Notes: ABA Adds Op-Ed Template; Making PB 'Smashes'
The American Booksellers Association has added an op-ed template to the new E-Fairness Action Kit (E-FACT) and is urging booksellers "to adapt the op-ed and to e-mail it to their local newspapers as a way of promoting the issue of e-fairness," Bookselling this Week reported.
"Most states are faced with significant budget shortfalls, and e-fairness will be a major focus in 2010," said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. "The op-ed template provides booksellers with an effective way to educate the public about the current sales tax inequity and, we hope, to get the attention of state legislators. It's important that the real facts about e-fairness are widely publicized. We hope booksellers will use the op-ed template to help set the record straight."
Using the example of The Piano Teacher by Y.K. Lee, the Associated Press teaches a bit about how Penguin makes many of the paperback editions of its hardcovers "smashes."
One way is by promoting the paperback edition inside the company early on. "Right from the time the hardcover group started promoting [The Piano Teacher], the paperback group had its eye on it," Patrick Nolan, Penguin director and vice president of trade paperback sales, told the AP. "We made sure that our sales reps had manuscripts and galleys the same time as hardcover folks and it remained on our radar screen."
The company does something similar with booksellers. "One thing they do is resend the book as a reader's copy to remind us the paperback is coming," Sue Boucher, owner of the Lake Forest Book Store in Lake Forest, Ill., said. "I've told other publishers this is smart, because it gives the book a whole new life. That happened with Memory Keeper's Daughter. Few of us had read it in hardcover, but when we got the chance to later on, we loved it and we sold it like crazy.
"Penguin is pretty smart with marketing their paperback books," she added.
The Piano Teacher also appeals to book clubs. Barnes & Noble fiction buyer Sessalee Hensley commented: "The story raises a lot of questions about what would you do in certain kinds of situations. And that's bread and butter for a book club."
The cover of Jaclyn Dolamore's Magic Under Glass will be changed "after publisher Bloomsbury USA provoked online outrage this week for choosing to represent its dark-skinned heroine with a white model," the Guardian reported.
"Bloomsbury is ceasing to supply copies of the U.S. edition of Magic Under Glass," the publisher said. "The jacket design has caused offense and we apologize for our mistake. Copies of the book with a new jacket design will be available shortly,"
While France battles Google in the courts for its digital future, Safig "is one of the few European firms to digitize books, using automatic and human page-turners. That places them right at the center of France's plan for a massive online library, and its attempts to negotiate a digital books deal with U.S. internet giant Google," Reuters reported.
"We are in a politically sensitive period," said project leader Christophe Danna. "Whatever the outcome is, it will determine the future of the books market."
Although previously opposed to the Google Book settlement, the families of John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie now support it. The New York Times reported that Gail Steinbeck, wife of the author’s son, said "the majority of the problems that we found to be troubling have been addressed" and the revision "meets our standards of control over the intellectual properties that would otherwise remain at risk were we to stay out of the settlement."
Concerning the late Robert B. Parker, Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., remembered "a time years ago when we and other booksellers had lunch with him in Seattle. Someone at the table asked, "When did you stop teaching?" He replied, "I stopped teaching about ten years ago. . . . I left the college two years ago." We, like lots of other booksellers, read Parker's early Spenser novels and even collected them. He was quite a wit and will be missed.
Neil Gaiman answered readers' questions for the New Yorker's website feature "Ask the Author Live" with Dana Goodyear, who profiles the author in this week's issue of the magazine.
One fan observed that "authors like Michael Chabon have been crusading for a while to break down the barriers between so-called 'literary fiction' and 'genre fiction.' Do you have any idea why literature remains so compartmentalized? Is there any end in sight?"
Gaiman replied that he believes "the barriers are imaginary, the walls have already been breached and the key to literature in the early 21st century is one of confluence. There’s not much high and low culture any more: there’s just mingling streams of art and what matters is whether it’s good art or bad art. But then, I come from comics, and miss the days when it was a gutter art-form in which nobody was expected to make art; and think that SF was much more vibrant and relevant before they taught it in universities. Either way, Michael Chabon is a very wise man."
"How do you spot a rising star, that new voice in literature that will really make an impression?" asked the Telegraph, then answered the question by choosing its "top new novelists for 2010." The list includes:
- The Privileges by Jonathan Dee
- Chef by Jaspreet Singh
- Rupture by Simon Lelic
- This Bleeding City by Alex Preston
- Day for Night by Frederick Reiken
- Secret Son by Laila Lalami
- Serious Men by Manu Joseph
- Cross Country Murder Song by Philip Wilding
- Ruby’s Spoon by Anna Lawrence Pietroni
- Children of the Sun by Max Schaefer
- Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna
In case you missed it, NPR's Weekend Edition featured an interview with Helen Mirren, who plays Countess Sofya Andreyevna Tolstoy in the film adaptation of Jay Parini's novel The Last Station.
"Opening a Bookstore: The Business Essentials," an intensive workshop retreat conducted by the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates, is scheduled for March 15-19 on Amelia Island (near Jacksonville, Fla.). The workshop, which is co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, is facilitated by Mark and Donna Paz Kaufman and held every spring and fall. For more information go to PazBookBiz.com.
One (book) for the road. In what has become an annual rite, Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and an author himself, once again chose reading material for his NBA basketball team as they began an extended winter road trip this week. He also asks each player to give him a written report on their particular book, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Pau Gasol may have received the the most ambitious assignment--a copy of Roberto Bolano's 2666, but Jackson said, "Pau's a reader. He's got himself a tome right there."
In 2003, Martin Heron created 10 sandstone books on top of Penistone Hill in Yorkshire. The New Yorker's Book Bench blog showcased a photograph of five of the books that "stretch along the path that leads to Top Withens, which, it has been suggested, inspired the setting of the Earnshaw house in Wuthering Heights."