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HarperCollins’ New Website Design Focuses on E-Commerce

harpercollinsHarperCollins Publishers has redesigned its website with new capabilities that make it easier for readers to buy books directly from the publisher, in a move to have a more direct relationship with its customers.

The site allows bookworms to purchase print, eBook and audiobook titles directly from the publisher. The update also includes new author tools which will make it easier for writers to embed the HarperCollins shopping cart on their own websites, giving authors an alternative to adding Amazon buttons. “We are excited to be able to offer an e-commerce solution to our authors, ensuring their books are always available to their fans,” stated Chantal Restivo-Alessi, Chief Digital Officer at HarperCollins. “As a publisher, we want to offer as many paths to the consumer as possible.”

The redesign also brings with it enhanced search and navigation, and a new design which includes more promo options such as author videos, sample chapters, audiobook excerpts and a daily deals email newsletter.

J.M. Lee Wins ‘The Dark Crystal’ Author Quest Contest

969658_286630688148585_854746099_nJ.M. Lee has won the Dark Crystal Author Quest contest.

Last summer, Penguin Young Readers Group formed a partnership with the Jim Henson Company to publish a young adult series inspired by the classic film, The Dark Crystal. The two companies launched a contest to find a writer to pen the first installment of this project. Lee’s story, “The Ring of Dreams” was chosen as the winning piece from a pool of more than 500 submissions.

Lee had this statement in the press release: “The Dark Crystal was my first Jim Henson experience after being coerced into a viewing by my father, who since has admitted he just thought I would like the ‘soundtrack performed by a bunch of giant crows.’ And I did! I’ve always been a fan of dark fantasy, but thinking back on how early it was that The Dark Crystal became part of my VHS(!) library, I wonder which came first: the Skeksis or the egg. Even now, the depth of world and profundity has continued to reveal itself as I grow into my so-called adulthood.”

Harry Potter Reconnects With Old Pals to Watch the World Cup in New JK Rowling Piece

harrypotter304JK Rowling has published a new piece starring Harry Potter for the Harry Potter fan site Pottermore.com.

In the 1,500 word piece, which is called Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final, reads as a gossip column written by the Daily Prophet’s Gossip Correspondent Rita Skeeter. In the piece, Harry hangs out with his old friends to watch the final of the Quidditch World Cup 2014.

Here is an excerpt: “The Potter family and the rest of Dumbledore’s Army have been given accommodation in the VIP section of the campsite, which is protected by heavy charms and patrolled by Security Warlocks. Their presence has ensured large crowds along the cordoned area, all hoping for a glimpse of their heroes. At 3pm today they got their wish when, to the accompaniment of loud screams, Potter took his young sons James and Albus to visit the players’ compound, where he introduced them to Bulgarian Seeker Viktor Krum.”

Rebecca Dinerstein Inks Deal with Bloomsbury For Debut Novel

BeckyWriter Rebecca Dinerstein (pictured, via) has landed a deal with Bloomsbury for her debut novel, The Sunlit Night.

Editor Lea Beresford negotiated the deal with Union Literary agent Jenni Ferrari-Adler to secure world rights. Alexa von Hirschberg, an editor based in the UK division of Bloomsbury, will edit the manuscript. The publisher plans to release the book globally in 2015.

Here’s more from the press release: “The Sunlit Night explores the intersection of two young lives: Frances, who flees her claustrophobic childhood apartment in Manhattan and seeks refuge at an obscure Norwegian artist colony; and Yasha, an eighteen-year-old Russian immigrant raised in a bakery in Brighton Beach, who heads north to carry out his beloved father’s last wish to be buried ‘at the top of the world.’ The two meet in Lofoten, an archipelago in the Norwegian Sea. Their unlikely connection fortifies them against the turmoil of their distant homes and teaches them that however far they travel for independence, it is ultimately love that gives them their place in the world.”

Average UK Author Salary Down 29% From 2005

ALCSThe average salary for an author in the UK dropped 29 percent to £11,000 a year  in 2013 from 2005, according to a new study from the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) done in conjunction with Queen Mary, University of London.

In fact, according to the “What Are Words Worth Now?” study, the majority of authors are finding it difficult to make a living from writing. In 2013, only 11.5 percent of professional authors reported earning their income just from writing. Back in 2005, 40 percent of authors reported living off of writing alone.

Here is more from the ALCS blog: “In contrast to the sharp decline in earnings of professional authors, the wealth generated by the UK creative industries is on the increase. Statistics produced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2014 show that the creative industries are now worth £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy (over £8 million per hour) and the UK is reported as having “the largest creative sector of the European Union”, and being “the most successful exporter of cultural good and services in the world”, according to UNESCO.” (Via The Guardian).

The Effectiveness of Free eBooks is Declining: Smashwords

smashwords304Offering up a free copy of your eBook has been a good way for self-published and first-time authors to promote their books to new readers. However, according to a new report from self-publishing site Smashwords, that tool may soon be played out.

Here is more from the Smashwords blog: “Free ebooks, according to our data derived from iBooks downloads, generated 39 times more downloads on average during our survey period than books at any price. Yet the effectiveness of free is down dramatically compared to our 2013 (91X) and 2012 (100X) survey results. While there is still much untapped greenfield opportunity for indies to leverage free, I expect the effectiveness of free will continue to decline as more authors learn to take advantage of it.”

The report, which includes 12 months of sales data for 250,000 titles across eBook retailers, also revealed that $2.99 and $3.99 were a popular price point for strong sales.

We’ve embedded the entire report for you to explore after the jump. Read more

Macmillan to Donate to the Kids’ Right to Read Project in Honor of the Late Nancy Garden

NCAC logoWriter Nancy Garden has died. She was 76-years-old.

The New York Times reports that Garden became most well-known for her 1982 young adult book entitled Annie On My Mind; it was one of the first to feature a lesbian relationship. Since its publication, “the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies and has never been out of print.”

To honor Garden’s memory, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group will make a donation of $2,500 to the National Coalition Against Censorship. According to the press release, these funds will directly support the Kids’ Right to Read Project which offers aid, education, and direct advocacy to people fighting book challenges or book bans in schools and libraries.

The Five Laws of Library Science: INFOGRAPHIC

libraryinfographicUSC Online has created an infographic called, “The Five Laws of Library Science,” which explores five principles which can help guide the practices of librarians.

According to the graphic, almost 2.5 million public library books were circulated between more than 1.5 million people in 2011. The graphic also points out that there is more than 120,000 libraries in the U.S.

We’ve embedded the entire graphic after the jump for you to explore further. Read more

New Trailer Unleashed For ‘Gone Girl’ Movie

Twentieth Century Fox has unleashed a new trailer for the Gone Girl movie adaptation. The video embedded above offers scenes with the characters Nick Dunne, Amy Dunne, Desi Collings, Detective Rhonda Boney, and Detective Jim Gilpin.

Over the July 4th holiday weekend, The Huffington Post unveiled a promotional poster featuring a photo that showcases “the central couple (played by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck) celebrating their wedding night with friends and a champagne toast. The photo is placed inside an evidence bag, hinting at the mystery that’s to unfold surrounding the pair.” What do you think?

Vicki Marie Stolsen & JoAnna Senger Get Booked

bowHere are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this 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.

Author Vicki Marie Stolsen will headline a reading event the R E Welch Gallery (Seattle Art Galleries). Meet her on Friday, July 11th starting 7 p.m. (Seattle, WA)

Read more

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