, the program announced by Amazon last fall (Shelf Awareness
, October 13, 2010) to showcase written works in the 5,000 to 30,000 word range, has released its initial list of titles, including pieces by Rich Cohen,
Pete Hamill, Jodi Picoult, Darin Strauss and Ian Ayres. These works, "expressed at their natural length," are now available for both Kindle devices and app users at prices between 99¢ and $4.99. Electronista
observed that the Kindle Singles format "is more widely considered an attempt by Amazon to spur e-book downloads by lowering the price well below the typical $10 asking price for a full novel or nonfiction book. Kindle books are already outselling paper through Amazon, but Singles would bring pricing closer to that of music and potentially attract those who otherwise would avoid paying for digital reading. Singles also give it a potential exclusive that wouldn't be matched by Apple or Barnes & Noble."
While noting that Kindle Singles sounds like "the name for a new online dating service for Kindle owners," Cnet News
reported, "For now anyway, it seems as if the 'Kindle Single' designation is just a way for authors to set readers' expectations for what they're buying. Ideally, Amazon would break out Singles into its own store (there's a top-10 bestseller list for Singles, but nothing beyond that). Oh, and an online dating service for Kindle owners would be good, too. You never know what a little e-book swapping might lead to."
is piloting a new campaign that would deliver e-readers to school children in Ghana. Mashable
reported that the devices "will function as all-purpose textbooks by providing instantaneous access to the thousands of books now digitally available."
Susan Moody, Worldreader.org's director of communication, said that while the organization has been using Amazon’s Kindle, it is "e-reader agnostic" and "will be working with manufacturers to share specs for a ruggedized e-reader built for the needs of the developing world."Mashable
noted that in addition to books from around the world, the nonprofit "has shown an equal interest in delivering local culture. It has partnered with eight African publishers to digitize local content and textbooks. It now has permission from the Ministry of Education in Ghana to take the program across the country, reaching millions of school children. The organization's workers hope to expand the program to other parts of Africa and eventually to developing countries and continents across the world."
In an interview headlined "A Bookworm Finds His True Calling," today's New York Times
profiles Stephen C. Barr, 25, a junior literary agent at Writers House who "switched his career objective from editor to agent early on," was promoted to junior agent from agent assistant last year.
"Even as a little kid, I remember being obsessed with books," said Barr. "I was eight or nine when I saw a novelty sweater in a gift catalog and told my parents I had to have it because of the logo: 'So many books, so little time.' It only came in adult sizes, but I wanted it so badly they had one made for me.
Before landing at Writers House, Barr, who describes himself as "freakishly, dangerously ambitious," took an internship route that led him to Hotchkiss and Associates: "They do film and book deals, and I was pretty much their call center. I manned the phones, but also learned a lot about translating a book into film, about what is essential and what’s superfluous to a story, which are also crucial skills in finding a good book and making it better. I got the Writers House internship in February of 2008. I loved it here immediately. I did everything possible; I read my butt off, expressed my opinions, and that May I was hired as an assistant."
Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
, the parenting book that launched a thousand debates in the U.S. recently, is now on the shelves of Beijing bookstores, though "much of the incendiary packaging had been toned down," Xinhua
reported. "Gone was the crimson background to the title words on the version that made Amazon's best-seller list. Instead the Chinese book displays the smiling Yale Law School professor in a black suit, arms crossed, against the Stars and Stripes. Above her is the Chinese title: Being an American Mum
"We bibliophiles are a romantic bunch, aren't we?" asked the Book Bench
rhetorically to introduce a piece offering Valentine's Day advice for book lovers:
"Le Pavillon Des Lettres
, barely a season old, is pleased to remind you that not only is Paris still the city of love, but one that loves reading as well.... The 26 rooms, each named after a different author, from Andersen to Zola (the entire alphabet is represented, thanks to Queiroz and Xenophon), also boast iPads, wi-fi and a substantial library....
