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Tag: Publishing Biz (11-20 of 144)

On the Books: Authors United warns Amazon, watch your reputation

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The 1,100 member group Authors United posted a letter of direct appeal to Amazon’s board of directors—urging them to end their book-pricing standoff with publisher Hachette, which has hurt some authors’ book sales.

The letter warns the board that their reputation may be at stake: “[I]f this is how Amazon continues to treat the literary community, how long will the company’s fine reputation last?” The appeal continues, noting similar disputes “have a long and ugly history,” and asking, “Do you, personally, want to be associated with this?” For months, Amazon has delayed shipments of books by Hachette authors and removed the preorder option for those titles in an attempt to force Hachette to lower its e-book prices. [NPR] READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Long-lost Dr. Seuss stories hit shelves

Horton-and-the-Kwuggerbug

A new Dr. Seuss book was published Tuesday, 23 years after the writer’s death. Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories is a collection of four previously unpublished short stories that Seuss wrote for Redbook magazine in the 1950s. The stories, discovered by Seuss biographer Charles Cohen and published by Random House, feature both familiar faces like The Grinch and Horton the elephant, as well as new characters like the titular Kwuggerbug. Theodor Geisel, the man behind the legendary pseudonym, died in 1991. [The Telegraph]

British fantasy novelist Graham Joyce died Tuesday at the age of 59 after a yearlong battle with lymphoma. Joyce’s publisher Gollancz, confirmed the news via Twitter: “Graham Joyce was a writer of huge heart. He loved people and his writing celebrated the magic of them. His books are a fitting legacy.” The multiple-time British Fantasy award winner was mourned on Twitter by fans and fellow authors including Stephen King, who tweeted, “Very sad to hear that Graham Joyce, a truly great novelist, has passed away. Too soon. Far too soon.” [The Guardian]

The nation’s largest bookstore, Barnes & Noble, experienced a 7-percent loss in revenue in its first quarter, ending in August—but managed to cut its net losses from $87 million to $28.4 million in the first period of the fiscal year. Retail CEO Mitch Klipper said that part of the reduction in declining sales is due to the ongoing dispute between retailer Amazon and publisher Hachette, as well as the popularity of movies adapted from young-adult books. B&N’s future revenues will in part be determined by its Nook Media ebook business and a new joint venture with Google, a book delivery system, currently being piloted. [Publishers Weekly]

Celebrity television judge-turned-author Judge Judy Sheindlin is giving away her new book for free. What Would Judy Say?: Be the Hero of Your Own Story is downloadable on Sheindlin’s website a PDF or e-book, free of charge.  On the site, Scheindlen—who collects a bigger paycheck than any other celebrity on TV, earning nearly a million dollars per workday—describes her book as “an honest conversation with women about what it really takes to get what you deserve out of life.” [Los Angeles Times]

 

 

 

 

On the Books: Americans appear on Man Booker shortlist for first time

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The shortlist of contenders for the United Kingdom’s prestigious Man Booker Prize, announced today, includes American authors Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler among the unprecedentedly multinational selection. The competition—which until this year was only open to citizens of the the U.K., U.K. Commonwealth, Ireland, and Zimbabwe—considered writers from any country, as long as they were published in English in the United Kingdom. Here is the list in full:

Joshua Ferris (U.S.), To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)
Richard Flanagan (Australian), The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)
Karen Joy Fowler (U.S.), We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail)
Howard Jacobson (British), J (Jonathan Cape)
Neel Mukherjee (British), The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)
Ali Smith (British), How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Despite fears of British authors being shut out by American literary powerhouses, Brits still dominated the competition, nabbing three of the six spots on the shortlist. AC Grayling, chair of the judges, said the selection is “a strong, thought-provoking shortlist which we believe demonstrates the wonderful depth and range of contemporary fiction in English.” The winner of the $80,000 award will be announced in London on Oct. 14. [NPR]

Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards’ children’s book, Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar, hits shelves today. Published by Little, Brown and illustrated by Richards’ daughter Theodora, the book is about Richards’ childhood memories of jazz-musician grandfather Gus, who shared his love for music and London with a young Keith. [USA Today]

Publishers Weekly conducted an informal poll of more than 20 independent bookstores, finding that despite earlier predictions, most of the stores enjoyed a successful summer. Though overall book sales fell nearly 8 percent in the first half of 2014, PW‘s poll shows that many small booksellers saw a surge in sales over the last quarter. Storeowners attribute part of the increase to the Hachette-Amazon feud—Powell’s Books of Portland, Ore., for example, received 10,000 pre-orders for Edan Lepucki’s California after getting a mention on The Colbert Report.

On the books: Barnes & Noble reveals instant-print Espresso Book Machine

Bookseller Barnes & Noble is launching the Espresso Book Machine at three store locations, including New York’s Union Square flagship. The machines, which retail at $80,000 a piece, print books on demand—then collate, cover, and bind them in minutes for customers. [Good e-Reader]

Valérie Trierweiler, the ex-girlfriend of French President François Hollande, published a tell-all memoir last week. France’s former First Lady writes in detail about her relationship with the highly unpopular President Hollande, including the devastation she experienced after finding out about his highly publicized affair with French actress Julie Gayet. A senior Socialist politician said that the release of the book is “a mortal poison for François but also, perhaps, for a whole generation of politicians,” The Telegraph reports READ FULL STORY

On the Books: You can now have your cookbook and eat it too

real-cookbook

German design firm KOREFE has reinvented the term “visual feast” with The Real Cookbook, the world’s first and only edible cookbook.

The book is made to be cooked and eaten after reading—the pages are not paper but sheets of fresh lasagna noodles, imprinted with a recipe explaining how to add fresh fillings to the book and then bake it to cheesy perfection.

The award-winning novelty was “designed as a special project for a large publishing house,” according to the KOREFE website. “The prose etched on the four inner pages of pasta toys with the idea of how important the contents of a cookery book can be,” said Antje Hedde, the head of the innovative design firm.

Just remember to bake after reading. [Design Daily]

The coalition of over 900 authors banded against Amazon known as Authors United shared a fiery new letter this week, as the book-pricing standoff between the online retail giant and publishers including Hachette continues.

The email, penned by Hachette author Douglas Preston, accuses Amazon of sanctioning over 7,000 Hachette titles, affecting 2,500 authors. “Hachette authors have seen their sales at Amazon decline at least 50%,and in many cases as much as 90%,” Preston writes. “Amazon has other negotiating tools at its disposal than harming the very authors who helped it become one of the largest retailers in the world.”

The letter also charges that Amazon has misrepresented the situation to the public, “falsely trying to depict us as ‘rich’ authors who are seeking higher e-book prices, while it is fighting on behalf of the consumer for lower prices.”

The letter was distributed to the members of Authors United—the writers who signed the open letter calling on Amazon to resolve its feud with Hachette, published as full-page New York Times ad in August. Preston closes by hinting at an eminent Authors United call-to-action: “[W]e are forced to move on to our next initiative. I will be asking you once again for the use of your good name— perhaps as soon as next week. Stay tuned.” [Publishers Weekly]

Acclaimed author Margaret Atwood is the first contributor to The Future Library project, a forward-thinking initiative started in Oslo, Norway that can best be described as a bibliological time capsule. The fiction work Atwood is currently writing will be locked away in a vault, not to be read by any human for a century.

The project—conceived by Katie Paterson, an award-winning Scottish artist—started with the planting of 1,000 trees outside Oslo this summer. “Every year until 2114, one writer will be invited to contribute a new text to the collection,” reports The Guardian, “and in 2114, the trees will be cut down to provide the paper for the texts to be printed—and, finally, read.”

Atwood, a Man Booker Prize-winning novelist, is excited to be the first on board. “I think it goes right back to that phase of our childhood when we used to bury little things in the backyard, hoping that someone would dig them up, long in the future,” she told The Guardian. 

