'A New Format Called Print'
"In 1995 I founded one of the first all-digital publishing houses [called Database Directories]. In the last few years we have gotten into a new format called print, and it now accounts for about 10% of sales."
"In 1995 I founded one of the first all-digital publishing houses [called Database Directories]. In the last few years we have gotten into a new format called print, and it now accounts for about 10% of sales."
GetGlue, which allows users to "check-in" regarding the movies, TV shows, music and books they're engaged with, will partner with publishers Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Random House and Penguin "to launch 'stickers,' the equivalent of Foursquare's achievement badges, for the season's biggest-ticket fiction and nonfiction books as well as bestselling authors like Tom Clancy and Paulo Coehlo," CNET reported.
Calling the announcement "notable," CNET observed that the "book publishing world has been less enthusiastic than its film and TV brethren about launching social-media partnerships, with much of the high-profile campaigns and deals so far limited to teen fiction series. (Not that those aren't absent here. The Twilight sensation has its own GetGlue 'stickers.') By encouraging more Web chatter around books, GetGlue is starting to push into a territory currently dominated by book-specific start-ups like Goodreads and LibraryThing."
Although the marketing materials for an "ideal high-image corporate facility" were described by AnnArbor.com as "a quiet listing," speculation that Borders' corporate headquarters building may be up for sale (asking price: $18.349 million) is headline-worthy material "because the listing may dial up speculation about the future of the bookseller, which once filled the building, but--as layoffs continue--now employs an estimated 600 people in the headquarters."
The building's owner, Agree Realty Inc., "didn’t return phone calls asking about the listing. Local commercial real estate insiders say many local brokers have signed confidentiality agreements to gain access to information," AnnArbor.com reported, adding that Borders has "a remaining 12 years on the lease (plus options to extend the deal, it appears)."
ShopRunner, a new cooperative program launched yesterday by several U.S. retailers--including Borders, Barnes & Noble, Pet Smart, Dick's Sporting Goods and GNC--is taking aim at Amazon.com "by striking at one of online shoppers' biggest concerns: shipping costs," the Wall Street Journal reported, adding that under the new program, "retailers are mimicking Amazon by dangling a $79 loyalty program that offers unlimited two-day shipping. But in this case it's across all of the participants' online stores." And in a move the Journal called "one-upping Amazon," ShopRunner will offer free returns.
"It's amazing what people will do when they recognize there is a bigger threat to their model of retail than just competing with each other," said Fiona Dias, executive v-p of strategy and marketing for GSI Commerce Inc., which owns Shop Runner Inc.
The joint approach "offers us a marketing option that we hadn't had available," said Mike Edwards, CEO of Borders.
Last weekend, San Francisco's literary festival, Litquake, paid tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti and City Lights Books with the festival's fourth annual Barbary Coast Award. The Chronicle reported that the "house was packed to the rafters, and so was the stage: musicians Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Marcus Shelby and Steve Earle and scribes such as Michael McClure, Ishmael Reed and Michelle Tea all lined up to honor the city's brightest literary light of all, who is recovering from an infection and was judged by his doctors as too frail to attend the event in person."
On video, Ferlinghetti said, "San Francisco, the late last frontier. What's left of the last frontier includes City Lights, and I'm happy to accept the Litquake award on behalf of City Lights."
Paul Yamazaki, a 40-year veteran of City Lights, "talked about Ferlinghetti's lifelong mission to foster a community that places this freedom as its highest value," the Chronicle wrote.
"There's something different when you walk in that door," said Elaine Katzenberger, executive director of City Lights. "It's driven by something other than money. It is not profit that moves us to go to work every day--it's passion.... And you walk in there and suddenly you realize, wow, there are all these people who are thinking other things than that noise that I have to hear all the time. Not only that! Look around:... Decisions are being made about what should we share and how can we do that."
Jonathan Franzen's overseas tour started bizarrely last week with the recall of Freedom's first U.K. printing (Shelf Awareness, October 1, 2010), then got really interesting over the weekend when a man stole the author's glasses during a book launch event in London and subsequently demanded a £100,000 (US$158,856) ransom.
BBC News reported that a 27-year-old man was arrested after a chase that included a helicopter and ended with the glasses thief jumping into the Serpentine lake in London. He "has since been released with no further action being taken and the glasses have been recovered."