"If Paris is too far away, and if, perhaps, you have no one to play Romeo to your Juliet, there's always Manhattan's book-themed stopping place, the Library Hotel
, to which you might take a date found on Alikewise, the place to conjure a literary soulmate at the click of a mouse."
Kate Childs, associate publicist at Random House, has nice things to say about Water Street Bookstore
, Exeter, N.H., in Matchbook magazine
's "Postcard from Your Hometown" column (click to page 148 to read the profile): "As someone who now works in publishing, I can't for a minute discount the influence this little shop had on my upbringing. I lived for the days when I was taken to the bookstore or the Exeter Library to get the next book in a series or scan the shelves for a new acquisition. I became a reader because of those two places, and it's reassuring and thrilling to visit Water Street Bookstore these days and see that it's still a hub of the community."
U.K. publisher Visual Editions has given Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
"the loopy graphic treatment it deserves." Fast Company
noted that before there was a McSweeney's or an Everything Is Illuminated
or a Pale Fire
, there was "THE modern proto-hypertext and a novel that's been begging lo these many years to be turned into graphic-design porn."
The new edition "is a visual free-for-all. The book's got pages of dotted spot varnish to represent sweat and a folded page for a shut door. One page, marbled in the original Shandy
, is here a moire of a black-and-white photograph--a reference to contemporary printing techniques in the same way that marbling was high-tech in Sterne's day. All told, it's a perfectly insane way to illustrate a perfectly insane book. And that's the point."
--- Books at Berlinale
, which brings the publishing and film worlds closer together during next month's Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, will feature a "Breakfast & Books" program February 15, at which 10 novels will be showcased:
The Mall by S.L. Grey
Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans
Heldensommer (Summer of Heroes) by Andi Rogenhagen
De Bewaker (The Guard) by Peter Terrin
Mi nombre es Victoria (My Name Is Victoria) by Victoria Donda
Lo verdadero es un momento de lo falso (The True Is a Moment of the False) by Lucia Etxeberria
Non ci sono pesci rossi nelle pozzanghere (Goldfish Don't Live in Puddles) by Marco Truzzi
Rossmore Avenue by Vanessa Caffin
Nenäpäivä (Red Nose Day) by Mikko Rimminen
Andernorts (Elsewhere) by Doron Rabinovici.
To help celebrate Amnesty International's 50th anniversary and the publication of Freedom
, an anthology of short stories paired with the 30 rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Flavorwire
also recommended "ten nonfiction titles to complement their fictional counterparts with a deeper look at specific UDHR issues."
E.C. Osondu, author most recently of Voice of America
, recommended his top 10 immigrants' tales
for the Guardian
, noting that he has "always been fascinated by how an individual is--or is not--changed by a new environment. I explore this in my stories, not just from the point of view of those coming to the west for the first time, but also the westerner in Africa. I think Jhumpa Lahiri's phrase Unaccustomed Earth is such a neat expression because it captures this state of being succinctly. In-betweenness--that state of neither fish nor fowl, mortal nor spirit--is also fascinating, and is of course the existential state of the immigrant. He is not fully of this place yet he is no longer of that."
--- Pop quiz of the day
: Mental Floss
wondered if readers could distinguish between the lexicons of Harry Potter’s favorite game, Quidditch, and Olympic curling.
Jennifer Hunt, fiction editorial director at Little, Brown Books for
Young Readers is moving to Los Angeles, Calif., and setting up a West
Coast office at her home for the company. She will continue to oversee
the acquisition and development of the middle grade and YA fiction lists
and will now "explore opportunities in the entertainment and digital
She has been with the company for 10 years.
Book trailer of the day: The Violets of March
by Sarah Jio (Plume).
Nicole Kalian Abbott is leaving her position as associate director of
publicity at Free Press to join JCPR, a PR firm in New Jersey. As of
February 1, she can be reached at email@example.com. In her decade in
publishing, she's worked with authors including Valerie Bertinelli, Dr.
Stephen Covey, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, S.E. Hinton, Orson Scott
Card and, most recently, Mira Bartok, author of The Memory Palace