FishbowlNY FishbowlDC LostRemote InsideMobileApps InsideSocialGames TVNewser TVSpy AgencySpy PRNewser MediaJobsDaily UnBeige

Archives: February 2009

Philip Jose Farmer Has Died

n2753.jpgScience fiction pioneer Philip Jose Farmer “passed away peacefully in his sleep,” his website noted this morning.

The 91-year-old author was best-known for his Riverworld series, a surreal collection of books about a world where historical figures mingle on a watery planet. Wikipedia counts six Hugo Award nominations for the author during his long career.

Here’s more from the PJ Star: He was once quoted as saying that, particular in his early career, he had more fans in France, Italy, Germany and Japan than in the United States. Even after he retired from writing, his fans continued to produce ‘Farmerphile,’ a magazine devoted to his life and works.” (Via Scalzi)

Richard Nash To Leave Soft Skull and Counterpoint


Richard Nash, the Editorial Director of Soft Skull Press and Executive Editor of Counterpoint, is set to depart the company on March 10, 2009.

In the announcement, Counterpoint CEO and Publisher Charlie Winton reassured readers that the company would keep publishing the Soft Skull Press imprint and keep the New York offices open. In 2007, Counterpoint acquired Soft Skull Press.

In a statement, Nash said the transition helped the indie press survive a tough 2008: “Having worked with Charlie and our colleagues to save and rebuild Soft Skull, and having succeeded even in the face of the worst downturn the industry has ever experienced, I now feel it is time to let Soft Skull move onto the next phase of its existence, and to allow me to take on the new challenges our industry is facing.”

Book Party Like It’s Not 2009

33870415.JPGLast night a crowd of Wall Street types mingled comfortably with publishing types at the classy Yale Club in midtown Manhattan, celebrating the release of Ian Bremmer and Preston Keat‘s new book, The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing.

The party, like the book, balanced between finance glitter and academic rigor–the cover jacket is blurbed by a NYU economics professor, an UN ambassador, and the CEO of Coca-Cola. The hosts provided appetizers, loaded cheese spreads, crusty breads, fancy crackers, beer, wine, and liquor. “This is in the top three of the best book parties I’ve seen in my 17-year career,” remarked one of the organizers.

“New York is no longer the center of [U.S.] finance,” said Bremmer (president of the political risk consultancy, Eurasia Group) in his gripping speech about the book he co-wrote. “Washington is.” The point resonated with both finance workers and finance publishers in the audience–as our financial leadership dramatically shifts this year, so must the books predicting our financial future.

Roy Blount Jr. Argues Against Kindle 2 Audio

popup_logo2.gifIn a forceful NY Times op-ed, Authors Guild president Roy Blount Jr. warned creative people to be “duly vigilant” about the Kindle 2′s new ability to create automatically generated computerized audio-books.

He concluded that the new text-to-speech function will threaten the billion-dollar audiobook market. Blount also mentioned that this technology is rapidly evolving. IBM has patented a computer-generated voice program that is “almost indistinguishable” from a real voice–including human speech ticks for a more realistic experience.

Here’s more from the op-ed: “A lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation sarcastically warned that ‘parents everywhere should be on the lookout for legal papers haling them into court for reading to their kids.’ For the record: no, the Authors Guild does not expect royalties from anybody doing non-commercial performances of ‘Goodnight Moon.’ If parents want to send their children off to bed with the voice of Kindle 2, however, it’s another matter.”

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler


Yesterday afternoon, the marketing managers for DK Publishing celebrated Mardi Gras—and the arrival of a new edition of their DK New Orleans travel guide—with a little in-house party, complete with masques and beads. They stayed close enough to the holiday tradition that they baked a tiny Baby Jesus doll into the King Cake… No word, though, on who got the lucky slice, or what favor they might have enjoyed around the office for the rest of the day.

Meet Sweden’s Biggest Book Bloggers

What’s happening in the world of Swedish publishing? To find out, GalleyCat caught up with the four founding members of Bokhora (Bookslut, in English), Sweden’s largest literary blog.

The editors covered a number of key topics about Swedish publishing, including: the surprising popularity of the Stanza e-reader, how the recession has affected publishers, the origins of the name “Bookslut,” and the headline-making books back home. Authors discussed include Joan Didion, Paul Auster, Neil Gaiman, and Siri Hustvedt.

The Bokhora interview took place at Tea Lounge in Brooklyn, and the Swedish bloggers showed off their favorite books at nearby Bookcourt. Special thanks to Baby Got Books for suggesting the interview.

Naomi Klein Wins £50,000 Warwick Prize

shock-doctrine-jacket200px.jpgNaomi Klein has won the £50,000 Warwick Prize for Writing for her recent book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

This is the first year the prize has been offered, focusing on the theme of “complexity.” The shortlist included: Reinventing the Sacred by Stuart A. Kauffman, The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross, Montano’s Malady by Enrique Vila-Matas, Mad Bad and Sad by Lisa Appignanesi, The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed Bishop Gerardi? by Francisco Goldman.

Here’s more from the Globe and Mail: “Chair judge China Mieville called it ‘a brilliant, provocative, outstandingly written investigation into some of the great outrages of our time. It has started many debates, and will start many more…’” (Via Bookslut)

Scribner Memoir Picked by Starbucks

imagestar.jpgToday Starbucks chose Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story by Isabel Gillies for its special book program. Published by Scribner, the book will be released March 24, 2009 and sold at more than 7,000 Starbucks around the country.

Television viewers know the author from her role as Detective Stabler’s wife on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but the memoir explores her real-life marriage struggles.

Someone should rename the coffee chain Starbooks. In 2007, the NY Times teased GalleyCat as they revealed the impressive numbers: “According to sales figures released by Starbucks, ‘A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,’ by Ishmael Beah, has sold more than 62,000 copies in its first three weeks on sale at the chain, about two thirds of the 92,000 copies that Mitch Albom‘s book sold in a full three months.”

Assistant Editor Fired and Hired in 24 Hours

j0440104.gifAs the publishing world copes with massive recession restructuring, assistant editor Ben Steinberg has emerged with one of the strangest and oddly heartening stories–losing his job and getting rehired at another publisher in 24 hours flat.

When HarperCollins shuttered the Collins division in early February, Steinberg lost his job as assistant editor for CollinsBusiness. That same day, he secured an interview with another publishing house. By the next morning, he was hired by Susan Mercandetti and Bob Loomis as an assistant editor at the Random House imprint.

He explained in a GalleyCat interview: “It was such a whirlwind of emotion: first frustrating, disappointing and disheartening to being optimistic, with potential happiness and then finally some assurance. Though of course I feel very blessed and lucky to have gotten this job, and still am upset over my wonderful coworkers who lost theirs, it dawned on me that maybe the industry isn’t falling apart after all? That, maybe everything will be all right?”

Chinese Premier Donates 200,000 Digital Books

225px-Wen_Jiabao_2008.jpgChinese Premier Wen Jiabao (pictured, via Wikipedia) has donated 200,000 digital books the University of Cambridge’s library, building that university’s world-renown collection of Chinese monographs.

At the same time as this historic donation, the PEN American Center has gathered over one thousand signatures in a petition to release imprisoned Chinese PEN Center board member and author Liu Xiaobo.

Here’s more from the release: “the gift is one of the largest single donations received in the University Library’s 650-year history and almost doubles the number of electronic books at its disposal … [the donation includes] books published since 1992 in the humanities, including classical and modern Chinese language and literature, history, geography, politics, economics, law, philosophy, religion, social sciences, military affairs, culture, education and art.” (Via JA Furtado.)