Weirdness Rodeo

Star Wars

Pornokitsch is a producer of cat-related tweets that occasionally reviews

Scott Meslow on how Star Wars is a merchandise franchise that occasionally makes films:

In what might well be the single largest financial blunder in Hollywood history, 20th Century Fox allowed George Lucas to retain all the licensing and merchandising rights to Star Wars in exchange for a $500,000 directorial fee. In 2014, the overall value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at $37 billion, with Episodes VII, VIII, and IX on the way — along with a slew of spin-offs — it will soon be worth much more. One research firm estimates that sales of Star Wars merchandise could exceed $5 billion in 2016 alone. That's more than the combined global grosses of every single Star Wars movie that has ever hit theaters — including several rounds of re-releases.

I've written about transmedia storytelling in the past - predominantly in regards to the convergence of books and RPGs - but there's something wonderful about the way this forces us to shift our perceptions. We associate particular properties with a particular media channel, but that is very often a complicated blind. To some degree, this happens every time a film is made: as much as readers pretend to have a sort of droit du seigneur, more people see the movie (or TV show) than read the books. There are a few exceptions (I'd love to crunch the numbers for Harry Potter or Tolkien), but not many. (And others, say, James Bond, where the secondary media - film - has unabashedly become the primary media with the passage of time.)

Marvel is a film studio that makes comics. Hell, four million people (including me!) play the Marvel click-farming Avengers Alliance game on Facebook. Maybe Marvel is an app producer that occasionally captures cut scenes as comic books. He-Man, famously, is a toy company that makes cartoons. Batman is a logo that appears on t-shirts, backpacks, wallets, duvets, children's kitsch and... sometimes... a superhero. And, now, Star Wars is a line of merchandise - with high-profile, long form video content marketing. Makes the whole Extended Universe debate a bit moot, doesn't it? Is your lunchbox canon?!

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Weirdness Rodeo


Self-publishing [Blue] vs Kindle publishing [Orange] vs Indie publishing [Red]

Has self-publishing peaked? I was initially surprised to see the slow decline on Google Trends, but then I realised that it may just be a matter of terminology. It isn't that self-publishing is in decline, it is that 'self-publishing' is.

My first guess was the rise of 'indie publishing', but despite the phrase's advocates, it doesn't seem to be taking off to any great extent. ('Independent publishing' has been in use for years, and has a different meaning.)

In fact, 'kindle publishing' seems to be the culprit - that term established itself only a few years ago, yet is already threatens to overtake 'self-publishing'. Which is one of the scariest signs of Amazon's industry dominance I've ever seen: the actual verb of publishing is becoming Amazon branded.

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Support Our Writers

NunslingerWe don't shout about it much, but Pornokitsch doesn't have advertising or affiliate links. And it isn't Kickstarted, Patreonised or otherwise crowd-funded. In short, we don't take in any money at all. Not a nickel. We're very happy this way.

But... our contributors are awesome. We're lucky to have a team that includes Becky Chambers, Rebecca Levene, Stark Holborn, Mahvesh Murad, Jesse Bullington and Molly Tanzer - all of whom are responsible for some fantastic books. So if you like what you've been reading, why not check out the rest of their work? And, even better, support them by picking up one or two or three.

After the jump, a smorgasbord of literary talent for your browsing pleasure.

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Weirdness Rodeo

Emma Stone is awesome.

This week's link o' the week - a piece from Alistair Smith on the role of subsidised culture:

The arts and culture contribute £7.7 billion to the UK economy – and quotes from some major employers inside the creative industries (and beyond) explaining just how much they rely on arts and culture as a training ground for their own businesses...

The economic case for supporting the arts and culture is a strong one, but pursued without restraint it creates a subsidised sector that simply mimics what the commercial sector could do perfectly well itself, without funding. The economic impact of the subsidised arts is a happy by-product of one of the UK’s most successful sectors, not an end in itself. We mustn’t allow the tail to wag the dog.

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Weirdness Rodeo

Becky Chambers introduces A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.


This week's must-read -  Jake Little on the why of books:

The biggest reason we spend money on books is because we want to read them (eventually), but that isn’t the only reason: we also like to look at them, and to look at other people looking at them.... The way I treat my books shows that no matter how important they are to me as things to read, they also exist as decorative objects and status symbols.

Little's piece is a much better-written and far more articulate way of this piece from two years ago, in which I tried to talk about books as collectibles across a number of, uh, 'dimensions' - text, object and artifact. As Little says, with the rise of digital books as the most efficient way of reading/collecting text, there's got to be something in why we keep hoarding the physical lumps as well.

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Weirdness Rodeo

Helen Mirren narrating Shel Silverstein's 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' for the World Cup.

How do you raise your children to appreciate video games? (via Kotaku)

We are the first generation of parents who grew up playing video games, which makes us the first moms and dads to possess the wisdom to guide our children through the world of PlayStation, Steam, Nintendo, and the like rather than the desire to merely abandon them to it. We are tasked with figuring this out for ourselves. It’s our job—our responsibility—to establish some traditions.

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Weirdness Rodeo

Peter Blake - Through the Looking Glass
Your round-up of oddness. This time: pictures, websites, the importance of brands, submissions info and all the fun stuff Pornokitsch people are doing not-here.

#PicturesMeanBusiness and #WebsitesMeanAwards

An update on the #PicturesMeanBusiness from Sarah McIntyre, who met with Nielsen to understand how artists' data is (or isn't) captured:

If our economic value can't be assessed, we'll be forgotten by business people and written off as not contributing anything to the economy. Not even The Bookseller credited illustrators in sales charts until March of this year. You could see that Julia Donaldson was ruling the picture book sales charts, but you had no idea how The Gruffalo's illustrator Axel Scheffler's books were doing. In fact, if you entered his names into the Nielsen sales charts, he came out as quite a low moneymaker, since only the books he's written himself were calculated.

Sarah's explanation of the convoluted metadata of publishing - and its weird legacy systems - is the best I've read so far. Worth checking out.

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