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Archives: August 2012

LeVar Burton: ‘We’re sacrificing our kids’

If everyone loved Reading Rainbow, why in the world was it taken off the air? Politics, says, host LeVar Burton.

“That’s the story that a lot of folks don’t get. No Child Left Behind is doing exactly that, and so the mandate is to teach kids how to read, the rudiments of reading, and there was no money in the budget to foster a love of reading,” he said in our Media Beat interview. “Look, we have spent so much money on the machinery of war in the last 10, 12 years, we are having to make really ridiculous choices. And we’re sacrificing our kids, literally sacrificing our kids.”

So, Burton and his business partner, Mark Wolfe, bought the rights to the name, launched a new company, RRKidz, and created the Reading Rainbow app featuring over 150 books, video field trips and classic clips from the TV show.

“We have value, a product that is of value for families, that is economic and full of the kind of enriching content that the brand, Reading Rainbow, has always been known for,” said Burton.

Part 1: LeVar Burton on the Future of Reading Rainbow & Printed Books
Part 3: LeVar Burton on How Science Fiction Influences Technology

Ballpoint Pen Fan Fiction

In the Amazon UK customer reviews section for Bic’s “For Her” Amber Medium Ballpoint Pen, readers poked fun at the idea of pens designed for women–creating some brilliant ballpoint pen fan fiction in the process.

io9 first spotted the hilarious customer reviews, many of them written about fictional misuse of the pink or purple pens. Here is our favorite:

Things were a bit better when I left school to go and work sweeping up hair at the local salon – yet again, the broom seemed to just fit into my grip as if it was meant to be there – and I saved up to buy a pink laptop. I still had trouble writing for a long time because, although the case was pink, the keys weren’t designed for female eyes which, as we all know, struggle to discern between shades of black and grey. I could write for about 4 minutes at a time, though, and that’s how I found out about these wonderful pens for girls like me.

As soon as they arrived, I was soothed by the pink packaging – I’d been feeling stressed after driving back from work because my hands just won’t stay on the black, leather-effect steering wheel in my cute mini. Anyway, I quickly found a piece of notepaper with pictures of kittens round the edges and had a go at writing my name. It was amazing! The pen just stayed in place between my fingers, just like it always had for the boys in my class at school. Well, in no time I’d filled a whole notepad and had to go and get another one! Now I’ve gone back to night school and hope to realise my ambition of enrolling on a childcare course next year. I’m also halfway through writing an erotic novel set in Victorian times – but with vampires!

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Abbi Glines Takes Two Spots on our Self-Published Bestsellers List

Novelist Abbi Glines took the No. 2 and No. 10 spots on our Self Published Bestsellers List this week with her romance novels.

To help GalleyCat readers discover self-published authors, we have compiled lists of the top eBooks in three major marketplaces for self-published digital books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

We update these lists every week, tracking how writers perform inside these booming marketplaces. You can read all the lists below, complete with links to each book. If you are an author, check out our Free Sites to Promote Your eBook post and our How To Sell Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores post and our How to Pitch Your Book to Online Outlets post.

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My Little Pony eBooks Exclusively On Nook

Toy maker Hasbro has partnered with Barnes & Noble to release eBook editions of the children’s book collection, My Little Pony. As of today, the Nook Store is selling 11 My Little Pony titles ranging in price from $3.99 to $4.99.

This series includes titles such as My Little Pony: The Cutie Mark Crusaders; My Little Pony: The Magic of Friendship; and My Little Pony: Applebuck Season.

The release comes at a time that the 1980s children’s toy has been experiencing a resurgence in popularity. In the spring, the toys were celebrated in an art exhibit in Los Angeles called My Little Pony Project 2o12, an installation dedicated to the cult toys.

