Happy Spring (except for all of you in the Midwest, where apparently it’s still winter…guess that groundhog wasn’t kidding around)! Here are the updates for last week, plus a few from the week before that we simply couldn’t leave behind!
A bunch of awards and best-of lists were announced, including:
The ALA also released its 2013 State of America’s Libraries report
, which has both hopeful and disheartening news and also includes a list of the most challenged books in 2012. As the tough economic times encourage more and more people to turn to libraries, they also "encourage" more and more budget cuts for those much-needed libraries, which is unfortunate. Check out this excellent infographic from CityTownInfo
about American’s libraries, which illustrates the problem very well. It always shocks me how many dedicated readers don’t take advantage of their libraries for print and digital books (as the infographic shows, only 31% of Americans are aware that they can get ebooks from libraries at all).
There was some good news for New York Public Libraries this week – Simon & Schuster announced
that for the first time they will allow digital copies of their books to be checked out and purchased from the NYPL system, on a one-year trial basis. It remains to be seen whether S&S will expand its partnership to other libraries, or whether the idea of selling ebooks through libraries will be a successful one.
In other very exciting library news, the Digital Public Library of America
launched last week.
Many of you are already aware of this, but every year Sync offers free young adult audiobooks, paired thematically with classic audiobooks – two each week throughout the summer months. This year’s selections were announced last week
and there are a TON of great books coming up. Check it out and sign up for your free audios!
There were a few interesting bits of news to come out of the London Book Fair last week, including this great keynote speech given by Neil Gaiman
(summarized by Publisher’s Weekly
). I love it when smart people in the industry realize that we should embrace change instead of just running around shrieking about it in panic. I also saw this little story (from The Guardian) about a very futuristic ebook
which was debuted at the fair. In a re-release of the classic mystery The Thirty-Nine Steps
by John Buchan, publisher Faber & Faber has reportedly created a “fully-immersive product” which includes:
“…classic stop-frame animation and original silent film music. It would allow readers to "unlock dozens of achievements and items to collect on their reading journey, and explore hundreds of hand-painted digital environments and context from 1910s Britain."
In fun news:
- I know all of you were probably huddled around your smartphones as soon as the Catching Fire trailer was released last week, but here it is so you can watch it again (for the 9th time).
- Parks and Rec fans saw a portion of this genius rant from Patton Oswalt last week on the show, but here’s the full eight minutes of it – it’s sad just how little of it they used.
- And lastly, for all of my Jesters out there – WE DID IT!!!! Yeah! If you’ve read Infinite Jest, check out this amazingly involved theory about the ending. It basically blew my mind, and I thought I was actually doing well in comprehending the book (I totally wasn't). How much of it do you think is right?
“With Amazon in the drivers' seat, you can bet that B&N, Kobo and Indies are going to drop and be dropped by Goodreads like a hot potato. If any non-Amazon "buy" buttons remain, they're going to be buried deep. And B&N is hardly going to encourage people to use Goodreads now that every item of data Goodreads get goes to build Amazon and the Kindle features Goodreads is promising.
In short, we gained a lot of friends today.”
I tend to agree with Tim Spalding on this one. Will publishers and booksellers really want to partner with Goodreads and pay for advertising on the site only to increase the revenue of their major online competitor? It seems doubtful. Indeed, I think Goodreads stands to lose any indie cachet it once had as a result of this partnership.
But can any other site match Goodreads for ease of use and that elusive social component (which I really haven’t seen done well anywhere else)? Mediabistro
lists 5 Alternatives To Goodreads
, which may be possible contenders for the throne. (And here’s a sixth one
that I don’t know much about but have seen people mention…on Goodreads, haha.) LibraryThing is offering a free one-year subscription to people thinking of defecting through the end of today
I think that this article, published last week at Forbes magazine
hits the nail on the head: the current challenge for readers isn’t book discoverability; it’s the sheer, crazy number of books we all have access to at any given moment. We are all able to easily discover thousands of books, but how do we decide what to read? The one disagreement I have with the article relates to this passage:
“Reviews are also unreliable because they depend on the reviewer having the same taste as you. I’ve read many a book that received five star review after five star review, and still managed to be rubbish, and I doubt I’m alone in that.”
That, I think, is where Goodreads excels. Goodreads provides an environment in which you essentially can
find reviewers who have the same taste as you. It remains to be seen whether any other sites can capture that same success.
There was one small positive step for libraries last week, as Penguin announced that it will now allow libraries access to all Penguin ebook titles as they are released
. Previously, libraries were forced to wait six months following the print release to have access to Penguin ebooks. The article linked above (from American Libraries Magazine)
also predicts more changes in the future as the Penguin/Random House merger goes through.
