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Archives: August 2010

Text Recognition Tools For Dummies

adxgetmedia.pngLike many journalists, this GalleyCat editor always leaves the library with too many documents photocopied from books and magazines. With the right text recognition tools, we can avoid these problems all together–the best programs will transcribe scanned, photocopied, or photographed images into digital text.

Inspired by Lifehacker’s list of the Five Best Text Recognition Tools, we experimented with a trial copy of ABBYY FineReader Express Edition last night. Do you have a favorite text recognition program? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Here’s an excerpt: “Optical Character Recognition (OCR) has been around for decades but only recently has become both economical and easy enough to use that it is within the reach of the average consumer. Today we’re looking at Lifehacker readers’ five favorite applications for turning physical text into machine-readable virtual text.”

Mediabistro Course

Memoir Writing

Memoir WritingStarting January 7, work with a published memoir writer to tell and sell the story of your life! In this course, Wendy Dale will teach you how to create your story around a marketable premise, hone your narrative voice, write a memoir with a solid structure, and sell your memoir before you've even finished writing it. Register now!

Jonathan Franzen Reviewed on Video

Washington Post fiction editor Ron Charles has published a video book review of Jonathan Franzen‘s Freedom. The upload (embedded above) coincides with today’s release of Franzen’s new novel.

Charles had a mixed opinion about the book. His positive take: “It’s classic Franzen, a smart, finely-fanged take on suburban life. Ok, it’s brilliant!” His negative take: “It’s classic Franzen, a smart, finely-fanged take on suburban life. Ok, it’s brilliant!” Charles’ negative take on the book: “The novel doesn’t so much as offer us its themes as bully us into accepting them with a knife to your throat. The word ‘freedom’ beats through the book with the frequency of a frat house drinking game.”

Last week, Charles tweeted his first video book review about Mona Simpson‘s novel, My Hollywood.

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Best Books for Babies

priddybooks.jpgDo you have a favorite board book or cloth book you read with the baby in your life? Today we studied the world of books for babies and toddlers–exploring the list at children’s publisher Priddy Books. Book reviews rarely pay attention to this genre, so share your personal recommendations in the comments section.

This GalleyCat Reviews editor will be a father very soon, so we caught up with publisher Roger Priddy to find out more about the art of baby books.

With over 200 books on its list, Priddy Books has sold more than 30 million copies around the world. Five of the imprint’s titles–My Big Animal, My Big Truck, Happy Baby Words, Happy Baby Colors and Puppy and Friends–have sold over a million copies apiece. “Books are best when kids handle them. When a book is beat up, it’s had a good life,” Priddy explained in a telephone interview.

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Free eBook Promotion Extended at Kaplan Publishing

kaplan test prep.JPGKaplan Publishing’s eBook giveaway has been extended until September 6th. High school and college students can access more than 90 free test prep guides and study aids. Click on the iTunes link to see for yourself.

Reader Gary Price from ResourceShelf suggests readers use the Mobile Safari browser to best access the titles.

Speaking of free eBooks, eBookNewser’s free eBook of the day is Stephen Crane‘s classic, The Red Badge of Courage.

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Random House Reports “Major Increases in Revenues and Profits”

RH_Logo_Sm.jpg Bertelsmann–the corporate parent of Random House–released a positive financial report for the first half of 2010.

The report singled out Random House as a particularly successful arm of the company: “despite difficult market conditions, [Random House] significantly increased its first-half 2010 sales and operating EBIT, driven by major increases in revenues and profits from its U.S. division and rapidly rising digital sales.” In his memo about the results, Random House CEO Markus Dohle dedicated an entire paragraph to Stieg Larsson–calling the author “a cultural and commercial phenomenon.”

Here’s an excerpt from the memo, but the entire text is embedded below: “In the past half year we have really embraced digital transition throughout our companies, replacing anxieties about the format with forward thinking and with well-executed action. For this fiscal year, Random House worldwide digital sales are well on course to exceed $100 million. As our e-book sales accelerate in North America, the U.K., and Germany–and will soon start up in Spain and Latin America–we are rapidly growing our e-book publishing programs, adding newly published titles and longtime Random House authors weekly, experimenting with apps and other innovative digital formats, and implementing new digital/online marketing approaches.”

