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LBF 2014

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Where to start. I haven't blogged for over a year. Thing is, there's nothing I want to say that you want to hear. People in publishing say they're all interested in technology -- but I can guarantee you that people's eyes glaze over when you talk to them about anything more technical than what sort of e-reader they like the most.

See, since I last really blogged, I've become a pretty much full-time Rails developer. In the last 3 years I've gone from knowing nothing about, well, anything really (but nothing about programming in particular), to being a professional developer. Here's why: publishing is changing from being about lunches and deals and being more people-y than process-y, to being an industry at the forefront of data manipulation and management. And I'm a developer, too, because it's FUN, and rewarding, and time-slippy, and hugely helpful to Snowbooks which gets all this state-of-the-art enterprise management software for nothing and which makes the whole caboodle run so much more smoothly than it would otherwise.

So nowadays the sort of things I want to blog about are all to do with code. I want to share how excited I am about how eager loading can reduce the number of SQL queries you need to get some data from a database. I want to share some of the cool things you can do with jquery, and muse about the best way to pass data from the controller layer to javascript functions. I want to argue about the relative merits of Bootstrap 3.0 compared to its predecessors, and report a victory in getting OAuth to work, and worry about where Ryan Bates is. I want to show off queries that I think are rather elegant, and tell you how I solved a particularly thorny code problem. And precisely none of the Snowblog readership want to hear about any of that stuff.

Mind you, I don't even know who the Snowblog readership are, really. When we used to blog, a few people would comment, but not many. It's like shouting into an empty room. There was one commenter who did ping up most of the time, but who always seemed to be annoyed, which didn't exactly inspire us to carry on.

So anyway. I can write stuff here about our books, but that feels more newslettery and selly and the Snowblog was never about that. It was about sharing who we are and what we think about things. And, unless you have jumped in feet-first into the real world of technology as much as we have, I don't think you're interested, because we are pretty much consumed by it, nowadays. But hey! Prove me wrong! Leave comments and ask questions and perhaps we can find some common ground again. And if you want to hear about the sort of ways we're using technology to make books better, then do tell me because I have a lot to say. I just think you'll find it baffling and boring.

At least this week provides some news which you'll probably enjoy hearing about, given that it's more to do with talking than typing. It's the London Book Fair and it'll be the tenth time we've exhibited. This year's diary is full of the usual agent meetings but also some interesting discussions with companies who are well geared up for ... oh god, I've done it already. One sentence in to something that was meant to be about traditional publishing, and I'm about to mention PODW, a wonderful and innovative print on demand / short run printer who have worked wonders with some of our books, recently. We got a paperback from them recently which is not only beautiful but fairly cheap per-unit, too. They have an API which means we can send print orders directly to them from Bibliocloud. It's a very interesting time if POD is finally getting to be as cost-effective and efficient as we always hoped it would be.

I'll attempt to take a photo or two to prove that we do occasionally lift our heads away from laptops and commune with folk in the real world. There might be some blinking, though. The day star! It burns! etc.

OK. What do you think? Too ranty? Too weird? Nice to have me back? Speak to me, Snowblogreaders. Do you want Snowblog 3.0? Or would you rather not witness the morphing of publishing into programming?

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