This week! Books!
Actually it’s a few weeks of links so be prepared for a full-on link deluge.
Remember back in January when I said the tablets were coming? Well, they definitely are coming fast. Not only does Amazon have the Kindle Fire tablet coming soon, rumors say B&N will debut a new Nook tablet in just a few weeks (disclosure: link is to CNET, I work at CNET). The e-book options, they abound.
And, um, not exactly a coincidence that adult hardcover and paperback sales are down 18% this year. Perhaps even more noteworthy, e-book revenue has surpassed hardcover revenue so far this year.
Speaking of which, CNET next door neighbors GigaOM had a really interesting post about the perils faced by middlemen in publishing. As Amazon executive Russell Grandinetti said, “[T]he only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the
writer and reader. Everyone who stands between those two has both risk
and opportunity.” What do publishers need to do per GigaOM? Give authors what they want and need.
And along those lines, as you may have heard, a while back Amazon gave authors access to Bookscan sales data, one small step to open up some real-time transparency. Now some traditional publishers are finally starting to follow suit.
Meanwhile, do people want interactive e-books? Dueling posts about that topic. Australian author and agent Xavier Waterkeyn talks about transmedia and the interactive project THE CHIMERA VECTOR, while Melville House ripostes that the old fashioned way of reading a book isn’t in need of revision.
Oh, and the Wall Street Journal is starting an e-book bestseller list.
Agent Jane Dystel (aka President Obama’s agent) had a fantastic post lamenting the publishing industry’s fixation on only publishing “sure things.” There is, of course, nothing sure about a “sure thing” in publishing, and when publishers do have a sure thing they often end up overypaying and not making a profit anyway.
On the other hand, Salon has a feature on imprint Harper Perennial and wonders aloud whether it can reinvent publishing. How? Cool writers, low advances, smart design. Sounds kind of like the old days of publishing. What’s new is old, what’s old is new.
A few months back I had a post on writing and striving and THE GREAT GATSBY, and writer Gretchen Brugman used it as a jumping off point for an awesome post about running, literally and figuratively, and hoping and dreaming and the process of becoming. Really great stuff.
In serious Nathan Bransford bait, Nathaniel Philbrick has written a book called WHY READ MOBY-DICK? Yes, you heard right. A book about why you should read MOBY-DICK. Oh hell yes.
Congrats to Julian Barnes, who won the very prestigious Man Booker Prize.
And in other award news, columnist Laura Miller at Salon had some harsh words for the National Book Awards, saying they’re like the Newbery – books someone thinks is good for you whether or not you particularly them very much. One of this year’s NBA judges, Victor LaValle, fired back at Miller, arguing that judges nominate the books they fall in love with. (via John Ochwat)
Oh, and you may heard something about a certain National Book Award debacle in the young adult category.
In Life of the Writer news, From the Write Angle has an awesome survey of writing superstitions, agent Jane Dystel notes that author promotion ain’t what it used to be, agent Rachelle Gardner discusses when to leave your agent, agent Kristin Nelson writes about contract clauses that should scare you, and the New Yorker’s book blog The Book Bench has a really fascinating post on the limits of self-knowledge and the tenuousness of rationality.
Alvina Ling, Executive Editor of Little Brown Children’s Books, wrote a fantastic post on how she edits.
Agent Rachelle Gardner had a contest based on the starting prompt “How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb,” and the winning responses were pretty hilarious.
HarperCollins is buying Christian publishing Thomas Nelson.
And many writers have lent their support to the Occupy movement, adding to the tally at OccupyWriters.
This week in the Forums, a self-published author finds himself on the wrong side of Amazon, seeking advice on the all-important launch party, the notion of a “dream” agent, how do you interact with your favorite writers online?, discussing GAME OF THRONES (which I am now reading), the most efficient way of outlining, and, of course, NaNoWriMo! And specifically amazing daily encouragement from Sommer Leigh.
And finally, as I mentioned I just got back from some travels and along the way I discovered a really cool web series called Sonia’s Travels by Sonia Gil. If you love traveling you’ll be jealous of all the amazing places she’s been. The latest episode is on Valladolid, Mexico. I want to go to there!
Have a great weekend!