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Archives: September 2009

Can Poetry Reach the Common American Reader?

coDe_100109_Armitage_Simic.gifTomorrow two poetry stars will share a stage at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. English poet, playwright and translator Simon Armitage (left) will join recent U.S. Poet laureate Charles Simic (right) for an evening of poetry.

GalleyCat caught up with Armitage for an exclusive interview, getting his thoughts on contemporary poetry. “Poetry in the U.S. is very [college] campus-based” explained the poet. “It may become more like that in the UK as creative writing courses are beginning to flourish. But in the U.K., poetry still tends to reach out to a common reader… It still has a place in our daily lives, even if it is a small place. There’s never been a golden age of poetry, it is a certain extent a marginal activity that allows you to say what you want to with out being dictate by market forces.”

When asked about poetry reading tips, he had this advice: “I am a practiced reader, but I don’t do much more than stand there with a book. I guess what I hope is that the poems are allowed to do their work without any theatrics. Any drama that actually takes place is already in the poem. There are accomplished readers, but that’s what they are–readers.”

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Apple Tablet Rumors Multiply

iphone3gs1.jpgIs the mythical iPod Tablet coming to rock the publishing world? Two tech news outlets are reporting on rumors about plans Apple Inc. (AAPL) has for a large-screen device.

According to a “reliable source” at iLounge, Apple will announce about this new device in mid-January 2010. The source also speculated that the device will also have higher resolution, “enabling easy reading of full-sized book and magazine pages, plus cropped newspaper pages. Expect something like 5-6 times the resolution of an iPod touch or iPhone screen (720p or thereabouts) and 7 times the touchable surface area.”

The tech blog Gizmodo has been reporting on the partnership side of the rumored device, trying to speculate on the future of Apple’s top-secret device via potential publishing partners. Here’s the important passage: “Two people related to the NY Times have separately told me that in June, paper was approached by Apple to talk about putting the paper on a ‘new device.’ … A person close to a VP in textbook publishing mentioned to me in July that McGraw Hill and Oberlin Press are working with Apple to move textbooks to iTunes.” (Via TeleRead)

Job Detective: Macmillan Match

pagravemacmillan.jpgAs October looms over the horizon, publishers are looking for new employees. Like a hardboiled gumshoe, GalleyCat has been investigating publishing work on the mediabistro.com job boards.

For your resume-making pleasure, here are a the new postings. First up, Macmillan-Palgrave needs a Sales Representative, a roving position: “We are currently seeking an experienced National Sales Representative to specialize in selling to the Independent & Specialty Bookstore market across the entire US and Canadian territory… This position is based out of our New York office with approximately 25% travel to the West Coast, Midwest, and also the surrounding tri-state area.”

Next, Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishing Group seeks a Project Manager. Bedford is also looking for a Media Producer. Here’s more about that job: “Media Producers are responsible for managing the production of title-specific media products for our college textbooks. The ideal candidate is dedicated to an editorial team, and will interface regularly with editors, media editors, marketing staff, developers, production staff and our QA team.”

Zombie-ification of Literature Shambles Onward

9780140390698L.jpgFollowing the monstrous trend brought to life by bestseller success of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” Del Rey Books just bought Porter Grand‘s “Little Women and Werewolves”–remixing the classic novel with a wolfish twist.

Editor-in-chief Betsy Mitchell acquired the title through Adam Chromy of Artists and Artisans. Ever since Quirk Books combined zombies and Jane Austen, we’ve seen more monster mash-up deals: “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” If you want to read the good-old-fashioned “Little Women,” Project Gutenberg has a free eBook version.

Here’s a description of the forthcoming werewolf version: “In this retelling of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic, the beloved little women must keep not just the wolf, but the werewolves, from the door…and the kindly old gentlemen next door and his grandson may have some secrets to hide–or share with the March girls.”

Simon & Schuster Combines Simon Spotlight Entertainment and Pocket Books

s&slogo23.jpgToday Simon & Schuster announced that they will unite two imprints–Pocket Books hardcover and trade paperbacks, and Simon Spotlight Entertainment–into a single imprint called Gallery Books.

In a memo, CEO Carolyn Reidy explained the changes: “Gallery will be an immediate leader in those areas where Pocket Books and SSE have already forged well-earned reputations, such as women’s fiction, pop culture and entertainment. As with our other imprints, Gallery will also operate with a mandate to acquire top authors and hot prospects in a broad range of publishing categories, both fiction and nonfiction.”

With the changes, Pocket Books’ Louise Burke will now serve as publisher at Gallery. Anthony Ziccardi will be the imprint’s VP and deputy publisher, while Jen Bergstrom will serve as editor-in-chief. They intend to launch the new imprint in Spring 2010. Click here to read a PDF copy of a staff memo from Burke about the changes.

More eBook Summit Guests Revealed

ebooksummit.jpgFrom Sarah Palin‘s delayed digital book to Disney’s online book push, eBooks have dominated the headlines all week.

Keeping up with these changes, a number of new speakers have been added to the roster for mediabistro.com’s upcoming eBook Summit which runs from December 15-16 at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City. Participants now include: DailyLit CEO Susan Danziger, Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division President Steve Haber, Lexcycle co-founder Neelan Choksi; Google Books product manager Brandon Badger, author Katty Kay, and Books on Board CEO Bob Livolsi.