Most people in the U.K. have never downloaded an e-book, according to a Book Marketing Limited survey, "Understanding the GB Digital Consumer," that is still in its initial stages, Bookseller.com reported.
Conducted in advance of next month's Publishers Association Conference, "Creating the Future: the Digital and E-book Market in 2011," the survey found that "19% of adults claim to have downloaded e-books, book extracts or chapters. While 18% have downloaded free book content, only 7% have downloaded paid-for content. Digital content is consumed the most by men, the young, those in higher social grades and students." Other findings of note were that "heavy book buyers paid for on average six e-books during the past six months" and "despite the growing popularity in iPhones and iPads, laptop and desktop computers remain the most popular way of reading e-books," Bookseller.com wrote.
The "statue stand-in" at Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass. (Shelf Awareness, September 28, 2010), is now officially on duty.
Book suggestions for wine and spirits lovers were showcased by William P. O'Donnell in the New York Times: "Of the six new-ish books I want to recommend here, two of them are not available in stores, or even at Amazon.com. Self-publishing has moved well beyond vanity works, and now includes some excellent books on wine."
"The end is nigh and inevitable; you may as well learn to enjoy it. These three books prove that the apocalypse can be fun. They may even cure your fear of the 24-hour news cycle," NPR reported in its feature, "Three Books to Help You Enjoy the Apocalypse." The choices: Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders and Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler.
Book trailer of the day: Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir by Fatima Bhutto (Nation Books), the granddaughter of former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the niece of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
National Book Network has launched a professional, academic and reference division focused on providing a range of service to publishers wanting to the reach the U.S. library for the first time or wanting more business in it. Services include attendance at library and subject and annual meetings to direct mail campaigns to library buyers to POD and e-book conversion. In addition, Nation Book Network International moved to a larger distribution facility in Plymouth, England, last month, allowing the company, it said, to serve clients better on both sides of the Atlantic.
NBN president Rich Freese said, "We now have all the people and pieces in place to open the library market channel to our publishing partners."
Baker & Taylor and Centraal Boekhuis, the main wholesaler for the Dutch and Flemish markets, have reached an agreement whereby Centraal Boekhuis (or Central Bookhouse) will distribute Dutch-language content via Blio. The two companies are working together to obtain rights from Dutch and Belgian publishers to convert Dutch and Flemish titles for digital distribution on Blio. Through the partnership, Centraal Boekhuis will take on some English-language titles and B&T will take on some Dutch-language titles.
Yale University Press has made the following changes in marketing and sales:
Heather D'Auria, formerly publicity director, has been promoted to director of marketing and promotion.
Brenda King, formerly assistant publicity manager, has been promoted to publicity director.
Stephen Cebik has been promoted to senior sales manager, art and digital publishing.
Ivan Lett has been promoted to online marketing coordinator.
The National Book Foundation has announced the 2010 "5 Under 35" honorees, recognizing five young fiction writers and chosen by previous National Book Award winners and finalists:
Sarah Braunstein, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children (Norton, 2011). Selected by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, National Book Award fiction finalist for Madeleine Is Sleeping, 2004
Grace Krilanovich, The Orange Eats Creeps (Two Dollar Radio, 2010). Selected by Scott Spencer, fiction finalist for A Ship Made of Paper, 2003; fiction finalist for Endless Love, 1980 and 1981
Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife (Random House, 2011). Selected by Colum McCann, fiction winner for Let the Great World Spin, 2009
Tiphanie Yanique, How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf, 2010). Selected by Jayne Anne Phillips, fiction finalist for Lark and Termite, 2009
Paul Yoon, Once the Shore (Sarabande, 2009). Selected by Kate Walbert, fiction finalist for Our Kind, 2004
They will be honored at a celebration at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, at the start of National Book Awards Week on Monday, November 15, hosted by musician and author.
At the Frankfurt Book Fair today, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group, announced that on April 12, 2011, it will release what they are calling the "definitive encyclopedic reference" to Stephenie Meyer's series: The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide. The 500-page hardcover ($24.99) will include nearly 100 full-color photographs and illustrations (many done by Young Kim, the artist for Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1); it will also be available as an e-book.
