Weird Goings-On with Winsor & Newton Color

You know for a fact that Winsor Green is PG7 or PG36, depending on whether it is, respectively, blue shade or yellow shade, right?

Not anymore, it ain’t. A new 14ml tube of Winsor Green Blue Shade arrives here without any fanfare. It is numbered 719 as Winsor & Newton has always numbered it. But it isn’t the same paint at all. In fact, the pigment inside the tube isn’t even green but officially yellow. (It looks green to me.) There is no, repeat no, PG7 or PG36 anywhere near this #719 Winsor Green Blue Shade, nor any other “Green” pigment.


As far as I can tell, nobody announced the change. It just happened one fine morning, for reasons unknown. Months later Jackson’s in London, the suppliers of my tube (hereinafter “the evidence”), haven’t changed their netsite, which still gives the superseded information that Winsor Green Blue Shade is made with PG7.

Winsor Green Blue Shade, still numbered #719, is now made with PY184, which stands for Pigment Yellow 184.

I suppose, after that shocker, it isn’t overly surprising to discover that a century-and-some old English colorman with a Royal connection (Good Queen Vicky’s fave brushmaker’s Series Seven is still named after the brushes she commanded Winsor & Newton to make) cannot even spell “lightfastness”.

Or perhaps that is the signal that this tube of paint is, as President Trump would say, “Fake!”

You heard it first on Kissing the Blarney.

Andre Jute is a novelist and painter who lives in West Cork.

PS: The mystery has been solved. I’ve now heard from Debbie Bryan of Winsor & Newton UK, who assures me that:

“It is an error on the label artwork. It should of course be PG7. We are addressing this issue, but, please be sure that this is not a counterfeit tube, but, a mistake on the label.”

Case closed.

Why Amazon will recover falling profits from indie writers

Amazon Says Kindle Sales Exceed Paperbacks — and Coincidentally, Profits Fall Even As Sales Rise Over $3 Billion

The headline from Publisher’s Lunch (30 January 2011) tells the story. Sales up 36%, profits down $2m. Ouch.

Now that the Kindle stands clearly established as the industry leader, and the sales are self-generating, how long before Amazon gives up the pretense that they depressed book prices artificially “for readers” rather than to grab maximum market share for their proprietary ereader, the Kindle, and thereby ensure their dominant place in the new ebook world?

For surely, the stockholders and the market will not long stand still for buying market share at this rate of opportunity cost. Just in this last quarter, Amazon gave up over $170m in profits to establish the Kindle, which some might argue was already well on its way to establishing itself.

The interesting consequence for writers is how long Amazon will let the destructive 99c lowest price for books continue.

Already in the UK the 99c/72p price is an entrenched expectation among the most vocal and loyal of Amazon’s customers. How will Amazon deal with them?

And, even more interesting, what will Amazon make the next minimum price? Will they try to raise it stepwise, say first $1.99 on the way to the $2.99 entry point to the 70% gross share they pay to authors (less a few cents for delivery costs)?  Or will they decide to handle the outcry all at once and just declare $2.99 or even $3.99 the minimum permissible price for a full-length book?

Or will Amazon lower the 70% “royalty” they pay authors in an effort to boost their own corporate profits?

And why not open up the top end of the highest  royalty rate beyond the current $9.99, grabbing a few brownie points from the big publishers along the way?

My guess is all three, plus other fine-tuning. And before the end of the next financial quarter.

You heard it first from Kissing the Blarney.