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Archives: February 2009

Barnes & Noble Fires Undocumented Workers

barnes-noble-logo.jpgImmigration officials intervened at Barnes & Noble warehouse in Reno, Nevada today, as the bookseller released 50 workers that federal officials identified as undocumented immigrants.

The firings came one week after the bookseller announced that the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Office had requested I-9 forms for all the employees at the Reno distribution center. According to Authorlink, a few employees have consulted with the ACLU about legal action.

Here’s more from the article: “‘Barnes & Noble has fully cooperated with Immigration authorities and has notified those employees identified by ICE. The Company is committed to observing all employment documentation standards for our employees,’ said Mary Ellen Keating, corporate spokesperson for the company.”

Can Pirates Help Sell Books?

pirate.gifAs the publishing industry tumbles headlong into the digital era, many fear that piracy could ruin the book business. However, some suggest that digital book piracy actually boosts sales.

At the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference, “Impact of P2P and Free Distribution on Book Sales,” was one of the most controversial and well-attended presentations. Responding to this interest, O’Reilly now has a link to pre-order a “Rough Cut” edition of the data used in that presentation.

TeleRead has more details and figures: “O’Reilly monitored P2P activity and sales stats for the front list in the fourth quarter of 2008, via eight DRMless titles pirated from O’Reilly’s front list. ‘Average post-seed sales were 6.5 percent higher in the four weeks after. Ranged from 18.2 percent up to 33.1 percent down … Average first seeds appeared 20 weeks after publication date.’” (Via Edward Champion)

SNL’s Oral Historians Tackle ESPN

shales-miller-espnbook.jpgYesterday afternoon, Little, Brown announced that it had signed up Tom Shales and Jim Miller, the co-authors of Live From New York, a behind-the-scenes oral history of Saturday Night Live, for a new project currently known as The Untitled ESPN Book. “The authors have already interviewed many individuals present at the creation and growth of ESPN,” according to a press release, “as well as those who are involved with the company now. Many are speaking on the record for the first time, and there will be hundreds more interviews conducted.” The pair will work, as they did on the SNL book, with editor-in-chief Geoff Shandler.

In the release, Miller also notes that, although based in Washington, D.C., he moved to Virginia in the 1980s specifically because the region had a better cable system, one where he could watch ESPN. We confess to our own unobjective anticipation of reliving the days of checking SportsCenter before going off to elementary school, or coming home to watch Australian rules football back in the days when the network, lacking its current major league affiliations, showed a very diverse mix of sports.

Self-Publishing 101

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This morning the Morning Media Menu podcast chatted with author, model, and self-promotion expert Isobella Jade. In 2006, this peppy author wrote her memoir on showroom computers at a Manhattan Apple Store. Her struggles ultimately paid off with a book deal at HarperCollins.

As publishing struggles through a difficult 2009, more authors will follow her self-publishing lead. For more tales from the self-publishing front lines, check out this Smashwords interview with Norman Savage.

Here’s more from the Jade interview: “I’m extremely self-absorbed, but in a productive way. I’m always thinking … how is what I’m doing interesting to somebody else? How could this appeal to an audience? Why would somebody care what I have to say?”

“Netherland” by Joseph O’Neill Wins PEN/Faulkner Award

netherland.jpgThe 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction went to Joseph O’Neill for his novel, “Netherland.”

The three judges looked at nearly 350 novels and short story collections by American authors from 2008. Four finalists were also noted by the judges: Susan Choi for “A Person of Interest,” Richard Price for “Lush Life,” Ron Rash for his novel “Serena,” and Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum for “Ms. Hempel Chronicles.”

At the site, Judge Randall Kenan noted “how much ["Netherland"] is about the new and continuing immigrant story, about New Americans and the making of new American traditions, which has always been New York’s function in the world. O’Neill has created a powerfully entertaining novel, but also a new emblem for our time.” (Via Publishers Weekly)

GalleyCat at the Festival of New French Writing

MarjaneSatrapi.jpgJust one day after visiting Sweden, GalleyCat will take a figurative journey to France–covering the Festival of New French Writing in New York City.

