Thursday, April 30, 2009

Penguin poaches Peter Carey to its A-list
Rosemary Sorensen April 30, 2009
Article from: The Australian

PENGUIN Australia has signed up Peter Carey, (pic left, The Times), luring Australia's most decorated writer away from his former publisher, Random House.
Carey will in November publish what Penguin is calling a "massively exciting" book, and a return to the "high energy" of his early novels.
"Without blowing our own trumpet," the publisher of Penguin's Hamish Hamilton list, Ben Ball, said yesterday, "Peter has said he can see something good happening here, and he's a huge admirer of writers like Chloe Hooper and Nam Le, who are published in the Hamish Hamilton list.
"It's not a totally exclusive list, but we're very choosey about who we publish on it. There are less than 10 authors on it (including Tim Winton and Robert Drewe), so it's hugely important for that list to have Carey added to it," Ball said.

The move to Penguin's Hamish Hamilton list will see Carey published in Australia months before the new novel is released in the US and Britain.
"That is not hugely calculated," Ball said, "but we do see it as an opportunity to publish our most garlanded writer here first."
Ball said the new novel, set in the US in the 19th century, is about the birth of modern America. "A little bit of it is set in Australia," Ball said, "but all Carey's books, in some sense, are about Australia and the possibility of the new world."

Carey was launched on to the Australian literary scene when University of Queensland Press published his first book of short stories, The Fat Man in History, in 1974.
UQP continued to publish Carey novels in Australia such as Jack Maggs (1997) and his 2001 Man Booker Prize-winner, True History of the Kelly Gang, even when he became an international success and the rights to his books were sold to Faber in Britain and Knopf in the US.
When Carol Davidson, who was publicity director and then publisher at UQP, became sales and international publishing director at Random House Australia in 2003, Carey went with her.
Random House Australia published My Life as a Fake in 2003, Theft in 2006, and His Illegal Self last year.
Davidson left her position with Random House last year, and returned to Brisbane.

Swedish crime wave sweeps European book charts
Led by Stieg Larsson, Sweden's crime writers dominated book charts across Europe, with more unfamiliar names tipped for crossover success
Alison Flood writing in the, Wednesday 29 April 2009

Swedish crime fiction dominated book charts across Europe last year with the late Stieg Larsson joined by fellow novelists including Henning Mankell, Liza Marklund and Jens Lapidus in an impressive assault on the bestseller lists.
An analysis of the seven major European book markets over the past 12 months placed Larsson, author of the bestselling Millennium trilogy, firmly in pole position as the top European adult fiction author, heading charts in France, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK.
By awarding points for chart position and length of time in the charts, rather than numbers of copies sold, the analysis showed a remarkably diverse reading culture across Europe, with just 13 of the top 40 authors writing in English and 27 writing in other languages.

"It was a very big surprise," said consultant Rüdiger Wischenbart, who compiled the data from fiction bestseller lists in book trade magazines from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK, of the lack of English language bestsellers. "You would have expected it to be as high as 80%."
With Britain's Katie Price nestled below France's Nobel laureate JMG Le Clézio, and Ken Follett rubbing shoulders with Germany's Charlotte Roche, the charts reveal "a stunning landscape of probably unrivalled inner cultural diversity," said Wischenbart and his co-compiler Miha Kovac, "yet under strictly European colour", with only European language authors represented.

Swedish crime, headed up by Larsson and Mankell (10th), was the flavour of the year in Europe, and Wischenbart and Kovac predict thatthe Europe-wide success of the Mikael Blomqvist and Kurt Wallandercreators may soon be followed by Swedish fiction writers who arealready making an impact on the top 40. Liza Marklund, whosebestselling series about crime reporter Annika Bengtzon has been anumber one bestseller in all five Nordic countries, is in 12th place,while Jens Lapidus is at 17th and Jan Guillou at 15th. Johan Theorinand Asa Larsson also make the list, ahead of British authors MartinaCole and Nicci French.

Camilla Läckberg was also tipped for the top – she has yet to make the top 40 but has been launched in France by Larsson's French publisher Actes Sud, and in the UK by HarperCollins. "Actes Sud is very strongly trying to find a way to continue their Swedish success story with Camilla Läckberg," said Wischenbart. "The number of translations from Swedish is really increasing."
The authors writing in English to make the top 40 include Khaled Hosseini (2nd), Ken Follett (4th), John Boyne (7th), Cecelia Ahern(8th), Elizabeth Gilbert (9th) and Katie Price (20th).


Mata Toa: the Life and Times of Ranginui Walker
by Paul Spoonley
Kim is talking to Ranginui Walker.

The Double Rainbow: James K. Baxter, Ngati Hau and the Jerusalem
by John Newton
(Victoria University Press)
Kim is talking to John Newton.

Brick Lane
by Monica Ali
(Black Swan)

In the Kitchen
by Monica Ali

Monica Ali is a guest of the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival (13-17 May 2009). Kim is talking to her.
A great line up. Be sure to tune in to RNZ National this Saturday morning following the 8.00am news bulletin.
Former Winner Now A Judge

Two years ago Carl Nixon won the coveted BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award; this year the critically acclaimed author will be a judge in the same competition.
He joins multi-award winning writers, Dame Fiona Kidman and Kate de Goldi (pic right) on the judging panel, making a stellar line-up in this, the awards 50th anniversary.
Nixon, who will judge the award’s novice category says as a past winner he knows that success in the Katherine Mansfield competition can be an important milestone in a literary career.
"I'm delighted to be a judge in this year's BNZ Katherine Mansfield Awards. The next great New Zealand writer may be out there just waiting for the motivation that this country's pre-eminent short story contest competition gives."

The opening date for submissions is 1 May and entry forms are available on-line at or from any BNZ store.

Fiona Kidman (pic left) will judge the premier category which carries a prize of $10,000. The novice prize is worth $1,500 and Kate de Goldi who will judge the young adult category will be awarding the winning student $1,500 and the same amount for the winner’s school.
In addition to the cash prize, the premier winner joins a veritable who’s who of the New Zealand writing community. Former winners of this prize include CK Stead, Vincent O’ Sullivan, Maurice Shadbolt, Frank Sargeson, Keri Hulme and more recently, Charlotte Grimshaw.

All writers whether accomplished or just beginning are encouraged to submit stories as there are categories to suit everyone. Entries close on 30 June 2009.

BNZ head of brand and communications, Jo Kelly says the Bank is proud and excited to have sponsored the Katherine Mansfield Award for their entire 50 year history.
This year is a real celebration of the longstanding partnership we have with Katherine Mansfield and the awards - the country’s finest in short fiction - that take her name.
‘We are thrilled to have made many New Zealand writers better off by winning this award

The BNZ Katherine Mansfield Awards are New Zealand’s longest running creative writing awards. They commemorate New Zealand’s best known writer, and help New Zealand writers achieve recognition in their own country.
The Bank has sponsored the awards since their inception in 1959; Sir Harold Beauchamp, Katherine Mansfield’s father was the first BNZ Chairman of Directors, a position he held for seventeen years.
The winners of this year BNZ Katherine Mansfield awards will be announced at a ceremony convened by Miranda Harcourt at 5.30pm on Thursday 1 October in Wellington.

