, 2011, Rodale

In 2008, Howard Schultz made the unprecedented decision to return as the CEO eight years after he stepped down from daily oversight of the company and became chairman. Concerned that the Starbucks experience had been compromised by its quest for growth, Schultz was determined to help it return to its core values and restore its financial health. In ONWARD, he shares the remarkable story of his return and the company’s ongoing transformation under his leadership, revealing how, during one of the most tumultuous economic times in history, Starbucks again achieved profitability and sustain­ability.

Schultz not only had to act fast and aggressively on a global scale, but had to look in the mirror, confront the company’s blemishes and search for answers to such hard questions as:

·    How can you evolve your brand—especially an iconic one—to be relevant to a new age while being true to its roots?
·    How can you grow a company without losing an intimate relationship with each customer
·    How can you revive your employees’ passion for your company’s founding principles?

There was no easy roadmap and plenty of risks. From a leaked memo that exposed Starbucks’ troubles to the world, to the costly decision to close all Starbucks stores for a day of retraining, to introducing an aggressive pipeline of new innovations to land the next blockbuster offering, ONWARD takes readers through the tough decisions and painful steps of a turnaround that should inspire anyone to reinvent themselves and triumph against the odds.

Well alright then! Sounds like a page-turner. In general I am an admirer of Starbucks marketing, so I think I will make a valiant attempt to read it.

To show what a stand-up guy I am, and as a thanks to Howie for the book, here’s a link to buy it on Amazon.

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Books: Stephen King’s Treasure Hunt, Publishers’ Digital Aspirations

Stephen King’s Treasure Hunt
Stephen King’s latest epic is not due to be released until 10 November, but his UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton working with Unity London has launched what it describes as the biggest ever game of literary hide-and-seek. This enables hardcore horror fans to get their hands on it early… as long as they don’t mind a bit of interweb and real world treasure hunting. The 335,114 word novel has been broken down into 5,196 pieces, and, using clues given on the homepage participants are encouraged to hunt them down and deliver them back to the site. These extracts have been scattered across hundreds of websites and locations throughout the UK, including fan, horror, thriller and lifestyle websites. As pieces are found they will appear on http://www.stephenking.co.uk enabling fans to move them around and link them together, gradually forming bigger sections of the book.

stephen king under the dome

The Kindle may not necessarily be the e-reader to bring the technology into the mainstream. That said, publishers seem increasingly certain that the print medium may be in jeopardy, and so many are already experimenting with new multimedia technological enhancements, including FLIPS and Vooks
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Rugby v Mills & Boon

What an excellent idea – and untraditional approach. British Rugby is seeking female fans through Mills & Boon novels. The Rugby Football Union has licensed its brand to romance books publisher Mills & Boon, which is publishing eight books with plots linked to the sport. The first book in the series will be published on February 1 to coincide with the RBS Six Nations tournament, followed by another title every month.
The Prince’s Waitress Wife‘ opens at a Six Nations match at Twickenham with a sex scene in the President’s Suite after heroine Holly is seduced by a prince. The RFU hopes the books, which will bear its logo and include an explanation of the rules of the game with tips on what to wear to matches, will help bring more women fans into rugby.
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Clare Somerville, sales and marketing director at Mills & Boon, said the books have familiar ingredients such as “jet set locations, hunky alpha male hero … but in a rugby context”. Somerville added: “The RFU may not seem like a likely partner but it’s an apposite match. About one third of rugby supporters are women and the RFU is obviously keen to widen its female audience.The RFU has been great to work with and hasn’t been so precious about its image, it has let us get on with it. There is quite a bit of naughtiness that goes on, but the RFU has realised that it is all about good wholesome fun.”

Disappointingly this isn’t a brand new idea. Mills & Boon’s parent company Harlequin already has a similar licensing partnership with the American racing car body Nascar.

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Booksharing

I am an avid reader, and have a particular weakness for second hand bookstores (“fascinating” I hear you cry) … I can’t seem to pass by one without picking up a bargain. This has yielded both unexpected success and disappointing failure. In both cases said tomes end up residing somewhere on a bookshelf in my house. The net result of this is that I now have far too many books, a fact that was brought home to me in the past month. We are currently remodeling our home, and in preparation I spent what seemed like a whole day packing paperback and hardback books into boxes and then lugging them down the cellar. (Add in my wife’s large format design books and that’s a backache right there). There are now several teetering towers of book boxes taking up one whole end of said cellar. I decided something had to change (so first off, look out for many of my books on Amazon/ thrift stores/ my street in the coming months) but I also decided that I need a new way to read without acquiring mounds of paperbacks. Here’s what I found …

flying books

First off, the public library obviously can’t be beat. But there are other options out there, too, that can keep my acquisitive reading habit in check.For eco-friendly, instant-gratification, new millenial reading, there is obviously the Kindle (though – in a chronic piece of mismanagement by Amazon – it’s sold out at least until February 2009).

I have also found pay services such as BookSwim (inevitably: Netflix for book lovers), which allows you to hold paperbacks or hard covers for as long as you want. What’s not to like? Well, they emailed saying the plans start at $9.95 a month. That’s not technically untrue, but the deal is actually $9.95 for the first month for the least expensive plan. After that, it jumps to $19.98. A rather tired bait and switch.

BooksFree isn’t free, though shipping is. You can sign up for $9.99 a month, which gets you two paperback books at a time.

America’s BookShelf has a slightly more complicated, but less expensive setup. There’s an annual fee of $12 and you’ll need to be willing to share the books on your bookshelves. Each book you receive will set you back $3.50.

BookMooch takes a different tack. There are no costs, except for mailing. Give someone a book, earn a point which you can redeem to get a book. A similar concept for paperbacks at PaperBack Swap, which has a printable postage option.

BookCrossing is essentially a catch-and-release idea—books are left in the “wild” for you to pick up, read, and then return to a public place. Right now there are 28 books in NYC.

And to help you select your next book, check out:

Shelfari,

Goodreads

What Should I Read Next

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Dead Tree Media v Mistletoe Media

I have no particular beef with or antipathy towards the print medium, quite the reverse. That said, the news from the world of print this week is grim …

The New York Times is “Mourning Old Media’s Decline”, Gannett is to cut 10% of workers as its profit slips, the Christian Science Paper is to end its daily print edition, Time Inc. plans about 600 layoffs and Newspaper circulation continues to decline rapidly


The other big news is that Google will pay $125 million to settle two lawsuits with the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild over its book-scanning and searching scheme. Google scanned entire books under copyright, and made the contents searchable. Google argued that this practice was permissible as a “fair use” of copyrighted material, because searchers could only access a portion of a given work. Google plans to use $34.5 million of the settlement to create a copyright registry modeled after similar music industry systems used to compensate songwriters and performers.

The healthy and burgeoning electronic/interactive/social media essentially live in a parasitic relationship to the so-called dead tree media, feeding off their labor and research/production costs. (Would Mistletoe be a good metaphor?)

The automotive and other industries are also built on a pricing that doesn’t include the social, health and environmental costs of the pollution and carbon any given car generates. Ideally, the pollution cost should be part of the cost of each vehicle.

So, ideally (I guess), should the dead tree media labor and research costs be part of the real cost of each electronic widget… Thoughts?

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