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Archives: July 2009

Book Stock Watch: Student’s Amazon Suit

a.com_logo_RGB1.jpgIn bookselling headlines, 17-year-old Justin D. Gawronski sued Amazon.com, Inc. for remotely deleting “1984″ from his Kindle. The move allegedly zapped the high school student’s electronic notes about George Orwell‘s novel in the process, according to Trading Markets.

GalleyCat has been tracking the stock performance of the major companies that influence the bookselling business. We created this chart with eight publicly-traded publishing stocks hand-picked by our readers–including company name, symbol, current stock price, and price increase or decrease at week’s close.

-Name- -Symbol- -Last price- -Change-
The McGraw-Hill Co. MHP 31.35 -0.15
Books-A-Million, Inc. BAMM 9.27 0.71
Borders Group, Inc. BGP 3.97 0.02
Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN 85.76 -0.33
Barnes & Noble, Inc. BKS 23.03 -0.18
Wiley John & Sons Inc. JW.A 31.89 -0.55
Scholastic Corporation SCHL 22.55 -0.02
News Corporation NWS 12.02 0.09
Google Inc. GOOG 443.05 -2.59
Apple Inc. AAPL 163.39 0.6

Mediabistro Course

Nonfiction Book Proposal

Nonfiction Book ProposalStarting September 4,work with a literary agent to complete a full proposal that wins an agent and a contract! Ryan Harbage from The Fischer-Harbage Agency, Inc. will teach you how to convey your idea in a winning book proposal format, write your proposal letter, understand the nuts and bolts of the nonfiction book industry, and more. Register now! 

Welcome to Methland

reding.jpg“If I don’t have respect for who I am writing about and like them personally, then it is very hard for me to write about them–because I just don’t want to spend time with them,” explained author Nick Reding, today’s guest on Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu, talking about his immersion reporting in a community rocked by methamphetamine abuse.

He continued: “It’s impossible to get away from the idea that if you are a journalist, you are a little bit like a vulture sitting on their shoulder. You’re not writing a book about how everything is great.”

Reding wrote new book, “Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town” after spending four years reporting in a small town. Click here to listen to the whole show, where Reding shares tips about working with subjects during long-form nonfiction pieces.

Booker Longlister Fights Wikipedia Critics

9781844881857L.jpgA member of the 13-author Booker Prize longlist is combating critics both in public and online, giving a glimpse into the tangled world of Wikipedia criticism.

Debut novelist Ed O’Loughlin served as Middle East correspondent for a number of Australian newspapers, drawing public controversy when critics accused him of anti-Israel bias. As the The Millions reports, the author published a long letter defending himself on Wikipedia, pondering how criticism is handled on the site. The author earned his spot on the longlist for his novel, “Not Untrue and Not Unkind.”

Here’s an excerpt from his letter: “If [these criticisms] were published in the ‘old media’ — which is to say, by people who have to publicly stand over and justify what they say and suffer the potentially severe personal consequences, such as loss of livelihood — it would clearly be actionable … I am, overall, an admirer of the Wikipedia project but I am disturbed to see how easily it can be manipulated by those hell-bent on imposing their personal beliefs, without regard to balance or empirical truth.”

Drawing Thomas Pynchon

pynchonvice.jpgAs Thomas Pynchon fans count the days until the August 4th release of “Inherent Vice,” Entertainment Weekly dusted off an artist’s time-aged drawing of the reclusive and practically un-photographed novelist.

Click here to see the drawing by Stephen Mancusi–a sketch artist who has completed image modification illustrations of many celebrities, including Michael Jackson to David Letterman. In addition, the magazine’s critic gave the private detective novel high marks.

Here’s more from the article: “His drawing was based on Pynchon’s 1955 high school yearbook photo, one of the last known snapshots of the Gravity’s Rainbow scribe … Yes, the artist’s Pynchon looks a little like John Ratzenberger from Cheers.”

65 To Be Laid Off at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

hmcologo2.jpgAfter establishing a new partnership with the outsourcing firm Cognizant Technology Solutions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. will cut 65 employees, The Boston Globe reports.