For further information please contact:
Penny Hartill, public relations consultant -
Noted author and University of Auckland Distinguished Professor receives top international scientific accolades

The University of Auckland s Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Maori Studies Dame Anne Salmond has been elected a foreign associate in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for her excellence in scientific research.
Membership in the NAS is the highest honour given to a scientist or engineer in the United States, with even fewer scientists around the world being elected as foreign associates. Professor Salmond will be inducted into the Academy next April during its 147th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
There are currently just over 350 foreign associate NAS members. Among the NAS's renowned members are Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright, and Alexander Graham Bell. Over 180 living Academy members have won Nobel Prizes.

Professor Salmond was also elected as a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy last year, one of just 307 such fellows. She is the only New Zealander known to have achieved this double distinction.
With her explorations of Captain James Cook and blue-water navigation, Professor Salmond is internationally recognised for broadening the horizons of how Pacific voyaging is understood. Her recent research output includes a book in press, Aphrodite's Island: The European Discovery of Tahiti; and a new book on William Bligh and the mutiny on the Bounty. She has won numerous awards for books that include Hui: A Study of Maori Ceremonial Gatherings; Amiria, Eruera: Teachings of a Maori Elder;and Two Worlds: First Meetings between Maori and Europeans. Professor Salmond s The Trial of the Cannibal Dog: Captain Cook in the South Seas (Allen Lane 2003), won the Montana Book Award in 2004; and in that same year she received the Prime Minister s Award for Literary Achievement.
Professor Salmond s pioneering research has made a major contribution to the University s national and international profile, says Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor John Morrow. Having this world-class scholar in our midst is a source of tremendous pride for the entire community and we are thrilled that Professor Salmond s work has been recognised with this rare honour.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furthering science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Established in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences has served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.

Govt to scale back National Library revamp

The Government has decided to scale back the revamp of the NationalLibrary's Wellington building but will ensure the nation's treasures areprotected by increasing storage, fixing leaks, upgrading equipment andaddressing deferred maintenance.
The revamp is to cost $52 million which will include $35 million in capitalspending and $17 million in operational spending over the next four years.
It is a significant reduction from the previously proposed redevelopmentplan, which was originally costed at $82 million ($69 million capital plus$13 million operating costs) but has since been costed at about $90 million.

The Minister Responsible for the Library, Dr Richard Worth, said that theGovernment had been forced to reconsider the previous government's decisionin light of the international recession.However, Dr Worth said the option that had been chosen would address the critical problems the Library faced. "In recognition of the economic climate, the Government has decided that thefull redevelopment option, at a total cost of about $90 million over the next four years, cannot be sustained."
Instead, the Government will support the funding of improved storage forthe National Library's heritage collection and replacement of critical plant and infrastructure at a budget of approximately $35 million in capitalspending, with operational costs of $17 million, over the next four years."
Dr Worth said doing nothing was not an option as the building was effectively full and failing equipment, substandard storage environments,and water leaks were putting the collections - valued at nearly $1 billion -at serious risk.
"This is a responsible decision which balances the need to protect ournation's treasures and taonga while taking heed of the fact that we are inthe midst of a recession."However, the Library's 95km of collections material would still need to berelocated during the revamp and the Library had assured him that care andprotection of the heritage collections would be paramount during therelocation period."The Library has already communicated with the research community on access requirements throughout the development period as a reduction in the levelof access to its collections during this time is expected. The Library will shortly confirm its general relocation details and access to collections."

Dr Worth noted that Library staff would be focused on an extensive digitisation programme while out of the building which would improve accessby all New Zealanders to the Library's collections.The scaled back project would require the design work to be revisited and afresh resource consent would be sought from Wellington City Council.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From fale to wharenui and beyond
Deidre Brown – Penguin – Harcover -$70

A landmark achievement in New Zealand history, Māori Architecture charts, for the first time, the genesis and form of indigenous buildings in Aotearoa New Zealand. It explores the vast array of Māori-designed structures and spaces — how they evolved over time, and how they tell the story of an every-changing people.

The book looks at facets of early Polynesian settlement, the influence of Christian and Western technology, the buildings of religio-political movements such as Ringatū, Parihaka and Ratana, post-war urban migration, and contemporary architecture.
Pic right - Whare Maori constructed at ratana Pa in early 1020's. Private Collection.

Deidre Brown’s absorbing, informed and sometimes controversial text is lavishly illustrated with over 130 photographs and artworks — all providing a long-overdue and fascinating survey of an important aspect of New Zealand culture and history.
Pic left-Motiti Island House, designed by Anthony Hoete, built 2001. Anthony Hoete.
Dr Deidre Brown is a Māori art and architectural historian of northern Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu and Pākehā descent. Her previous books include Tai Tokerau Whakairo Rākau: Northland Māori Wood Carving (2003, winner of the Best First Book Award, Non-Fiction at the 2004 Montana New Zealand Book Awards), Introducing Māori Art (2005), Māori Arts of the Gods (2005) and Te Puna: Māori Art from Te Tai Tokerau Northland (2007, co-edited with Ngarino Ellis).
She is currently Senior Lecturer at the School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland.
Māori Architecture is the result of a lifetime of research and teaching in this area for Dr Deidre Brown.
“The Double Rainbow: James K Baxter, Ngati Hau and the Jerusalem Commune”
John Newton
Victoria University Press - $40

This new title was launched last night at a party at the wonderful Unity Books, Wellington. This was the final stage in a “launch sequence” which began at a hui at Jerusalem over the weekend where the book was presented to the community.
The Bookman’s spy at the event reports that the Wellington shin-dig was hot, crowded, warm, welcoming, diverse, moving and perfect.
Everyone came: representatives of the Baxter whanau, Ngati Hau, Ngati Mokai, the literary community, friends and whanau.
Highlights included Lydia Wevers’ intelligent launch address, Colin Durning’s eloquent mihi, the haka and waiata performed and John’s heartfelt speech acknowledging all the support and aroha he drew on during the book’s gestation.
It was a great night, one which many rated as one of the best launches to be held in Wellington for a long time.

Lydia Wevers has kindly made her address available to The Bookman and it is reprinted here for your interest and enjoyment, I should say that my initial intention was to make some extracts from the speech and reproduce those but the address makes good reading, and is such a valuable commentary on the book that I decided to reproduce it in full even though I would not normally post something as long as this.

"In his introduction John says he was fractionally too young at fifteen to have known Baxter or been part of the commune at Jerusalem, yet it is his book which makes sense of that world to me. I wasn’t too young. I encountered Baxter first as a poet- he was the NZ poet when I came to university in 1968. I loved his richly metaphorical formalist poems, his essays and broadsheets and later Autumn Testament and the Jerusalem Sonnets. He embodied, for me and for many other people, the spirit of the age. Baxter was a frequent presence at Vic, at student meetings, round campus, at class. It was said that when he needed money he rang Frank McKay, our NZ lit lecturer and later Baxter’s biographer, and arranged to teach a class. I remember one 8am lecture when he recited an ode he’d written on the way to class which began with the petrol station at the far end of the Viaduct. Even more excitingly he borrowed my watch-I kept it for years after it stopped working because of that. Soon after he died I was marking first year exam papers, and a number of them were dedicated to Hemi- the emotions of his death marked the end of 1972 in a way that I have never forgotten.

But this book The Double Rainbow is not a book about Baxter in a biographical or personal way. John calls it a ‘work of cultural history which aspires to be a work of bicultural history’ which is his typically modest way of describing what is a really remarkable achievement. Like the story it tells, this is a book inspired by Baxter but not contained by him.