The California Department of Education drew criticism this week when it published a revised edition of its recommended reading list
for grades K-12, including several books that feature LGBTQ themes and issues. It is worth noting that the California Dept. of Ed has included at least some books with similar themes FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS
and also that none of these books are required reading for any child – they are simply recommended. And yet, we still get comments like this one (from radio personality Sandy Rios):
“"The reading lists are very overtly propagating a point of view that is at odds with most American parents. Leftist educators are advocates of everything from socialism to sexual anarchy. It's very base; it's raping the innocence of our children. "
Last week we reported on the Chicago school system’s attempt to ban Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis
from the middle school curriculum. This week there were a few updates to the ongoing scandal. Publisher’s Weekly has a nice round-up
of some of the protests that occurred after the attempted ban (including one library sit-in which had to be relocated outside because the doors were locked). It’s awesome to see the pictures of passionate young people gathering to read the book or protest the ban. The round-up also includes reports of a nice spike in sales for the book. The Chicago Board of Education responded to protestors
in writing, defending its right to limit access to Persepolis
for students. However, no matter what ultimately happens in the Chicago school system, it seems like this attempted banning has backfired quite nicely.
We’ve also reported a few times on the growing possibility that ebooks, mp3s, and other digital files may have a second life in “used” sales, with digital file retail giants Apple
both looking to get in on the game. A Supreme Court decision
published last week may provide future support for this idea. The Supreme Court case centered around a Thai student who came to the U.S. to attend college. When he noticed that many U.S. textbooks were available in Thai book shops for much less, he asked his family and friends in Thailand to buy them and ship them overseas, where he then sold them for a very nice profit. The publisher (John Wiley & Sons) sued for copyright infringement and initially won. However, the Supreme Court ultimately decided in favor of the student, citing (in part) the doctrine of “first sale” in its decision. NPR has a great article about first sale and how the decision could impact the legality of digital file resale
. They write, in part:
“The ruling was a key moment in something called the "first sale" doctrine, which says that, if you buy something that's copyrighted, you're allowed to "sell or otherwise dispose" of it without the permission of the copyright owner.”
“In a society that often wants to boil women's sexual experiences into the polar opposites of purity or sluttiness, romance novels, even when we may as individuals judge their plots to be problematic, are the largest cultural space available for women to read about and imagine their own sexual fantasies.”
I may personally be troubled by the fact that so many women seem to be drawn to abusive, controlling
men but as the article points out, the domineering man archetype is just a fantasy. I think any medium which isn’t trying to convince women that their fantasies are shameful is probably a good thing. So live on, romance novel!
And now for the fun news!
- Publisher’s Weekly’s Rights Report had some interesting news last week: a new middle grade fantasy trilogy for Anne Ursu (author of Breadcrumbs) and Trish Doller fans will be excited to learn that she will have a third book published in the fall of 2014. Where The Stars Still Shine will reportedly be about “…a small-town Florida girl who impulsively agrees to join a pair of boys on a road trip that goes tragically wrong.”
- Some casting decisions were revealed last week for the upcoming film adaptations of Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars – and apparently these films will both feature the same young woman in their starring roles! Shailene Woodley had already been cast in the lead for Divergent, but it was announced last week that she will play John Green’s Hazel Grace as well. (She also appeared in the film version of The Spectacular Now, which I still really want to see.)
- Flannery’s BFF Maureen led us to this tumblr which features film posters and other imagery inspired by Infinite Jest (yes, we’re still reading it!).
- And finally, does anyone else find this nerdily interesting? A group of researchers performed a statistical analysis of the frequencies in the usage of “mood words” in both American and British English over the past century. Apparently, American usage of “mood words” has increased while British usage has decreased – but what does this mean? Are we Americans more emotional as a society? Or are we actually less so? There are no definitive answers of course, but the authors’ theories are interesting nonetheless. Check out the paper!
Happy St. Patricks Day!
There was some scary book news this week, or at least very disappointing news. A memo was dispersed
to Chicago Public Schools asking teachers to remove all copies of Marjane Satrapi's award-winning graphic novel about the Iranian revolution, Persepolis
, from classrooms and libraries. At first, CPS administrators had no comment, but after the memo went viral and groups like the ACLU got involved, they issued a letter backpedaling to say that it was misinterpreted and "all schools" was meant as only seventh grade classrooms. This article does a great roundup of the timeline
. My favorite bit is when the teachers union responded with a statement about hoping the school system isn't going back in time to the 1950s. Right on. Equally scary yet absurdly hilarious is the fact that voucher schools in Louisiana are using textbooks that say, and I am not kidding, that hippies did not bathe and worshiped satan, that the KKK did great community service, and that dragons are real. Voucher schools were declared unconstitutional in December 2012 but are still functioning because the issue is up on appeal.