While the article didn’t speculate on how the cuts would be spread out, it noted that employees in both Orlando and Boston will be laid off. The news follows a recent executive hiring at the conglomerate publisher–Bruce Nichols joined the company as adult trade and reference publisher last month.

Here’s more from the article: “Cognizant will take over responsibility for application development and maintenance, while Houghton Mifflin’s information technology department will continue to manage strategy, direction, business knowledge, innovation, and the customer interface, according to a Houghton Mifflin spokesman.” (Via Jose Afonso Furtado)

Rodale CEO Replaced by Founder’s Granddaughter

maria_about.jpgRodale CEO Steven Pleshette Murphy announced yesterday that he will step down, replaced by the chair of the book and magazine company, Maria Rodale.

According to FishbowlNY, Maria is the granddaughter of the publisher’s founder, and author of “Maria Rodale’s Organic Gardening” and two other titles. She keeps a website entitled Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen, cross-posting her essays about healthy living, cooking, and gardening advice at The Huffington Post.

Here’s a statement from Maria Rodale, from the article: “I have been preparing my whole life to lead Rodale … As chairman and CEO, I will work to build on the strong foundation we have established during the past ten years to take this incredible company to even greater heights.”

At the Drive-In Volcano by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

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At the Drive-In Volcano” (Tupelo Press) is my book of color pick of the day. It is written by award-winning author, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, a mouth-full of a last name but a brilliant poet whose insights on how she sees the world are jarring yet refreshing.
One of my favorite passages is “When the Mother of the Greedy Boy Has Enough. In it, Nezhukumatathil tells a vivid story you can reach out and how touch is so tangible and accessible. You feel like you are watching a movie in your head, which all the greatest story-tellers have mastered.

More than a fast read, this is the type of book you’d like to sip on like hot tea or savor like a good wine.

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

Man Booker Book Club

9781439152928.jpgThe 2008 Man Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga is leading the first edition of a digital book club at The Daily Beast, exploring his new novel, “Between the Assassinations.”

In an essay about his writing process, the author explained how he threw out his outline while researching a novel in his hometown. The book club package also includes video material, a novel excerpt, and his answers readers’ questions. Earlier this week, the longlist for the 2009 Man Booker Prize was announced.

Check it out: “This seemed like a new challenge: to learn about the invisible majority of Mangalore, and write about their struggles and joys. To write a book that would be truer to my hometown than my childhood was. Too much of Indian writing in English, it seemed to me, consisted of middle-class people writing about other middle-class people–and a small slice of life being passed off as an ‘authentic’ portrait of the country.”

Don Linn Joins Quartet Press

donlinn.jpgTaunton Press publisher Don Linn is leaving his post to help launch the digital publishing outfit, Quartet Press. He joins a publishing team that includes Kassia Krozser of Booksquare.com; Kirk Biglione of Medialoper.com; and book marketer Kat Meyer.

Earlier in his career, Linn was CEO and owner of Consortium Book Sales and Distribution. At Quartet, he will oversee finance, administration and general management at the digtial press. Quartet is already seeking submissions for the fall.

Linn explained the move in a statement: “I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I’ve been fascinated with this transitional phase of reading, writing and publishing for some time. So when the opportunity to create Quartet presented itself, it seemed the time was right to make the move.”

Gawker, Publishing, and the Creative Underclass

h_nolan.jpgFor months, GalleyCat readers have debated the question: How do unpaid internships and low salaries affect the quality of writing in New York City? Nobody covers the feelings of the so-called creative underclass better than Hamilton Nolan, prolific Gawker reporter–today’s guest on Morning Media Menu.

Around the 4:45 mark, Nolan (pictured, via) commented: “You would hope that the media and journalism would be a little more democratic than that, because having a diverse core of journalists is going to make your journalism better. But it’s really not. Especially in New York. It’s just as connection driven as fashion, business, and Wall Street. Which is kind of sad.”

Click here to listen to the whole show. Nolan tackled the day’s biggest headlines: a food-blogger spat, strange allegations against a sportswriter, and the logic of attending journalism school.

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