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Archives: June 2007

The It Boy Photographic Common Denominator

Even though Sara Vilkomerson‘s piece on “Summer It Boy” (wait a minute, wasn’t it this guy?) Taylor Antrim isn’t a direct carbon copy of Lizzy Ratner’s April piece on Dana Vachon in the same newspaper, it certainly feels that way. And then it hit me: Michael Nagle</strong> is the photographer on both pieces. Even stranger (or not) is that Nagle acted as photographer for a piece Vachon wrote back in 2006, this time for the New York Times. What’s going on? Has Nagle become the “photographer to the stars” for Literary It Boys?

Two More Publishers Join the Blogosphere

Orbit Books, the science-fiction house of Hachette Book Group gearing up for its US launch this fall, has just started a homepage blog that will incorporate commentary from both the American and British staffers. Right now, the content is skewed towards the UK side, but marketing and publicity chief Alex Lencicki tells us that will change as the pub dates for the American branch’s first frontlist approach.

Independent publisher David R. Godine has also put together a Blogspot page, tracking media appearances of the books it publishes under its main imprint and as Black Sparrow Books. (As Godine explains on the Balck Sparrow website, they’re the exclusive licensed distributors of the legendary imprint, selling original editions of its illustrious backlist “trucked direct from John Martin’s former Santa Rosa warehouse to ours,” plus a few carefully selected new titles.)

Today’s Obligatory Harry Potter Roundup

With the publication date of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS less than a month away, expect the volume of stories to increase (even if the quality, or significance, may not correlate.) Today we have a few choice morsels including:

    • A rare first edition bought by a UK schoolgirl fetched 9,000 pounds. Truthfully, I thought it would get more at this stage, but what do I know? [Life Style Extra]
    • Scholastic will host a “Harry Potter Place” starting July 20. [release]
    • Kim Brown, vice president of merchandising for Barnes & Noble, and Kris Nugent, manager of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Il. reveal their Harry Potter strategies. [Chicago Daily Herald]
    • Motoko Rich goes to the Harry Potter fan sites for their thoughts on spoilers, predictions and other Potter-related items. [NYT]
    • Potter-mania extends to the Ukraine, too. [Kyiv Post]
  • Drudge, Edwards Boost YA Bookblog’s Traffic

    mitali-perkins-signing.jpgLast week, Mitali Perkins (left) noticed a huge spike in traffic on Sparrowblog, a website created to promote her novel First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover, where the novel’s protagonist, the young daughter of an Indian-American presidential candidate, comments on real-world news involving the other candidates’ children. Ordinarily, she told us, she’d get 120 page views a day, but last Thursday it spiked to 2,500. Some of the initial traffic came from people Googling the phrase “Cate Edwards picks Hillary,” but when Perkins/”Sparrow” mentioned this on the blog, the newspaperman who wrote the column to which Matt Drudge has misleadingly linked set the record straight, then Elizabeth Edwards added her own comment. It was Emma Claire, the 9-year-old daughter of Elizabeth and John Edwards, who, asked which candidate she liked best, “pointed to a Hillary pin slyly and then, smiling, pointed to her father.” TPM’s Election Central picked up on her appearance, other political blogs followed, and—boom! A 2000% boost in traffic.

    “Overblown and Overhyped”, Judges Princess Di Expert

    So many Tina Brown/Princess Diana stories to choose from, what’s a poor publishing blogger to do? But this one, from the Guardian piques the interest because it’s a review by noted Diana expert Sarah Bradford – one that the Spectator “refused to print,” according to the Guardian, so they’ve gone and done so. It’s certainly an entertaining, if awfully scathing piece. One need only zoom down to the closing paragraph to get a sense of Bradford’s acidic take:

    One reviewer remarked on the “skinflint” production of this book. There are no photographs of the most photogenic woman of the last century. Nor is there a dust jacket. Perhaps the publishers find themselves strapped for cash after the much vaunted advance they allegedly paid. Punters, on payment of an advertised £18.99, will have to be content with an alluring picture of the other blonde, Tina Brown.

    Yup, when you’re down to the level of criticizing author photos (and lack of photo inserts) you know you’re not exactly in the realm of true-blue literary criticism…

    FBI Tracks Down Lost Manuscript of THE GOOD EARTH

    If you’re of a certain age, Pearl S. Buck‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel THE GOOD EARTH was considered to be required reading (the book hasn’t aged all that well, so those of my generation and younger haven’t been exposed to the book in schools or gone looking for it.) So the news, reported today by the Philadelphia Inquirer, that the FBI has recovered the original manuscript – considered to be lost for over 40 years and deemed “priceless” – may be of interest.