First I want to say-this is a brave book. In February 1969 Thomas Wallace was chopping firewood when ‘a bare-footed, bearded Pakeha emerged from the mist’. This is how John described Baxter’s first appearance at Jerusalem & though John is not barefoot or bearded it made me think about the courage it takes to really engage with another culture. There are very very few scholars in Aotearoa who have attempted real bicultural work. Lots of people, myself included, have discussed Maori history or literature from a Pakeha point of view. But to try to see from the other side of the river requires courage, openness, and the willingness to actually learn something hard and new. Baxter could do that, and so did some of his followers. Ngati Hau did it and so did the sisters at the convent. And now so has John. I think it's a remarkable achievement.

The second thing I want to say is what a huge amount of work has gone into this book. You can see it in the list of acknowledgements, and its contextual depth. From the ancient eel weirs of the Whanganui to what happened after Baxter died, the book provides a deep and rich slice into a particular place and what has happened there. John has journeyed the length and breadth of Aotearoa, to say nothing of the river, to talk to participants. He has spent months at Jerusalem talking to iwi and to the sisters at the convent. He has read the considerable number of books written about the river, intentional communities, the commune and Baxter- the result is a book that will take its place as a new and adventurous history and also as a cultural analysis that might tell us something about what we should do now. In a way it's a call to action. Part of what is so striking about this story of Baxter and the diverse community that surrounded him is the loving-kindness and generosity that emerged between cultures, between generations, between city and country and between the pa and the Top House. John makes the point that there were many economic and social transactions that took place-gifts of food for gifts of work- but what struck me most was the way that something happened there, suggested also by what happened at Baxter’s tangi, that briefly transcended the fears and anxieties and moral failings that keeps most people living in the circles of their own skulls. What John’s book reveals, in the voices of the people who lived in it and through his own lucid prose, is something bigger than the people who took part in it.
Before The Double Rainbow the prevailing idea, as John points out and in my own idea of it, was that Jerusalem was Baxter. There’s no doubt that Baxter was visionary and charismatic. But what his vision resulted in was the product of many people-the old ladies at the pa and the Ngati Hau leaders are crucial, as were the sisters at the convent and the remarkable and saintly Father Te Awhitu-there are too many people for me to name and anyway they are in the book. But their collective story is a very powerful one-it is touching and charming but also inspiring-the way the pa educated the influx of city pakeha in tikanga and kaupapa, so they could be part of what happened on the marae. In this book the most remarkable generosity is that of the iwi, as Baxter noted, the tuakana, the older brother, and the response of pakeha to it- open minded to a vision of an alternative world, is what we should all be doing. When I read about how the kuia would march up to the Top House with a bottle of Jeyes fluid and insist they used it, I had to scrub my house from top to bottom.

The last thing I want to say about The Double Rainbow is that this book is a joy to read. I left myself slightly too little time for it-or so I thought, panicking slightly that it was Saturday morning and I hadn’t started. I needn’t have worried. I know John’s writing- it has flow and light. He sweeps you along. I had time to start on something else by Sunday. But at the same time I felt enlightened and excited by John’s lucid prose and even more importantly, his sense of conviction-this is a book with a commitment to what it describes. And it made me go and reread Baxter.
So I thought, even though this book is a bicultural social history, an ethnography, a work of fact and not a ‘book about Baxter’, I’d give Hemi the last word
This is from Sestina of the River Road, one of his last poems from 1972

I want to go up the river road
Even by starlight or moonlight
Or no light at all, past the Parakino bridge
Past Atene where the tarseal ends
Past Koroniti where the cattle run in a paddock
Past Operiki, the pa that was never taken,

Past Matahiwi, Ranana, till the last step is taken
And I can lie down at the end of the road
Like an old horse in his own paddock
Among the tribe of Te Hau. Then my heart will be light
To be in the place where the hard road ends
And my soul can walk the rainbow bridge
That binds earth to sky. In his cave below the bridge
Where big eels can be taken
With the hinaki, and the ends
Of willow branches trail from the edge of the road
Onto the water, the dark one rises to the light,
The taniwha who guards the tribal paddock
And saves men from drowning.

Like Lydia I am from the generation of New Zealander’s that was captivated by Baxter and his poetry and I remember so well in my Napier bookselling days selling the three slender volumes, Jerusalem Sonnets, Jerusalem Daybook, and Autumn Testament by the truckload, all published by Price Milburn I seem to recall.
I am only halfway through The Double Rainbow but am finding it fascinating, it certainly superbly recalls an important piece of our social history. Great selection too of black & white photographs.

There were plenty of literary heavyweights in evidence at the launch of Charlotte Grimshaw’s SINGULARITY at the ever-popular Unity Books in Auckland's High Street Tuesday night, and some very erudite, warm and witty words cast forth during the speeches.

Harriet Allen, Charlotte’s editor at Random House started proceedings by pointing out that two years ago this Friday Opportunity had been launched. She suggested it was rather apt that this is nearly the same day, but not quite, because it’s this sort of oblique similarity and this sort of subtle difference that characterises both books and their links to each other.
She suggested that these ‘almost novels’, ‘almost short-story collections’ are oxymoronic exemplars, they’re disparately cohesive, unified fragments, working together and apart both within each volume and between each volume.
That they focus on the singular in being single stories about single, separate individuals, who are alone and distinctive, but also they focus on connections, the singularity of space-time, an infinitely dense combination of matter, the point where the Big Bang began and the point in a black hole where all matter will flow.
She reminded us that Opportunity was short listed for the highly prestigious Frank O’Connor Short Story Award and won the Montana Medal for Fiction and Poetry in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. It was very widely and favourably reviewed and has continued to sell.
Harriet wondered aloud if Charlotte could possibly do better than that? Then she went on to say that this collection, which is also being published by Jonathan Cape in the UK, is even better. There’s more emotional depth and variety of setting, as though Charlotte’s letting the stories pull further apart while showing just how tightly linked they still are.
Harriet concluded her words by saying what a beautifully written book SINGULARITY is. In fact, she modestly suggested hat Charlotte is so skilled in her choice of each word, that she had left the editor feeling utterly redundant.

Then Steve Braunias entertained us in his own unique manner speaking off the cuff but so brilliantly you’d have sworn he’d just come down the hill from the English Dept of AU!
He talked about Charlotte’s forensic intelligence (and how she brings that to bear upon the page); how she’s combined the novel and the short story to create her own new fictional form.

Unity Books was pleasantly crowded on a balmy Auckland Auckland evening with more than 60 or so folk hanging out, enjoying conversation, drinking wine and, more to the point, talking about and buying books. Unity’s Caro seemed thrilled with the 35 copies of Singularity they sold and has asked Charlotte to go back and sign more stock.
As I wrote last week I reckon Singularity even outshines the Montana-winning, Opportunity.
Ursula K Le Guin wins sixth Nebula award
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America declares young adult book, Powers, novel of the year
Alison Flood writing in the, Tuesday 28 April 2009

Ursula K Le Guin in 1985. Photograph: Unknown/© Bettmann/Corbis

Ursula K Le Guin has added a sixth Nebula award to her trophy cabinet after winning the best novel prize at this weekend's awards ceremony.
Le Guin picked up the award for her young adult novel Powers, the third in her Annals of the Western Shore saga which follows the adventures of a runaway young slave with amazing powers of memory. She beat a shortlist that also included Terry Pratchett for Making Money, Cory Doctorow for Little Brother and Ian McDonald for Brasyl.

Already the recipient of five Nebula awards, as well as five Hugos, a National Book Award and a Grand Master award, Le Guin, 79, is the author of 22 novels, more than 100 short stories, seven books of poetry and 12 books for children.
The Nebulas are voted for by the 1,500-plus author members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and together with the Hugos are seen as the most important of the American science fiction awards.