Google announced this week that several of its features would be shutting down in the next few months, including Google Reader
. If, like me, you have been reading some or all your blogs in Reader, there have been many posts all over the web, from tech blogs
on how to find the best replacement, however, I tend to think that we should wait until July gets closer because there might be an even better alternative by then. At the very least, we can get opinions from people who have been using alternatives for months. In any case, everyone should take the time to back up their Google data. You can use their Takeout service
to backup everything from your contacts to your drive files and it saves as a .zip file. After doing it for your Reader files, you'll be able to import all your subscriptions to another service.
Some of our favorite Aussie book bloggers (Reynje from Wordchasing
, Trinity from Trin in the Wind
, and Mandee from Vegan YA Nerds
) have joined forces to create a podcasting superteam called The Ladies of YA
. They recorded and published Episode One this week and you can listen to it here
or visit/follow their blog
for regular updates on forthcoming episodes. Podcasting seems to be de rigueur these days but you'll hear no complaints from us as two more of our favorite blogs have started podcasting as well. You can listen to the first podcast from Sarah & Laura at Clear Eyes, Full Shelves here
. They covered all sorts of issues but primarily talked about diversity in YA and particularly the portrayal of Asian characters. Maggie and Noelle over at YA Anonymous are old hat at podcasting (read: they've made a whopping TWO instead of one so far
) but we look forward to more from them as well. Go forth and listen!
A few of our favorite authors spoke on various subjects this week: Sara Zarr talked about her upcoming book, The Lucy Variations
, including the challenge of moving to a third-person narrative. (which, spoiler alert, was actually one of the reasons all three of us did not love it as much as Zarr's other work) Stacia Kane, author of the Downside Ghosts series, reposted a story from years ago about embarrassing herself when she was first starting out and met an "author" and reminded readers why writers love to hear from them
. And Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia
and Jacob Have I Loved sounded off on NPR
after being awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her contribution to children's literature.
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Martin asks Paterson how she has been able to remain so close to what it feels like to be young.
"I just feel that I carry that child around with me all the time, that she's still alive and well inside of me, and I try to listen carefully to her voice," says Paterson.
Entertainment Weekly posted the cover for David Levithan's August release, Two Boys Kissing
. Certainly this is groundbreaking in traditionally published YA and we're excited to see it, despite David Levithan's work not being our favorite. There is an accompanying interview at EW
where Levithan discusses the cover process, the wo-year anniversary of his earlier Boy Meets Boy
, and how his upcoming book is for a new generation. Speaking of upcoming books, Mindy Kaling announced this week that along with her show being renewed for another season, she will be writing a foll0w-up
to her Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
We missed a cover reveal of interest (to us:)) last week -- that of Leila Sales' September release, This Song Will Save Your Life
. All three of us read and enjoyed her 2011 release, Past Perfect
and I was excited to hear that we have more to read from her in the near future. MTV did the cover reveal
and there is a soundtrack to accompany the book
included in the news piece. The aforementioned Aussie bloggers read and LOVED Simmone Howell's third book, Girl Defective
recently so we were ecstatic to see that US publisher Atheneum picked the book up for release in the States
. Jill Grinberg of the Jill Grinberg Agency sold the rights and the book is described as, "A teen noir High Fidelity, and features 15-year-old Sky Martin, her older, wilder best friend Nancy, and Sky's kid brother "Super Agent" Gully, who go to the dark heart of their Coney Island-esque suburb via teenage raves, violent fangirls, and strange, true love." Sadly, it is likely to be a 2014 release in the US so a lot of us will likely be purchasing this book from international booksellers or swapping with Aussie buds of ours. I, for one, can't wait a whole year.
