Publishers Weekly reported today that Nielsen Business Media has decided to close Kirkus Reviews, its book review publication. Nielsen also plans on shutting down the trade journal Editor & Publisher. Nielsen is in the midst of selling some of its publications, including The Hollywood Reporter, which is going to e5 Global Media Holdings.
Tag: Publishing Biz (71-80 of 98)
If you were waiting until after Thanksgiving to start shopping for the holidays (silly you) and were hoping to pick up Barnes & Noble’s new e-reader, the Nook, for the technophilic book-lover in your family, you may be out of luck. According to the B&N website, “the hottest holiday gift is out of stock.”
The devices have been disappearing like $259 hotcakes, selling out well before Black Friday and the device’s predicted release date, Nov. 30. Those who order the color-screen reader after last Friday will not receive theirs until the New Year, with the site currently predicting a ship date of Jan. 4.
This initial sales success positions the Nook as a top alternative to Amazon’s Kindle, especially since Sony recently announced possible delays for its own e-reader, the Daily Edition. The Kindle experienced similar stock depletions during last year’s holiday season.
With all these units being sold, it’s clear that e-readership is up and the phenomenon is more than just a passing literary fad. Even with hardcovers selling at $9 a pop, consumers are still flocking to get their hands on these portable libraries, and, I’ll admit, even a Luddite like myself has entertained jumping on board the biblio-file bandwagon.
How about you guys? Will e-readers be the new iPhones, ascending rapidly from luxury techno-gadget to completely ubiquitous companion? Or will you give up your glue-and-paper copies only when the librarians pry them from your cold, dead hands?
Hyperion has signed Melissa de la Cruz — whose Blue Bloods vampire books have all been huge YA hits —to a two-book deal for an adult paranormal series. The first, The Witches of East End, will go on sale in May 2011. “It’s about a mother and two daughters who move to town and shake things up,” says de la Cruz. “There’s already a family of warlocks living there who aren’t too happy with their arrival…It’s based on old Norse mythology.” She notes that characters from Blue Bloods will show up in the books — “some in essential roles; others more tangential” and says, of her switch to adult fiction, “I’ve been writing YA books for more than a decade. Many of my fans have grown up. Now I can have more grown-up themes: One character works in a bar; another gets involved with the mayor. There are romantic entanglements that are not so innocent!”
If you only know him as the old duffer in his pyjamas on The Girls Next Door, get a copy of the pop-culture journal Royal Flush, which contains a fascinating, surprising interview with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner about his love of comics and cartoonists.
I always knew that from the start of Playboy, Hefner personally chose the cartoons the magazine ran, and developed a stable of great artists such as Harvey Kurtzman (one of the key instigators of MAD Magazine) and Jack Cole (the creator of Plastic Man), paying top fees that could compete with publications like The New Yorker and Esquire. I also knew that, flush with the success of Playboy in the late 1950s, he bankrolled a gloriously doomed project, Trump, the first full-color comics magazine. (It lasted only two issues.)
But the Royal Flush interview is a small treasure-trove of information. Hefner tells interviewer (and Flush publisher) Josh Bernstein that by the time he was 16, he was drawing himself in autobiographical comics (reproduced here), using the character-name “Goo Heffer.” (It was also at this age, he says, that he started calling himself “Hef.” I’d daresay no one before the advent of hiphop had the wit and cajones to give himself a cool nickname that would be picked up and used by everyone who wrote about him.)
The Royal Flush interview glows with Hefner’s enthusiasm for comic art, and, clearly recognizing that Bernstein is a sympathetic interviewer, Hefner allowed him to reprint the suicide note that Jack Cole wrote him shortly before killing himself in 1958. (For a portrait of the great, tortured Cole, try finding a copy of Art Spiegelman and Chip Kidd’s Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stressed To Their Limits.)
These days, if anyone thinks about Playboy cartoons, they might recall the slinky, gauzy drawings of Vargas or the madcap adventures of Kurtzman and Will Elder’s wiggly Little Annie Fanny (right).
But as Royal Flush makes clear, Hefner was both an important patron of comic artists and a fan with an expert eye. I wish that, instead of wasting more videotape on The Girls Next Door, someone would make a documentary about Hefner’s place in the history of cartooning.
In the meantime, this Royal Flush interview will have to do, and does so handsomely.
