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Archives: December 2009

Dave Eggers Hailed as “Slow Word ” Pioneer

Portrait of Me by KS.jpgThis week Forbes published a manifesto calling for a “slow word” movement, pushing readers to change their habits to a more publishing-friendly model. The essay singled out Dave Eggers as a publisher dedicated to this new cause.

Journalist Trevor Butterworth (pictured, via) defined the slow word movement as “the idea of consuming less, but better, media.” If the movement catches on, it could be a boon for publishers and long-form writers–bringing writing back to a less hectic pace. What do you think–is it possible to change 21st Century reading habits?

Here’s more from the article: “[L]ook to what Dave Eggers has brilliantly shown with the San Francisco Panorama, namely that the physical quality of a newspaper and the aesthetic pleasure of reading can make people so excited about journalism that they’ll buy it–not just conceptually, but in terms of parting with cash. Eggers could well be the Alice Waters (queen of American slow foodies) of the news media, McSweeny’s its Chez Panisse.”

GalleyCat Confronts the Controversial Problem of Returnable Books


How serious is GalleyCat about publishing? So serious that even our LOLcat photographs address Serious Publishing Issues.

Reader Kate Rados sent us that charming picture of her GalleyKitty Chloe confronting one of publishing’s most controversial subjects: should bookstores be able to return unsold books to publishers? Follow this link to see more pictures of cute publishing pets.

Welcome to GalleyCat’s annual literary pet parade, a publishing holiday tradition established by former senior editor Ron Hogan during his four-year tenure at this blog. For a few crazy days, GalleyCat readers and their pets rule the blog. Follow this link to read more about the annual photo spread and find out where our former senior editor is headed next.

Analyst Sees “Impressive” Book Sales in 2009

crainsny2323.jpgExamining the year-end figures from Nielsen BookScan, Crain’s NY cautiously concluded that the bookselling business might not be as bad as the gloomy critics say.

The article began by noting the year’s declines. Compared to last year, “overall unit sales” fell by three percent and adult non-fiction plunged 7 percent–despite Sarah Palin‘s blockbuster memoir. Nevertheless, adult fiction sales did not decline, and adult hardcover sales actually climbed by three percent.

Here’s more from the article: “‘Bottom line, it’s really pretty impressive,’ said Lorraine Shanley, a principal of consulting firm Market Partners International. ‘When you look at every other medium, and you look at books, and you see they held their own in one of the most difficult years we’ve had in a generation, that’s good news.’”

Red Glass by Laura Resau

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Today’s Featured Book of Color is Red Glass by Laura Resau.

Pablo a 6-year-old Mexican boy is facing dehydration in a hospital room after attempting to cross into the Arizona border with his family. The only problem is his family didn’t survive and he’s now an orphan, but there is hope in a business card he is holding.

Sophie’s stepfather is called into the hospital, but he does not recognize the little boy. Pablo comes to live with the family anyway, including Sophie’s Aunt Dika, a refugee from Bosnia.

A year goes by, and the family gets in contact with Pablo’s extended family in Mexico, and now Pablo must make a decision on who he wants to remain with. Sophie loves Pablo and is torn up inside about what will happen; she must learn that life is still beautiful even when tragedies occur.

Gary Vaynerchuk on: Creating Cash

Gary Vaynerchuk, author of CRUSH IT! gives a few last quick ideas about how to monetize from your social media campaign, fusing online and offline work.

Bloggers Question Amazon Sales

amazon_sm.pngYesterday the literary blogosphere surfed a wave of (AMZN) publicity: record-breaking eBook sales, the bookseller’s rising stock price, and a Kindle “bestseller” list stoked with free books. Blogger Mike Cane protested in an essay, urging publishers to “issue a joint press release stating what your largest eBook sellers have been on the Kindle.”

His post generated a stream of comments, including this anonymous post: “I work for a trade house, and while I am not going to reveal my identity or that of my employer, I can tell you that our top Kindle sales of any one title are in the range of about 1000 downloads life to date. I am someone who receives the sales numbers for our titles directly from Amazon and I look at them every week; and, I agree that the actual sales numbers are much LOWER than anyone is pretending to have achieved.”

