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Archives: April 2012

HarperCollins to Publish 15 Milan Kundera Audiobooks

HarperAudio will release audiobook versions of fifteen backlist titles by celebrated Czech author Milan Kundera. This marks the first time these Kundera titles will be available in audiobook format.

Actors Richmond Hoxie (fiction) and Graeme Malcolm (nonfiction) will narrate these works. They will be released throughout the rest of this year.

Executive editor Terry Karten had this statement in the release: ”The publication in audio format of the complete works of Milan Kundera, one of the most distinguished and innovative authors of our era, is a major literary event. Harper Perennial has recently reissued Kundera’s backlist with new covers featuring original artwork from the author. These developments are sure to bring renewed attention to this renowned author.”

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Elevator Pitch: Storyville Wants to Do for Short Stories What iTunes Did for Music

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler meets with Storyville co-founder Paul Vidich. Storyville is a mobile app for short stories that connects readers and authors. A former music executive, Vidich helped Steve Jobs bring music singles to iTunes. He hopes Storyville will do for the short story what iTunes did for the single.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Also, find out who’s hiring on the Mediabistro job board.

David Simon: ‘Anything that says content should be free makes it hard for all writers, everywhere’

Journalist and screenwriter David Simon has published his first blog dispatch. His new site is called “The Audacity of Despair.”

After holding on to his website for many years, the creator of The Wire opened his site to share his online thoughts. In his introduction, Simon included a stern warning for all creators who write for free on the Internet. Check it out:

Anything that says content should be free makes it hard for all writers, everywhere.   If at any point in the future, this site offers more than a compendium of old prose work and the odd comment or two on recent events — if it grows in purpose or improves in execution — I might try to toss up a small monthly charge in support of one of the 501c3 charities that I soon hope to list in the How To Help section.  And yes, I know that doing so will lose a good many readers; but to me, anyway, the principle matters.  A free internet is wonderful for democratized, unresearched commentary, and it works well as a library of sorts for content that no longer needs a defense of its copyright.  But journalism, literature, film, music —  these endeavors need people operating at the highest professional level and they need to make a living doing what they do.  Copyright matters.  Content costs.

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NYC Poetry Festival on Kickstarter

The Poetry Society of New York hopes to raise $5,000 to fund the 2nd Annual NYC Poetry Festival. Above, we’ve embedded a video about the project–what do you think?

Last year’s festival took place over the course of two days on Governor’s Island. More than 150 poets appeared to give poetry readings and performances. This year, the organization has conceived some highly ambitious plans to elevate the event.

Here’s more about the project: “Poetry does not exist in a vacuum and does itself no favors when its only audience is other poets…this year’s festival will include an Merchants Village, where local artists, sculptors, and artisans will work on live pieces inspired by the festival’s poetry while displaying and selling their wares, and a Songwriter’s Circle, where acoustic musicians working with poetic mediums can perform. By reaching outside the established poetry communities, The Poetry Society of New York hopes to create new audiences for poetry and facilitate collaborations between poets and other artists.”

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Free Harry Potter eBook With Sony eReader Purchase

Sony has launched a Harry Potter eBook giveaway to promote the Sony eReader.

AppNewser has the story: “For a limited time, customers that buy the $129 Wi-Fi eReader from the online Sony Store can get a free copy of the eBook Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Here’s more from the Sony blog: “With Reader Wi-Fi’s super long battery life, ultra-light form factor and glare-free touchscreen display, you’ll be able to enjoy the world of Harry Potter anytime and anywhere. Also if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to sign up for Pottermore to discover moments from the books as well as new writing from J.K. Rowling.Now the only question is, will you get a black, red or white Reader?”

Lack Of Pulitzer Didn’t Hurt Book Sales

While no Pulitzer Prize was awarded for fiction this year, it didn’t hurt book sales as many booksellers worried.

In fact, the controversial press may have helped sales for Train Dreams by Denis JohnsonSwamplandia! by Karen Russell and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, all of which were nominated.

The New York Observer has more: “Thanks to the coverage surrounding the non-awarding of the 2012 Pulitzer, sales of all three finalists were spiking; one of those titles, Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, had even sold out in hardcover on Amazon. (My own informal canvass of half-a-dozen Manhattan bookstores last week likewise failed to turn up a single copy of Train Dreams.) These initial returns suggested two healthy correctives to the general publishers’ alarm.”

Neal Stephenson Stars in Book Trailer about the Inherent Silliness of Book Trailers

Amazon Publishing’s 47 North imprint has released a book trailer for The Mongoliad: Book One, the first installment in a group-written novel headlined by Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear.

Instead of making a Hollywood version of the book or hiring actors, the video actually reflects on the inherent silliness of making a book trailer in the first place. It ends with the tagline: “Some books are so good, a trailer just seems Medieval.”

Here’s more about the book: “The Foreworld medieval adventure saga was actually born out of swordfighting. Stephenson and the other authors are avid practitioners of Western martial arts and they are part of an enthusiastic study group in Seattle. Stephenson realized that the descriptions of swordfighting in his novels would have been much better with contributions from people with fighting expertise. Thus the idea for a saga about the complex, bloody history of Western martial arts was born, co-written by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, E.D. deBirmingham, Joseph Brassey, Erik Bear, and Cooper Moo.” (Via Reddit Lit Video)

INFOGRAPHIC: Meet the 19%

Publishers need to focus on the 19 percent. Graphic designer Boris Benko created a sprawling infographic (embedded below) visualizing recent trends in digital reading.

According to the research, 19 percent of U.S. adults own eReaders and 19 percent of U.S. adults own tablets. While both markets were practically nonexistent in 2009, they have become a booming marketplace for publishers.

In addition, the graphic breaks down tablet and eReader ownership by gender and race, providing an interesting snapshot of this new audience.

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David Baldacci, Jenny Lawson & Jeffrey Brown Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending April 22, 2012–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #3 in Hardcover Fiction) The Innocent by David Baldacci: “America has enemies–ruthless people that the police, the FBI, even the military can’t stop. That’s when the U.S. government calls on Will Robie, a stone cold hitman who never questions orders and always nails his target.
But Will Robie may have just made the first–and last–mistake of his career…” (April 2012)

(Debuted at #4 in Hardcover Nonfiction) Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson: ”For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut. Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us.” (April 2012)

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Orwell Prize 2012 Shortlist: Free Samples

The shortlist for the 2012 Orwell Prize shortlist has been revealed. Below, we’ve linked to free samples of all the finalists.

Here’s more about the award: “The Prize was established in its present form by the late Professor Sir Bernard Crick in 1994, ‘to encourage writing in good English – while giving equal value to style and content, politics or public policy, whether political, economic, social or cultural – of a kind aimed at or accessible to the reading public, not to specialist or academic audiences.’”

If you want more books, follow these links to our literary mixtapes with free samples of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize winners, the Orion Book Award finalists, the Best Mystery Books of 2011

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