Later this year, Amazon.com will allow e-books purchased for the Kindle to be lent by customers to other Kindle users, the AP reported. However, there are limitations: the e-books may be lent only for a two-week period, and during the two weeks, the owner will not be able to read the book. Also, not all e-titles will be available for lending, depending, the company said, on the book's publisher or rights holder.
The change was first mentioned in a discussion forum on the Kindle website. On his blog, Mike Shatzkin noted that a year ago when Barnes & Noble announced that users of its Nook could lend e-books, "many ridiculed the limitations. Among those who thought the offering was laughable was Jeff Bezos of Amazon."
The New York Times surveys several book apps, including one for Stephen Elliott's memoir, The Adderall Diaries (Graywolf), which the author sees as a way to nurture connections with his readers. Electric Literature, Brooklyn, N.Y., which developed Elliott's app, has set up a division to create similar apps for other writers.
The company is working on an app for a Melville House title. Dennis Johnson of Melville House called apps a potential "fourth line of revenue," adding, "If you publish work that is hard to sell in the American market, say, literary fiction in translation, this is another format to hardcover, paperback and e-book."
"Intent on winning over a new generation of readers, including some who haven't yet learned to tie their shoes," Barnes & Noble is launching 12,000 e-books for children 3-8 on NookKids.com and B&N.com, the Wall Street Journal reported. The books are mostly chapter books, although an estimated 100 picture books will be available in mid-November and 30 enhanced e-books will be ready around the end of the year.
Tomorrow, B&N is rumored to be introducing a color Nook. The Journal noted that "the enhanced titles have been designed specifically for touch-screen features that the current Nook doesn't offer. At the beginning of each book, users can tap on one of two buttons that enable them to read the work themselves, or instead have it read aloud by a narrator."
As part of the effort, B&N has deals with more than 15 children's book publishers to create enhanced e-books of classic titles, including Jamberry by Bruce Degen (HarperCollins), which "features a page with a sky full of falling blueberries, which kids can pop with their fingers," and Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman (Random House).
The Wall Street Journal examines the happy problem that often confronts small houses when they publish a title that wins a major prize or breaks out in other ways: How many more copies should it print so as to meet demand but not cause huge and crippling returns?
In this case, the press is McPherson & Co., whose Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon is a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. McPherson usually prints 2,000 copies of a title; after the NBA short list was released, Barnes & Noble alone wanted that many copies. The problem is compounded because Lord of Misrule's pub date isn't until November 15, two days before the NBA award ceremony.
Bruce McPherson has decided to print 8,000 copies, telling the Journal: "It's a gamble that I'm not used to taking."
Andrei Codrescu, one of the fiction judges, called Gordon "an underrated great writer who hasn't been talked about very much, partially, I think, because she's shy and doesn't self-market herself. But she has an incredible command of other voices, and a sense of music in language that is unequaled."
Congratulations to BookPeople, Austin, Tex., which marks its 40th anniversary on November 11. The iconic store is celebrating the entire month by selling 40th anniversary T-shirts (proceeds of which benefit AIDS causes), appearances by Condoleezza Rice and Jeff Kinney and a party on Saturday, November 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The store was founded in 1970 as Grok Books (named after a term in Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land) and originally focused on alternative politics, political theory, metaphysics and Eastern religions. The original location was one floor in a two-story duplex near the University of Texas campus. In 1978, Philip Sansone bought the store and expanded its offerings and eventually changed its name. Bookpeople now has a 28,000-sq.-ft. space and one of the largest selections of book titles in the country. It is owned by a group of investors, including Sansone and CEO Steve Bercu, who is on the ABA board and is president of the Austin Independent Business Alliance.
Congratulations, too, to Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, Pa., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a combination Halloween-birthday party this coming Sunday, October 31, from noon to 5 p.m. (Owners Richard Goldman and Mary Alice Gorman noted, "We were so pleased the Steelers decided to hold the game after our celebration... such local supporters!")
Festivities include a pub party for Michael Ayoob and his debut mystery, In Search of Mercy (he won the St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America best first novel competition); ghost stories with Alison K. Babusci; free cappuccino; sweets; a Ten Cent book sale of ARCs that benefits the Oakmont Library; 20% off most hardcovers; and a 20 Years: 20 Dollars anniversary promotion.
This past weekend the Dolphin Bookshop, Port Washington, N.Y., held a grand opening party for its new location, at 299 Main Street, according to the Port Washington Patch. The store offered food, raffles, music--and signings by Len Berman, author of The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time, Peter Brown, author of Children Make Horrible Pets, and Kat Yeh, author of You're Lovable to Me.
Fire Petal Books, Centerville, Utah, which opened in August and had difficulties "getting a regular flow of customers," as owner Michelle Witte told the Standard-Examiner earlier this month, has closed. The store said in an e-mail, "Despite everything we've done, we just didn't have enough business to stay open."
Citing "a precipitous drop in textbook sales" during the past semester, Food for Thought Books, the not-for-profit workers' collective bookstore in Amherst, Mass., last week appealed to customers and fans for support in dealing with debt caused by the drop in sales of textbooks--which have provided a financial cushion for the store--and in helping "create a new economic model that will sustain us into the future."
The store is asking people to donate money, which can be sent to the store at 106 N. Pleasant St. Amherst, Mass. 01002; to join Friends of Food for Thought, which among other things supports the store's fundraising; and simply to buy books at the store, whether in person or via the store's website.
The store's letter stated, "During the thirty plus years that we have been part of the Amherst community, we have prided ourselves in being able to stay true to our mission of disseminating radical & progressive media in all its various forms as well as providing a space where voices and ideas silenced and ignored by the mainstream media can be heard, seen, supported and realized. As you can imagine, it has been no small task, in this capitalist world, to try and run a business that treats its workers fairly and that turns whatever profits it makes back over to the community."
Book trailer of the day: Never Kiss a Frog: A Girl's Guide to Creatures from the Dating Swamp by Marilyn Anderson (Red Rock Press), produced by the author, who is also a screenwriter.
Self-publishing company Blurb has opened "a pop-up store," its first, in SoHo in New York City to demonstrate that a finished Blurb book "is not a scrapbook, this is not a photo album, this is not a handmade craft thing," as CEO Eileen Gittins told the New York Times. "We make you a real book." The store is open through the week.
Last year the online company said it shipped more than 1.2 million books and had sales of more than $45 million.
The Times wrote: "The company does a good deal of business around the holidays, for people who are designing books to give as gifts. Throughout the year, there are sales to hobbyists, photographers and newly married couples who want their wedding pictures in a book, not an album."