In movie news, a Kickstarter was started to fund a potential Veronica Mars movie
and the goal of 2 million dollars was reached (and exceeded!) in about twelve hours
. (As of early Sunday morning, the total was over $3.5 million) We're excited to see where the project goes from here, as clearly there is more interest than they anticipated. The success of the fundraising spurned a discussion about the interconnectedness of content creators, artists, actors, etc. and the consumers of their work. GalleyCat had a great piece on what's currently going on
, innovation-wise and what we might see in the future. And in a very timely move, Simon & Schuster will be rereleasing Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas' YA book Rats Saw God
. Another movie we're glad to see moving forward is an adaptation of Laini Taylor's amazing Daughter of Smoke & Bone,
slated to be written by Stuart Beattie, who, among other projects, wrote and directed the adaptation of John Marsden's YA hit Tomorrow, When the War Began
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In a 2012 study, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison evaluated some 3,600 books, looking for multicultural content. Of the books examined, 3.3 percent were found to be about African-Americans, 2.1 percent were about Asian-Pacific Americans, 1.5 percent were about Latinos and 0.6 percent were about American Indians.
There is quite a bit of bookish news this week so let's get going. John Scalzi reported on the "appallingly bad contract terms"
of Random House's SFF imprint Hydra. Because the imprint did not allow for advances, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's of America (SFWA) announced that the imprints "do not meet minimum standards for a qualifying market
" for membership. A spokesperson for the imprint issued a response
in Publisher's Weekly stating that they had never been contacted to make a statement but that they were willing to discuss the business model.
We've mentioned in a prior Odds & Ends post
that DC Comics had hired the vehemently anti-gay author Orson Scott Card to write an issue of Superman and how much backlash the comics giant had received as a result. This week, Chris Sprouse, the artist who was slated to do the illustrations for the installment, dropped out of the project
, saying that the negativity surrounding the project has overshadowed it. There is still a lot of speculation about how much visibility Card will have (or not have) when the movie based on his hugely popular YA sci-fi novel, Ender's Game
, comes out in a few months. In other bookish movie news, Jezebel published a piece this week about how the new Oz movie is a huge step back for women and a total departure from Baum's work
. (the article was originally published by Elisabeth Rappe at Film.com)
Over the weekend, we saw something on Twitter about author Juliet Marillier writing a controversial post for Writer Unboxed but when we went to the site, the post had been taken down and the site had posted a notice of doing so
. Our curiosity won out on this one, so we looked around a bit and found a screenshot of the post on Goodreads
. Before we tell you what the post was about, a word of warning: DO NOT read it if you don't want your love of Juliet Marillier to be tarnished. Basically, a new fan wrote to the author telling her how much she loved Shadowfell
, how it led to her purchasing a ton of Marillier's other work, and how excited she is for the next Shadowfell
book and couldn't Marillier just write faster?! From an outsider's standpoint, we would think that an author would be ecstatic: she has a new reader, one who loves her work, one who bought several of her books and loves her work so much that she took the time to write a letter about how she can't wait for more. The ultimate do-not-do-this would be to post the complete email and then rip it apart, telling the reader that she has no manners and that it was rude to tell her to write faster, and then go on to talk about questions you hate to be asked. As an author, your books will find their way to new readers and those people will probably have questions they would love to have answered. Is it sometimes obnoxious that people don't google their way to the answers that may be already on the net? Of course, but that definitely doesn't mean you should publicly chastise your readership. Very disappointing .The Association of American Publishers
filed a complaint with the internet site naming overlords (otherwise known as ICANN) about Amazon potentially having exclusive control over .book domain names
. They believe that it goes against the public interest. Either way, it is kind of fun to imagine how those types of domain names could be utilized. In other Amazon-related news, Apple announced this week that they, too, are looking into patenting a used digital file marketplace
. (Amazon did so in February
)I literally laugh out loud whenever people get into online fights about the use of the word 'literally', and this week was literally one of the best weeks ever for this never-ending discussion,
as Slate published a post about the different definitions of 'literally',
including one from the Oxford English Dictionary that covers the common usage that people get angry about, and how several famous authors have used the word in ways that might cause purists to cringe.
On a more serious note, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts released a report this week about the disparity between the numbers of men and women reviewing books for major publications. GalleyCat wrote a short news piece
on several points but the entire report can be found here
, as well as compiled information for three years
. I found the graphs in that last link the quickest way to digest the information and see what outlets are the worst offenders. Other fun newsy bits from the week:
I am just making it in the 11th hour this weekend – sorry for the delay!
I’ll jump right in with the latest in sweeping generalizations about young adult literature, this time in the shape of an outcry about anti-feminism. In an article for the New Statesman,
writer T.I. Burton calls upon her “insider’s perspective” of ghostwriting YA romances to label the entire YA genre (and more specifically, the entire YA romance genre) anti-feminist, saying in part that YA romances encourage girls to see the entirety of their self-worth as something earned by “romantic desirability.”
