J.K. Rowling's agent has confirmed that the author is considering plans to make the Harry Potter oeuvre available electronically, a move that could earn her as much as £100 million (US$160 million), according to the Scotsman
"It is akin to the Beatles allowing their music to be launched on iTunes," said professor Claire Squires, director of Stirling University's Centre for International Publishing and Communication.
The week before last, Amazon.com made "its most aggressive move yet into territory traditionally occupied by the major New York houses," when it participated in the auction for four books by self-published bestselling novelist Amanda Hocking, Crain's New York
reported. "Executives at several houses said they knew of no other instance in which the company had competed with major publishers for a high profile commercial author."
Until now, Amazon has made publishing deals "usually for backlist titles or specialty projects," Crain's
said. And "to beef up its offer," Amazon brought in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which would have published print editions of the books--and presumably sold them.
Amazon made the highest offer, but lost out to St. Martin's Press, which paid $2 million. "Its failure to acquire the titles demonstrates some of the difficulties the company may have if it continues to pursue potential blockbusters as part of a strategy to maintain its Kindle store's dominance," Crain's
Random House, which has been
working with at least several videogame companies (Shelf Awareness
, March 1,
2010), is partnering with THQ, a game producer, "to create a wide spectrum
of original works that include novels, graphic novels and digital books, as
wells as online, console and mobile-phone games," the Wall Street Journal
reported. "Hollywood may participate as well."
The games and novels would take
a minimum of 18 months to develop and a console game would take double that
THQ director of creative and
business development Lenny Brown said, "The Holy Grail here would be for
Random House to produce a book that sells well, with us ultimately investing
$35 million in a triple-A console game backed by a $12 million marketing
campaign that draws a commitment from Hollywood for a movie or television
event." That Holy Grail would include toy company involvement.
A Different Light Bookstore in San Francisco, Calif., is apparently closing, according to the Bay Citizen
. The store has "everything must go" signs, and "dismantled shelving sat in a pile in the back of the store," according to the paper.
The store's branch in West Hollywood, Calif., closed two years ago (Shelf Awareness
, February 26, 2009), and the store in New York City shut its doors in 2001.
Last year owner Bill Barker told the Bay Citizen
that business was not good and had been affected by the Kindle and other "digital innovations," as the paper put it. In addition, he complained that fewer gay and lesbian authors appeared in gay and lesbian bookstores and said, "You can only tell the gay and lesbian story so many times."
On Saturday, Oblong Books & Music
, Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., celebrated the grand opening of Oblong Jr., the new, expanded children's book section in the Rhinebeck store. The festivities included a storytime featuring Stephen Savage, whose most recent book is Where's Walrus?
Here Savage reads his first book, Polar Bear Night
, to a young fan.
The expansion added 1,000 square feet to the 2,800-sq.-ft. space. The new area will be used mainly for books and toys for children and teens. Oblong has long had an Oblong Jr. children's store in its Millerton location.
---A Room of One's Own
, Madison, Wis., has received from 450 customers pledges to buy five more books a year--enough to cause "a spike in sales," Bookselling This Week
Owners Sandi Torkildson and Nancy Geary and the staff sent an e-mail to more than 3,000 customers in mid-February asking 365 of them to make the pledge so that the store would feel comfortable about signing a new lease.
"It raised awareness that they can order online from us, that they can order e-books from us, and that if they buy books here, we'll stay here," Torkildson told BTW
. "People got that really quickly. We had one customer who didn't realize he could buy online from us. Now he does, and we just picked up a $200 sale from him."
The pledgers' names appear on long ribbons in the store's entranceway.
On Slate, Emma Straub, who works
at BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y., and whose debut collection of short
stories, Other People We Married, has just appeared from FiveChapters Books, wrote
warmly of "love in bookstores."
"There are many reasons why
bookstores are naturally romantic environments: the smell of paper, the soft
lighting, the baseline understanding that those inside like to read, and are
therefore probably not morons. Browsing customers often circle each other like
timid sharks, the piles of books in their hands their only weapons. Heidegger
implies late-night conversations over coffee and cigarettes; Rumi, a bathtub
surrounded by candles. Ayn Rand indicates a need for a wide berth; Sarah Vowell
means mornings spent listening to NPR while baking gluten-free cupcakes."
Book trailer of the day: All That Is Bitter
& Sweet: A Memoir by Ashley Judd (Ballantine), which goes on sale tomorrow.
Book organizing idea of the day: "How to build a bookshelf from used chopsticks."
No rest(room) for the weary at this closing Borders store in Chicago.
Are manual typewriters on the rebound from technological redundancy? The New York Times
reported on "a growing movement. Manual typewriters aren’t going gently
into the good night of the digital era. The machines have been
attracting fresh converts, many too young to be nostalgic for spooled
ribbons, ink-smudged fingers and corrective fluid. And unlike the
typists of yore, these folks aren’t clacking away in solitude."
forget about Tweet-ups; they're so early 21st century: "In the last
three months, type-ins have clattered into cities from coast to coast
and even overseas."
For those of you unwilling to make a complete leap back in time, Buzzfeed featured a docking station that "has hipster written all over it": Spinning Hat's Typescreen for iPad,
created because "we have often wished for the convenience of a touch
screen interface with the ease of a traditional typewriting keyboard."
Adam Rothberg has been promoted
to senior v-p, corporate communications, at Simon & Schuster. He has been
v-p, corporate communications, since 1999. He first joined S&S in 1985 as a
publicity assistant at Pocket Books, eventually becoming that imprint's
associate director of publicity. In 1994 he joined Villard Books/Random House,
first as director of publicity and then as associate publisher before returning
President and CEO Carolyn Reidy called
him "a tireless guardian of Simon & Schuster's image and legacy. He is cool under the pressure of deadlines,
and brings to the job a diplomat's ability to reconcile disparate agendas when
working on projects with multiple partners. His well-deserved reputation as a
straight shooter has made him a trusted counselor on communication and general
business questions in every corner of Simon & Schuster, from our publishing
and operations units to our corporate staff and international companies, and at
CBS, where he works closely with his communications counterparts at both corporate
and divisional levels. He is highly regarded by his many contacts in the media,
who view him as a consummate communications professional and a reliable source
for story ideas, answers to specific factual queries and general guidance about
events in our industry."