Breaking News:

This just in from our What The Hell desk in our Service Center Newsroom–a hay hook has been found sitting inside one of the red review boxes that came in yesterday’s delivery.   Send me an email if it yours and we’ll figure out how to get it back to you.

posted by jim who is a wee bit flummoxed this morning.

Anyone lose a hay hook?

Galley Cat posted a wonderful video Jersey Shore Meets Oscar Wilde where two stars of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde now on Broadway launched a video series–reading Jersey Shore dialogue in the style of Wilde’s play:

Part 1:

I found the rest of these on You Tube (be aware that the language is direct from “Jersey Shore” and not always bleeped out).

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

posting by Lorraine

last week, a rather snotty commercial made the rounds in which the Kindle goes head-to-head with the iPad in a poolside rumble.  it’s clear that the beautiful people are the ones who spend their money wisely by buying the Kindle for their sunny vacations.

Tony Bradley in PC World had this to say about the campaign (via Shelf Awareness):

Amazon is responsible for the mainstream acceptance of the e-reader thanks to the Kindle, and it has a virtually insurmountable dominance of the market. Yet, Amazon seems to have some sort of Napoleon complex about the Apple iPad, as evidenced by its new marketing campaign.

there is also this puzzling statement to consider from Jeff Bezos who in a  June interview with Forbes declared that the iPad is not Kindle’s competition.

Fortune: Obviously, the Kindle’s price drop was in response to Barnes & Noble’s price cut on the Nook. Did the iPad and its overnight success play a role, too?

Bezos: No. The iPad… I think there are going to be a bunch of tablet-like devices. It’s really a different product category. The Kindle is for readers.

perhaps the Kindle’s marketing plan and Bezos’s opinion has changed in the last 3 months?

posting by marin

about 6 months ago, i noticed a couple of backlist mmpb available through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, but with a $20+ price tag – egads!  in completing adult fiction rincs yesterday, it unfortunately appears that this is an ever increasing occurrence.

as a steward of tax payer money, we cannot in good conscience pay upwards of $25 for a binding that will last 10 circs at best and more likely 1-3.  our options?  ILL or the used marketplace where publishers, authors, and vendors see no profits.  time to rethink this strategy.

posting by marin

like lightening

November 30, 2009

in an attempt to placate critics, Harlequin Horizons quickly morphed into DellArte Press late last week with the new site making no mention of Harlequin.

smart move, Harlequin.  said critics have yet to react.

(via PW)

posting by marin

the Harlequin hubbub

November 24, 2009

last week, Harlequin announced a new venture into self-publishing called, oddly enough,  Harlequin Horizons.  from the press release

“Harlequin Horizons expands upon Harlequin’s tradition of providing wonderful opportunities for fresh voices in women’s fiction,” said Donna Hayes, Publisher and CEO of Harlequin Enterprises. “Partnering with Author Solutions, Inc., the recognized world leader in self-publishing, is an innovative and original approach to discovering new authors to add to our traditional publishing programs.”

Through this strategic alliance; all sales, marketing, publishing, distribution, and book-selling services will be fulfilled by ASI; but Harlequin Horizons will exist as a division of Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Harlequin will monitor sales of books published through the self-publisher for possible pickup by its traditional imprints.

almost immediately, criticism emerged.  a Harlequin rep tried to reassure readers and authors by explaining that it wasn’t a case of brand dilution, that it would be very clear to customers that these self-published titles are not in any way associated with Harlequin.  said Malle Vallik, Harlequin’s Digital Director, on Dear Author

Harlequin put its name on the Harlequin Horizons site to clearly indicate this is a romance self-publishing site. The books published through Harlequin Horizons will not carry traditional Harlequin branding. The self-published author will be the brand and the Horizon double H logo will appear on the spine of the book. Harlequin is the gold standard in romance and that will not be compromised. Readers will not confuse Horizons books with traditional Harlequin books.

clarifications did nothing to stop the outcry.  on one hand, over at the All about Romance blog, the point was raised that Harlequin Horizons isn’t really self-publishing in that it requires a good sum of money to get published by Author Solutions (including a percentage of royalties) and that in the end, the author doesn’t even own the ISBN.

then some questioned the continued value of Harlequin’s name to their published authors, worried that all those rewrites and edits are worth naught when readers and others in the industry can no longer take Harlequin seriously.  of course, the requisite snotty commentary followed from The New Yorker blog, but that’s to be expected (do those of us who read in the genres, especially romance, need to be reminded how much smarter the literary reader is ?!).

up next was the protest by 3 major writing organizations to withdraw support from Harlequin in various ways.  both the Mystery Writers of America and the Science Fiction Writers of America removed Harlequin from their list of approved publishers which is a big deal on several levels (explained very clearly by the previous link).

the biggest blow came with the Romance Writers of America statement:

With the launch of Harlequin Horizons, Harlequin Enterprises no longer meets the requirements to be eligible for RWA-provided conference resources.

oops, back pedal, back pedal, back pedal.  apparently, Harlequin officials were very surprised at this move and stated that they will remove all references to Harlequin from the HH imprint.

there is a nice summary and links to other commentary over at Jane Friedman’s Writer’s Digest (via Dear Author).  Friedman’s philosophical musings get to the heart of the matter:  the publishing model is changing and Harlequin is an innovative company that is trying to secure a future.

