Chris McCrudden Profile picture
Author of Battlestar Suburbia series 👇, planner, trustee @cityreadlondon & the self-styled Wendy Williams of graphs. Honey, no one else wants these opinions.
Jay Jernigan Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
4 Aug
Before we do this again, Pizza Express isn't shutting restaurants just because of covid 19... Or because its pizza is shit.

It's shutting them because it's owned by a highly leveraged private equity company which put £1bn+ debt on a company that sell mid-priced pizza.
And since all I seem to do these days is link to old threads where I played Cassandra....

From last year, how Pizza Express became a hot mess.…
Read 2 tweets
8 Oct 19
So inspired by rumours that Pizza Express might fold (arf arf), I've done some digging into Pizza Express's corporate history.

And it's a FASCINATING story of how solid businesses get crippled by debt to make a few people rich.
Pizza Express was a mainly London-focused restaurant business until 1992.

When a pair of entrepreneurs called Luke Johnson and Hugh Osmond bought it for £15m.

(N.B. it's been in & out of so many hands it's v hard to find hard number sources.)…
If Luke Johnson & Hugh Osmond sound familiar then that's because...

Luke Johnson is the private equity genius who presided over Patisserie Valerie (we all know how that turned out.)…
Read 25 tweets
11 Feb 19
Because the news is horrible I am having one of *those* days.

Here is a list of the books I wish Agatha Christie had written.

And Then There Were Nun (1939)

10 strangers are invited to a house by a mystery host and, one by one, are forced to take the veil.
Mudder on the Nile (1944)
Hercule Poirot is horrified when Captain Hastings takes him on an assault course in Egypt. But that was before a runner broke their neck in mysterious circumstances scaling an obelisk
Murder on the Gatwick Express (1934)
Poirot investigates the death of Southern Rail's CEO and, on discovering every commuter in Sussex did it because they just couldn't take it anymore, he covers up the crime.
Read 10 tweets
8 Feb 19
Book Twitter! @thebookseller published this today about falling YA sales. (They are down SHARPLY.)

I have thoughts about this, because I've seen the receipts.

Hold me, I'm going in...

The following observations are based on analysing the Top Ten best-selling YA titles from 2016, 2017 & 2018 in Nielsen.

N.B. This is print book data. It doesn't include ebook or audiobook sales. So bear that in mind.
1. YA sales are falling because the industry publishes "too many books".

Not entirely true.

2017: 2249 titles
2018: 2250 titles

A consistent output - but a 21.5% drop in sales - isn't a sign of over-supply.

It's a sign people aren't excited by the books.
Read 13 tweets
4 Jan 19
🚨🚨🚨Ok, Book Twitter! Receipts incoming!🚨🚨🚨

I've spent some time analysing bestseller sales figures from this article and there's some fascinating stuff in here.

Get ready for some graphs.…
1. Children's
The Top 100 books in the UK sold nearly 16 million copies in 2018.

31% of those books were children's books.

(Can we have more children's book coverage plzkthks?)
2. David Walliams

Did you know that 40% of the top-selling children's books sold in the UK last year were by David Walliams?

He sold more than 1.91 million books in 2018. JK Rowling sold 600k
Read 14 tweets
29 Nov 18
I have strong feelings about this

Some arts courses might give false promises to students about career prospects.

But instead of pointing the finger at FE colleges we should be talking about....


Hold me, I'm going in.
Graduates from FE college courses may struggle to find a job in the arts.

Because WHO works in the arts now? The rich, white middle-classes.

How do they get jobs in the arts?

They have to do unpaid internships. Internships which people currently in leadership positions in arts organisations DID NOT HAVE TO DO.

Read 11 tweets
29 Aug 18
Current level of braindeadness: watching the finest* Batman film ever made.

*Fucking awful but still superior to Christopher Nolan's joyless cryptofascist Batman
Look at him! He has one expression in this film: "what have I done?"

And Elle MacPherson is the most natural and accomplished performance in the scene 👀
Read 3 tweets
24 Aug 18
Whenever some technology scold says:

"Smartphones & social media are a scourge on society"

I like to remember how people in power used to view novels. As a scourge on society.

This is what 'The Youth's Religious Instructor' said about children's books in 1820.

Thinkpiece, early 21st century: PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN AND EXPERIENCE REAL LIFE

Thinkpiece early 20th century: PUT YOUR BOOK DOWN AND EXPERIENCE REAL LIFE
Read 8 tweets
9 Aug 18
Book Twitter!

It’s Thursday! It’s raining! It’s #bookloversday

So let’s play a game of…

Choose your own HOT DEAD GIRL thriller

First, choose your corpse. How young and hot will yours be?
But before we know anything about your HOT DEAD GIRL we need to know her hair colour.


Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe you’re going to use it as lazy character determinism.

So her hair will be…
Your novel opens as dawn breaks over a bleak setting. A place without hope, or beauty. (Maybe Swindon.)

