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Musical Comedy = Book Trailer?

Our sibling blog GalleyCat posted a story about a new project sponsored by the storytelling site Lit Drift, which is commissioning videos from musicians who agree to summarize a classic novel in song in less than a minute. The first video is posted above.

Here’s more from the site: “The concept is pretty simple: we get writers, musicians, actors, and other creative types to summarize their favorite novels. In 60 seconds or less. With no time to prepare…We’re kicking off the project with Matt Mazur, a NYC-based folk and comedy musician. He composed this little diddly about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby off the top of his head.”

Now, we wish we could say we felt like this guy was trying his hardest and doing his best, but, frankly, we’re not quite convinced. Seems like he just made it up on the fly, which has its charms, but if F. Scott Fitzgerald had made up The Great Gatsby on the fly, we wouldn’t be watching humorous book trailers about it today. Harumph.

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Nolo Signs Up for Digital Catalogs with Edelweiss

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Just a quick note to let you know that legal publisher Nolo has signed on with Above the Treeline‘s Edelweiss service for digital catalogs. The publisher’s full catalog–representing titles such as The Executor’s Guide: Settling A Loved One’s Estate or Trust–will be available on Edelweiss by the end of May.

The Penguincubator: The Future of Books Circa 1935

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Publishing Perspectives ran an interesting essay by James Bridle the other day about the publisher Allen Lane, who, in 1934, brought the paperback to the masses. Additionally, he invented the machine you see above, called the Penguincubator, a vending machine for paperback books.

Here’s an excerpt: In the Penguincubator we see several desires converge: affordable books, non-traditional distribution, awareness of context, and a quiet radicalism. And it’s not a huge leap of the imagination to see how these apply now. I see the same bored gaze on the bus and tube today, as people reflexively flip open their phones and start poking at email or casual games, as Allen Lane saw on the platform at Exeter in 1933. And slowly–oh, so slowly–publishers are seeing that what we are presented with is not the death of everything we trust, value and hold dear, but a similar widening vista of opportunity to that which arrived with the mass-market paperback.”

It’s impossible not to see this machine and think of today’s Espresso Book Machine, the instant POD printer already housed in some book stores. It’s also impossible not to note, as Publishing Perspectives does, that this kind of alternative distribution method put booksellers on edge, as eBooks and POD books are doing now. Of course, Lane’s paperbacks also expanded the reach of the book business considerably…

Perseus Book Group Signs with Edelweiss for Digital Catalogs

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Edelweiss, the digital catalog service owned by Above the Treeline, is having a good run. Perseus Book Group has just signed on to have Edelweiss handle its digital catalogs. This follows Monday’s announcement that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has also signed on with Edelweiss. The Fall 2010 Perseus catalogs will be available on Edelweiss by the end of May.

More Great Poetry for Your eReader

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Before National Poetry Month is really gone, we wanted to take at least one more opportunity to point you toward some great poetry for your eReader, so here are a few more suggestions:

Fire to Fire by Mark Doty: Doty won the National Book Award for this collection of new and selected poems. His work is highly accessible, but unrelentingly intense and deep: Doty writes better than anyone about love, desire, and life on the streets of New York City. Kindle. Sony. B&N.

Green Squall
by Jay Hopler: This was another Yale Younger Poets Prize winner, chosen by Louise Gluck. It didn’t get talked about much, but this blogger loved it. Hopler writes about an inner life as changable and sometimes scary as the weather on the hurricane-end of Florida. Kindle. B&N.

Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara: Here’s a kind of classic–O’Hara was teh quintessential New York poet, chatty, ubiquitous, and sexy and funny as hell. This new selected will give you a good idea of the poet he was. Kindle. Sony. B&N.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Signs with NetGalley

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is the first of the “big six” publishers to sign on with NetGalley. The deal went into effect yesterday.

“Using NetGalley allows us to streamline our distribution process, cut costs, and increase the reach of our marketing and publicity campaigns,” said Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Vice President, Digital Market Strategy Sanj Kharbanda in a statement.

Once a couple more of those big six sign on, NetGalley will be the new way of doing things…

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Signs with Above the Treeline for Digital Catalogs

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Above the Treeline’s Edelweiss digital catalog service is racking up some big name clients. Today, the company announced that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has signed with the Edelweiss service for Web-based digital catalogs. Last week, Macmillan also signed on.

Both Houghton’s Trade and Reference divisions will have their fall 2010 catalogs viewable on Edelweiss by the end of May.

Chelsea Green’s ‘Marijuana’ Giveaway

Marijuana Is Safer

Yesterday Chelsea Green ran a giveaway on Scrid, offering a digital version of the book Marijuana is Safer from midnight on 4/20 to midnight on 4/21. Today, Kate Rados, Chelsea Green’s director of digital initiatives, reports that the giveaway was “a huge success.” It was so successful, they’re extending the giveaway through midnight tonight.

In a statement she said “In that 24 hour window we had over 33,000 Reads and over 11,000 Downloads of the book. In addition to the scores of media hits and hundreds of tweets, we saw substantial gains via Amazon and our Chelsea Green Bookstore. And a nice bonus was that our website had a major spike in traffic yesterday as well.”

Then, Rados told eBookNewser that Chelsea Green has decided to extend the giveaway until midnight tonight. They’re at 50,000 reads, and, said Rados, “When we took it down, there was a lot of disappointment, so we definitely wanted to try to get everyone a book who wanted one. Great problem to have!”

Macmillan Signs with Edelweiss for Digital Catalogs

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Edelweiss, the digital catalog program run by Above the Treeline, just signed a big client: Macmillan. Starting with the fall season catalogs, Macmillan will begin using Edelweiss to distribute digital catalogs. Macmillan will start with a few imprints and will most likely add more in 2011.

Orbit to Sell Short Fiction By The Story

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Digital publishing is bringing micro-transactions to books. Orbit, the fantasy imprint of Hachette books, has announced a new program to sell short fiction by its authors by the story. Orbit authors will be paid by the story as well, rather than a flat fee. The stories will be distributed through all the major channels.

So look out for short stories by writers such as Joe Abercrombie, Iain M. Banks, Greg Bear, and Gail Carriger, who are all Orbit authors, though the official list of who will be included hasn’t been announced yet. Hachette says the program will launch “later this year.”

The SF/fantasy audience tends to be both ravenous and tech-savvy, so this program has a good shot at success.

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