The Guide will include "exclusive new material," according to the publisher. Meyer added, "I hoped we could incorporate as many details as possible, including character histories, like Alice's back story. I'm thrilled with the different artistic interpretations done by Young Kim and the other talented illustrators, including Bella's wedding dress." The Guide will cover Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, and include character profiles, outtakes, genealogical charts, maps, extensive cross-references and a conversation with Meyer. The Twilight Saga's translation rights have been sold in nearly 50 countries and it has sold 116 million copies worldwide.
Marie Lamba, author of What I Meant... (Random House), and Heidi Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (Algonquin), both of whom write about what it's like being a mixed-race girl in the U.S., met for the first time in person last Saturday at the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, N.J. But the two have been virtual friends for two years, since Durrow invited Lamba to be a guest on her weekly podcast Mixed Chicks Chat.
Today on Talk of the Nation: Michael Krasny, author of Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest (New World Library, $22.95, 9781577319122/1577319125).
Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Judah Friedlander, author of How to Beat Up Anybody: An Instructional and Inspirational Karate Book by the World Champion (It Books, $17.99, 9780061969775/006196977X).
Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Michael Franzak, author of A Nightmare's Prayer: A Marine Harrier Pilot's War in Afghanistan (Threshold Editions, $26, 9781439194980/143919498X).
Tomorrow on the Rachael Ray Show: Harry Hamlin, author of Full Frontal Nudity: The Making of an Accidental Actor (Scribner, $24, 9781439169995/1439169993), and Lisa Rinna, author of Starlit (Gallery, $24.99, 9781439177617/1439177619).
Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Stephen Breyer, author of Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307269911/0307269914).
Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Rick Moody, author of The Four Fingers of Death (Little, Brown, $25.99, 9780316118910/0316118915). As the show put it: "Rick Moody creates a sleazoid end-of-the-world saga, basing his story on a cheapo so-bad-it's-good sci-fi classic. By the end of this Kurt Vonnegut-inspired festival of terror, he's tricked us into asking serious questions. How did we turn our culture into a sleazoid end-of-the-world saga? What is to be done?"
Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Jamie Lee Curtis, author of My Mommy Hung the Moon: A Love Story (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780060290160/0060290161).
Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Davis Guggenheim, director of Waiting for Superman, the documentary that opens this coming Friday about efforts to repair the public school system, which focuses in part on Geoffrey Canada, creator of the Harlem Children's Zone. The tie-in and related books include:
Waiting for 'Superman': How We Can Save America's Failing Public Schools edited by Karl Weber (PublicAffairs, $15.95, 9781586489274/1586489275).
Whatever It Takes by Paul Tough (Mariner, $14.95, 9780547247960/0547247966), about Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children's Zone.
Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America by Geoffrey Canada (Beacon, $14, 9780807004234/0807004235), a memoir of growing up in the South Bronx.
Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, the graphic novel adapted by Jamar Nicholas (Beacon, $14, 9780807044490/0807044490).
Melinda Nadj Abonji's novel Tauben Fliegen Auf won the German Book Prize, presented by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Stiftung for the year's best German-language novel.
The judges said the book "tells the story, as seen by daughter Ildiko, of a Hungarian family from Vojvodina in Serbia, setting out to make a living in the Swiss catering business. She tells it with her very own and vibrant voice, to begin with, still from the child's view of the world, for whom everything is new and yet who manages to understand things for herself, then from the perspective of the young woman who gradually detects the fault lines within and between these very different worlds, but always with great empathy and humanity. What begins as an apparently carefree Balkan comedy when the family sets off in a rickety old brown Chevrolet for the summer trip back home, is soon overshadowed by the hand of history and the looming Yugoslavian wars. So Tauben Fliegen Auf presents a deeper picture of a contemporary Europe at a time of new departures, but by no means yet able to break with its past."
Independent publishers made a strong showing among the finalists for the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, honoring Canadian authors. The National Post's Afterword blog reported this year's jury chose a shortlist "that (mostly) eschews the big presses, celebrates the short story, and is set to introduce a new, exciting, generation of writers to Canadian readers." A winner will be named November 9. The Giller nominees are:
James McManus is the author of Going to the Sun, Positively Fifth Street, Physical: An American Checkup and Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker (reprint by Picador, September 28, 2010), as well as six other books. In connection with Cowboys Full, he has spoken about the history of poker at Yale, Harvard Law School, Google, in the Oval Office with President Obama and on many media outlets. He has covered the game for the New York Times, the New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, Foreign Policy, American History and espn.com.