It’s not like I don’t agree with her, in part, about some
YA romances. The key word there being: SOME. Just as in every single other genre, young adult has its examples of books featuring unhealthy relationships. However, I think it is incredibly short-sighted to condemn an entire genre based on some
of the books within that genre. And I think it’s also incredibly far-reaching to assume that these fictional relationships will encourage any
behavior in young girls. As a scientist, I say: where’s the data? I read a lot of crap as a teenager. I’ve read a lot of crap as an adult. And yet, I’ve somehow avoided letting these books inform my entire personality. How did I do that?!
My guess is that this author has not spent a lot of time exploring the young adult genre, and so is not aware of the huge number of great books that are out there – a guess which is supported by her labeling of New Adult as “YA’s more explicit cousin” at the end of the article. Sigh. John Green responds to this kind of article much better than I ever could this week in an interview with The Guardian.
In response to yet another article
that made sweeping generalizations about YA and its possible negative effects on teenagers, he said:
“The thing that bothered me about it… was that it was a bit condescending to teenagers. I'm tired of adults telling teenagers that they aren't smart, that they can't read critically, that they aren't thoughtful, and I feel like that article made those arguments.
Indeed, John Green. Indeed. Salon had a very interesting article last week about DRM
and the potential changes that could result from the suit brought against Amazon and the big six publishers last week. However, author Cory Doctorow pointed out that the indie publishers who brought the suit actually confused the terms “open source” and “DRM-free
,” saying in part, “Grossly misusing technical terms (and demanding a remedy that no customer wants -- there's no market for DRM among book-buyers) makes you look like fools and bodes poorly for the suit.” The Wall Street Journal reported last week on a new book marketing practice
: buying a spot on the best-seller lists. Apparently, some authors are now hiring marketing firms to buy up large numbers of their books during the first week of publication, resulting in a very temporary spot on a best-seller list. Personally, I think that with the rise in widespread communication between readers, customer reviews, and self-publishing, that the best-seller lists are slated to become more and more irrelevant. Perhaps this practice will accelerate that eventual decline?
I stumbled across this older article last week, but I wanted to share it because I think it’s great advice: 7 Signs You Are Ready To Self-Publish (A Checklist).
Anyone contemplating self-publishing a novel should read this list. Our friend Reynje wrote a lovely post about likability, and whether or not it’s important
In fun news:
- The cover for Isla And The Happily Ever After was revealed, along with new matching covers for her sister novels.
Last week, I briefly referenced this article
from ABC news (“Emerging ‘New Adult’ Genre Puts Smut Fiction on Bestseller Lists”), to support the idea that reader demand was already having an impact on publishing. I expressed some skepticism about whether New Adult could be classified strictly as “smut fiction,” but didn’t delve too far into arguing the point. Welp, this week the outrage hit the fan in a major way (and understandably so). Storify has a round-up of some of the responses to this piece
. While I agree that it is troubling that ABC News would lump all New Adult fiction into one “scandalous” (and no doubt, ratings-boosting) category, a huge part of me wants to say, WHAT OF IT, ABC??!
The ominously threatening opening to their video segment, “Racy reads with sexual themes are finding a PASSIONATE fan base with young girls all across the country”,
read in a tone that says “WE SHOULD ALL BE FRIGHTENED AND ASHAMED” is what really upsets me about the whole piece. If we’re going to get angry about this, let’s get angry that the slut-shaming of young adult women still sells. And then after that’s passed, we can of course sit back and laugh openly at ABC News’ obvious and total ignorance of the New Adult genre.
This week was full of outrage, it seems. Flavorwire
had a fantastic round-up of support for libraries
from authors throughout history, in response to British children’s author Terry Deary’s crankypants view on libraries
(from The Guardian)
“Because it's been 150 years, we've got this idea that we've got an entitlement to read books for free, at the expense of authors, publishers and council tax payers. This is not the Victorian age, when we wanted to allow the impoverished access to literature. We pay for compulsory schooling to do that.”
Yes, because of course every single person in society has access to a school library.
NPR’s book blog also had a wonderful round-up of LGBT characters in graphic novels
, written partly in response to the announcement that DC Comics has hired noted gay rights opponent Orson Scott “I find the comparison between civil rights based on race and supposed new rights being granted for what amounts to deviant behavior to be really kind of ridiculous
” Card to write a series of Superman comics. DC Comics also announced that Batwoman will be getting hitched to her long-time girlfriend Maggie Sawyer
And in a last bit of outrage (my own, this time), I’d like to invite some public ridicule of this piece over at (where else?) Fox News: Four Things Jane Austen Teaches Us About Love.