When the Random House empire consolidated several imprints last December, one of the casualties was revered Doubleday publisher Stephen Rubin, who helmed the company during the successes of Dan Brown, John Grisham, Ian McEwan, and Pat Conroy, to name just a handful. Though Rubin wasn’t fired in the Random House upheaval — he was made a publisher-at-large for Random House, Inc. — he was reportedly bored in his new assignment. So I can’t say I was surprised today when I heard he had been tapped as publisher of Henry Holt, which is now part of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. When I talked to him this afternoon, Rubin said, “It’s a venerable old house. It has the current Nobel and Booker Prize winners. But,” he added, “It isn’t the house it used to be. There was a time when Holt published everyone from Philip Roth to Sue Grafton. I want to bring it back to that, to have it be a seriously competitive house.” To shake Holt out of its mid-list doldrums, he said, “We’re going to have to lure more high-revenue, big-ticket writers.” When asked if he would be a part of that — if he himself would be luring authors to the company from their current publishers — he replied, “You bet your ass I will!” Working with writers, he says, is one of the things he’s most excited about. “Holt’s not a big company. It’s small, so I’ll be able to really get my hands dirty.”
Rubin starts next Monday.
As giant retailers continue their price war over books (Target just joined Walmart and Amazon in offering pre-sales of top November titles for $9 or less), there’s one new book that seems to take the trend to its logical extreme. The Next Queen of Heaven, a new novel by Wicked author Gregory Maguire, is available starting today for the low, low price of $0.00. That’s not a typo. Queen is the third title from the year-old Concord Free Press, which is giving away 2,500 copies of the book (half through its website and half through select independent bookstores) to readers who agree to make a donation “to a local charity, someone who needs it, or a stranger on the street.” (Distribution of the book is strictly first come, first served.) As a box on the paperback’s back cover explains: “When you’re done, pass this novel on to someone else (for free, of course) so they can give. It adds up.” The press claims that its first two releases have generated more than $85,000 in charitable donations to various causes.
The Next Queen of Heaven is a farcical holiday yarn set in 1999 in a fictional upstate New York town where strange events occur after Leontina Scales gets clocked by a Catholic statuette and begins speaking in tongues. Why in the world would an author as prominent as Maguire publish for free? READ FULL STORY
We know that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin can hunt, and even field-dress a moose, but how will she take to poachers on her book sales? Start-up publisher OR Books has announced plans to publish Going Rouge: Sarah Palin An American Nightmare, a collection of essays about the maverick Republican with a title — and cover design — remarkably similar to Palin’s upcoming memoir. What’s more, OR’s paperback tome will be released on Nov. 17, the same day that Palin’s own Going Rogue: An American Life hits shelves — and one day after Palin’s just-announced, first-ever appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show. (A shout-out to Ron Hogan at GalleyCat for the tip.)
Going Rouge is compiled by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed, two top editors of the left-leaning weekly The Nation, and includes essays by Nation regulars like Katrina vanden Heuvel, Naomi Klein, and Katha Pollitt. It’s the first release from OR Books, a fledgling outfit founded earlier this year by publishing veterans John Oakes and Colin Robinson that “embraces progressive change in politics, culture and the way we do business,” according to its website.
I realize that this anti-Palin book is a paperback and probably won’t be stocked anywhere near Palin’s hardcover memoir in bookstores, but do these jackets look too similar to be, well, fully kosher? At the very least, might some hockey-mom-loving conservatives be confused enough to pick up the wrong book? You betcha!
UPDATE: It seems that OR Books isn’t unique in its attempt to capitalize on Sarah Palin’s upcoming memoir, Going Rogue — nor in rearranging the letters of the title for its own effort. Cartoonist Julie Sigwart and political satirist Micheal Stinson are self-publishing Going Rouge: The Sarah Palin Rogue Coloring & Activity Book, a 48-page paperback that will be released Nov. 17 (the same day as the G.O.P. firebrand’s autobiography as well as OR Books’ anti-Palin essay collection, also titled Going Rouge). The sample pages on the book’s promotional website fall clearly into the realm of political satire, including a coloring page with lipsticks and pigs (naturally) and a caricature of Palin in fishing overalls and possible “fishing gear”: a gun, a saw, an ax, and a bomb.
Could it be that Robert Crumb, after a half-century of drawing the margins of, first, “underground comics” and then nakedly-confessional “comix,” will finally become a best-selling author with today’s release of his The Book of Genesis Illustrated?
It sure looks that way. As of this writing, Genesis is No. 6 on Amazon.com, and No. 20 on Barnes & Noble’s website.
