Book reviews, new books, publishing news, book giveaways, and author interviews

Bookish links 14 Nov: memory < reading, grumpy authors, editorial letters more!

book news Bookish links 14 Nov: memory < reading, grumpy authors, editorial letters & more!

RIASS stuff:

Ghost towns, history and The Secrets of St Dee by Victoria Routledge

Stop it or you'll go blind! Or, how reading is ruining my eyesight

It's not you, it's me: a letter to Beck McDowell's This is Not a Drill

Other bookish stuff:

Publishers have one last chance to level the playing field'An interesting post on why publishing needs to stop with this returns business. Despite decades of ruinous experience, it still doesn't seem to have sunk into the minds of many publishers that returns are a form of currency. Like any other kind of currency, returns can be manipulated. All bookstore people understand this concept perfectly: When times get tough, stores that don't have cash 'spend' their returns, buying new titles with credits on books that aren't moving fast enough in order to keep cash flowing.

The National Book Awards are getting a bit fancypants'Efforts are being made to sex up the awards to make them more like the Booker: proposals include bringing on judges who are more all-rounder types, and limiting who can submit books.

John Green on ebook pricing'Author Ally Condie has been slammed by an Amazon reviewer for the fact that the hardcover price for her book is cheaper than the ebook. Green points out that this isnt Condies fault at all: the RRP for the hardcover is above that of the ebook, but Amazons huge discounting policy is whats made the print edition so cheapits part of Amazons efforts to encourage readers to buy at Amazon, and to continue doing so.

National Archives of Australia crowdsourcing project'The site encourages the public to transcribe gallery records in order to improve access to the archives.

So, apparently its possible to be sued for retweeting.

How about a Wicked Witch of the East bookmark?

wicked witch bookmark 300x225 Bookish links 14 Nov: memory < reading, grumpy authors, editorial letters & more!

A Q&A with Romana Koval (Ill be attending a talk by Ramona tonight, so stay tuned for my write-up of the event) Digitised forms mean a more diverse reading experience than that offered by paper and illustrations. You can see associated videos and other readers' views and 'back stories' and branching narratives and split-screen alternatives. I wonder at the possible atrophy of the readerly imagination from all these provisions. But when mass reading came in with the invention of the printing press, people were worried about the atrophy of memory. They were right, of course, but perhaps we gained more than we lost?

Not all books for children fall under YA'The author notes that anything aimed at kids seems to be labelled as YA these dayseven when thats patently not the case. She argues that by doing this, people are marginalising the true audience of YA.

The ten grumpiest authors in literary history'My long-term career goal is to end up on a list like this.

On celebrity book advancesand huge flops'Tom Tivnan of the Bookseller says that a number of celebrity books are purchased in a moment of panic buying for the Christmas market, and that many of these dont make their money back.

On transitioning from fixed book to reflowable ebook formats'A company describes how they made their picture books work in e-format. This involved looking at things such as captions, page and scene breaks, chapter titles and page numbers.

On the potential issues of selling books second-hand'A recent case involving a man selling Wiley books secondhand on eBay has raised questions about when and how royalties need to be paid on second-hand books.

An editor on editorial lettersand why she always sends them after 5pm'When that email comes, take your time. Read it. Think it over. Look at all the notes and let it settle before you pick up the phone. I know your instinct might be to immediately call your editor and defend everything she's asked you to change or cut, but take the time to let it sink inI have a tendency to send my edit letters at the end of the day or on a Friday to give the author time to think.

Omnishambles named word of the year by OED; in the US, Gif has it.

On street name literature and the naming of Australian streets'I'm glad that while the spirit of the early planners has remained our nomenclature has broadened to encompass women, quiet achievers, the arts and increasing usage of indigenous names. The end result is, for we capital residents, a fascinating literature of suburb and street names. The same is true of Melbourne (or at least some parts of Melbourne): on the suburb where I used to live there was a whole host of literary streetsWordsworth, Chaucer, Shakespeare and more.

Robert McCrum on the transformation of books'E-publishing has moved beyond merely trying to reproduce print books in electronic format.'Ive just had my first experience of e-publishing, courtesy of Guardian books. In contrast to all my previous publications, it was clean, fast and virtual. As recently as August, we made three separate selections of my Observer journalism. I wrote three short introductions. Speedy formatting followed.

Comments make us happy! Do say hello!

Add us to your Google reader: Add to Google

Follow us on Blog Lovin' Follow on Bloglovin