The only thing that cools my anger over this piece is imagining Elizabeth Bennet emerging from the pages of P&P to verbally dress down the author. Because obviously, if there’s one thing we all learned from P&P, it’s that playing hard to get, flattering a man’s ego, and being overly virtuous are all excellent ways to procure a husband. Bahahaha.
Three independent bookstores have joined to bring a class-action lawsuit against Amazon and the big six publishers
, alleging that their use of DRM on ebooks has created a monopoly for Amazon. The Digital Reader
also reported that new book recommendation site Bookish may be more “marketing tool” and less reader community.
And to end with our weekly wrap-up of the more fun news (pretty scant this week!):
That's it for us this week! Stop by and tell us what we missed!
Last week’s Tools Of Change conference brought a whole heap of news about the future of the publishing industry, with most of it centering around (no surprise) the rise of ebooks and self-publishing. It’s refreshing to read about the optimistic approach to the future that this conference apparently embraced. I really liked this article
from Publisher’s Weekly
, which recapped a key note speech given by Tools Of Change founder Tim O’Reilly, and this article
from Huffington Post,
which was written by Smashwords founder Mark Coker. Mr. Coker writes in response to the news that Apple’s ibookstore will now feature a whole section for self-published books and highlights some of the reasons why more and more authors are choosing to self-publish. Granted, as the founder of one of the major distributors of self-published works, he has a bit of a stake in this whole thing. I still found his article to be pretty well-reasoned. In particular, this passage really resonated with some thoughts I’ve had before:
“Readers are the new curators. Readers -- not publishers -- have always been the ultimate arbiters of what's worth reading, and reader word-of-mouth drives book sales. In the old world of publishing, publishers and retailers could only guess what readers wanted to read. Today, each time a reader downloads, purchases or reviews an ebook, this data becomes an expression of reader sentiment that ebook merchandisers can mine to identify books worthy of extra promotion. I predict the long-admired gatekeeping function played by publishers will eventually be viewed as detrimental to the future of the written word.”
I think we’ve already seen this happening. This week The Telegraph
had (yet another) article about the rising popularity of young adult books with more sex
. In the article, they seem to lump all of this in with the growing “new adult” genre, and theorize that much of this trend has to do with adult readers clamoring for young adult reads. Whether or not this is true, I think this trend can mostly be attributed to reader demand, and the fact that the most popular releases in this genre have mostly (or all) been self-published (at least at first) is very interesting to note.
Certainly the landscape of publishing and book-selling is changing dramatically, and will continue to change. Last week, we reported on Amazon’s recent acquisition of a patent to resell digital media, like audiobooks and ebooks. I jokingly wondered if this would be the future of the used book store. Well, it turns out that this topic is apparently more serious than I thought. Reporting on a discussion of “First Sale” rights that occurred at the Tools Of Change conference
, Publisher’s Weekly
summarized presenter Bill Rosenblatt’s opinion on the ramifications of whether digital files will legally resold or not:
“If digital resale becomes a reality, Rosenblatt said, the big winners will likely be consumers, used content retailers and libraries—in fact, he said, unless the law allows digital resale, libraries will be ‘eliminated’”
(So I guess it’s not all
optimism then…at least for libraries.) Barnes and Noble also reported lower than expected revenue from their Nook division this week, sparking more pessimism in the bookseller’s market. Harper Collins CEO Victoria Barnsley went so far as to say that in the future, charging patrons to browse books at brick and mortar stores wouldn’t be “that insane
.” Um, I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there, Ms. Barnsley. That, in fact, would be insane. If booksellers want to still be relevant then they have to embrace the new landscape and adapt. I don’t think that nickel and diming their customers is a great way to generate more revenue. On the other hand, I have approximately zero expertise in book-selling so what do I know?
Goodreads made the news again, with The New York Times
reporting on the growing popularity of the site.
And now for some fun news:
Idaho State Senator John Goedde stirred up some righteous indignation last week, when he sponsored a bill that would make Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged required reading in Idaho’s high schools
– going so far as to require that students pass a test on the book as a graduation requirement. He stirred the pot a little more by saying “That book made my son a Republican” when asked why he chose it. I personally find this whole scenario (both the bill itself and the righteous indignation) to be pretty silly. I think high school children should have open, free access to any book they wish to read (including Ayn Rand). I don’t believe that the required reading of Atlas Shrugged
is likely to “turn” anyone Republican (perhaps the fact that the Senator’s son grew up in a predominantly Republican household had some measure in forming his political beliefs…? Ya think?). Nor do I think that any required high school reading is likely to brainwash school age children toward one set of beliefs or another. I really enjoyed this response from The Daily Beast,
in which author Michael Moynihan states in part: “If Goedde’s bill was serious and in danger of passing, it would have exactly the opposite of its intended effect. By mandating her books be studied in school, it’s likely that Rand’s influence on the young would be immeasurably lessened forever.”