The first ever Nebula was won by Frank Herbert's Dune in 1965; other past winners include Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Ringworld by Larry Niven and The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov. Last year's award was won by Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union.
This year's prize ceremony also saw Stainless Steel Rat creator Harry Harrison honoured as a Grand Master for a career that spans more than 50 years and 62 novels. On learning of his win last year, Harrison said he could "recall with a tear in one rheumy eye" the moment when the SFWA was first mooted, more than half a century ago. "Enough! Let's look to the future not the past as we go from strength to strength and march – banners flapping – into the SF future," he said.
The Ray Bradbury award for outstanding dramatic presentation went to Joss Whedon, creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly television series. "Future is my business because I write fictionalised scientifics, or as the kids call it now, fi-sci," said Whedon in a video acceptance speech sent to the ceremony. "There is no bigger influence on my writing than Ray Bradbury – he is the forefather of us in so many ways. Nobody made fi-sci more human, more exciting ... It's stayed with me my whole life even before Stephen King, Frank Herbert and so many people I admire – Bradbury was the first."
The best novella Nebula went to Catherine Asaro's The Spacetime Pool, the best novelette to John Kessel's Pride and Prometheus and the best short story prize to Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Trophy Wives.
Book publisher Gail Rebuck: Businesswoman of the Year

Gail Rebuck, chief executive of Random House UK, has just swept into the room after dozens of photoshoots.
By Rowena Mason in The Telegraph, 28 Apr 2009

Gail Rebuck,(pic left), the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year.

"I wonder if they'd have made men stand around holding yellow umbrellas to have their picture taken," she muses good-naturedly. The new winner of the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year is at once disarmingly charming and clearly not a woman to be bossed about. Having ignored a direction to avoid wearing black, she is suited in a charcoal dress, brightened up by a floral jacket.

Ms Rebuck was last nominated for the prestigious award just after she took over at the helm of the UK's largest book publisher during the peak of the downturn in 1991. So how have things changed since then? "This time books are absolutely at the sharp end of the recession," she says. "In the old days, we were last in and last out."
Books are not dependent on advertising and have always been a cheap form of stay-at-home entertainment, she explains. The failure of Woolworths, which owned the UK's main book distributor, was the first thing to threaten the resilience of the industry.

"All our books were stuck in warehouses just before Christmas and those on the shelves we hadn't actually been paid for," she says. "That was a wake-up call. Even now credit insurance is being withdrawn. It's a shock to the industry but there are ways of dealing with it."
She will not put an exact cost of the disaster, admitting only that it was "extremely expensive" for the company, especially as sales are down 2-3pc this quarter. But Ms Rebuck hopes that a strong list of autumn releases, including Dan Brown's new title, will pull the company owned by German media giant Bertelsmann back into growth in the second half.

The publisher of Alistair Campbell and Tony Blair's memoirs is impeccably connected – married to Labour pollster Lord Gould, a guest at Elisabeth Murdoch's 40th birthday and the mother of 22-year-old Georgia Gould, who become embattled in a bitter battle for the safe Labour seat of Erith and Thamesmead in south east London.
Ms Rebuck does not want to talk about this controversy, but does speak out about the importance of the Veuve Clicquot Award in encouraging women to achieve more highly at a time when just 19pc of politicians and 11pc of company directors are female.

After 17 years leading Random House, with no sign of retirement over the horizon, Ms Rebuck is one of the longest-standing executives in the media sector. But the past few years have brought mixed fortunes. Last year, its authors won all three UK major awards from the Booker to the Orange. But the global publishing giant saw profits drop 21pc to €137m (£122m) last year and announced plans to let go 5pc of its staff.
Ms Rebuck believes that the publishing industry is about to be transformed by "a new curve – the emergence of our digital future".
"Look at my Sony Reader," she enthuses, leaping up to extract the device, bookmarked on a new novel that has "transfixed" her on a flight back from Barcelona. Digital books have now become so integral her world that she reads all manuscripts on her reader.
Read the full report at The Telegraph online.
Justice Dept. Opens Antitrust Inquiry Into Google Books Deal
By MIGUEL HELFT in The New York Times, April 28, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — The Justice Department has begun an inquiry into the antitrust implications of Google’s settlement with authors and publishers over its Google Book Search service, two people briefed on the matter said Tuesday.

Lawyers for the Justice Department have been in conversations in recent weeks with various groups opposed to the settlement, including the Internet Archive and Consumer Watchdog. More recently, Justice Department lawyers notified the parties to the settlement, including Google, and representatives for the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild, that they were looking into various antitrust issues related to the far-reaching agreement.
The inquiry does not necessarily mean that the department will oppose the settlement, which is subject to a court review. But it suggests that some of the concerns raised by critics, who say the settlement would unfairly give Google an exclusive license to profit from millions of books, have resonated with the Justice Department.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department was not immediately available to comment. A spokesman for Google declined to comment. Representatives for the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild could not immediately be reached.

The settlement agreement stems from a class action filed in 2005 by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers against Google. The suit claimed that Google’s practice of scanning copyrighted books from libraries for use in its Book Search service was a violation of copyrights.
The settlement, announced in October, gives Google the right to display the books online and to profit from them by selling access to individual texts and selling subscriptions to its entire collection to libraries and other institutions. Revenue would be shared among Google, authors and publishers.
But critics say that Google alone would have a license that covers millions of so-called orphan books, whose authors cannot be found or whose rights holders are unknown. Some librarians fear that with no competition, Google will be free to raise prices for access to the collection.
The rest of the story at NYT.
Another comment re Dymocks closure of NZ head office.

Weekly Book Newsletter of Australian Bookseller + Publisher today...

Dymocks has closed its New Zealand head office, resulting in the redundancies of general manager Andrew Howard and retail business manager Doris Mousdale.

At the end of the day I'm doing this for the efficiencies of the business,' Dymocks CEO Don Grover told WBN. 'We're absolutely committed to our New Zealand market but don't find that a very small office in New Zealand is an efficient way [to run the business] and doing this, like a number of publishers have done, allows us to leverage the abilities we have with Australian management.'
Office manager Loretta Ruissen will stay on in the New Zealand office during a short ‘transitional period', during which ‘accountability for all strategic and operational activities' will be transferred to the Dymocks team based in Australia.
We thank Andrew and Doris for their contribution to Dymocks New Zealand and wish them every success for the future,' said Grover in a statement.

Grover, who spoke to WBN from New Zealand said the closure of the New Zealand head office did not represent a withdrawal from the market and added that the chain would be opening a new New Zealand store in Ponsonby in May.


Dymocks has announced today an important restructure of its operations in New Zealand to capitalise on the opportunities evident in the New Zealand bookselling market.

Accountability for all strategic and operational activities will be managed by the experienced Dymocks Team based in Australia. As an outcome the New Zealand Head Office will close and Andrew Howard and Doris Mousdale will no longer be employed by Dymocks. We thank Andrew & Doris for their contribution to Dymocks New Zealand and wish them every success for the future.

During this transition, enquiries should be directed to Loretta on (09) 913 4553 or

We are also delighted to announce the opening of our newest Dymocks store at Ponsonby opening in May.

Our team look forward to working with you to grow this important bookselling brand in New Zealand.

