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Archives: April 2012

Microsoft Invests $300 Million in B&N’s Digital Subsidiary

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft settled their patent litigation dispute, partnering to build a new corner of Barnes & Noble’s business. Microsoft will invest $300 million into a new, unnamed subsidiary that will contain the bookseller’s digital and college businesses.

Microsoft will have an estimated 17.6 percent equity stake in the new company that will develop Barnes & Noble’s work on Nook eReaders and tablets. The new partnership will begin with a Nook application for Windows 8. The new subsidiary will also focus on ways that educational publishers can use Nook Study software to distribute digital materials.

Microsoft president Andy Lees had this statement: “The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content … Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re on the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

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Books-A-Million Executive Chairman & Family Make Buyout Bid

Books-A-Million executive chairman Clyde B. Anderson and his family have made a bid to acquire all the publicly-held shares of the bookseller.

If the deal is accepted, the release noted that “the Anderson family expects the Company’s management to remain in place following the merger along with the rest of the Company’s valued employees.” The family currently owns 53 percent of the public company stock.

Here’s more from the release:  “public shareholders would receive $3.05 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 20 percent over the closing price on April 27, 2012, and 13 percent over the average closing price of the Company’s common stock for the past 90 trading days. The proposal values the total equity of the Company at approximately $48.8 million.”

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Are American YA Covers Too Generic?

Blogger Tiana Smith wrote a post judging American book covers. After comparing the American covers of several popular YA books with their foreign editions, Smith concluded: “American versions are slightly more … generic than some of their counterparts.”

Explore the cover pictures on her site–what do you think? Here’s more from Smith’s post: “Usually us Americans are cool with it if you just throw a girl on the cover. We also tend to go for the slightly more feminine, I’ve found.” Many publishing executives agree that book covers are the number one marketing tool in their arsenal.

Several commenters agreed with Smith (pictured, via). Shadow Watchers author Morgan Shamy pointed out that American book covers tend to be “more commercial.” Bibliophile L.T. Elliot slammed them because she feels they don’t convey enough emotion. Writer DL Hammons observed that “our book covers are more conservative and less likely to take chances.”

Allen Ginsberg Battles Heckler During Live Poetry Reading

Happy National Poetry Month! To end the month, we found an audio recording of Allen Ginsberg reading his poem, “What would you do if you lost it?”

This performance took place in February 1973 at New York City’s 92Y.

At the six-minute mark in the recording, fellow beat poet Gregory Corso began to heckle the poet on stage and Ginsberg responded with more poetry. Ginsberg’s dad, Louis, joined the poet on stage.

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Byliner Removes Buzz Bissinger eBook on Amazon

Author Buzz Bissinger watched his book get yanked off Amazon recently. Byliner removed After Friday Night Lights (a sequel to his bestselling Friday Night Lights) after Amazon dropped the price to zero as a matter of procedure.

Through an Apple and Starbucks promotion, customers could redeem the book for free. To compete with the lowest price available, Amazon dropped its price to zero. Unhappy with this move, Bissinger’s publisher Byliner.com pulled the title.

The company released this statement to The New York Times: “While we greatly value Amazon as a partner in this new category, we need to protect our authors’ interests. As such, we had to remove the title from Amazon until May 1. We’re disappointed that Amazon customers won’t have access to this wonderful story, but we’re pleased that readers still have other options to purchase and enjoy Buzz’s powerful sequel.”

Kathryn & Ross Petras On Assembling a ‘Modern’ Poetry Collection

Happy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we interviewed poets about working in the digital age. To end the month, we spoke with brother-sister writing team Kathryn & Ross Petras.

Many have come to know the Petras siblings for the The Stupidest Things website and companion books. They recently edited a collection of modern poetry culled from politicians, reality TV stars and music recording artists.

Workman Publishing released The Anthology of Really Important Modern Poetry: Timeless ‘Poems’ By Snooki, John Boehner, Kanye West and Other Well-Versed Celebrities earlier this month. Follow this link to access their blog and read pieces from Twilight Saga actor Robert Pattinson, former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and pop star Ke$ha.

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Tom Bissell Explains How a Great Film Editor Can Help Writers

What’s your favorite creative writing handbook?

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu podcast was journalist and author Tom Bissell. While talking about his new book, Magic Hours, Bissell shared the creative writing book that he made all his creative writing students read–an unexpected title about the art of film editing.

Check it out: “I have a really weird one I use that I’ll pass on to the GalleyCat audience: Michael Ondaatje‘s series of  interviews with the film editor Walter Murch. The book is called The Conversations. It’s about art and mostly film editing, but the stuff that they talk about in film editing is so incredibly applicable to fiction writing that I make all of my students read that book. It is a hugely helpful primer on what thinking like an artist means and what thinking like a creative person means and ways to avoid hackneyed thinking as a creator.”

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Dial M For Murdoch Delves Inside News Corp.

Just as Rupert Murdoch has taken the stand in the scandalous News of the World phone hacking trial in Britain, a new book is out that claims to tell the story of the inner workings of Murdoch’s News Corporation.

Dial M for Murdoch by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman, reporters for the Independent. According to Penguin UK, the book’s publisher, the book includes new details, ”which have never been disclosed before in public, including the smears and threats against politicians, journalists and lawyers. It reveals the existence of brave insiders who pointed those pursuing the investigation towards pieces of secret information that cracked open the case.”

openDemocracy.net has a review of the book by author Bruce Page. Page writes: “Dial is our best-to-date account of the snoopers, bully-boys, bully-girls and pseudo-hacks sicced lavishly by Newscorp onto anyone whose alleged turpitude might somehow advance its ambitions. And so they are found chasing — as illicit lovers —  a couple actually established as man and wife; assuming that an MI5 officer’s tip has bared orgiastic Nazism to their censorious gaze; discovering rent boys, but without transactional evidence; and generally barking up factitious trees, or ones long since chopped down.”

Henry David Thoreau Video Game & Screenwriting Tips: Top Stories of the Week

For your weekend reading pleasure, here are our top stories of the week, including how to speed read, a Henry David Thoreau video game and why old books smell (video embedded above).

Click here to sign up for GalleyCat’s daily email newsletter, getting all our publishing stories, book deal news, videos, podcasts, interviews, and writing advice in one place.

1. VIDEO: Why Do Old Books Smell?
2. 30 Scriptwriting Tips in One Post
3. Learn How to Speed Read with Handy Infographic
4. The Only 3 Pieces of Writing Advice You Will Ever Need
5. The Lost History of Fifty Shades of Grey
6. Henry David Thoreau Video Game Gets $40,000 NEA Grant
7. How to Star in a Classic Novel
8. INFOGRAPHIC: Meet the 19%
9. David Simon: ‘Anything that says content should be free makes it hard for all writers, everywhere’
10. Send Yourself a Rejection Letter

Google Releases ‘Mobile Playbook’ As eBook

Google has released a new business eBook called Mobile Playbook: The Busy Executive’s Guide to Winning with Mobile.

AppNewser has more: “The book is a business person’s guide to connecting with consumers using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The book explores the issue of how mobile changes a company’s value proposition and looks at everything from digital destinations to marketing.”

Here is more from the book: “Our goal is to help companies at all levels of mobile sophistication and experience to adopt the concrete mobile strategies that can help you win – and we don’t just mean, win in mobile. This space isn’t a sandbox anymore; the mobile revolution is sailing ahead at full steam, and your customers are on board.”

Checkout the website version of the Playbook here and download the free eBook here.

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