On your nightstand now:
Snow by Orhan Pamuk, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean (which I'm teaching) and Gentleman's Gap, a terrific new novel in manuscript by my student Baird Harper.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Shane by Jack Schaefer.
Your top five authors:
Five?! Impossible question for 59-year-old writer and lit professor, but here are a few: Joyce pre-Finnegans Wake, Beckett, Shakespeare, Homer (can you see how ridiculous this is?), Cormac McCarthy.... Among the slightly less obvious: Alice Munro, Denis Johnson, Joseph Ellis, Philip Roth, Frederick Seidel, Raymond Carver, García Márquez (in English), most of the Russians translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, J.M. Coetzee... David Chase, Aaron Sorkin and Seth McFarland (to the extent that they may be called authors)... Henry Adams, Doris Kearns Goodwin, William Trevor, early Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, David McCullough, David Mamet, Garry Wills, Scott Turow, Paul Muldoon, Lorrie Moore, David Sedaris (my former student).... Among the not-terribly famous yet: Stuart Dybek, David Bezmozgis, Susan Wheeler, Wells Tower....
Book you've faked reading:
Two or three I was reviewing under deadlines I'd agreed to but which turned out to be unrealistic.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Gentleman's Gap by Baird Harper, Jerome Sala's poetry and plenty of others that need no evangelizing.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Separated at Birth from Spy magazine.
Book that changed your life:
Richard Ellmann's James Joyce, 1959 edition (though the revised edition is even better).
Favorite line from a book:
"'Nurse,' I sobbed."
or: "Tom laughed, in a way."
or: "Talk into my bullet hole. Tell me I'm fine." (all three from Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson)
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez.
Do you recommend being a multigenre author in America? In other words, someone who writes poetry, fiction, memoir, history and reportage?
The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier (First Second, $13.99 Paperback, 9781596434530, August 2010)
Nothing is quite what it appears to be in this highly imaginative graphic novel. Part pirate tale, part ghost story, Aaron Renier's (Spiral-Bound) lavishly illustrated yarn stars unlikely hero Walker Bean, whose only real champion is his bedridden grandfather, Admiral Bean. For years, the Admiral has told Walker a bedtime story about Tartessa and Remora, the ocean bottom–dwelling merwitch sisters who constructed a wall of bone-shaped pearls with which they could view the world above the surface. One of these bones--a skull--goes astray and lands in the hands of a treasure-seeker. Admiral Bean, tempted by the skull's taunting, had taken a forbidden look at the merwitches' errant skull and instantly knew that Tartessa and Remora, freed from their fathoms-deep prison, were now pursuing the skull at full throttle. The Admiral sends young Walker on a mission: to return the skull in order to save his life and the lives of their townspeople.
A glorious spread in shades of ebony, jade and pearl depicts the lobster-like merwitches before their pearly sanctuary. Then we follow Walker, the only blond and bespectacled child in the book, through a sequence of small panels in what appears to be a Colonial village, populated by beer-bellied men in three-corner hats. The skull cries out in blood-colored speech balloons, and Walker succeeds in stealing it from his grandfather's men, only to be kidnapped by his grandfather's alleged physician, Dr. Patches, and pulled aboard a pirate ship!
