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Mark Byrne

GalleyCat Contributor Mark Byrne, Signing Off

It’s been a great five months, but it’s time for this GalleyCat writer to step back from the fine arts of third-person opinion-making, hyperlink humor, and of course, publishing industry coverage. I’m leaving to pursue a few different projects: Mostly, I’m going to keep makin’ whiskey and drinkin’ beer. And hating on vampires, but we all know that’s nothing new. Stay cool, GalleyCats. Exec Sells Book about The Filtered Web

google is watching.pngPublisher’s Lunch reported yesterday that Eli Pariser, the board president of and its former Executive Director, has sold a book about the personalization of the web to Penguin Press.

GalleyCat caught up with Pariser this afternoon for a few words about the project. “I got onto this topic somewhat by accident,” he told us. “I noticed that even though I’d sought out conservative friends and added them on Facebook, I wasn’t seeing their updates and links. It turned out that Facebook was noticing that I was still clicking more on progressive-leaning links and dropping the conservative ones from my news feed. And that got me thinking.” Watch Pariser talk about this concept here.

Pariser says that the name isn’t final yet, but the title of the proposal was Don’t Be Evil: Filter Bubbles, Click Signals, And Why It Matters That the Net Knows Your Name. Clearly it will focus a little on Google, but it will also touch on sites like Amazon and Facebook. He added that the book will “show how many popular sites are already invisibly personalized, and then talk about what that’ll mean for politics, culture, and news.”

Pariser’s agent is Elyse Cheney; Laura Stickney will be his editor at Penguin Press. Pariser says he’ll be blogging about it as he writes it, so check in with his twitter for updates. The book is due out May 2011.

David Duchovny Lends His Voice to a Book Trailer

Yesterday we pointed out that the trailer for Gary Shteyngart‘s new book, Super Sad True Love Story, features a cameo by James Franco, who is increasingly omnipresent.

Today we bring news of a less omnipresent–though no less awesome– television and movie star, David Duchovny, whose voice stars in a trailer for The Beaufort Diaries, by T Cooper. The book is illustrated by Alex Petrowsy and published by Melville House. It went on sale Tuesday.

Author Meg Cabot Says Michael Nouri was Sexiest Vampire; Is She Right?

michael_nouri.gif.jpegOxford University Press has a brief Q&A up on its blog with Meg Cabot, the author of Insatiable (a modern sequel to Dracula) and a number of other books and series.

We’ve been curmudgeons about the vampire trend before–and we’ve also done a great deal to feed the fire–but this post isn’t either. Really, we just want to point out that, when asked who the sexiest vampire of all time is, Cabot responded that she thinks it is Michael Nouri (pictured), circa 1979 as Dracula.

Which made us think: Is that right? Because, come to think of it, there have been a whole cellar-full of a sexy vampires over the years. No: Not Robert Pattison. Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise come to mind first. And then there was Kiefer Sutherland and Jami Gertz. And then Salma Hayek and, uh, Aaliyah.

But this GalleyCat writer is no expert. Who am I missing, readers? Who do you think is the sexiest person to portray literature’s most famous bloodsucker? Could it actually be Michael Nouri?

English Soccer Coach Will Not Write Memoir, Not Even For A Million Pounds

fabio.pngAccording to The Sun (an ever reliable British tabloid) English soccer coach Fabio Capello has refused an offer of 1 million pounds to write a memoir about the team’s 2010 World Cup Campaign.

According to The Sun, Creative Artists Agency’s Charlie Stillitano approached Capello (pictured) with the offer, but Capello turned it down. A “close friend” of Capello told The Sun that CAA kept pressing, and that Capello held his firm decision even after England was eliminated from the World Cup on Sunday.

Good for him. Crazy as it may seem, some people just don’t want to write tell-all memoirs.

Libraries Expand eBook Offerings In Organized Effort

open library.pngThe Wall Street Journal has a story about a new effort by libraries to expand the selection of titles available as free eBook loans.

The project, led by the nonprofit digital library Internet Archive, calls for “a one-stop website [] for checking out e-books, including access to more than a million scanned public domain books and a catalog of thousands of contemporary e-book titles available at many public libraries.”

Here’s how it works: “To read the books, borrowers around the world can download and read them for free on computers or e-reading gadgets. Software renders the books inaccessible once the loan period ends.” According to the article, two-thirds of American libraries offered eBook loans last year, but those were mostly relegated to contemporary chart-toppers.