Harlequin is clearly at an advanced stage of considering how it will evolve—or devolve, considering on your perspective. But most writers and writers organizations (and publishers) have NOT grappled with these questions yet. Publishing has often been slowest to change and adapt of all industries.

Some argue Harlequin should’ve been better prepared and planned more strategically to respond to the criticisms that would arise. But when you’ve already moved on, like Harlequin—and are seeking solutions—it’s tough to backtrack to the mindset of those people who are stunned, angry, and indignant, and can’t even conceive of adaptation.

now, if you’ve actually read this far, you might be wondering why this all matters.  the future of publishing and the continued prominence of vanity press (aka self-publishing) has a huge impact on libraries.  last year, titles published by print-on-demand and the like (often vanity titles) outnumbered books published through traditional outlets.  every day we get requests for vanity press titles that we don’t purchase because there is often no editing process, the bindings and formats aren’t reliable and/or standard, and there are no reviews to verify the accuracy and/or quality of the content.  adding Harlequin Horizon to the field muddies the waters.

posting by marin (who is doing her best to understand all the nuances of this complicated business)

a true sign of success

November 5, 2009

Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” has received attention from Harvard Lampoon with the just-released “Nightlight.”  this is Harvard Lampoon’s first parody since the 1969 “Bored of the Rings.”  continuing its string of exclusive’s, EW’s Shelf Life featured the first chapter a couple of days ago for our reading enjoyment.  below are the first 3 paragraphs, but check out the entire first chapter.  funniest use of Diaspora ever.

1. FIRST LOOK

The hot phoenix sun glared down on the car windowsill where my bare, pallid arm dangled shamelessly. My mom and I were both going to the airport, but only I had a ticket waiting for me, and that ticket was one-way.

I had a dejected, brooding expression on my face, and I could tell from the reflection in the window that it was also an intriguing expression. It seemed out of place, coming from a girl in a sleeveless, lacy top and bell-bottom jeans (stars on the back pockets). But I was that kind of girl — out of place. Then I shifted from that place on the dashboard to a normal position in the seat. Much better.

I was exiling myself from my mom’s home in Phoenix to my dad’s home in Switchblade. As a self-exiled exile, I would know the pain of Diaspora and the pleasure of imposing it, callously disregarding my own pleas to say one last good-bye to the potted fungus I was cultivating. I had to coarsen my skin if I was going to be a refugee in Switchblade, a town in northwest Oregon that no one knows about. Don’t try to look it up on a map — it’s not important enough for mapmakers to care about. And don’t even think about looking me up on that map — apparently, I’m not important enough either.

the book is ranked 766 in Amazon sales, but has no holds at Sno-Isle.  do twilighters take their Bella and Edward too seriously to read a paraody?

posting by marin

actually 4 magazines got the ax today by Conde Nast: Gourmet, Elegant Bride, Modern Bride, and Cookie.  the venerable Gourmet has been in publication since 1941.  the move came after a 3 month study was done of the company by McKinsey & Company which recommended magazine budgets be cut by 25%.  those shocked at the news are finding an outlet for their disbelief at the The New York Times.

posting by marin

big name British authors and illustrators plan to boycott school visits this upcoming academic year with the implementation of a database registering those who work at and/or visit schools for screening purposes.  Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, and Anthony Horowitz are among those protesting the registration.

Pullman, author of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, described the Home Office policy as “corrosive and poisonous to every kind of healthy social interaction”. He said: “I’ve been going into schools as an author for 20 years, and on no occasion have I ever been alone with a child. The idea that I have become more of a threat and I need to be vetted is both ludicrous and insulting. Children have never been in any danger from visiting authors or illustrators, and the idea that they should be is preposterous.

those who register are then charged a fee of approximately $105.

(via PW Children’s Bookshelf)

posting by marin

yes, Amazon messed up royally this past week by removing a couple of George Orwell titles from the accounts of Kindle customers, “1984″ and “Animal Farm.”  apparently, the versions were not authorized.  Amazon is well within its rights to remove titles from a Kindle accounts based on the terms of service.  But it begs a couple of questions: just what are the rights of readers when it comes to ebooks and how did Amazon allow illegal Kindle copies to be uploaded?

today’s Shelf Awareness provided a list of media sources covering the controversy:

Amazon’s decision late last week to remove copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from its customers’ Kindles sparked widespread controversy, anger among owners of the e-reader and irresistible opportunities for headline writers:

Amazon.com Plays Big Brother With Famous E-Books (New York Times)
Kindle’s Orwellian Moment (Wall Street Journal)
Amazon Kindle users surprised by “Big Brother” move (Guardian)
Hey, Big Brother! Hands off my Kindle! (Baltimore Sun‘s Read Street blog)
Amazon sends Orwell to “memory hole” (AFP)
Big Kindle is Watching (American Conservative)
Amazon recalls (and embodies) Orwell’s 1984 (CNET News)

for more to ponder, check out Richard Stallman’s essay “The Right to Read,” published a little over 12 years ago, predicting such a world in which the reader is at the mercy of the corporations in the digital age.

(via numerous sources like Dear Author, Shelf Awareness, and PW)

posting by marin

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