Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why Publishers Should Blog

Joe Wikert pointed me to Booksquare's Why Publishers Should Blog.
Just as authors need to better market themselves and their books, so do publishers. While the audience for a publisher website is diverse—authors, booksellers, journalists, agents, readers, and more—talking about books on your website the same way you talk about books in your catalog simply isn’t cutting it. In printed material, you have various constraints. On the web, you have the ability to do something special: tell the world what excites you, the publisher, about a particular book.

I was partially joking when I titled this post, but realize that while blogging isn’t a necessity, the type of writing that makes good blogs so enticing is exactly the type of writing publishers can use to convey excitement and information about their books to potential customers. If “blogging” can help you throw off the corporate chains and lead to a more natural, casual, exciting discussion about your books, then call it blogging.
I'd add that what can make a publisher's blog (or any organization's blog) interesting, is to let the folks not in the industry have a peek behind the curtain—see or hear about things that are only usually seen and heard by insiders.

Penguin Design Award

See the 2008 Design Award Winners here.
The first Penguin paperbacks appeared in the summer of 1935 revolutionising the publishing industry and becoming an integral part of British culture and design history. The development of Penguin covers runs parallel to the emergence of graphic design as a profession and, under a long line of talented and creative designers, the design of Penguin books has evolved and progressed.
There's also a good post with more information at The Penguin Blog.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I finished Trauma by Patrick McGrath

Trauma is Patrick McGrath at his dark-hearted best. Read one page–one sentence–and you’ll be hooked by this elegant psychological thriller set in the gritty, pre-gentrification Manhattan of the 1970s…Trauma reminds you of how satisfying it is to be unable to put a book down–and then, when it’s over, to be sorry and relieved to enter your own comparatively unhaunted life.” —Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine

Holy moly do I love Patrick McGrath.
Other books by McGrath: Spider, Asylum, The Grotesque, Port Mungo, Martha Peake, and Dr. Haggard's Disease.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Resolution by Denise Mina

I just finished the Garnethill trilogy. I really enjoyed these books and I'm sad to be done with them. I hope she has more books available that I haven't read yet.

More new words I learned:

skean-dhu a small dirk (short dagger) which a Highlander wears in his stocking
sporran a leather purse worn in front of a kilt
skive to avoid work or responsibility
midget gems are chewy, firm sweets
smirr light rain

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another ebook fan!

Lee Gomes of the WSJ says

You can read a whole book on your BlackBerry (or your Palm Treo or your Windows Mobile phone) and you can enjoy doing so.

I know you don't believe me, so I'll say it again.

Since you carry your "smart phone" around with you all the time anyway, you might as well get the most out of it . . .

. . . I was surprised at how enjoyable I found the mobile-phone e-reading experience; you can get lost in what you're reading as much as you can with a printed page.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Book Lover Interview #2: Courtney Burkholder

I met Courtney when she was in the marketing department at the University of Nebraska Press. I don't know what her title wasshe did so many different things it was hard to tell. We quickly became friends. She is currently the Director of Book Publishing at the International Society for Technology in Education and has recently agreed to stalk Laurie Notaro for me.

What is your favorite book (or current favorite)?

Comparing different books is like comparing trees, bicycles, and basketballs. How do I compare Tug of War: Classical Versus "Modern" Dressage: Why Classical Training Works and How Incorrect Riding Negatively Affects Horses' Health with Captain Alatriste? Those are two that I've read recently and really enjoyed, for very different reasons. I'm also finally getting to the last two books in the Series of Unfortunate Events.

What is your favorite book store?
Where I'm living? Powell's, of course!

Do you have a favorite book cover?
I had the good fortune to work with Richard Eckersley for over ten years, so I would have to choose some of his covers: Break of Day, The Crab Nebula, The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with the river winding along the spines, The Governor's Daughter.

Do you have a favorite book-related website/blog/social networking service?
Will Work for Books, of course! And I like to keep up with what people are reading via Facebook.

What are you reading now?
When I'm done with Lemony Snicket, I'll probably start Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I finished There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell by Laurie Notaro

I love Laurie Notaro. I'll read anything she writes. Apparently she lives in Eugene these days. Courtney—will you please track her down and let her know that her new BFF is waiting to hear from her?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Books Waiting for Me

The new Julie Hecht novel and the new David Sedaris are both waiting for me to pick up from Steph at the University Bookstore. What am I waiting for?!

I finished Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

I'm not sure why I didn't like this more. I'm pretty sure it has more to do with me than the book. Not enough gore? graphic violence? substance abuse? Maybe.

My old boss and pal, Steph, recommended it so it's gotta be good.
On a hillside near the cozy Irish village of Glennkill, the members of the flock gather around their shepherd, George, whose body lies pinned to the ground with a spade. George has cared for the sheep, reading them a plethora of books every night. The daily exposure to literature has made them far savvier about the workings of the human mind than your average sheep. Led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill (and possibly the world), they set out to find George’s killer.
Generally speaking, any description including a "cozy Irish" anything doesn't bode well for me. But then how to explain my affection for Maeve Binchy (who pretty much personifies "cozy Irish")?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

My Kindle Experience

Well, I finally got to use an Amazon Kindle. I read a lot on my Treo using eReader, so that probably affected my experience to some degree.

Things I don't like:
  • the flash as a new page loads
  • location of next page/previous page buttons. This made it hard to hold without turning the page. Also, I kept expecting the left-hand next page button to be previous page.
  • the text was justified, resulting in bad rivers—I saw one line consisting of only three words!
  • I didn't see a way to change the font (but you can change the size)
  • no backlighting. I know most people see this as a plus, but my experience was that I seemed to have a hard time finding the right lighting to make reading on it comfortable.
  • the navigation seemed weird. I never really felt like I had a handle on the organization of it: I ended up using the home button to just go back and start from the beginning.
Things I like:
  • shopping. It's so easy to buy books/subscriptions that I could see getting myself in big trouble with this thing! In a few clicks you are at the Kindle store and once you choose a title it is sent to your Kindle in minutes (or less). With most ebooks you have to buy them online, download them your computer, and then transfer them to your ebook device.
  • the dictionary feature was very handy
  • waking up in the morning knowing that the day's NYT was already there waiting for me (and that I could reach it without getting out of bed!)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I finished In the Woods by Tana French

The striking cover first got my attention (also note how the design makes her first name look like "Jana"). Like many others who reviewed this book, I loved the first three-quarters of this book. I couldn't put it down. I thought the main characters were interesting (and fairly unique considering they were cops in a murder mystery). Unfortunately, I found the end to be cliche and unsatisfying.

This was the first book that I read on UNP's Kindle. Watch for a post on that topic soon.