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Authors Making a Name for Brands

Ron Barrett for the New York Times

Ron Barrett for the New York Times

“Cultivating Thought” is a series of captivating short pieces written by ten noted authors, from Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison to Malcolm Gladwell, printed on Chipolte cups and bags and meant to be read in two minutes. They were the brainchild of Everything is Illuminated writer Jonathan Safran Foer.

In the New York Times, Teddy Wayne looks at “the branding of literature,” companies turning to “literary luminaries to form a collective ‘spokescribe’” as the perfect pitchmen. It can work well for the writers, too. According to Wayne, Moneyball author Michael Lewis told Conan O’Brien on “Conan,” “It pays very well to write a Chipolte cup.”

Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of eyewear company Warby Parker–two names picked from Jack Kerouac’s unpublished journals–told the Times, “We wanted to build a brand that stood for fun, creativity and doing good in the world, and we thought writers best represented that.”

It’s not a match made in corporate heaven for all authors. “Not everyone is willing to be the face (or prose) of a brand,” writes Wayne. Elliott Holt saw her first novel You are One of Them pubbed last year. When a company sought her out to endorse an e-cig (vape, anyone?), she declined.

“‘I felt like being the face of some product would somehow cheapen me as a writer,’ she said, also expressing her reservations about the merchandise’s potential health risks. The offer of $30,000 still gnaws at her, though.”

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Are You Dressing Up in a Literary-Themed Costume?

Millennial​s: Libraries Brightest Hope?

1101130520_600Millennials tend to get a bum rap. Remember that Time magazine cover that painted them as “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents?”

They’re the ME ME ME generation, the cover reads, but then boldly proclaims “why they’ll save us all.”

Yes the cover girl may have been pictured with an iPhone in her hand, but chances are she had a library card in her back pocket.

Could libraries be among the first of the Millennials heroic conquests?

According to a new report from the Pew Research Center Internet Project the answer is a hopeful perhaps. Read more

Ylvis Lands Deal for ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ Picture Book

fox coverYouTube sensation Ylvis has signed a picture book deal with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. The Norwegian comedic duo has written a story based on their hit song, “The Fox.” Follow this link to view the music video.

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing president Jon Anderson negotiated the deal with the Creative Artists Agency. Senior editor Christian Trimmer will edit the manuscript. A release date has been scheduled for December 10, 2013.

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Novel-T Turns Kurt Vonnegut Self-Portrait into a T-Shirt

Are you a fan of Kurt Vonnegut? Novel-T, a literary-themed clothing company, has licensed his self-portrait for a summertime t-shirt and tote bag.

The company has pledged to donate $1 from each shirt sale to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). Throughout his lifetime, Vonnegut was a supporter of this nonprofit organization.

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Literary Tattoo Guessing Game at BuzzFeed

Ever thought about getting a literary tattoo?

BuzzFeed has created a video called, “Can You Guess These Amazing Literary Tattoos?

The idea is simple: see a tattoo alongside the literary quote that inspire it. We’ve embedded the video above…

 

Read more

Have Young Adult Books Uplifted the Popularity of Short Fiction?

In recent years, young adult books have driven a surge in sales for publishers. Besides increasing the revenue streams of these companies, it also seems to have uplifted the popularity of short fiction. The YA authors who have contributed to this trend tend to set their short fiction pieces within the universe of a popular book series.

For instance, Beth Revis recently concluded the Across the Universe trilogy and celebrated by inviting her fans to download a free novella called “As They Slip Away.” Ally Carter incorporated characters from two teen series, Heist Society and the Gallagher Girls, for “Double-Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Novella.”

As we previously reported, HarperCollins established HarperTeen Impulse as a digital imprint dedicated to solely publishing short fiction. But, even before this venture came along, Divergent series author Veronica Roth penned a short story called “Free Four” and Delirium trilogy author Lauren Oliver wrote a piece called “Hana.” What do you think?

Does Techspeak Harm Our Writing Skills?

In a survey, 64 percent of teens confessed that they used “techspeak” from texting or online communication in writing assignments at school.

Will text messaging and social networking harm our writing skills? Social Times has more in a detailed infographic:

A recent study suggests that the more kids text, the less they learn about proper grammar. Widespread use of social media sites and text messaging tools has given rise to a hybrid language called “techspeak” that’s riddled with acronyms and abbreviations instead of words and numbers instead of letters. This, we knew. But because students between the ages of 13 and 17 send twice as many messages as people in any other age group, “techspeak” is more likely to creep into their school assignments and give others the wrong impression about their communication skills.

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Children’s Books Trends for 2013

Scholastic Book Clubs editorial director David Allender recently shared ten trends that he thinks will dominate children’s books in 2013. Watch the video embedded above for more details, but here are the ten trends, from the release:

1. Bullying is THE Timely Topic in Kids’ Books

2. ’13 Will be a Lucky Number for Science Fiction Fans

3. Intriguing Nonfiction

4. Novels-in-Cartoons

5. Kid Lit on the Screen

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Encyclopedia Print Sales Versus Wikipedia User Growth

Venture capitalist and analyst Mary Meeker has released her annual Internet Trends report, earning 125,000 slideshow views in a single day.

Among her 80 slides about the evolution of online behavior, Meeker mapped Encyclopedia Britannica hard copy sales figures against Wikipedia’s online user growth. We’ve embedded that particular slide above–what do you think this means for print publishing?

After 244 years in print, Encyclopaedia Britannica decided to stop publishing its 32-volume print edition back in May.

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