This sounds like a great idea, and we’re excited to see it come to life. Of course it bears similarities to Google’s ongoing effort to digitize everything, ever, and the Author’s Guild–which was not a fan of Google’s incessant scanning–is keeping an eye on it. That’s good. But for now, the article gets us excited. Much as we love brick-and-mortar libraries, we can’t help but imagine how much money we’ll save on late fees when our eBooks automatically return themselves.

Barnes & Noble’s 4Q Numbers Show 51 Percent Increase in Web Sales

barnes-noble-logo1.jpgOver on eBookNewser, our colleague Dianna Dilworth reports that Barnes & Noble’s 4Q numbers continue to show growth on the web side, while in-store sales slowly decline.

From the post: “As store sales decreased by 3% to $962 million in the first quarter of 2010, Barnes & sales increased 51% to $141 million for the quarter, as compared to the period one year ago.” eBookNewser also reported that, according to CEO William Lynch, the company would be redirecting a significant portion of its resources to invest in technology and sales and marketing.

Read the rest of the post here.

Author’s Book Title Inadvertently Becomes Facebook Fan Page Phenom

glevey.jpgGregory Levey, the author of Shut Up, I’m Talking, a memoir about his experience as a speechwriter in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, started a Facebook group for his book a couple of years ago. The group’s number of “fans” staggered along in the hundreds for a couple of years until recently, when, unexpectedly, it skyrocketed. To nearly 700,000 fans.

What happened? Over on, Levey explains: Even though the fan page shows the book’s cover and its synopsis, and informs visitors that it was published by Simon & Schuster, the vast majority of these supposed “fans” were somehow totally unaware that it was referring to a book at all. They had simply joined because they were fans of the phrase “Shut Up, I’m Talking.”

He goes on: “They were the sort of people, I soon discovered, who were also fans of such inane but popular Facebook fan pages as “Punching Things” and “I hate it when I get fingerprints all over my phone.” But each time one of them would become a fan of Shut Up, I’m Talking, their circle of Facebook friends would blindly do the same– causing its frighteningly viral spread.”

Levey (pictured, via) has yet to capitalize on his new, er, platform, but he probably could do so with a well worded message–”Hate when people interrupt you? So do I. And that was basically my job when I worked for the Prime Minister of Israel!” Or something. Either way, let this be an object lesson, marketing folks: It’s not a bad idea to title your book after a popular phrase that people might want to become “fans” of on Facebook. Not that that’s a secret.

Harper Lee Grants Unexpected Interview to British Newspaper Reporter

harper_lee.jpgHarper Lee has given fewer than a handful of interviews in the last fifty years, but she granted one recently to a reporter from the Mail on Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird.

But she did so with one caveat: No talking about To Kill a Mockingbird. Instead, they exchanged brief pleasantries. “Thank you so much,” said Lee, after the reporter brought her a box of chocolates. And then, “You are most kind. We’re just going to feed the ducks but call me the next time you are here. We have a lot of history here. You will enjoy it.’

And that’s it. The reporter also wandered around Monroeville, Alabama, where Lee lives, and spoke to people who know her–including her older sister Alice, who is 98 and a practicing lawyer.

On the occasion of this rare interview, the Guardian has thrown together a collection of others she has granted over the years. (There are two.) To Kill a Mockingbird celebrates its 50th birthday on July 11. It’s sold more than 40 million copies, which is roughly the number of people there are in Argentina.

Dzanc Books Looks to Indie Presses for Alternative ’20 under 40′ List

dzanc.jpgIn response to the New Yorker‘s much talked about 20 Under 40 list, Ann Arbor-based publisher Dzanc Books has pulled together an alternative: Its own list of 20 Writers to Watch (though not all are necessarily under 40).

An explanation from the press release: “As the staff of The New Yorker went to the sources they knew best when creating their list, and most of the authors they reviewed have either been published in The New Yorker or with major New York publishing houses, so we focused on writers publishing with independent houses.”

And they did a pretty decent job. Soft Skull, McSweeney’s and Featherproof are all well represented, as are a number of smaller indie and university presses. Throughout the bios, there are a couple publications at FSG and Harper Perennial for good measure, and a few mentions of serious literary anthologies (O. Henry, Pushcart Prize, Best American et cetera).

The press release goes on: “There is obviously much to praise about the work that is published by New York houses, and in The New Yorker, as well as the authors on the New Yorker list. Nonetheless, we feel it is the independent presses who best represent the heart and soul of understanding what is going on in literary fiction today, and the writers included here have all struck a chord with that community.” We tend to think they have a point.

The list is after the jump.

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