“[W]hen you write any book you do not know who’s going to read it, and you do not know when they’re going to read it,” Atwood said. “So books, anyway, really are like the message in the bottle.” She predicts that language may evolve so much over the next century that future readers may need a paleo-anthropologist to help translate the book.

One perk of a release date set for 100 years in the future? No need to worry about the critics. “You don’t have to be around for the part when if it’s a good review the publisher takes credit for it,” Atwood said, “and if it’s a bad review it’s all your fault.”

Nick Cannon to publish illustrated poetry book for kids

Versatile TV and radio personality Nick Cannon will soon be adding “published poet” to his list of professional accomplishments. Today Scholastic announced it will publish Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems, a hip-hop-influenced children’s poetry book written and partially illustrated by Cannon, in March 2015.

The poetry collection will include “funny, silly, gross, heartwarming, as well as serious poems,” according to the Scholastic press release. Cannon—a musician, comedian, actor, producer and host of America’s Got Talent—will do some of the illustrations himself, while others will be the work of notable streets artists like Califawnia (a.k.a. Fawn Arthur), Art Mobb (a.k.a. Michael Farhat), and MAST.

Neon Aliens is inspired by Cannon’s love for both poetry and hip-hop. “Writing is at the center of everything I do as an artist,” Cannon said. “As a kid, it was my escape from the inner-city pitfalls.” He credits Shel Silverstein in particular with fostering his passion for writing poetry and creating art from a young age—and aspires to do the same for kids today with his book. “I hope that poems in Neon Aliens will help inspire kids to want to get out a pen and paper to write or draw their own thoughts, rhymes, and stories.”

The book deal is the result of a collaboration between Nick Cannon’s production and management company Ncredible Entertainment, Vice President at Scholastic Debra Dorfman, and the investment group Impact Republic. Scholastic is set to publish a previously announced children’s book by Cannon in November, Roc and Roe’s Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the Books: Nikki Finke secures book deal with Simon & Schuster

nikki-finke

Simon & Schuster president Johnathan Karp confirmed to The New York Times that Hollywood gossip reporter Nikki Finke has signed a book deal with the publishing house. Karp said he plans to edit the book himself, but declined to share any specifics about the content or release date of the book. “Whenever we publish, the book will be an event,” he said in an email to the Times.

Finke, founder of the gossip website Deadline Hollywood, has been in the line of fire this week—the site NikkiStink.com published an open letter to her, saying she has “threatened and bullied the Hollywood community into providing you information so that you could use it to ridicule, abuse and destroy people.”

Most of the content has now been removed from the site, but it previously cited instances of her incisive written remarks about celebrities from Kate Hudson to Billy Crystal. If her book is as derisive as her gossip reporting, it “will likely be met with dread in movie and television industry circle,” The Times wrote.

Finke also made headlines this week for her involvement in a reported legal dispute with Penske Media Corporation, which in 2009 bought Deadline, which The Times describes as “[one of] the most influential news sites in the movie business.” [The New York Times]

Several Japanese publishers are taking issue with Amazon’s new tactics in their negotiations with them, which are similar to those recently criticized by writers in the U.S. and Germany. According to the Agence France Presse and the Japanese newspaper Asahi, the publishers claim that Amazon is threatening the Japanese publishing industry by pressing for higher commission rates in contract renegotiations. The companies claim that the higher the commission a publishing house pays, the more Amazon will promote their books.