Yours sincerely
Don Grover
Dymocks Group of Companies


1.It is disappointing that I received this formal announcement only after pursuing Dymocks Australia by e-mail requesting information following the rumours that have been swirling around the NZ book trade these apst two days.

2. A course in basic PR might not go amiss for Don Grover and his senior Australian-based team.

3. The claim that they are restructuring for growth by closing their NZ administration defies belief. Who do they think they are fooling? Only themselves I suggest.
If they can do a better job from across the Tasman than they can by a team on the ground here
then I for one will be very very surprised. How can they possibly be as "in touch" as locally-based staff would be. The fact that they didn't advise Beattie's Book Blog of this major move when the blog is read daily by over 1000 people in the NZ book trade, and almost as many again offshore, suggests that they will have to keep their ears much closer to the ground than has been the case so far.

4.Finally, didn't Dymocks try this sort of structure once before?


My old friend, former bookseller, veteran Internet commentator and consultant, Paul Reynolds has really got his toga in a twist this morning, and I can't say I blame him.

Go over to his excellent blog, People Points, and see what it is that is bugging him.We should all be concerned.

I'd like to clear up some misapprehensions about the new modes of delivering books: both print kiosks and eBooks. This is, in part,
illustrated by the woman, Mary Cade, reported in your blog item as saying "It can takes years to get a book published but now I can get a copy printed straight away."

Misapprehension 1: that there is any logical connection between
printing and publishing.
Mary Cade uses the terms interchangeably. The print kiosk is just a
while-you-wait version of Print on Demand which has been around for
19 years. However, a book printed by the author via Print on Deand,
as distinct from those offered through the kiosks, is not "published"
It has never been selected as worthy of investment; it has not been
professionally edited; it has not been professionally designed and
produced; and it has not been offered for sale to a wide audience.

Misapprehension 2: that the availability of print kiosks will benefit
the author who wants to publish themselves.
The titles on the print kiosk list didn't get there by accident.
Someone had to acquire them from authors or publishers and prepare
them into the correct digital format ready for printing. And,
publishing economics being what they are, it is unlikely that the
backers of the print kiosks will want their servers clogged up with a
lot of titles of no interest to the public. So they will rely on
publishers to have pre-selected titles before they offer them via
this medium.

Misapprehension 3: that eBook technology means anyone can become a publisher. Just like printing, eBook technology in its many forms is simply a
delivery mechanism for books. Just as anyone can have an unedited or
poorly edited, poorly designed book printed for a price, so too can
anyone have a digital version made. But without the functions of a
publisher (Selection, investment, editorial and production skills and
marketing capability) it will simply be invisible to its intended

Misapprehension 4: that lovely people in the book industry are going
to give away their market space and knowledge because they are so
You name it - LuLu, Lightening Source, Book Surge and the local
equivalents - their goal is not to sell authors' books half as much
as to charge authors to make them. When aspiring authors consider the
various options they should not talk to the clients the
"self-publishing' companies nominate. They should select some other
authors at random from the "publisher's" list and contact then
directly. There are a lot of sad, disappointed and poorer people out

Declaration of interest: My company, Pindar NZ, offers a range of
professional publishing services to private publishers. We urge
anyone contacting us to subject our proposals to the same levels of
scrutiny recommended here and will offer a complete list of all our
previous private clients on request.
G.A. PINDAR and SON (New Zealand) Ltd trading as PINDAR NZ
PHONE: + 64 9 3600790 FAX: + 64 9 3600791 DDI: + 64 9 3616893
MOBILE: +64 21 610062 MOBILE (UK) +44 750 7602330
Children's laureates choose their classics
28.04.09 Graeme Neill in The Bookseller

Just William, Stuart Little and Mary Poppins have beaten Harry Potter in being named the greatest children's books of all time.

The boy wizard was not chosen for the Laureates' Table, a new promotion at Waterstone's that is part of the 10th anniversary of the Children's Laureate. Children's laureates Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen each selected seven books but have favoured the classics over the modern era. Only five of the 35 books selected were published during the last 20 years.
Sarah Clarke, Waterstone’s children’s buying manager, said: "I’m sure it will be a surprise to many that the list does not include more recent bestsellers like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. But it’s great to see the Laureates choosing some timeless greats like The Railway Children and Just So Stories and introducing them to a new generation of readers – that’s what the laureates are all about’."

The 1930s was seen as the classic decade for children's fiction, with seven titles, including Sword in the Stone by T.H. White, Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild and P.L. Travers’s Mary Poppins making the cut.

Jacqueline Wilson said of Mary Poppins: "I would love to be Mary Poppins, admired by everyone, totally in control, never turning a hair even when flying through the air with her carpet bag and parrot-headed umbrella."

The most popular authors with two picks each are E. Nesbit for Five Children and It (chosen by Blake) and The Railway Children (chosen by Wilson), and Robert Louis Stevenson for A Child’s Garden of Verses (chosen by Fine), and Treasure Island (chosen by Morpurgo).

Morpurgo said of Treasure Island: "This was the first proper book I read for myself. Jim Hawkins was the first character in a book I identified with totally. I was Jim Hawkins. I lived Treasure Island as I read it. And I loved it. Still do. Wish I’d written it!"

The Laureates' Table was inspired by Waterstone's Writer's Table, where authors such as Sebastian Faulks and Nick Hornby selected the titles that influenced their work.
The Laureates' Table will be on display at selected Waterstone's stores and at until June 3rd, with handwritten thoughts explaining the choices accompanying each book.

The full list of titles on The Laureates’ Table is as follows:

Chosen by Quentin Blake:
1. Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain by Edward Ardizzone (published 1936)
2. Queenie the Bantam by Bob Graham (1997)
3. The Box of Delights by John Masefield (1935)
4. Rose Blanche by Ian McEwan and Roberto Innocenti (1985)
5. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (1902)
6. Snow White by Josephine Poole (1991)
7. Stuart Little by E.B. White (1945)

Chosen by Anne Fine:
8. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (1963)
9. Absolute Zero by Helen Cresswell (1978)
10. Just William by Richmal Crompton (1922)
11. Journey to the River Sea by Iva Ibbotson (2001)
12. Lavender’s Blue by Kathleen Lines (1954)
13. A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (1885)
14. Sword in the Stone by T.H. White (1938)

Chosen by Michael Morpurgo:
15. Five Go to Smuggler’s Top by Enid Blyton (1945)
16. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton (1939)
17. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (1838)
18. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (1902)
19. A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear (1846)
20. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)
21. The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde (1888)

Chosen by Jacqueline Wilson:
22. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868-9)
23. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)
24. What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge (1872)
25. The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett (1937)
26. The Railway Children by E. Nesbit (1906)
27. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (1936)
28. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (1934)

Chosen by Michael Rosen:
29. Clown by Quentin Blake (1995)
30. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (1947)
31. Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner (1928)
32. Not Now, Bernard by David McKee (1980)
33. Fairy Tales by Terry Jones (1981)
34. Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear by Andy Stanton (2008)
35. Daz 4 Zoe by Robert Swindells (1990)

Although I have been unable to gain any official notification of Dymocks closing their NZ head office it would seem that this has in fact happened within the last few days and that the three persons on the staff have been made redundant, including veteran bookseller/book reviewer Doris Mousdale. Apparently the New Zealand operation will be managed from Australia.
More when I can get official comment.
Bigger National Library venue for Joanne Drayton ARANZ Lecture

As RSVPs soar, the National Library of N.Z. is providing a larger venue for the big RAW 09 Wellington event on May 5, the ARANZ Lecture by New Zealand biographer Joanne Drayton (below left). Dr Drayton will reveal the Lost Memories she unearthed in personal correspondence archives as she researched for her books on Kiwi “Queen of Crime” Ngaio Marsh, and outstanding women artists Frances Hodgkins, Edith Collier and Rhona Haszard.