Haha, indeed. Maybe this bill is a good idea after all?
Amazon continues its bid to take over the world (although, not China apparently
) by announcing the upcoming launch of its own currency
last week. “Amazon Coins” will essentially have the same value as U.S. currency so I’m not exactly sure what the point of it all is. *Downloads another song with seemingly limitless fake money.* Amazon also filed a patent at the end of January that will allow the company to “resell” digital files
like audiobooks and ebooks. So for example, a user could potentially transfer the digital rights to a song or a kindle book to another user for a “used” price. Could this be the future of used book stores?
This week in fabulous soap box blogging, Kelly from Stacked
writes in defense of introvert learning styles
(see the comments for additional discussion) and Sarah from Clear Eyes, Full Shelves
writes about the “right” way to read a book
(spoiler: there isn’t a right way).
NPR Books had a series of great articles about the state of the publishing industry right now
– and (surprise!!) – not everyone thinks it’s all doom and gloom. I know that I personally get very tired of the “sky is falling,” “publishing is DEAD!!” posts so I really enjoyed their more well-rounded point of view. Also, for all the Little House
fans, check out this interesting/nerdy NPR article about why Laura’s sister Mary likely did not lose her sight to scarlet fever
New shelving/book recommendation site Bookish
launched last week. So far, it seems a lot less user-driven than Goodreads, but it could be a potential competitor down the road.
In entertainment news, Emma Roberts will play the lead role in a television adaptation of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium for Fox
. No word yet on whether writer Karyn Usher will be able to translate the premise of the book into something that actually makes sense. There were also some very exciting casting announcements for the upcoming film version of The Book Thief.
And of course, the biggest news of the week: Washington D.C. and Seattle once again kick butt and take the top spots for “most literate city.
” Woohoo! Suck on it, rest of the U.S.!
Stop by and let us know what we missed from your corners of the web!
Aaaaand we’re back! We didn’t necessarily intend to take such a long break, but with stressful life events happening for all of us (including the welcoming of the newest little Readventurer), it’s been quite a while since we did an Odds & Ends post.
Conveniently, it looks like we’ve returned just in time to wrap up a ton of major awards! The Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards were all announced last week
, going to The One And Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate, This is Not My Hat
by Jon Klassen, and In Darkness
by Nick Lake, respectively.
Numerous other awards and honors were awarded as well. Publisher’s Weekly has a great review of the major awards given to children’s and young adult literature here
. (I was personally very excited to see one of my favorites, Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe
, win a few awards.) Another of our favorites from 2012, Seraphina
by Rachel Hartman, was given the William C. Morris Award last week! Congratulations, Rachel!
YALSA’s 2013 Best Fiction For Young Adults
and The Rainbow Book List
were also published. And remember when Flannery spent months tirelessly reading young adult sci-fi and fantasy for the Cybils awards? No? Well, she does. The Cybils shortlists
were announced earlier this month and the awards will be presented in February.
There was also a lot of talk last week in the book blogger world about plagiarism, with several bloggers reporting personal incidents of being plagiarized and how they dealt with it. We really appreciated Sarah’s very professional and informed advice over at Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.
In book-related movie news, the film version of The Spectacular Now premiered last week at Sundance
. (Ha! I almost wrote “debuted.” I fail as a movie blogger.) It also looks like the film version of The Fault in Our Stars may be coming to the big screen sooner than expected
. Yesterday, the casting was announced for Rose, Lissa, and Dimitri in Blood Sisters, the movie based on the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
. Mark Waters (of Mean Girls fame) is on board to direct.
We were very excited to read that Amy Poehler will be publishing an “unconventional memoir” next year
, which apparently will be “an illustrated, non-linear diary full of humor and honesty and brimming with true stories, fictional anecdotes and life lessons,” according to publisher It Books. I’m intrigued at the possibility of illustrations but I personally am really hoping she’ll narrate an audiobook for it.
Speaking of illustrations, Jezebel did a piece this week on the hideous "makeover" of several covers to classic books. One thing's certain: We won't be buying any of these versions
Here are some wonderful interviews with some of our favorite authors from last week:
And, (saving the best for last) Flannery had the wonderful opportunity to attend ALA Midwinter over last weekend, where she met a few great people and picked up a few great books. She's here to tell you all a bit about it. Take it away, Flannery!