An ideal place to discover a gruesome murder.

Where is it?
Read 19 tweets
24 Jul 18
Okaaaaaaaaaay, since this controversy is raging again.

A short thread about 'readers', and why we should be careful about applying a zero-sum logic to book-buying.
There are 20.1 million people in the UK who self-identify as 'readers'.

Just over half of them bought a book in the last month.
18.5% of readers bought an ebook in the last month.

(Even at a national level, monthly ebook purchases outstrip music streaming subscriptions - at least in volume sales).
Read 12 tweets
23 Jul 18
So @NPR has just published some research on smart speakers in the US, and it's a fascinating snapshot of how they're shaping a deeper relationship with audio.

(Audio publishers & marketers take note. Some great stuff in here.)…
1. Who owns smart speakers?

The over 45s, and women.

With my marketer's hat on, I find this super-interesting. It can be terribly hard to reach the 45+ audience via digital channels.
2. What do people use them for?

These are the 'top' tasks consumers use their smart speakers for. All of which replace basic smartphone tasks.
Read 10 tweets
20 Jul 18
This happened today.

I have a lot of time for The Works. They sell books to under-catered for consumers in unpretentious, accessible settings.

It's not *just* this that makes it an interesting deal though...…
The Works used to be owned by a private equity house.

Earlier this year, Waterstones was bought by a... private equity house.

This paragraph is a strong signal of what Waterstones' new owners will want to do with the company
🐷 Fatten it up
✂️ Cut costs
📈 Float it on the stockmarket
👖 The cash
Read 5 tweets
19 Jul 18
Publishing people! The latest @PublishersAssoc yearbook is out!

Underneath these bland headlines there is some


On the state of the UK book business. Hold me, I'm going in...…
1. Export-driven growth

5% is okay growth for a mature market sector like publishing, but that 60% of revenues are exports alarms me BECAUSE BREXIT.

If we crash out without a deal, what happens to more than HALF of the book trade?
2. The Brexit delusion?

36% of UK book exports go to Europe (taken from @Lisa_Campbell_'s report in @thebookseller.

Nor does this take into account how much more expensive it is to be a publisher post-Brexit vote (especially illustrated) thanks to the weak ££.
Read 20 tweets
16 Jul 18

Read 6 tweets
28 Jun 18
Okay! I'm an author (1st novel out in September), I used to work in publishing, I'm a @Soc_of_Authors member.

I've thought long and hard about this problem and I disagree with both the SoA and publishers' positions on it.

Here's why...…
Author earnings fall every year (they've never been high), and large publishers' profitabilities are stable or growing (slowly).

But it isn't because publishers are swindling authors. It's because the book industry is in long-term structural decline.
Late last year I did this analysis of a fine report by @canelo_co on the state of literary fiction.

This is what fiction book sales between 2001 & 2016 look like.

Read 16 tweets
27 Jun 18
So since the world is a tyre fire AGAIN today, who wants a thread of adorable animals from the Danum Valley National Park in Borneo?

Oh you do.... so here we go.

The red ❤️ leaf 🍃 monkey 🐒
Red leaf monkeys move in small troupes through the forest. They live mainly on leaves and they are totally adorable.
Red leaf monkeys are sometimes called little orangutans, though they're not related and have very different social behaviours and diets.
Read 15 tweets
16 Apr 18

So the always amazing @DrDaveOBrien @markrt & @OrianBrook have dropped 44 pages worth of receipts on the Creative Industries attitudes to:

🔹Social class
🔹Cultural taste

Hold me, I'm going in.…
Inequality in the arts can feel like a trivial issue. I mean, the arts are the fluffy stuff of life, right?


The arts are how we see ourselves reflected in culture, so...

🔹The unrepresented go unseen.
🔹The over-represented. assume their experience is 'universal;
Also, props to @DrDaveOBrien, @markrt & @OrianBrook for adopting an inter-sectional approach.

The default assumption that 'working class' is indivisible from white maleness needs deconstructing, and fast.
Read 37 tweets
27 Dec 17
Ok Nadine, here we go...

The pantos you remember from your idealised childhood were local productions.

Many of them were produced by locally owned and managed theatres or by municipal theatres funded by local authorities.
Many of these municipal theatres experienced big funding cuts in the 80s, because the Conservative government was a group of heartless Philistines hell-bent on stripping civic pride and identity from working class communities.
At the same time, market pressures emanating from London encouraged the buy-up of local theatres.

They organised into corporate groups to achieve economies of scale.

These theatres cut back on producing and became touring houses.
Read 7 tweets
21 Aug 17
I'll say this again.

1. Napkins - Well, what did you think would happen when you premiumised paper towels? You made another category of product obsolete.
2. Hooters. Who could ever lament the decline of Hooters? Millennials enjoying less sexist restaurant experiences is a GOOD THING.
Read 14 tweets