Hot Off the Press

"On the Media" on NPR had this story:

In 1951, Grove Press was a tiny, almost-defunct publisher with just three titles in its catalogue. But then Barney Rosset took over and, with a few choice books, helped push America past its Puritanical roots and into the sexual revolution. Rosset, who will be honored by the National Book Foundation on November 19th, spoke with us at his home in Greenwich Village.

Listen to full story here.


KS Mission Impossible: Accomplished

After receiving her assignment, Judy Lilly put together her "Mission: Impossible" team.

It was just before Christmas 2007 when Lilly, the Kansas librarian at the Salina Public Library, 301 W. Elm, was called by Arcadia Publishing, a national publisher of regional history books. A company representative proposed a book idea, should Lilly choose to accept it: a pictorial history book of Salina's first 150 years. "Since it was Salina's sesquicentennial this year, I thought now was the right time to do it," she said.

The end result was "Salina: 1858-2008," being released today by Arcadia Publishing. The 128-page softcover book, which retails for $21.99, will be available at the library, the Smoky Hill Museum store, 211 W. Iron, Waldenbooks at the Central Mall or directly through the publisher.

Libraries and Publishing 3.0: Student Views

The Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services has published <em>Libraries and Publishing 3.0</em>, featuring research papers written by graduate students from the University of British Columbia's School of Library, Archival and Information Studies.

The Bush memoirs: Would you buy a book from this man?

Bill Clinton got a $15-million advance to write his memoir, "My Life." And he was a president who'd been impeached for an embarrassing dalliance in the Oval Office.

But publishers told the Associated Press' Hillel Italie that George W. Bush was unlikely to get anything near that kind of advance if he decided to write his own version of his tumultuous eight years in office.

For one thing, he's not known as an introspective guy given to self-criticism, seen as key to sales.

"I think any success will depend to a very large extent on [the content of] the book," said Peter Osnos, founder of PublicAffairs, which published former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan's tough take on the White House.

For another, foreign rights would be unlikely.

Full article here.

Publishers rush to get crisis books out

Marketplace on American Public Media:
As readers hunger for information about the financial crisis, publishers are hurrying to get new business books on the table. And old ones, too. Sally Herships learns that's not so easy to do.

Listen to story.


If You Win the Nobel Prize, You Might Just Get a Publishing Contract

Publishers Weekly reports that three small presses have benefitted from last month's news that French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

While David Godine, University of Nebraska Press and Curbstone Press all upped or rushed copies of their single backlist Le Clezio titles, Anne-Solange Noble, foreign rights director at Le Clezio's French publisher Gallimard, has been working feverishly to get more of the author's titles on American bookshelves. And, although there were seven Le Clezio titles which were published by Atheneum in the 1970's, bringing those books back into print has proven complicated.

At Simon & Schuster, where Atheneum (no longer an active adult imprint) is housed, a deal has just been finalized to bring Le Clezio's first book published in the US the 1965-released The Interrogation, back into print.

The title is not yet on the S&S site.

Mourning Old Media’s Decline

The print media do not have an audience problem, but a consumer problem. The Christian Science Monitor will end its daily print paper and publish a magazine.

From article: The auto industry and the print industry have essentially the same problem,” said Clay Shirky, the author of “Here Comes Everybody.” “The older customers like the older products and the new customers like the new ones.”

Full article in the NYT.


Publishers, enough with vapid hype

Let's set aside the economic sound and fury and focus on the writing rather than the noise. Since the late 1990s, when computers began to enable publishers to track book sales to the copy, the industry has been numbers-dominated, less about the aesthetics of the language than of the spreadsheet. This is problematic, say, if you're a first novelist who gets a good-sized advance and a decent publicity push but only goes on to sell 1,000 copies of your book.

Open Source Text Publisher Gets More Financing

Flat World Knowledge, a year-old company that plans to publish free open source college textbooks, has received $700,000 in new financing, bringing total investment in the startup to $1.4 million. The company has also announced a number of new appointments, including that of former Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Newcomb to its board of advisors.

Flat World co-founder Jeff Shelstad said that given the current economic climate, he was “pleased” to complete the new financing deal. A larger round of investment is expected to be completed within the next six months.

Under the Flat World model, the company will publish open source textbooks that students can download for free; it hopes to make its money by selling various options to the online text, ranging from print-on-demand print versions to audio downloads. No advertising is accepted. The texts, which are written by authors signed by Flat World, can be customized by instructors.

Full article at Publisher's Weekly



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