Here’s more from the summit site: “Mediabistro.com’s two-day eBook Summit will take a closer look at the changing digital publishing industry, from the perspectives of content creators and of publishers. Leaders in the field will uncover business development opportunities, and highlight the latest technological innovations currently driving the future of digital publishing.”

Will Amazon Kindle Finally Arrive in the U.K.?

Left_hand_2.gifYears after a successful launch in the United States, Amazon.com (AMZN) reportedly will bring the Kindle to U.K. readers.

While no one would confirm the news on the record, Bookseller reports that unidentified sources predict an Amazon announcement about the U.K. Kindle next week. The company had been working on a wireless setup for the device, but the source claimed the announcement would be ready before the Frankfurt Book Fair in mid-October.

Here’s more from the article: “One source told The Bookseller: “The key things they needed to tie up have been tied up. The rumours I’ve heard are all saying next week…I’ve heard it from multiple reliable sources. I think they want to avoid the general kerfuffle of Frankfurt.” (Via Sarah Weinman)

Tarcher’s $1000 Gift to NYC Book Buyers

power-kindness-dollars.jpgVisit the right New York City bookstore on your lunch hour today and you could get a $1 gift from Tarcher/Penguin; employees of the Penguin Group imprint will be standing in front of the Grand Central Posman Books, McNally Jackson Booksellers, the Park Avenue Borders, East West Living, and St. Marks Bookshop handing out dollar bills to the first 200 people they meet at each location willing to take them. The one-time event was inspired by The Power of Kindness, a book by psychotherapist Peiro Ferrucci that has become a sleeper success for Tarcher over the last few years.

“When we saw how hard everyone was being hit by the economy this year, and particularly, our industry, we thought we would do something a little out of the box to help both booksellers and consumers,” Kevin Howell, a marketing manager at Tarcher, explained in a recent press release. “We thought about giving out cold bottles of water on a hot day or slipping quarters into parking meters on the verge of expiring, an idea mentioned in The Power of Kindness. In the end, though, the simplest solution was best. Why not give people cash, something that they really want right now, that will hopefully brighten their day, and that will stimulate the economy in some small way?”

(dollar bills by Photos8.com)

Rene Alegria — The Godfather

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Rene Alegria began his career in publishing as an intern. What many do not realize, however, is that he was attending school and simultaneously working four jobs at the same time.

While a managing editor at HarperCollins, he pitched an idea to then CEO Jane Friedman, which would become the basis for Rayo, a groundbreaking Hispanic-themed imprint publishing books in both English and Spanish.

Alegria successfully launched Rayo, breaking out new award-winning authors into the industry and breaking down cultural barriers that have existed in publishing for years. It is at Rayo that Alegria earned the name “The Godfather,” for it was at Rayo that many of today’s most influential Hispanics in publishing first got their start. Whenever Alegria’s name is mentioned, it is often followed by a warm smile and an “I love Rene.”

Unfortunately, the honeymoon with HarperCollins came to a close earlier this year when Rayo’s doors were shut. Alegria, however, saw the untimely closure of the imprint as an opportunity and launched a boutique media firm, Boxing Badger Media. During his stint on the publishers’ side of the industry, Alegria was often frustrated at how the majority of the agent community would not dip into the Latino community’s talent pool. With the closing of Rayo, he deemed it the right moment for his entrepreneurial skills to kick in once more.

Through this new venture, Alegria seeks to help branch Hispanic talent into areas that go far beyond book publishing. Working with a small, exclusive stable of talent (Jorge Ramos, Nina Garcia, Ray Suarez, among them), Alegria is extending the reach of Hispanic authors into radio and mass-retailers such as Target, television, and on-line.

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

Interview with Ruth Cavin of St. Martin’s Press

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Ruth Cavin, an editor at St. Martin’s Press, should be an inspiration to us all. Pushing the age of 90, she is still active and still looks forward to the daily challenges of the publishing field. Cavin’s career began a few short years after the end of WWII, when she began working at the publishing company of a friend. Although the company closed after about five years, Cavin went onto work as an editor for another friend. Afterward, she went on to her present occupation at St. Martin’s, where she has been for about twenty years.

Having worked in the publishing field for several decades, Cavin admits her slight bias against its changing face, “I don’t think I’m the person to ask, because publishing as it was is the publishing that I know and feel at home in.” Cavin also admits, however, that she can see the advantages of digital books and how younger generations can be so drawn to them. Cavin believes that today’s view of books and reading is a matter of convenience, “being able to hold and read what you choose wherever you are.” There is nothing wrong with it,she states, its just not her cup of tea.

For herself, Cavin simply wants an interesting book that will sell. Even if she isn’t particularly captivated by the book itself, if she believes there is an audience, she is willing to publish it. If, however, she finds it to be mediocre and isn’t interested one bit, she will leave it for someone else. When asked for something interesting and unexpected of herself, Cavin states that she would have to think about it and get back to me, hinting that are still miles to go before reaching the essence of this spunky, vivacious woman.

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

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