It helps, to some extent, that the reclusive Crumb—whose previous biggest media exposure was probably the terrific 1994 documentary Crumb—is doing some publicity for this book, granting interviews to places like Newsweek and USA Today.
And perhaps the book is tapping into two until-now distinct markets: Bible readers and Crumb readers. But ultimately, it’s Crumb’s glorious art, so meticulously detailed, so rich in both research and passion, that’s intriguing people who normally wouldn’t want to pick up a religious graphic novel by a counterculture icon.
Crumb lives the ex-pat life in the south of France these days. Here’s hoping he’s celebrating his successful publication with a glass of wine, some good cheese, and some fresh drawings in his sketchbook.
So, in a recent British poll on the most romantic literary character of all time (men, that is; they dealt with women in an earlier poll), top honors went to Rochester, the brooding hunk at the heart of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Though I’m a huge fan of Jane Eyre — I reread my well-thumbed copy at least once a year — I’m not enamored of Rochester, who, let’s face it, wasn’t very nice to poor Jane. (For those who you who haven’t read the book, or who read it so long ago it’s a distant blur, let’s just say Rochester was alternately cold, imperious, and withholding, and he proposed to Jane — and was going through with the wedding — without disclosing that he was already married to a madwoman he kept imprisoned in the attic). But am I possibility in the minority here? British best-selling novelist Penny Vincenzi wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “From that very ﬁrst meeting [age 13, when she read the book for the ﬁrst time], when Rochester’s horse slipped on the ice, and he was unseated, and I was confronted by his dark, unsmiling presence, his ‘stern features, and heavy brow… his considerable breadth of chest,’ I was completely in his thrall.”
So here’s the British poll in full:
1. Edward Rochester of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
2. Richard Sharpe of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series.
3. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
4. Heathcliff of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
5. Rhett Butler of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind
6. Mark Darcy, of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary
7. Captain Corelli of Louis de Berniere’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
8. Henry DeTamble of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife
9. Gabriel Oak of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd
10. Rupert Campbell Black of Jilly Cooper’s The Rutshire Chronicles
Several thoughts here. Maybe it’s because I’m a Southern, but Rhett Butler — the dashing Charleston-born blockade runner who lusted after Scarlett O’Hara — is tops with me. READ FULL STORY
Your high school English teacher may have told you that the value of a good book was immeasurable, but Walmart and Amazon have a feeling that it hovers somewhere under 10 bucks. The two online giants have begun a deep-discount war that is more reminiscent of neighboring delis with erasable sandwich boards than retail behemoths.
Walmart fired the opening salvo on Thursday with a promotion offering their top 10 pre-ordered books (including Sarah Palin’s memoir and new books from Stephen King, James Patterson, John Grisham, and Michael Crichton) for only a sawbuck — including free shipping. Amazon responded to the broadside by matching their price, but as of this morning, both deals had slipped down another notch to a staggering $9 per popular new hardcover. That’s over two-thirds off the cover price of Palin’s Going Rogue, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, retailers are hoping will provide a shot in the arm for somewhat sluggish book sales this fall.
While this might seem like just some good old American capitalism at work, it’s also a cause for reflection. These are two of the largest outlets for book sales in the world, and although it might spell better deals for us, the consumers, it’s hardly an auspicious sign for the vitality of the industry. It’s even worse news for independent booksellers who aren’t able to compete at anything near the level of Sam Walton’s little corner store. But maybe the most interesting aspect of this is its implications for physical books themselves. Amazon’s pricing for these hardcovers is now lower than the $9.99 tag on most Kindle editions. Is this a sign that e-books are starting to have a depreciative effect on the genuine article? The inevitable might have just inched a little bit closer.
What do you think? Are you happy for the change in your pocket, or are you worried for the change in the market?
- Ryan Murphy talks 'AHS: Coven': More Stevie Nicks!
- 'Survivor' recap: Fit to be tied
- 'American Horror Story' recap: 'The Sacred Taking'
- Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman: Let's think this through
- 'Veronica Mars' out 3/14/14 -- and we have a clip!
- 'Sherlock' season 3: 10 new photos
- 'Arrow' react: 'The Scientist'
- Sundance: What's playing in 2014
- Lady Gaga Muppet special a ratings turkey 1427
- Gunfight at the Not Okay Corral 687
- 'The Walking Dead' midseason finale: 'Too Far Gone' spoilers 443
- ‘Fast and Furious’ actor Paul Walker dead after car crash 395
- '12 Years a Slave': The emotional reactions that make director Steve McQueen thankful -- Q&A 373