So, for several reasons I am not going to do a recap of going to ALA midwinter, but I did go to the exhibits portion of it as I live in Seattle and I wanted to see what it was like. I was ecstatic to spend a lot of time with Rachel from The Reader's Den
(who I'd met before) and Arlene from WinterHaven Books
(who I've known online for years but had never met in real life). I had a blast chatting, going out to meals, and walking the aisles with them, even though they are so much better at networking than I am. While they were chatting amiably with reps about upcoming books they were excited about, I told a HarperCollins rep all about how I loved Stuart MacBride and how in one of his books the serial killer grinds people up in an animal slaughterhouse. Because that's the kind of thing I do. I picked up a few ARCs that I knew Tatiana, Catie, and/or I would be interested in reading/reviewing and had (I think) three books signed by authors that I will read/review as well. I know I am always curious, as a reader and as a blogger, what ARCs are out in the wild and I actually sit and watch book haul videos on Youtube with a pen and paper to write down titles that sound or look interesting. I hope someone does do a book haul video of the books they picked up, but here at The Readventurer, I'm just going to tell you about the ones I have ants in my pants about:
| || |Game
by Barry Lyga
(April, Little Brown)
| |A Corner of White
by Jaclyn Moriarty
(Aussie version already released, US version is April, AAL)
| |Vortex (Insignia, #2)
by S.J. Kincaid
(July, Katherine Tegan)
by Margo Lanagan
(Aussie version already released, US version is May, Knopf)
All three of us are total Sara Zarr fangirls so I was ecstatic to find an ARC of The Lucy Variations
, as I know Catie, Tatiana, and I all want to read it. (I wonder if Sara is doing the audiobook?) I am also very excited about that book because it features a piano player--not that I am any good on piano but I like reading about musicians. One of my favorite reading experiences last year was I Hunt Killers
, for which I made a 4-quadrant graph in my review
. I was chatting with a rep at Little Brown about an upcoming blog tour we are participating in for one of their titles and she asked me what I am most
excited to read of theirs and I think we're all friends here and you know how excited I get about serial killer books. Blahblahblah, she put an ARC of Game
in my hands and I almost french kissed it. Graph, part deux, here I come! I still have yet to read any Margo Lanagan books but I did attend an event of hers and she is absolutely lovely and so is her writing style. I'm certain I'll enjoy Yellowcake
, which is a selection of short stories. It was released in Australia in 2011 (I think) but it won't be released in the US until this spring. A Corner of White
is a similar tale--published in Australia already but coming to our market in a few months. I am a bit nervous about this one, as I find Jaclyn Moriarty to be one of the funniest writers in YA. Will I like her more serious stuff? Time will tell. (but my kindred spirit Nomes
loved it, so I bet I will) Last but not least is the sequel to Insignia
, which won't be released until July. I bet you didn't even know I'd read Insignia
! Well I did, when I was part of the Cybils
panel on YA sci fi/fantasy. I had so much fun reading that book and it will kill me softly that I have to hold off on reading/reviewing it for a few months. Weeeelll, I guess I could just read it and then review it later.
It's hard to judge books on their jacket copy, covers, author recognition, etc. I'm equally sure that I should've done a lot more research on publisher Spring/Summer catalogs. Here are just a few books I hadn't heard anything about but that piqued my interest because of publisher pitches (I don't have all of these):
I would also be over the moon to read the new (and last) Maeve Binchy book but I was too intimidated to pick it up. All the publishers I spoke with were seriously lovely and knowledgeable about their books and I kept thinking that it must be hard to try to pitch your books to people. Buzz words for one person are sometimes turn-offs for another reader. (e.g. some of my buzz phrases are things like "serial killer," "rehab," "depressing," "makeover," "heavy," "witty," and "epistolary") Nevertheless, I have tons of new books on my radar and absolute intent to review everything I now have in my possession. A sincere thank you to all the librarians present for allowing me to be an enthusiastic interloper at their conference (or ignoring my presence altogether) and to the publishers for being amazing (or letting me creep around their book piles like Gollum).
Other fun highlights include meeting and chatting with Kelly from Stacked
, Kirsten Hubbard
, Sarah Enni
, Lenore Appelhans
, and Kristen Kittscher
, having someone read my name on my badge and realize that we shared a mutual best friend (mine from college, hers from graduate school), and getting blisters on the pads of my feet from walking so much.