    “The manuscript has been missing since at least 1966 and is considered priceless,” the FBI said in a news release yesterday about the manuscript, which has been consigned to auction by the Samuel T.Freeman Co. auction house. Buck, who died in 1973 in Vermont, lamented to an author about the disappearance of the original masterwork from her Bucks County home. “The devil has it!” she said. David Bloom, Freeman’s vice president of manuscripts and books, said the document contained “a large number of annotations in her hand, including changes of phrases that would be of real interest to Pearl S. Buck scholars.” The consignment also included several letters to Buck from world figures.

    Buck’s son Edgar S. Walsh, administrator of the estate, said his heart jumped into his throat after getting a call about the manuscript he had reported stolen more than 30 years ago. “When I heard a manuscript had been recovered, I said, ‘Bingo!’ ” said Walsh. He added the estate, which owns the literary rights to Buck’s works, would claim ownership of the manuscript.

    Exhibiting the John Murray Archive

    The Scotsman reports on the John Murray Archive exhibition at the National Library of Scotland, which is doing everything in its power to bring alive the 150,000 documents and papers in the archive for which it paid £31 million 18 months ago. Original letters from Charles Darwin, David Livingstone, Lord Byron, and others are on show with sophisticated touch screens, interactive sound effects, and false windows made from flat-screen televisions. Martyn Wade, the library’s chief executive, said: “This is to encourage people who would not normally go into the reading room, people that wonder what the archive’s about. It’s important that they can actually look at the originals.”

    The exhibition was opened yesterday by writer, broadcaster and former Python Michael Palin. “For a traveller and a writer like myself the John Murray archive is a mouth-watering prospect,” he said.

    Shutterfly Acquires Children’s Personalized Book Publisher

    Shutterfly, an internet-based social expression and personal publishing service, today announced the acquisition of Make it About Me!, a publishing company that produces customized children’s books including My Adventure on Sesame Street and My Amazing Alphabet Adventures. These new adventure books enable children to “star” in their own stories by integrating the child’s picture into the book’s illustrations and storyline. The books only require a single photo; within minutes, parents can create an engaging, personalized and professionally-bound hardcover book to share with their children.

    “This acquisition increases Shutterfly’s market leadership in the rapidly-expanding category of personalized storybooks and photo books,” said Jeffrey Housenbold, President and Chief Executive Officer of Shutterfly. “We’re very pleased to offer parents compelling, personalized stories that feature their child together with beloved characters, such as their friends on Sesame Street, and others.”

    Sameday Books Looking for Acquisitions

    The Bookseller reports that Charles Denton, the new owner of Samedaybooks, has said that the company will look to make acquisitions in order to build a larger business. Denton, whose 1m pound offer for the flagging retailer closed yesterday, also said that he hoped to sell the chain’s software systems to other sectors. “I am pleased to have acquired my holding in samedaybooks and look forward to working with the directors and staff to take the company forward with a number of new opportunities,” said Denton, whose stake in the company is now 60%. “In particular, samedaybooks has established some valuable software systems for the book retailing market which I believe can be adapted and developed across other business sectors. We are also examining a number of possible acquisitions which, if successful, will build the company to a significantly larger business.

    18 Years Later, Memoirist’s Girlie Mag Debut

    stacey-grenrock-woods2.jpgWhen Stacey Grenrock Woods posed for a Playboy photographer back in 1989 and didn’t wind up in the magazine, she moved on with her life, eventually becoming a Daily Show correspondent, then landing a recurring role on Arrested Development. But when galleys of her memoir, I, California: The Occasional History of a Child Actress/Tap Dancer/Record Store Clerk/Thai Waitress/Playboy Reject/Nightclub Booker/Daily Show Correspondent/Sex Columnist/Recurring Character and Whatever Else, started floating around, a staffer at the magazine decided to delve into the archives, and the photo at left (without the book jacket) has now wound up in the July issue. Turns out she really did look like, as she described the shoot in her memoir, “a hausfrau in a Benny Hill sketch.”

    The publicity team at Scribner is having fun with the new development, crossing “Playboy Reject” off on all the press releases they send out for the book’s imminent release. (What, you thought I’d make a “book hot” joke here? Nah, we’ll leave that for some other website with more experience working that territory…)