Sponsored by the Center for French Civilization & Culture and New York University, the three-day event will feature “encounters” between eleven French intellectuals and American writers. The guest list includes: Bernard-Henri Levy (“American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville”), Marjane Satrapi (“The Complete Persepolis,” pictured), Chris Ware (“Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth”), and Adam Gopnik (“Paris to the Moon”).

Follow the event from February 26-28 on editor Jason Boog‘s Twitter feed, and tag your own posts #FNFW to join the conversation. Here’s more from the site: “As with all foreign languages, translation of French works in the U.S. is disproportionately meager, with many more American authors translated in France than French authors here. The Festival of New French Writing hopes to attract new American readers to modern French and Francophone fiction and non-fiction.”

Former mediabistro.com Party Hostess Now a Guest of Honor

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About five years ago, Brooklyn native Ilana Stanger-Ross (left) was working as a journalist up in Toronto and hosting the occasional mediabistro.com cocktail party. (We even have some photos kicking around the archives of her wearing the trademark boa.) These days, she’s on the other side of Canada, finishing up her studies to pursue a new career as a midwife and celebrating the publication of her first novel, Sima’s Undergarments for Women. Earlier this week, Overlook publisher Peter Mayer hosted a party for Stanger-Ross in his SoHo home; she returns to New York City this weekend for a Saturday afternoon reading at McNally Jackson and a Sunday night reading at Freebird Books in Red Hook.

AvantGuild: Professor, Bookseller, Kidlit Agent

rosemary-stimola-headshot.jpgIn the latest installment of mediabistro.com’s “Pitching an Agent,” we learn about Rosemary Stimola, a former lingustics professor who gave up academia to run a children’s bookstore and then, in 1997, launched her own literary agency. “She feels she has a natural intuition when it comes to fiction for children and young adults,” reports M. David Hornbuckle, and she currently represents about 50 authors, including former GalleyCat party star Siobhan Vivian.

ag_logo_medium.gifThis article is one of several mediabistro.com features exclusively available to AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, you can register for $59 a year, and start reading those articles, receive discounts on mediabistro.com seminars and workshops, and get all sorts of other swell bonuses.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to Publish Two More Philip Roth Novels

Philip_Roth.jpgFollowing recent shake-ups at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a celebrated author brought some good news for the publisher today. Philip Roth will publish his next two titles with the company.

The 75-year-old novelist will release “The Humbling” in the fall, his 30th book. According to the NY Times, the novel is about an elderly actor with “a counterplot of unusual erotic desire.” Over his 50-year career, Roth has won the Pulitzer Prize for “American Pastoral,” and two National Book Awards.

Here’s more from the Times: “[HMH] will also release ‘Nemesis,’ a work of fiction set in the summer of 1944 that tells of a polio epidemic and its effects on a closely knit Newark community and its children. That book is scheduled for publication in 2010.” (Photo via Wikipedia)

First Gutted Glimpse Inside the Kindle 2

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After removing 16 screws, some nerdy readers opened up the Kindle 2–making some interesting discoveries about the future of the digital reading device.

Above, you can see the fully-dissected machine, compliments of the bright minds at Ifixit. The experts discovered that the new Kindle has nothing protecting the e-ink screen, which should encourage readers to buy a screen protector for the $359 device.

Interestingly enough, T3News points out something in the guts of the machine: “The presence of an unused SIM card slot could therefore be seen as a good indication that Amazon is planning to bring its eBook reader to other countries. Like this one [the UK]. Where we speak (and read) English. Of course, there’s also the possibility that it was simply a left over from an earlier stage of the design, but we don’t like that kind of pessimistic thinking.” (Via TeleRead)

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