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Dzanc Books Write-a-Thon Launches This Week

dzanc logo.JPGThe 3rd annual Dzanc Books Write-a-Thon will take place from September 2nd through September 5th. At the event, writers partner with sponsors for a few days of non-stop writing.

The writer collecting the most donations will receive a full run of the Dzanc titles from 2010, including Further Adventures in the Restless Universe by Dawn Raffel, The Taste of Penny by Jeff Parker, Best of the Web 2010 edited by Kathy Fish, and Kamby Bolongo Mean River by Robert Lopez. The event used took place between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but Dzanc moved the Write-a-Thon earlier to avoid scheduling problems.

The site explained: “We’ll be setting up a special page on our website as we’ve done the last two years, making it easy for authors that want to participate, and those that wish to sponsor an author, to do so. To get things started though, if you are an author that would like to participate, please send an email to simply stating that you would. We’ll be taking this initial blast of sign-ups to get the web page started.”

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Borders to Close San Francisco Store

Borders.GIFBorders will close its San Francisco South Beach store on October 16th. The bookstore occupies the ground floor of a condominium complex, and a Borders spokesperson explained that the branch did not meet “financial objectives.”

The San Francisco Examiner writes: “Borders is the highest-profile business to leave the area, although there are other empty storefronts below The Beacon condominiums. Some worried that closures near AT&T Park could spiral into a trend, although the nearby Safeway appears to be doing brisk business.”

Earlier this month, the bookseller laid-off 100 employees at a Tennessee distribution facility and cut an unknown number of people at the Ann Arbor headquarters. Rival bookseller Barnes & Noble announced yesterday it will close a store near New York City’s Lincoln Center.

You’ve Got Mail and Bookstore Closings

As news broke yesterday that Barnes & Noble will close its Upper West Side superstore in New York City, a number of readers reminded us of the 1998 romantic comedy, You’ve Got Mail–starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as rival bookstore owners. We’ve embedded the trailer above for your viewing pleasure.

Wikipedia summarized the plot: “[Hanks' character] Joe belongs to the Fox family which runs Fox Books–a chain of ‘mega’ bookstores similar to Borders or Barnes & Noble. [Ryan's character] Kathleen, on the other hand, runs the independent bookstore The Shop Around The Corner, that her mother ran before her. The central conflict of the film revolves around Kathleen and Joe building a relationship in virtual reality while they are business rivals in the ‘real world.’”

When the news broke, reader Hope Victoria tweeted: “Is Shop Around the Corner reopening?” Author Robin Benway agreed, tweeting “Save The Shop Around the Corner!”

Festivals, Caregiving & Salvation Get Booked

occbf.JPGOur Facebook users shared a host of literary events for our regular Booked feature.

Author Cindy Laverty will read portions and autograph her new book, Caregiving: Eldercare Made Clear & Simple at Chaucer’s Bookstore (Santa Barbara, CA) on Thursday, September 2nd from 7:00pm-9:00pm. She invites everybody to stop by and say hi!

Sigrid Nunez will be at 82nd Street Barnes & Noble (New York, NY) promoting her new book, Salvation City on Thursday, September 16th starting 7:00pm. Salvation City is a story of love, betrayal, and forgiveness. It is about spiritual and moral growth, and the consolation of art. It is about belief—belief in God and belief in self.

Orange County Children’s Book Festival will take place on Sunday, October 3rd from 9:30am to 4:30pm at Orange Coast College (Costa Mesa, CA). Authors James Doti, Amber Benson, Jessica Brody, Nancy Holder, Lauren Kate, and many more will attend.

To get your events posted, visit our Facebook Your Next Literary Event page for more information.

Darren Aronofsky Could Direct Wolverine 2

2260280-37336-20100831.jpgWolverine 2, one of the most anticipated and worrisome comic book adaptations in recent memory, could have a very unexpected director.

Arthouse director Darren Aronofsky (who directed The Wrestler and the adaptation Requiem for a Dream) has joined the director of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on the shortlist to direct the film. What do you think? Could a director like Aronofsky handle a comic book franchise?

Deadline Hollywood has the scoop: “20th Century Fox is between David Slade and Darren Aronofsky, I’m told. Slade, who just directed the summer hit The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, met over the weekend with Hugh Jackman on location where he is shooting Real Steel for DreamWorks. Aronofsky has also been talking with Jackman, and they have a good relationship that dates back to The Fountain, when Jackman stepped in after Brad Pitt dropped out.” (Via io9)