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Martin Amis, Paul Auster & Pittacus Lore Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending August 26, 2012. Reported by independent booksellers around the country, the list gives you a peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #4 in Children’s Fiction Series) Lorien Legacies: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore: “Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I’d been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive. Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others…” (August 2012)

(Debuted at #10 in Hardcover Fiction) Lionel Asbo: State of England by Martin Amis: “Lionel Asbo, a terrifying yet weirdly loyal thug (self-named after England’s notorious Anti-Social Behaviour Order), has always looked out for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Desmond Pepperdine.  He provides him with fatherly career advice (always carry a knife, for example) and is determined they should share the joys of pit bulls (fed with lots of Tabasco sauce), Internet porn, and all manner of more serious criminality.  Des, on the other hand, desires nothing more than books to read and a girl to love (and to protect a family secret that could be the death of him).” (August 2012)

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Alex Segura Returns to DC Comics

Alex Segura has returned to DC Comics to serve as the executive director of publicity.  For nearly two years, he had worked at Archie Comics as the executive director of publicity and marketing.

Here’s an excerpt from Segura’s blog post: “This is an important time at DC Entertainment. And a great time to be DC Entertainment. The New 52 is in full swing. The company is crackling with a creative energy that’s never been seen before – in comics and beyond. And while I could take up a lot of Internet real estate listing all the great things coming up, we’ll save that for later. Short version: big stuff is happening. Get ready.”

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What’s Your Favorite Reading Position?

YouTube video creator Cassidy Tucker made a short video about the perpetual five phase struggle to find a comfortable position to read a book for long periods of time.

We’ve embedded the video above–what’s your favorite reading position?

To help readers (and writers) avoid the health problems associated with sitting for long periods of time, we rounded up Five Free Fitness & Workout Apps for your Android or Apple smartphone. Using these simple tools, you can schedule daily alerts to move, stretch and even have a short workout in your office. (Via Gama Jr)

Kobo Offers Higher Royalties on Self-Published Titles Released This Fall

Kobo is offering a bonus for self-published authors that  use its Kobo Writing Life platform, giving them an additional 10 percent in royalties on applicable titles published during a designated period this fall.

The Kobo website explains more: “All authors signed up for Kobo Writing Life will automatically get an additional 10% in royalties (80% rather than 70%) for any IPP Term sales between September 1, 2012 and November 30, 2012 EST).” Follow this link to see the terms and conditions (PDF version).

Kobo Writing Life launched at BookExpo America back in June. AppNewser has more: “The platform lets authors set the prices on their own books. Since then, Kobo is reporting that the portal has seen a 700 percent increase in sales for its self-published titles.”

LeVar Burton on the Future of Reading Rainbow & Printed Books

Who didn’t love Reading Rainbow as a kid?  The iconic 80s show used songs, celebrities and video to actually make literature fun. Well, times they are a changin’, says the show’s onetime host, LeVar Burton.

“Television was the medium and the technology of its time in the 80s and 90s, but you know better than I do that this is the digital-native generation,” he explained in our latest Media Beat interview. “And they consume most of their screen time on mobile devices. That’s where we wanna be. If you want to be where they are, you’ve gotta be on a mobile device.”

Furthermore, Burton said, the days of printed books are also numbered. ”We’re looking at a future, whenever it comes, that we’re gonna consume most of the reading that we do on some kind of electronic device or another. We will still have printed books; they’ll never go away. I think our emotional attachment to them is too strong. What it will do, I believe though, is make the books that we own more valuable to us, more precious.”

(And watch the full interview for a freakin’ awesome homage to that beloved RR theme song.)

Part 2: LeVar Burton: By not focusing on reading, “We’re sacrificing our kids”
Part 3: LeVar Burton on How Science Fiction Influences Technology

Claire Legend & Andrew Kessler Get Booked

Here are some literary events to jump-start your week. To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Books of Wonder will host a launch party for Claire Legend‘s The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. Join them on Tuesday, August 28th starting 6:00 p.m. (New York, NY)

A group of writers headline a free comedy show at Cashmere. Join in on Tuesday, August 28th starting 8:00 p.m. (New York, NY)

Author Andrew Kessler will read from Martian Summer at BookCourt. See him on on Thursday, August 30th starting 7:00 p.m. (Brooklyn, NY)

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