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Archives: January 2010

J. D. Salinger Has Died

51namOub2kL._SL500_AA240_.jpgThe reclusive, brilliant author J.D. Salinger has died.

Salinger will be immortalized for creating the character Holden Caulfield in his 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye. He also wrote the collection Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey. He famously avoided publicity, but his death has spread over Twitter like wildfire.

Here’s more from an AP report: “Salinger died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, the author’s son said in a statement from Salinger’s literary representative. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.”

Edith Grossman Wins Inaugural $10,000 Translation Prize

9780151014101.gifThe reading committee of the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Translation Prize announced that translator Edith Grossman has won the first $10,000 award for her translation of Antonio Munoz Molinas novel, “A Manuscript of Ashes.”

The newly-established triennial prize has “the aim of elevating awareness and engendering appreciation of Spanish literature in the United States… [created] to honor the best English-language translation of a work of fiction written in Castilian by a Spanish author and published by an American imprint. The inaugural award celebrates the best translation published between 2006 and 2008, with subsequent awards anticipated in 2012 and 2015.”

The award will be handed out in a ceremony at Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York City on Tuesday, February 2, 2010. The award ceremony will be presided by Oscar de la Renta–the chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors. Both Grossman and Molina will attend, engaging in a “dialogue on the art of writing and
translating.”

As the Digital Book World Turns

timthumb.jpegDid you miss the Digital Book World conference this week? Never fear–the site rounded up articles from around the web. GalleyCat and eBookNewser covered the event as well…

eBookNewser looked at one company’s six revenue streams for poetry.

On this blog, we focused on some surprising publishing statistics. One presentation discovered that avid readers want both print books and eBooks while the other focused on the economics of eReadership.

Google made waves as they demonstrated Google Editions.

In addition, a team of publishing’s brightest minds debated how publishers can cope with Amazon (AMZN) and its bookselling monopoly.

We uncovered one unconventional story about the $75 dollar eBook.

We explored the new BLIO eReader software.

The conference was perfectly timed to break the news of the Apple iPad. Compare and contrast the thoughts of various journalists and publishing types about Apple (AAPL) and the new tablet computer. Here’s a video interview BEFORE the announcement. Here’s a video interview AFTER the announcement.

Job Detective: Penguin Publicist

p2323.jpgWhile the world obsessed about the iPad this morning, GalleyCat investigated publishing work on the mediabistro.com job boards. Here are four new jobs for your resume-making pleasure.

First up, Macmillan Audio is looking for a Digital Marketing Coordinator. Here’s more about the job: “Reporting to the Marketing Director, the Digital Marketing Coordinator will pursue and implement sales and marketing opportunities for digital product. We are looking for a marketer with strong technical skills, not a technical employee who wants to join a marketing team.”

Next, Random House U.S.A seeks a Ad/Promotion Associate. In addition, Assouline Publishing needs an Editor.

Finally, Penguin Group (USA) is looking for a Publicist/Senior Publicist. Here’s more about the position: “Among other responsibilities, the Publicist/Senior Publicist will effectively secure national and regional media in major tour markets; develop and maintain relationships with producers, editors, and book reviewers; discover new media outlets; create press materials; and coordinate and implement all aspects of national and regional author tours.”

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

Author Howard Zinn Has Died

10879.jpgAuthor and scholar Howard Zinn passed away yesterday, leaving behind a virtual library of political criticism and history work.

Zinn (pictured, via) earned his history Ph.D. at Columbia University and advised the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at Spelman College. One of his most famous students was Alice Walker. In 1980, Zinn published the bestselling book, A People’s History of the United States, a textbook “chronicling American history from the bottom up.” It became an influential text for many students, and is still included on many college reading lists.

Here’s a quote from a 2008 interview about war, a fitting way to remember this scholar: “[T]here’s a tendency to believe that what has happened in the past must inevitably continue to happen in the present and future. In other words, since the history of humankind, there’s been a history of repeated wars, almost continuous warfare. It’s very hard for people to accept the fact that this might come to an end. Indeed, Tuberculosis was a scourge all through the history of humankind and it was hard for people to accept the fact that it actually might be done away with. The history of warfare likewise has made it difficult for people to accept the fact that there could be a break with history and war could be abolished.”

Reviewing Novel Reviews: Bright Lights, Big Review

Unnamed_148x237.jpgAs we continue our first week here at GalleyCat Reviews, here are a few notable book reviews from around the Internet.

Literary Celebrity Book Review of the Week: Bright Lights, Big City novelist Jay McInerney reviews a new book by Joshua Ferris. Here’s an excerpt: “With his second novel Ferris makes it clear that he has absolutely no intention, for the moment at least, of repeating himself or creating an authorial brand. In fact, it’s difficult to believe that The Unnamed and Then We Came to the End come from the same laptop.”

Most Philosophy-Packed Book Review Sentence of the Week: Ron Charles reviews a 36 Arguments for the Existence of God by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. Here’s the sentence: “A Princeton-trained philosopher and a MacArthur “genius,” Goldstein can make Spinoza sing and Godel comprehensible, and in her cerebral fiction she dances across disciplines with delight, writing domestic comedy about Cartesian metaphysics and academic satire about photoelectric energy.”

Stickiest Review Metaphor of the Week: Megan Doll reviews Your Face Tomorrow: Volume Three by Javier Marias, a novel currently obsessing this GalleyCat editor. Check it out: “In All Souls (sort of The Hobbit to Your Face Tomorrow‘s Ring Trilogy), Marias writes of Oxford as ‘a city preserved in syrup.’ A similar thing could be said of Marias’s pickled prose-style, with its long, sinuous sentences and manifold digressions that can try even the most patient and trusting reader.”

