'Traditional' digital for new J K

J K Rowling's first adult book, The Casual Vacancy, will have a more traditional digital publishing element, her agent Neil Blair has told The Bookseller Daily.

Speaking in the wake of the public launch on Saturday of Pottermore, the cutting-edge Harry Potter e-commerce and social networking site, Blair said: "We will look towards a more standard, traditional route with this book. It is 
an adult book, a serious book, and it is very exciting. There are lots of adults who have read Harry Potter, but obviously we don't have that same core audience for this book, so it is a new thing for Jo."

Foreign rights deals for The Casual Vacancy, which will be published in September, have not yet been announced but Blair added: "It has been a very busy fair and we have had lots and lots of people asking about the book, which is fantastic. It is something that retailers can really get behind, which is great considering the challenges the industry is facing at the moment."

Blair was speaking after appearing on the panel for this week's "Contract, Copyright, Collaborate and Communicate" seminar. During the debate, he suggested that the biggest challenge facing the industry is the "culture of free" and that it is not the job of authors or publishers to combat piracy, but an issue that society needs to address through education.

Blair added: "It is not possible for authors and publishers to educate on piracy. We need to educate young people that downloading content from file-sharing sites is no different to stealing a book from Waterstones."

He went on to say that collaboration is crucial for the industry's survival, and that "if companies and rights-holders remain in silos and don't collaborate, to try to protect their rights revenue will be limited."

Henry Volans, head of digital publishing at Faber, also on the panel, underlined the importance of collaboration for publishers: "Companies have to be prepared to cede some control. It is surprising how many people got into partnerships and are not prepared for what partnership really means. You need to give something away for it to be a better product."