Bookings for the early evening event, a highlight of the ARANZ Records and Archives Week (RAW09) celebration of archivists and recordkeepers, were pushing up to maximum attendance for the Archives New Zealand Training Room. The National Library stepped in with its 300-seat Auditorium theatre for the lecture by the writer who was National Library Fellow for 2007.
Joanne Drayton spent the year delving the Alexander Turnbull Library correspondence archives preparing her latest biography, Ngaio Marsh – Her Life in Crime. She found: “Oddly enough, Ngaio Marsh was a bit of a stinker at covering her tracks. She was a pyromaniac where letters were concerned. I did find some fascinating ones, though!

The archives at the National Library and the Auckland Art Gallery’s Eric McCormick library were sources for Dr Drayton’s 2005 biography, Frances Hodgkins: A Private Viewing. She remembers: “When it comes to illuminating private details in correspondence - Hodgkins' are second to none!” She adds: “Rhona Haszard's letters in the Te Papa Archives were also pretty hot!”

The NZ book world has backed the RAW09 event.
Biggest Kiwi literary Web log, Auckland-based Graham Beattie’s Book Blog, has plugged it. The Wellington City Library, Unity Books, Whitcoulls, the Millwood Gallery and other Wellington booksellers have alerted staff and customers with posters and blog notices. One Beattie’s Bookblog watcher commented: “Hodgkins fascinates me. Her art was sublime, but what did her letters reveal? Can't wait.” Christchurch novelist and crime-writer, Vanda Symon wrote to the blog: “Makes me wish I was in Welly.”

The ARANZ Wellington Branch records its thanks to the National Library of New Zealand for providing larger accommodation for this exciting ARANZ Lecture, saving the branch the embarrassment of turning attendance away.
When: Same time and date -- May 5, 2009, 5.30pm to 7.30pm.
Where: The Auditorium, National Library of N.Z., Aitken Street, Thorndon, Wellington (see map here).
Entrance fee: Gold coin to cover reception catering.

RSVP immediately or by close of business, Monday, May 4, 2009, to Mark Crookston, at

Dead People’s Music
Sarah Laing
Vintage $29.99
Guest reviewer Maggie Rainey Smith

I work in a bookshop and so I’m used to thumbing new novels to look for inspiration, and sometimes I feel saturated with good prose, but not always enticed. And, so I took down Sarah Laing’s debut novel from the shelf, Chapter 1, New York, 2003 and was immediately impressed with the clarity, assured tone and impetus within the words. I promptly purchased the book, so I could finish reading it.

The story has many layers and timeframes moving back and forth mostly between New York and Wellington (but also London and Pahiatua). The author has lived in both New York and Wellington, as a student at Victoria University and a graphic designer in Manhattan. One assumes it is this intimate experience of Manhattan as a young ‘outsider’ that informs the wit, perception and terrific observations that are rendered so well about both contemporary and last century New York.
Rebecca’s story is mirrored and juxtaposed against the story of Klara, her grandmother, a Jewish evacuee from pre-war Germany (and an orphan) who grows up in New York with her sister Esther and her Tante Dagmar, but immigrates to New Zealand in the 1950’s after meeting Owen Quinn, a Kiwi bloke at a concert in Central Park. Klara fails in her bid for a place on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra which shakes her faith in her musical talent, and so she takes up an offer of marriage from Owen and arrives in Wellington in the 1950’s. At the time she meets Owen, she is with a nice touch of irony, playing in the orchestra pit for the musical South Pacific on Broadway. Owen and Klara have one son, Frankie and the novel opens at the moment that his daughter, Rebecca arrives in New York in 2003 with her boyfriend Toby seeking her fame and fortune with the cello.
Klara is a classical performer, confined to the cultural desert that is New Zealand in the fifties, whereas her grand-daughter Rebecca wins a scholarship to London which she blows, and then ends up in New York hoping to break into the music scene with her cello in a more contemporary musical (think punk) environment. And, she is hoping to make contact with the now deceased Klara’s sister Esther, and to track down a family cello.

The novel actual starts in the middle and takes us back and forth, in and out of locations, decades and characters but very successfully and without losing momentum or pace. The plot has many permutations including the coming of age of Rebecca in Wellington in the 1990’s as a newly diagnosed diabetic, her last year at high school and the school ball. She frequents Midnight Espresso, the Vault and Bar Bodega, and wears her Morrissey concert T-shirt… “My Mother tried to wash it more, but I didn’t want Edith Sitwell’s sepia face and jewel-encrusted fingers to be eroded by the washing powder’s hungry enzymes.” She learns to live with diabetes and falls in love. Sarah Laing does sex very well (there’s quite a lot of it), and she renders the ordinary, the messy, the scary and the romantic in ways that are fresh, savvy, and tender.
I have to confess to being more engaged with Rebecca’s journey than Klara’s, and I guess it is not always easy to juggle successfully and with equal weight, two lives in different decades. I found the writing more fluid and the detail more fascinating in the contemporary episodes. But, having said that, I was enchanted with Klara as a young child in New York 1936 and in particular her relationship with Herr Weiss, the cello maker. And I enjoyed reading about her experience as a new young mother in the fifties in New Zealand, not quite fitting the expectations of the time, and preferring her career to motherhood.

But mostly I loved the contemporary London and New York scenes and the splendidly neurotic flatmate Wendy, with her Californian King bed that she was happy to sub-let. The love triangle between Rebecca, her old flame Bruno and her current beau Toby, is engaging. Sarah Laing does the ordinary stuff really well. “He’s part of me, and he’s entirely separate. Even though I know this I feel self-consciousness on his behalf. His legs are a bit skinny…. He’s not the dreamboat I visualised for myself… when we lie together I’m the slice of peach in his spoon.” And this, when Rebecca and Toby are exploring New York “The vegans sit up on bar stools, skinny legs sinkered by canvas sneakers.” (Okay more skinny legs, but these are sinkered.)
Sarah Laing has originality and clarity. When Rebecca is thinking about her grandfather who is in a rest home in nappies, she writes “When I gave him grapes, he spat the pips onto the carpet. I imagined what remained of his brain to be barnacled to the inside of his skull, leaving a clear pond in the middle.”
And I rather like this, “I plunged my hands into my blazer pocket and watched my shadow desaturate as the clouds crossed the sun.”

I highly recommend this novel. Think somewhere between Zoe Heller and Zadie Smith. It is a book that takes itself seriously while being witty and insightful, tender and scathing, smart and innocent, fast-paced and even a little bit disgusting (description of zits on a mirror) as well as delightful. It takes big subjects (Jewish war orphan, the cello, immigration, first love, sex, and a marriage proposal) and it renders them not as melodramas, but as somehow extraordinarily ordinary. The prose is utterly confident and never seems to falter. Sarah Laing has not stinted in her research around music, diabetes, and location, unless of course, along with her writing and graphic art, she is also a musician?
It’s a grand first novel, but of course, Sarah is not really a novice, as she made a pretty impressive debut with her very well received short story collection Coming Up Roses. Although the jury is still out for me about this cover. I like the floral background and the etching of the New York skyline but I feel the image of what I think is meant to be Rebecca in her grandmother’s dress is slightly overstated. I’m of two minds really, as the dress is beautiful as is the young woman and the whole thing is rather sumptuous - but I don’t like to see images of characters – I prefer to imagine them.
Guest reviewer Maggie Rainey Smith is a NZ author (About Turns, Turbulence), poet, bookseller, and book lover.
Hislop retains top spot
28.04.09 Philip Stone in The Bookseller

Victoria Hislop's The Return (Headline Review) sold 40,854 copies through Nielsen BookScan's Total Consumer Market last week and retains pole position in the Official UK Top 50 for a second week.

