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Archives: January 2010

Three Promotions at HarperCollins

hclogod.gifIn a flurry of good news, HarperCollins promoted three employees this week. As we reported, the company promoted Michael McKenzie to senior publicity director at Ecco earlier this week.

Next, Esi Sogah was elevated to associate editor at the Morrow/Avon imprint. Here’s more from the release: “In addition to acquiring her own titles, Esi’s interest in digital publishing and website development has made her a valued asset in our future growth. She is also one of our most enthusiastic and asked-for public speakers at conferences.”

Finally, Nicole Reardon was promoted to associate director of marketing at Harper. Here’s more from the release: “Since joining Harper last year, Nicole has become an indispensible member of the team … Prior to joining us, she led several bestselling paperback campaigns including Garth Stein‘s Art of Racing in the Rain, and John Grogan‘s Marley and Me.”

GalleyCat Reviews: For the Soul of France by Frederick Brown

Reviewed by Louise Leetch
Read more about GalleyCat Reviews

sof.jpgThey say you should write about what you know and Frederick Brown certainly knows France–he wrote biographies of both Emile Zola and Gustave Flaubert. In his new book, For The Soul of France, Brown plumbs the depths of the country’s psyche.

Here is the saga of France’s sojourn from monarchy to a republic. The French Revolution may have begun in 1789 but it was fought well into the twentieth century–the author shows us the whole convoluted, tortured trip. It’s a miracle the Third Republic survived with attacks from left and right, economic disasters, and revolving door Premiers.

This book reveals frightening similarities to the first ten years of the 21st century. The book contains all the lies, finger-pointing, invented evidence we’ve seen since 2000. There’s a lion’s share of yellow journalism. Fear was the weapon of choice. Sadly, it was all accepted by those who were taught to think, but didn’t.

While this is not a beach book–you’ll trip over fifty-dollar words–it’s certainly the quickest, most readable history I’ve seen in years. Mr. Brown gives us all the puzzle pieces we need but he’s not giving anything away. Be prepared to think and to reason, because this book is not about the Soul of France, it’s about the search for it. Get out your dictionaries, sharpen up your French and Latin, and let your brain run through this forest of facts. Getting lost is half the fun.

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Steve Jobs on Amazon and Apple eBook Prices: “The prices will be the same”

steveweb.jpgIn a candid video interview with All Things Digital Apple CEO Steve Jobs (pictured) made a cryptic declaration when asked about price comparisons between Apple iBooks and Amazon (AMZN) Kindle Books.

Our digitally-obsessed sibling eBookNewser actually embedded the video and added some commentary at this link.

“The prices will be the same,” Jobs told Wall Street Journal reporter Walt Mossberg in a brief Flipcam interview. He also took a quick dig at Amazon: “Publishers are actually withholding books from Amazon because they’re not happy.”

Here’s a final quote from the interview, as Job addressed the ten-hour reading battery life on the device: “It’s not a big deal. Ten hours is a long time, you’re not going to read for ten hours!”

Job Detective: Open Road Integrated Media

openroadlogo23.pngAs New York City shivers through yet another cold snap, publishers have warmed the job boards with five new jobs. GalleyCat has been investigating publishing work on the mediabistro.com job boards for your resume-making pleasure.

First up, Longitude Books is looking for a Fulfillment Manager, Online Bookstore. ALM needs an Advertising Sales Account Representative.

Next, HarprCollins Publishers seeks a Marketing Manager/ Senior Marketing Manager. Scholastic needs a Supervising Editor.

Finally, Open Road Integrated Media Digital Marketing Manager. Here’s more about the job: This position will help lead Open Road Integrated Medias marketing and promotion efforts. Specific responsibilities include but are not limited to the following categories: Market Research, Marketing Plans and Campaigns, Social Media and Mobile Marketing, Business Development Marketing Concepts.”

Visit GalleyCat’s publishing jobs page for more listings. If you have any job leads, email GalleyCat to get them posted.

Reading Letters to J.D. Salinger

1689600-R3-040-18A.jpgThe great author J.D. Salinger passed away yesterday, leaving behind a powerful literary legacy. Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Chris Kubica, co-editor of Letters to J.D. Salinger and curator of jdsalinger.com.

Here’s more about the book, a tribute to the author of The Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories. “[It] commemorates the 50th anniversary of The Catcher in the Rye and celebrates the formative influence the book and Salinger’s other works have had on many writers, scholars and readers. Letters to Salinger contains approximately 80 open letters to J. D. Salinger.

Press play on the embedded player below to listen. The episode will be archived around the network all day.

Here’s an excerpt: “For the most part it seems like people who are writing stories about Salinger aren’t looking any farther than the things they can find online. In fact, the majority of the material written about Salinger–from literary critical perspective, the interviews, reviews–are all pre-Internet. You’d have to go to an archive and read the old magazines. It’s clear to me that people aren’t really doing that. They are just getting the soundbytes and pulling things off saying, ‘Here’s a link to this, here’s a link to that.’”

You can listen to all the past podcasts archived at mediabistro.com or download episodes for free on iTunes. Click here to download the MP3 version.

