More e-Readers Compared

Shelf Awareness contributing editor Jenn Northington, general manager at breathe books in Baltimore, MD offers her opinions on the pros and cons of a variety of e-readers, particularly as they pertain to booksellers:

"The first order of business was to pick my weapon of choice. Lord knows, there are umpteen million e-readers. However, I tend to ignore reviews in favor of my "poke it before you buy it" policy--if a piece of software or hardware doesn't do what I want or expect it to do, I move right along (unless I am absolutely forced to use it for some reason). This puts 90% of e-readers out of the running; the only ones you can try before you buy are the Sony Touch and Pocket Editions, and Barnes & Noble's nook. (The Kindle was out of the running automatically because--need I say it?--if it doesn't support the ePub format, it doesn't support independent bookstores. Plus, you can't get your hands on it without purchasing it.)"

She concludes "Because of the high demand for e-readers, the only one available immediately (when I went looking; things may have changed in the past week) was the Sony Pocket. So I'll be waiting until February for my nook to arrive. But not to worry! The next of the installment of her column in Shelf Awareness (the Nitty Gritty): what to do while you're waiting for your e-reader."

Free as in "my publisher will disown me after I pirate my book on TechCrunch"

"So that's your advice is it? As my agent? On the week my book comes out in paperback, I should produce my own pirated version and give it away free? Why don't I just punch my publisher in the face? That would be less work."

My agent rocked back in his chair (a chair bought with 15% of my earnings) and laughed. "I didn't say it was my advice, I just said there's nothing they can do to stop you."

Full piece in the Washington Post

You Can Read It in the Bathtub

Dave Eggers, McSweeney's founder and Panorama's mastermind, wanted to prove that print is not dead.

On the morning of Dec. 8, several dozen volunteer newsies spread out across San Francisco to hawk copies of the city's brand new newspaper, the San Francisco Panorama. The 320-page doorstop, printed in full color on old-fashioned broadsheet paper, sold for $5 on the street and $16 in bookstores. With articles by Stephen King, Michael Chabon and Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Robert Porterfield, the Panorama was an homage to the increasingly threatened — some would say obsolete — institution of print journalism. The paper's entire print run sold out in less than 90 minutes. More from


Random House Fires Next Shot In Digital Book Wars

Publishers and authors are squaring off over who owns the digital rights to books on the lucrative "back list," works by well known authors that have a long shelf life. As digital books become more popular the resolution of this issue will be crucial for publishers because the back list is a major source of income.

Story on Morning Edition on NPR

Giving a Shout Out To Your Favorite, Hard-Working, Deserving of Recognition Publisher Reps

There are plenty good vendor reps "out there" deserving our recognition, particularly these days. I've identified a couple of mine, complete with stories about their hard work on my library's behalf. Readers have added their own contributions in comments to the post. Feel free to chime in with your stories.


The End of Kirkus and What Will Happen to Advance Reviews

Analysis of yesterday's news story by Jerome Kramer, an independent publishing consultant in his blog, Publishing Perspectives.

10 Strangest Books Ever Published

The Times (Dec. 9, 2009) has an interesting article on the 10 strangest books ever published. Titles include: "The English- Are They Human", "Toilet Paper Origami", "Paint it Black: A Guide to Gothic Homemaking" and "Jewish Chess Masters on Stamps."

Read more about it:


Book It

Too many books, not enough profits. That is the lament of many publishers these days. Plus, there's the fear and loathing engendered by e-books. So, what is the state of the book industry and what can we expect in the coming years? Brooke takes a look at the present and future of books. You can download MP3 here.

What it will mean when the ebook comes first

Blog entry by Mike Shatzkin a publishing industry consultant:

The “ebook tipping point” has recently been a frequent subject of discussion for me. I started out thinking about the business implications and that’s the main focus of the panel discussion on the subject at Digital Book World.

As I mentioned briefly in my last post, I have lately been turning my thinking to a huge shift I think might just be around the corner: that editors and authors will have to start thinking “ebook first”. When we get to that point, it will cause huge upheaval. And personnel changes.

Full blog post here.

U.S. Pop-Up Book Entrepreneur Has Died

The man behind the modern pop-up book, Waldo "Wally" Hunt, has died at age 88. Hunt, a Los Angeles advertising executive, sold his company and traveled to New York, where he became disenchanted. He was charmed by a pop-up book imported from Czechoslovakia. "I knew I'd found the magic key," he told the L.A. Times in 2002. "No one was doing pop-ups in this country." Hunt's first pop-up company was so successful that Hallmark purchased it. Then Hunt returned west and started another company -- making pop-up books, of course.

Check out this LA Times blog, and particularly the wonderful video of "ABC3D," a design favorite of 2008--wonderful book (maybe not the best for libraries, but a unique book for sure).


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