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Archives: May 2009

GalleyCat Reports: Thursday at BEA

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A surprisingly large amount of attendees roamed the BEA halls and conference rooms today. One of the big hits of today’s events was the Tina Brown moderated, “CEO Roundtable” which featured some of book publishing’s top CEOs.

They discussed the future of book publishing, the fear’s of DRM, how ebooks and ebook readers are effecting the publishing landscape despite its less than 5% market share. They also shared how their focus is split 50/50 between not only on maintaining the existing business operations but on what is happening in the near future digitally.

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Pat Conroy Bows Out of BEA

conroy.jpgNovelist Pat Conroy announced today that he will miss his two BEA appearances this year.

According to Publishers Lunch, the author of “The Prince of Tides” recently had surgery and had to cancel. Publishers Weekly reports that Mary Karr and Richard Russo will replace the author in his two scheduled events.

The Lunch article included this statement from his agent, Marly Rusoff: “Conroy communicates that he is recovering from surgery, and ‘otherwise he would be at BEA, which he has always loved attending. He especially regrets being unable to sign with his daughter, Melissa Conroy, who has her first book out, in which he is a character.’”

How to Catch a Book Pirate

Since fall 2008, Magellan Media has monitored pirated copies of O’Reilly Media titles circulating on illegal download sites–releasing some interesting results today at BookExpo America.

GalleyCat caught up with William Johnson, the New York University grad student who actually collected the data–cruising file sharing sites every day since the study began. This video interview contains practical advice for publishers looking to monitor pirated books on file sharing sites.

The company just released its findings as a new report entitled “Impact of P2P and Free Distribution on Book Sales.”

Granta Editor Departs

1234889362244.jpgThe literary journal Granta announced that Editor Alex Clark has departed.

American Editor John Freeman was appointed Acting Editor, assuming that post immediately, the Board of Granta Magazine announced today. Earlier this year, GalleyCat reported from the Granta 105 release party in Manhattan.

Here’s more from the announcement: “The Board would like to thank Alex for her positive contribution to Granta over the past eighteen months and wishes her every success for the future.”

The Federal Writers Project and Depression-Era Publishing

fwp.gifLooking back at publishing stats from the Great Depression is at once frightening and soothing–reminding spooked publishing types that the literary world has been here before, but it has survived.

One GalleyCat editor wrote about the Depression-era work of two poets for the Poetry Foundation, measuring their successes and failures against our contemporary situation. Both were members of the Federal Writers Project, a venture some writers hope the government will revive.

Here are some familiar statistics: “Historian Monty Noam Penkower details the meltdown’s subsequent catastrophic effect on the literary scene in ‘The Federal Writers’ Project,’ stating that between 1930 and 1933, new books published decreased from 10,000 to barely 7,600, magazine advertising dropped 30 percent, and newspaper ‘mortality rates’ reached 48 percent.”

Piracy Study Results Released

magellan.jpgAt BEA today, a researcher analyzed results from a pioneering study about book piracy on the Internet. Since fall 2008, Brian O’Leary, a principal at Magellan Media, has monitored pirated copies of O’Reilly Media titles.

Out of approximately 65 O’Reilly Media front-list titles from 2008, 21 titles have been pirated on peer-to-peer filing sharing sites. The most pirated title was “iPod: The Missing Manual.” “Impact of P2P and Free Distribution on Book Sales” is now available for purchase.

Even more interestingly, none of the O’Reilly “Head First” series were pirated on these sites. O’Leary quoted managing editor Mac Slocum‘s explanation: “The non-linear format makes them tough to reproduce in a digital form–they’re full of illustrations, thought bubbles, photos, quizzes, etc.”

Brad Meltzer Hatches a Plot with Freemasons

Readers in the greater Washington, D.C., area with GPS devices may want to get themselves to N 39° 13.187 W 077° 04.941 this afternoon—that’s the first in a series of checkpoints in a treasure hunt that bestselling author Brad Meltzer has put together with the Masonic Geocaching Society. (What’s geocaching? Glad you asked!) According to the rules posted on Meltzer’s website, “many but not all of the caches in the series will be puzzles and may require finders to seek them in order … The final cache in the series will be a puzzle that will require clues from caches in the series to solve.”

The clues, and the overarching story surrounding the quest, are connected to Meltzer’s The Book of Lies. Here’s a piece of the first clue, posted online, along with a picture of the trackable Masonic geocoins that are among the prizes to those who can solve the puzzle.

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Judge Sonia Sotamayor’s Secret

nancydrew.jpgWhile introducing his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotamayor, President Barack Obama pointed out the judge’s fondness for the Nancy Drew detective series.

That’s a ringing endorsement from the U.S. president on the 80th anniversary of the teen sleuth, who now has over 200 titles in print from Grosset & Dunlap, Simon & Schuster, and graphic novel publisher Papercutz. The detective joins a number of other authors on the illustrious Barack Obama Book Club.

Check out his comments here: “Judge Sotomayor’s interest in the law was sparked as a young girl by reading the Nancy Drew series. And that when she was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 8, she was informed that people with diabetes can’t grow up to be police officers or private investigators like Nancy Drew. In essence, she was told she’d have to scale back her dreams.”

Stanza COO Neelan Choksi on the Last 150 Days in E-Books

phone.jpgIn his second public presentation since Amazon.com, Inc. bought the iPhone reader company he helped create, Lexcycle‘s COO Neelan Choksi spoke to a room full of publishing types in Random House conference room yesterday.

At the DailyLit-sponsored Digital Publishing Group lunchtime series, Choksi showed off the iPhone reader Stanza to a rapt audience, reassuring them that Amazon hadn’t changed the reader’s features. “It’s business as usual,” he said. “You can still read the ePub format on Stanza, you can still read Fictionwise books on Stanza.”

The digital book leader admitted he will move to Seattle (closer to Amazon’s headquarters) but remained coy about the bookseller’s future plans for Stanza. Finally, Choski shared a slide entitled “The Last 150 Days in e-books,” celebrating the mind-boggling pace of this rapidly growing side of publishing.

Paula Chase Hyman

My YA Book of Color Pick of the Week is Flipping the Script (Kensington), which is a fun novel for teen girls written by Black American author, Paula Chase Hyman. Written in the vein of the successful Drama High Series for Black American teens, this novel is lots of fun. It tells the story of Mina and her clique, a Del Rio Bay High student who deals with the perils of being a teen in today’s world.

Paula Chase Hyman is also the founder of The Brown Bookshelf. This is her 5th novel and her work has also appeared in Girl’s Life, Sweet 16 and Upscale Magazine.

Jeff Rivera is the author of Forever My Lady and founder of www.GumboWriters.com

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