Our bloggy sibling eBookNewser responded: “If this comment is true, it’s shocking.” What do you think? We’d love to see more publishing folk weigh in on this crucial issue.

Best Writing Music of 2009, Part One

cover-agaetis-200.jpgReader’s music recommendations poured in yesterday when we asked: What music did you listen to while writing this year? Which songs, albums, or artists kept you cheerful despite the hard times and inevitable cases of writer’s block?

Over the next two days, we’ll roll out these inspiring lists, enough music for any writer’s taste. Reader David Rocklin wrote: “May I suggest the ones that are almost always somewhere, deep in the background: Anything from ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis; anything by Pat Metheny; “After the Rain” by Terje Rypdal, and Sigur Ros.” (This editor’s favorite Sogir Ros record pictured, via).”

Reader Janes Gabin had other suggestions: “Doesn’t anyone listen to classical anymore? I find Elgar comforting and calming. R keeps me grounded. Schubert’s “Octet” provides a tremendous burst of energy. And when I want to write a weepy scene, all I have to do is listen to Dvorak — anything by Dvorak.”

Reader Alisa Lynn Valdes had these songs: “While writing my new YA book (will be submitted to editors Jan. 2010) I listened to a LOT of Nickelback. The theme song for the book was “Believe,” by The Bravery, also “Beautiful Nightmare” by Beyonce, and a few songs by Pitbull.”

Tune in tomorrow for more musical suggestions for writers…

Apple Tablet Rumor Round Up


With Apple Tablet burning up the charts as one of the week’s most popular searches on Google, our digitally obsessed sibling eBookNewser has kept track of all the news about this fabled e-reading device that will theoretically face off against Kindle in 2010.

The rumors began as insiders speculated that the new device would be named iSlate. eBookNewser chased rumors that the tablet would be dedicated reading device, rather than a multitasking tablet computer.

Internet rumors have also been watching the name iGuide as a possible term as well. Here’s eBookNewser’s take: “Now folks are wondering whether the iSlate is a dedicated eReader and the iGuide the tablet PC. Given Apple’s track history and poor faith in reading, this seems unlikely, but Apple’s full of surprises.”

As publishing folks debated the best name for the Apple Tablet (iSlate, iGuide, etc.) eBookNewser readers came up with some other names for the product. Here’s more from the site: “And here are a couple more names for Apple products: iCrowave: Apple’s 3G oven. iYayaya: A baby toy. Xmas with the nieces and nephews. iSnot: The Apple Tissue.”

Kirkus Reviews Hints at “A Few Interested Buyers”

kirkus.jpgToday the Kirkus Reviews Twitter feed sparked hopes that the book review outlet could survive.

The book review outlet posted a brief, encouraging note: “Kirkus currently has a few interested buyers. Stay tuned…” Our digitally obsessed sibling eBookNewser spotted the news.

On Dec. 10th, it was announced that Kirkus Reviews would close, taking away about 5,000 book reviews a year–a tremendous loss for the publishing industry. Earlier thia month, the venerable book review outlet Kirkus Reviews returned to the microblogging site to reassure readers that the January 1st issue of the magazine will still be published.

UPDATE: The post has since disappeared from the Kirkus Reviews Twitter feed. GalleyCat has reached out to the magazine for comment.

UPDATE 2: Sarah Weinman reports on Twitter: “Per the managing editor of @KirkusReviews: ‘no new info at the moment. Just still working through possibilities, but nothing to report.’”

McNally Robinson Booksellers Closes Two Locations; Enters Bankruptcy Protection

mcnally23.jpgNews broke this morning that the Canadian company McNally Robinson Booksellers “has entered bankruptcy protection.” As a result, the company will close two of its four bookstores: one in Toronto, one in Winnipeg.

In an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, co-founder Paul McNally spoke of book price wars and the recession: “‘It was bad timing, that’s for sure,’ he said. ‘Bookselling has been struggling in general … The difficult climate, he said, is the result of stagnant book prices, steep discounting and increasing competition from Internet sales and electronic text formats … ‘There was very aggressive, reckless discounting,’ McNally said.”

McNally’s daughter founded McNally Jackson Books in Manhattan, a bookstore unconnected to the Canadian company. This NYC store is unaffected by the Canadian closings. (Via Sarah Weinman)