Kathy Reichs' Devil Bones (Arrow), jumps 17 places into second position thanks to numerous half-price offers on the high street while Jade Goody's cancer diary, Forever in My Heart (HarperCollins), secures third.

With a seven day sale of 27,593 copies, Goody's diary outsold the book in second position in the hardback non-fiction charts, James Wong's Grow Your Own Drugs (HarperCollins), by six copies to one.

This week's highest new entry in the Official UK Top 50 is the latest edition of Bill Frindall's Playfair Cricket Annual. Now in its 62nd edition, the pocket guide to county and international cricket sold 9,414 copies through the market last week and joins the chart in 20th position.

In total, £26.5m was spent through Nielsen BookScan's Total Consumer Market during the seven days to 25th April, up 1.3% week-on-week and up 0.2% on last year—a week when Patricia Cornwell's Book of the Dead (Sphere) fell just 145 copies short of a 50,000 weekly sale.
Footnote: That is Ricky Ponting on the cover of the Playfair Cricket Annual.

BA warns rights holders over Google
28.04.09 Graeme Neill reporting in The Boiokseller

The Booksellers Association has called for UK publishers to prevent Google from commercially exploiting their titles online until it is clearer how the digital market will develop. The BA has also repeated its warning that the settlement between Google and the US Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers results in Google being "handed a monopoly", with competitors "placed at a considerable disadvantage".

In a letter to The Bookseller, BA chief executive Tim Godfray, said: "This might be an agreement signed by US publishers, US authors and Google, but it will affect almost all of us in the UK book trade." Under the terms of the settlement UK publishers can claim titles already scanned in by Google, and then ask the search engine to remove access to them. Access can be restored further down the line.
The BA's letter comes after Google, the US Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers requested a two-month delay to the resolution of the Google Settlement to allow those affected "more time to consider [their] rights and options".

Some US authors have called for a four-month postponement.Godfray said that UK booksellers could be hit because downloading scanned books from Google's website would be easier than importing them from overseas. "So other booksellers may find themselves locked out. In the longer term it will also be a question of 'In the US today, in the UK tomorrow', as Google is likely to try and introduce a similar agreement in Europe."

Under the terms of the settlement, agreed between Google and the Association of American Publishers and US Authors' Guild in October, Google has agreed to pay $60 per title for 'in print' books it has already digitised with the overall bill expected to be around $45m (out of a total settlement cost to Google of $125m): but it is up to publishers, including UK presses, to make a claim.
The New York judge presiding over the settlement was due to give his ruling on 5th June, but a two-month delay could see this pushed back to mid-August.Godfray also struck out at the fact that the BA could not oppose the settlement. "We are not one of the 'classes' in the legal action. So here we have a case of three organisations in the US making decisions that will affect not only booksellers in the US, but in the UK and other parts of the world. It is difficult not to take the view that Google are being handed a monoploy and competitors will be placed at a considerable disadvantage."
Godfray continued: "If you want to see a balanced book trade, in which there are many channels to market, please consider very carefully your rights under the Google settlement. We hope you will claim your titles and turn off all display uses pending a clearer vision of how the market for digital works will develop."

The World’s Foremost Consultant on the Future of Publishing
Steve Hely · April 27th, 2009 ·


Changes are coming to the publishing industry. Big changes.
It’s not just the Kindle. There’s the iPhone. Blogs. Facebook. Twitter. Blortcejil. If your company doesn’t already have a business plan in place for how to deal with the coming rise of Blortcejil, you’re two years behind the curve. If you don’t even know what Blorcejil is, then you might as well pack up your typewriter and head off to Florida, because you’re as good as retired.

Luckily, in the confusion and chaos of the current publishing rEvolution, there are some people who are profiting. Like me. I’ve been offering my services to various terrified publishing companies. I’m a Post-Paper Evolution Consultant. My credentials are impeccable: I’m 29. I was practically raised by an original Nintendo, so I was there the first time a video game (Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest) showed a richness of characterization, lyrical language, and elegant plotting that rivaled the finest novels. I was blogging by ’02, Facebooking by ’04, bored of Facebook by ’06, thinking it was lame how thirty-five year olds got super in to Facebook in ’08. Like it or not, I’m the future.
Usually I offer my consulting services for a fee, because these days desperate publishing companies are doing what desperate publishing companies do: throwing huge amounts of dumb money at problems. But I’d like to here offer, for free, a view of things to come.

1) Money.
The economics of publishing are about to change, which means the enormous sums of money are going away. So everyone who got into to poetry, short fiction, or editing for the money, I’m afraid that’s over. No more will literary quarterlies bid each other into the sky over the latest terse, Carveresque masterpiece. No longer will small presses offer their massive signing bonuses to every newly minted MFA. I’m told New Directions is already considering canceling their “daily table” at Le Cirque. Sources also tell me Melville House is leasing their helicopter. My own publisher, Grove, has sold off both their Nantucket and Cote d’Azur properties, and is no longer offering free summer stays to their interns.

2) Readership.
The media landscape is getting a lot more crowded, and there’ll be a lot more competition for eyeballs. Remember when every single person on a plane was reading Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead? When the subway floors were strewn with used copies of Ha Jin’s War Trash, and on Saturday night at bars it seemed like everybody was arguing over which was their favorite Alice Munro story? Well, bad news: in the next few years, some people are going to prefer going on the internet to reading literary fiction.

3) The Kindle.
Electronic readers like the Kindle are going to have a huge impact. This will mostly benefit publishers of vampire erotica and books about Hitler. People enjoy both these kinds of books, and now they can read them without fear of creeping out their fellow subway riders.

4) Bookstores.
“Bookstores” – physical places where paper objects called “books” are sold – are going to seem antique as a spinning jenny by next winter. I advised one client – I can’t say who, but it was a venerable independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon – on a new business model, based around renting cubbies to strangers who met on Facebook and want to hook up.

5) Amazon.
Some publishers are panicking about the detrimental effects of They’re right to panic, in fact they should be panicking harder. But they’re panicking about the wrong thing. Within seven to nine months, you won’t need to go on the internet to purchase books. You’ll be able to browse, purchase, and return books merely by activating a chip which will be installed into every consumer’s eyelids.

6) Day to day.
ight now, most editors work like this: they get in around nine, they check their email until ten, they move papers around for an hour, then they go for a two hour lunch, after which they play red pencil for an hour and then go home again. But once the publishing industry has fully evolved, the new standard will be efficiency. Editors will rise with the sun, purchase two books by nine, update their videoblogs by eleven-thirty, consume food pellets for nine minutes, and spend their afternoon and night adapting their backlist into iPhone apps and ringtones.

BEA. Avoid the coming BookExpo. Given current conditions, I predict everyone’s true, primal nature will be exposed. BEA will turn into a bloodbath that will rival the sack of Rome. Only a few people (probably from Random House) will survive. They will do so by clawing with their fingernails through the flesh of their enemies.
This is what’s coming. Be prepared.