Renier brilliantly controls the pacing. A full-spread image of the pirate ship in midnight blue and velvety purple explodes into golden and orange circular inset scenes that appear like images viewed through a telescope ("POW! BOOM! KRKK!" go the sound effects). Walker comes to and discovers that Shiv, a boy his age, has been keeping him hidden below decks. Another full-spread scene of Spithead Port--the ship's first stop--charts Walker and Shiv's progress as they wind their way through the streets of a town brimming with colorful characters, shops and peddlers. Neat coincidences unite the boys--Shiv knows the song about Leechi Boura that Walker's grandfather often sang to him, and he recognizes the importance of the travel gifts the Admiral entrusted to his grandson. When Shiv and Walker get in trouble with the pirates, their view, as they're bound together by rope and looking up from the deck into the heights of the mast, is enough to give anyone vertigo. The hideous gargantuan merwitches finally reappear, dwarfing the giant pirate vessel. Along with these dramatic developments, Renier tucks in some highly satisfying details, such as a message-in-a-bottle that really delivers, and rival pirate-gal Gen, who turns out to have a soft spot and a green thumb. The best part of all is that the young people perceive things the adults can't see (such as Dr. Patches's despicable character), and they alone--with a little advice from the Admiral--can set things right. This high-seas adventure will hold readers spellbound.--Jennifer M. Brown
Is there a difference between playing a video game and reading a story? Both have characters and a plot, and involve picking up visual and textual clues in order to move forward. Does it matter if one is on a screen and the other is on the page? Are gamers also readers? These questions formed the crux of the discussion at a panel called "Transforming Gamers into Readers" at the 2010 ALSC (Association of Library Service to Children) Institute held September 23-24 in Atlanta, Ga.
Kelly Czarnecki, a teen services librarian at ImaginOn in Charlotte, N.C., who writes the School Library Journal column "Gaming Life," and is the author of Gaming and Libraries, has an inclusive definition of story. "Games are stories in a different format," she suggested. "The game may have a programmed ending, but you're creating the story as you go." Her library set up a gaming area in the teen room and, Czarnecki said, "Kids open up who normally wouldn't." The gamers in her library read books based on the games, write fan fiction, create videos, make fliers for events and even recruited a comics store owner to judge a Yu-Gi-Oh! contest the teens planned and publicized, which was hosted by the library.
Gamers and readers are not mutually exclusive. "All of the research shows that most kids do both," said David Levithan, author of books for teens (Boy Meets Boy; Will Grayson, Will Grayson, co-authored with John Green); he appeared on the panel as editor of the 39 Clues series. Just that morning (Sept. 23), Scholastic had announced the planned launch on April 5, 2011, of the series The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, a continuation of the multiplatform story experience that involves books, the Web and gaming elements. Levithan pointed out that today's technologies allow us "a larger toolbox with which to tell stories." In the case of the 39 Clues, the story drove the technology. He called it "subversive education," teaching kids history and geography as they go.
For Eric Nylund, head writer at Microsoft Game Studios, the game drives the story, but he said that while gamers are always requesting more story, "they get angry when you stop the game to tell them a story." With a book called The Resisters due out from Random House in spring 2011, Nylund supports the idea of including more story. He also said that kids write to him to tell him they "hate reading" but enjoy Nylund's books based on the games and ask if he has any other book suggestions. He points them first to Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. "They'll come back a week later," he said, asking for another suggestion. "Try Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld," Nylund suggests; he called this "breadcrumbing." If they come back a third time, it's Tolkien, "and then I know they're hooked," he said.
The best way to point kids to content similar to the games they're interested in, Nylund said, is to play the game. Both Czarnecki and Nylund said they know kids are playing games that are beyond their age level, such as violent games, but even then they can steer kids to Band of Brothers, or nonfiction about World War II, or historical novels set during wartime. For kids interested in Madden, Levithan suggested Mike Lupica's sports books, Matt Christopher and Gordon Korman. Graphic novels and manga are often a logical transition to printed media.
As to the economic divide, Levithan and Czarnecki said that teachers and kids have found ways around this. Teachers set up a classroom account for 39 Clues, so kids can access the class account from school or remotely to continue their pursuit. Czarnecki said that kids in the library share their machines with each other, in addition to the library's consoles. Audience members wanted to know about the rules Czarnecki had set. Her library has a plasma TV and consoles that they've locked down, and kids can sign up for a half hour at a time.
For those who are not eager to actually play the games but who want to be able to recommend books to gamers, Nylund suggested magazines like I09, PC Games and Game Pro that will give you an idea of games' content. Czarnecki suggested X-Box magazine, VOYA's quarterly journal that focuses on gaming, Liz Danforth's column in Booklist and the ALA monthly podcast devoted to gaming. Czarnecki said the most important thing is to build a relationship with the gamers, and then you earn their trust.
All three panelists stressed the importance of inclusion, of validating teens' interests and starting a conversation that could eventually lead in all sorts of directions--hopefully toward a greater appreciation and participation in story. Whatever form that may take.--Jennifer M. Brown