Millions of Kindles Sold

jeffbezos-1.gifIn a dramatic statement about his company’s place in the eBook universe, Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos bragged that his company has sold “millions” of Kindles–the most concrete sales figures he has offered for the eReader.

Here’s his statement: “Millions of people now own Kindles … And Kindle owners read, a lot. When we have both editions, we sell 6 Kindle books for every 10 physical books. This is year-to-date and includes only paid books — free Kindle books would make the number even higher. It’s been an exciting 27 months.”

As booksellers around the globe struggled in the fourth quarter, Bezos reported that Amazon’s net sales had grown 42 percent to $9.52 billion compared to the same period last year. The statement comes after a mixed response to the Apple (AAPL) iPad unveiling yesterday.

How Publishers Can Use Virtual Currency

orca-logo.pngEarlier this month, Zynga Games made headlines when 300,000 online players raised $1.5 million for Haiti relief by buying virtual goods inside Facebook-based games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars.

Most people don’t realize how these game worlds have grown into hubs for virtual commerce. At Digital Book World this week, GalleyCat interviewed an executive from Orca–a company developing virtual currency platforms for companies.

In the exclusive video below, Orca president Richard Caccappolo explained how publishers can use virtual currencies and virtual goods to spice up their online bookstores–tapping a new kind of digital commerce.

Here’s an excerpt: “They convert [virtual currencies] at prices that are not easily divided–one dollar gives you 33 credits [for example] … People don’t necessarily think, ‘it cost me 42-cents to send my friend a virtual beer.’ I think when the publishing industry starts thinking about how they chunk up content–whether it be articles or chapters–it shouldn’t be a debate of whether an article is worth one dollar or three dollars. An article should cost 43 credits.”

A Brief History of J. D. Salinger Reviews

9780316769020_94X145.jpgAuthor J.D. Salinger passed away today, generating thousands of posts around the Internet. In honor of this great writer, we’ve collected a few links to the evolving critical opinion of Salinger’s work.

In 1951, James Stern wrote one of those ‘I’ll write like a character in the novel’ book reviews that never quite work. Dig it: “This Salinger, he’s a short story guy. And he knows how to write about kids. This book though, it’s too long. Gets kind of monotonous. And he should’ve cut out a lot about these jerks and all at that crumby school. They depress me.”

In 1961, the great John Updike reviewed Franny and Zooey. Check it out: “His fiction, in its rather grim bravado, its humor, its morbidity, its wry but persistent hopefulness, matches the shape and tint of present American life. It pays the price, however, of becoming dangerously convoluted and static. A sense of composition is not among Salinger’s strengths, and even these two stories, so apparently complementary, distinctly jangle as components of one book.”

In 2004, Jonathan Yardley pondered The Catcher in the Rye. “What most struck me upon reading it for a second time was how sentimental — how outright squishy — it is. The novel is commonly represented as an expression of adolescent cynicism and rebellion — a James Dean movie in print — but from first page to last Salinger wants to have it both ways.”

Finally, in an engaging essay, Janet Malcolm revived the reputation of Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. Here’s an excerpt: “Today Zooey does not seem too long, and is arguably Salinger’s masterpiece. Rereading it and its companion piece Franny is no less rewarding than rereading The Great Gatsby. It remains brilliant and is in no essential sense dated. It is the contemporary criticism that has dated.”

If you want to read more, Literary History has a collection of links. As GalleyCat Reviews grows, we will feature daily links to excellent literary criticism. If you think a book review you wrote should be featured for our audience, email GalleyCat a link.

AmazonEncore to Publish Its First Original Manuscripts

amazonencore.pngAmid all the Apple iPad news this week, Amazon (AMZN) took another bold step into the publishing industry. AmazonEncore announced it will publish four new titles this spring–the first time the imprint has published original manuscripts.

Interestingly enough, the company discovered the four books through the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Find out more about the individual books and authors on this Amazon page. The four titles are: Page From a Tennessee Journal by Francine Thomas Howard (March 2010) Greyhound by Steffan Piper (March 2010), A Cruel Harvest by Paul Reid (April 2010), and Crossing by Andrew Fukuda (May 2010).

Here’s a statement from Jeff Belle, VP of Amazon.com Books: “Now in its third year, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest brings in many worthy manuscripts … We’ve identified these four manuscripts as examples of authors whose work we think deserves a larger audience, and we’re excited to help these authors find their readers.”

Borders Group Lays Off 164 Employees

borderslogo23.pngNews broke this morning that Borders Group Inc. will lay 124 more corporate workers and 40 more warehouse employees. Earlier this week, Borders Group CEO Ron Marshall resigned and the company reported that total consolidated holiday sales were $846.8 million, declining 13.7 percent from last year.

Here’s more from AnnArbor.com: “The move–representing about 10 percent of its corporate workforce and 12 percent of staff at its Ann Arbor headquarters–was announced by e-mail to employees … Many of the affected Ann Arbor employees worked in computer systems, an area consolidated as the company announced layoffs and store closings of its Waldenbooks division in late 2009.”

AnnArbor.com also produced this short video segment outside the bookseller’s headquarters, reminding this GalleyCat editor of the long cold winters back home.

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