Visit The Rumpus website for more from Steve Hely.

Barnes & Noble Launches Audiobook Store
By Jim Milliot --reporting in Publishers Weekly, 4/27/2009

Barnes & Noble has taken another step in deepening its role in the digital marketplace, launching its Audiobook MP3 Store on Barnes &
The store will feature spokenword audiobook MP3s available for download and transfer to iPods, iPhones, MP3 players and other portable devices. The site is launching with more than 10,000 titles across all genres, priced between $10 and $20 per download.
"As the use of MP3 players, iPods, iPhones and other digital devices continues to increase, it is important for Barnes & Noble to continue to expand our audio selections," said Tom Burke, executive v-p, E-Commerce Barnes & Noble. Overdrive is managing the distribution of titles through the site.

Later this year, B&N is expected to launch an e-bookstore, following its acquisition earlier this year of Fictionwise.

Rivals not 'clearing the deck' for Brown
26.04.09 Benedicte Page
Rival publishers took a philosophical approach to Dan Brown's sudden arrival on the autumn schedule. Headline deputy m.d. Kerr McRae said the publisher would not be changing its release dates to avoid a clash with The Lost Symbol. He said: "My view is that the Dan Brown phenomenon will bring people into shops and I will sell more of my authors' books because of him."
McRae added: "The question is, will Brown dominate the bestseller lists up to Christmas? We're on for the fight. We publish Martina Cole in her usual spot in mid-October; she'll be the main competition and we'll be aiming to sell more than ever."

HarperCollins group sales director David Roche also said that he expected the Brown effect to work for other authors. "If someone has one book at the top of their Christmas list, the chances are they will buy more books." He added that fiction is less important in relation to non-fiction in the Christmas market. Roche added: "We're not sitting in emergency planning meetings to reschedule books because of Dan Brown."

At Pan Macmillan, sales director Geoff Duffield said the publisher was viewing the news as a "strategic opportunity", given that The Lost Symbol would bring a massive media focus on books. He said: "We're not clearing the decks, but it would be futile to try to put one of your fiction brand authors up against Dan Brown. We are looking at our programme, and thinking how we can make the most of it." He added: "It will be an event."

Meanwhile Random House Group communications director Maureen Corish declined to comment on whether Random would reschedule its own autumn titles now that Brown is to be released. However, Cornerstone m.d. Susan Sandon said: "We've got an amazingly strong line-up of fiction, with Robert Harris, James Patterson and John Grisham, but it all seems to work and there's no clash of the Titans."

Retailers anticipate Dan Brown bonanza
24.04.09 Benedicte Page, Graeme Neill and Victoria Gallagher­

Dan Brown's sequel to The Da Vinci Code has caused glee among retailers, with the new book rocketing up the pre-release charts, after being made available by Waterstone's and immediately with a discount of 50%.
The Lost Symbol is to be released by Transworld on 15th September. The book hit the top of Waterstone's pre-order charts within 24 hours of the news breaking. Waterstone's head of fiction, Toby Bourne, said: "The book is good news because not only is it a guaranteed bestseller, it is one of those books that will bring in people who are not regular bookshop customers."'s head of account management, Amy Worth, said: "We've already seen the title rise to number six in's Hot 100 on customer pre-orders alone, and early indications are that it could become one of the bestselling hardback books ever, even rivalling the phenomenal demand witnessed for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

According to Nielsen BookScan, Brown's books have sold 11.7m copies and racked up more than £61m in sales in the United Kingdom alone since he was first published in 2003.
Despite the six-year gap between the publication of The Da Vinci Code and its sequel, Bourne said the public would still be excited by the adventures of Langdon. He said: "The Da Vinci Code is a book that has reached such a huge audience, and people have been asking for news of the new one for years. The Lost Symbol will be one of those novels that gets people—readers, critics, booksellers—talking about books and that is always a good thing."

Sainsbury's senior adult buyer Sharon Gurney said that the book could lead to sales of other titles. She added: "Anything that raises the profile of books in people's minds is great for bookselling."
Alex Milne-White, owner of the independent Hungerford Bookshop, said that while he expected the book to be discounted, it would still be worth stocking. He said: "Not stocking it would be shooting yourself in the foot."

Amazon Acquires Stanza, an E-Book Application for the iPhone
By Brad Stone in the New York Times

Seeking to strengthen its presence on the iPhone and iPod Touch, Amazon has acquired Lexcycle, the company behind Stanza, a popular free e-book application for the iPhone, according to Lexcycle’s blog.
Stanza allows users to browse a library of around 100,000 books and periodicals for the iPhone, many of them in the ePub format — a widely accepted standard for e-books that Amazon has yet to support with its proprietary Kindle platform.

In its blog post, Lexcycle said, “We are not planning any changes in the Stanza application or user experience as a result of the acquisition. Customers will still be able to browse, buy, and read e-books from our many content partners.”

It is not clear how much Amazon is paying for the year-old company, which has offices in Austin,Tex., and Portland, Ore. But the move indicates Amazon wants to consolidate its position on mobile devices, particularly within Apple’s ecosystem, which may include a tablet computer later this year. The Lexcycle team should also help Amazon stake out ground on Google’s Android phones, the Palm Pre and Windows Mobile devices — and perhaps eventually turn to more open e-reading formats.

“It’s very early days for e-books, and we believe there is a lot of innovation ahead of us,” said Cinthia Portugal, a spokeswoman for “Lexcycle is a smart, innovative company, and we look forward to working with them to innovate on behalf of readers.”

Crime and Punishment printed in nine minutes at Britain's first 'book vending machine'
Crime and Punishment
may take the average reader several months to complete, but Britain's first "book vending machine" can print you a copy in just nine minutes.

By Matthew Moore in The Telegraph, 28 Apr 2009

A freshly-bound edition of Fyodor Dostoevsky's classic – ordered by The Daily Telegraph – (not the edition pictured left) - was one of the first tomes to drop out of the Espresso Book Machine when it opened for business for the first time yesterday.
The novel is one of more than 400,000 titles including many rare and out-of-print books that can be printed on demand at Blackwell bookshop on Charing Cross Road in central London.

Seeking to put the machine through its paces, the Telegraph ordered a warm copy of the 540-page book to compare to the published versions available on shelves.
With pages spewed out at the rate of 100 a minute, the printing itself was over in a little over five minutes.
The sheets were then shuttled into the binding section of the machine were they were pressed, covered, glued, and cut to shape in under four minutes.
And the results were impressive. The hefty work that skidded out of the chute, while slightly sticky to the touch, looked and felt like a standard edition, even down to the correct ISBN number on the back.
The paper and ink are the same quality used in larger presses, and the binding appeared flawless.
Phill Jamieson, head of marketing at Blackwell, said that the firm was uncertain how the £68,000 machine – one of only three such printers in the world – would be used during its three-month trial period.
As well as allowing readers to track down rare books, it also offers mainstream works that happen to be out of stock and can be used by unpublished writers wanting to see their words in print.
One such customer is Mary Cade, 58, a former law firm employee from Bloomsbury made redundant during the recession who is struggling to find an agent for her novel The Bermondsey Grail, which she describes as combination of "21st Century office life and druids".
Waiting patiently for her turn on the machine, she said: "I rushed here as soon as I heard. It can takes years to get a book published but now I can get a copy printed straight away."
The printing is not cheap - there is a set fee of £10 a book, plus 2p for every page - and she only wants one copy. "I shall keep it and look at it, and learn from the experience," she said.