This directly affects book sales in Japan, where Amazon’s market share continues to grow. “Some smaller publishers are facing demands to accept a surge in commission fees,” an anonymous industry source told the AFP. “If this kind of practice continues, small Japanese publishers who have created a diverse publishing culture here will be forced to go bankrupt.” [Business Insider]

Award-winning author Sherman Alexie and bestselling novelist Jess Walter launched a podcast this week, titled “A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment.” Alexie won the U.S. National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2007 for “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” a semi-autobiographical novel. Walter wrote this 2012’s bestselling “Beautiful Ruins. “We’re going to talk about everything,” Alexie told the Los Angeles Times. [L.A. Times]

On the Books: Bruce Springsteen's publishing a book about a bank-robbing baby

Outlaw-Pete

The Boss is jumping on the bandwagon of musicians writing children’s books with the November 4 release of Outlaw Pete, a picture book based on his 2009 song of the same name. The book will be composed of Springsteen’s lengthy lyrics about a bank-robbing baby paired with illustrations by cartoonist/author Frank Caruso, according to New York Times.

While it’s being marketed as a picture book for adults, Simon & Schuster president Jonathan Karp said it’s “for readers of all ages.”

“It’s a book for anybody who loves a good Western,” he told The Times. “Obviously, the song it’s based on is for adults. It has an adult sensibility, and so does the book. Outlaw Pete is a quintessentially Springsteen character, brought to life here, and like the song, it’s a meditation on fate. Pete is robbing banks at a very young age, and he does a lot of things he regrets, but as the lyric says, you can’t undo the things you’ve done.”

Fellow musician Keith Richards announced back in March would be writing a children’s book, following in the footsteps of Madonna, Jimmy Buffett, and three of the four Beatles.

On the Books: Soccer star Tim Howard scores book deal

American soccer star and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard will release a memoir via HarperCollins on Dec. 9. According to a publisher’s statement, The Keeper will include details about both Howard’s professional career and personal life, notably his struggle with Tourette syndrome. Earlier this summer, Howard drew fanfare playing for the U.S. at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, saving a record 16 goals in a game against Belgium. (The U.S. lost 2-1.) The book will be published in both an adult and young-adult version. [The Guardian]

In other soccer-related book news, Zaha Hadid, the notable British-Iraqi architect who designed a stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, is suing the New York Review of Books for defamation and libel. Hadid charges that architecture critic Martin Filler’s review of the book Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture, by Rowan Moore, takes her words out of context to portray her as “showing no concern” for the nearly 1,000 migrant workers who have died while constructing stadiums in Qatar—a scandal originally uncovered by The Guardian. The complaint also alleges that construction has not begun on the stadium that Hadid designed. Hadid’s lawyer, Oren Warshavsky, stated that the review, published in June, is “a personal attack disguised as a book review and has exposed Ms. Hadid to public ridicule and contempt.” Hadid is seeking a retraction and damages. [The Guardian]

Former Meet the Press host David Gregory, who was abruptly booted by NBC last week, is writing a book about his personal experience with Judaism, to be published by Simon & Schuster. “The book was never intended as a memoir about his career,” says Simon & Schuster president Jonathan Karp, who has been in talks with Gregory to write a book for several years. “That objective hasn’t changed and will not change,” he continued. “This book will be about the inner spiritual journey many of us take in our lives.” A release date has not yet been announced. [NPR]

 

 

 

On the Books: Orwell estate swings back at Amazon

Bill Hamilton, literary executor of George Orwell’s estate, penned a scathing letter to the editor  in yesterday’s New York Times criticizing Amazon’s misrepresentation of the author in a message the online giant posted on ReadersUnited.com last week. The letter was intended to defend Amazon’s position in its ongoing conflict with publisher Hachette over e-book prices, but Amazon’s choice of words has backfired in an ironic way.

In comparing its current e-book pricing standoff to the resistance Penguin Books faced with the introduction of inexpensive paperback books in the 1930s, Amazon quoted George Orwell “out of context as supporting a campaign to suppress paperbacks,” Hamilton wrote. Hamilton likened Amazon’s subversion of the truth to the propaganda tactics employed by the authoritarian government in Orwell’s famed dystopian novel, 1984.

This is about as close as one can get to the Ministry of Truth and its doublespeak: turning the facts inside out to get a piece of propaganda across,” wrote Hamilton. “It doesn’t say much for Amazon’s regard for truth, or its powers of literary understanding. [NPR] READ FULL STORY

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