If you think a book review you wrote should be featured for our audience, email GalleyCat a link.

Dispatch from the Apple iPad Release Event

ipad23.jpgAs the Apple iPad announcement unfolded in California, GalleyCat had a special correspondent inside the media circus: Wiley publicist and tireless reporter Cynthia Shannon.

Shannon described the event: “While we were waiting to go inside, it was clear that books were on nobody’s mind–I spoke with a few tech reporters and they didn’t seem to understand the impact that the iPad would have on the publishing industry … They were playing electric Bob Dylan music while the media was filing in. I didn’t realize it was a huge milestone in music until someone older than me explained it.”

She continued: “iBooks didn’t get as big of a gasp as the $499 price tag did, but of course, I could tell it would be that way. It basically looks like Classics on the iPhone, which I personally have always thought to be the best way to read and browse books. The books are displayed cover out, in full color, on a light brown ‘wood’ bookshelf. Tap on one, and it takes you to the chapter index. When you flip the iPad horizontally, you are looking at two pages of a book. Flipping pages is easy–no buttons to press, easy to flip around.”

She also observed: “In iBooks, you can change the font and size, but that’s pretty standard. You cannot highlight or make notes. You cannot insert a bookmark–when you leave the application, it will remember where you were when you return, but it didn’t work when I tried it! You can only read books that you purchase through iBooks, not through Amazon. So publishers will have to create a Kindle edition AS WELL AS an iPad edition.”

Shannon concluded: “The presentation of iBooks store was like iTunes for books: you can look at the reviews, you can read sample chapters, summary, etc. This is the new storefront that publishers will have to consider now. Placement in the iBooks store. What info you want to make available. Apple could not comment on whether self-publishers will be able to upload their books.”

You can follow Cynthia Shannon on Twitter.

How Publishers Will Cope with Amazon’s Monopoly

Mike_Shatzkin_selfphoto_iPhone_090214.JPGAt Digital Book World this morning, Mike Shatzkin quizzed his panel of publishing thinkers about the Amazon (AMZN) hold over the industry. “Amazon has 80 or 90 percent of the book buying [market] online and 80 or 90 percent of the ebooks [market]. Those are the only parts of the business that are growing. Every other part of the business is shrinking … Will we see a change in this hegemony?” he asked.

Ken Brooks from Cengage Learning had these thoughts: “The share that Amazon has almost has to fall. There are good alternatives that are being introduced every day … I think eventually it will be an open platform.”

Next, Evan Schnittman from Black Plastic Glasses had these thoughts: “I think Google Editions will be a major balancer in the world of eBooks. Search, find, buy in one fluid package [in online marketplaces] will help re-balance the world we live in now … Amazon is our biggest customers in this industry, there will be some serious thinking before we work around them.”

Larry Kirshbaum–a literary agent and former TimeWarner Books CEO–had a different perspective: “Let’s look at this from the consumer’s point of view, the consumer is getting a fabulous book in a really readable format … Even milliseconds can matter in transmission. The idea that the consumer is being forced to adapt to other formats is a tremendous waste … Long term I would like to see a non-proprietary world where the content competes across platforms.”

Michael Cader from Publishers Lunch concluded: “We should take to heart very seriously how much price has driven the eBook market thus far…We’re really focused on the things we think are reading devices. But the explosion that’s about to happen is with devices where reading isn’t the primary function, or even the secondary or tertiary function.”

Publishing Experts on the Apple iPad

On this eventful day for publishing, GalleyCat prowled the halls of Digital Book World, interviewing literary minds and eBook pioneers about Apple’s latest creation. Today Apple (AAPL) unveiled a tablet computer called the iPad, a device with 9.7 inch LED-backlit screen, a special iBooks application and bookstore, and a base price of $499.

Watch our special video below to find out what the experts think. Interviews included: HarperStudio associate publisher Debbie Stier, Digital Book World “Chief Executive Optimist” Guy L. Gonzalez, Tor.com web producer Pablo Defendini, and BookSquare’s Kassia Krozser.

Here’s more about the iBook Store: “The iBooks app is a great, new way to read and buy books. Just download the app for free from the App Store, and you’ll be able to buy everything from classics to bestsellers from the built-in iBookstore. Once you’ve bought a book, it’s displayed on your Bookshelf. To read it, all you have to do is tap on it and it opens up. The high-resolution, LED-backlit screen displays everything in sharp, rich, color, so it’s very easy to read, even in low light.”

Publishers Meet the BLIO eReader

blio_logo copy.jpgGalleyCat read reports about the BLIO eReader during the CES conference, but at Digital Book World, we saw the eBook software platform conceived by futurist Ray Kurtzweil in action.

Three books were demonstrated. First was children’s book with a nifty audiobook version that synchronized with the story text. A warm, British narrator read the story of Three Little Pigs as the book automatically scrolled to the next page along with the narration. The spokesperson explained: “It’s a Tivo experience with text. You can click on any word on the text and the audio will play.”

Next was a demonstration of a home improvement book. On a page about fixing a lamp, a video was actually embedded alongside the text and illustrations. According to the spokesperson, download times for this enhanced eBook took two and half minutes on a home Internet connection.

The presentation concluded with a science textbook. In addition to a chemistry video within the page, the book also featured an anatomy quiz complete with illustrations embedded inside the textbook. The book also has glossary, note-taking and flashcard features. The books can also use social networking platforms without exiting the BLIO frame–forming study groups on Facebook or sharing notes on Twitter, for instance.

The company will roll out Mac and Linux versions of the software in April and May; Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Apple iPhone editions are coming in February and March. The platform will support DRM at a publisher’s request.

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