Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of Publishing Perspectives 2010: Digital

This year, we saw a number of changes related to technology that altered the way we think about and approach the business of publishing.

Read the article

The 20 Smartest People Of 2010

by The Daily Beast Info
Whose minds shined brightest, with the most impact, in the past year? The Daily Beast, aided by a panel of two-dozen MacArthur “genius” fellows, unveils the 20 smartest people of 2010.

The past 12 months were defined by recovery. Unemployment and foreclosures remain high, yet the world economy is tentatively stable. The Gulf of Mexico is still cleaning up after the disastrous BP oil spill, Haitians fought tragedy after tragedy after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the island nation, and a group of 33 Chilean miners survived for 69 days more than a mile underground in a space the size of a Manhattan apartment. Conan O’Brien bounced back on TBS after being booted from NBC, quarterback Michael Vick regained a sliver of good grace with his MVP-caliber play for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Tiger Woods returned to the links, albeit with mixed results.

See who made their list here.

Photo above - Christopher Hitchens from the Media Bistro photo gallery.

Kindle Books Can Now Be Loaned

By Jason Boog on Galley Cat, December 30, 2010

Check it out here.

Book people prominent in NZ New Year's Honours List

A Dame, a Knight and other gongs too

Author of almost 100 cookery books published over the past 49 years Alison Holst has been made a Dame Companion while author James McNeish has been made a Knight Companion.

Other people from the book world  receiving honours include:

Christine Fernyhough, author & co-founder of Duffy Books in Homes
                               Dr.Keith Maslen for services to literature & bibliography
                               Alexa Johnston, author, curator
                               Wayne Mills, author,educator,inventor Kids Lit Quiz
                               Graham Stewart, author & Publisher
                               Penny Hansen for services to literature & the community

The Bookman extends his warmest congratulations. Great news.

The full list at NZ Herald.

PS . A couple of others with books published this year are Ray Avery and Peter Bush

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Larsson Sells 115,000 eBooks On Christmas and Day After

After Amazon reported that THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was their biggest-selling ebook on December 25 and most-gifted holiday ebook, Random House has said that on December 25 and 26, they sold 115,000 units of Stieg Larsson ebooks across the entire Millennium Trilogy. The company indicated their total ebook sales for that two-day holiday period "rose more than 300% over last year's sales" (measured in units) setting a new two-day record. (Some executives expressed disappointment to us that early statistics for Christmas Day ebook sales weren't higher still, since ebook sales have been running about three times last year's sales throughout the year. But we don't have a lot of data, yet.) Random also noted seeing "for the first time...a significant sales increase for children's picture books available in ebook format."

Larsson's DRAGON TATTOO also topped Kobo's holiday bestseller lists in the US, the UK, Australia, and the rest of the world, coming in at No. 2 on their Canadian list (behind his THE GIRL WITH THE HORNET'S NEST).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Publishing predictions for 2011 from Smashwords Founder

By Jeff Rivera on Galley Cat, December 28, 2010

If 2010 was the year eBooks went mainstream, 2011 will be the year indie eBook authors go mainstream.

According to Smashwords founder Mark Coker, indie eBook authors are becoming more professional and sophisticated, and they’re starting to climb the best-seller charts without the assistance of a publisher. 2011 will be the first year traditional publishers feel the need to compete against the indie ebook alternative.
Here are Coker’s predictions for the new year:

1.Ebook sales rise, unit consumption surprises – Ebooks sales will approach 20% of trade book revenues on a monthly basis by the end of 2011 in the US, yet the bigger surprise is that ebooks will account for one third or more of unit consumption. Why? Ebooks cost less and early ebook adopters read more.

2. Agents write the next chapter of the ebook revolution – Agents, serving the economic best interests of the best-selling authors, will bring new credibility to self publishing by encouraging authors to proactively bypass publishers and work directly with ebook distribution platforms. Agents will use these publishing platforms for negotiating leverage against large publishers. The conversation will go something like this: “You’re offering my author only 15-20% list on ebooks when I can get them 60-70% list working direct with an ebook distributor like Smashwords or a retailer like Amazon?”

3. More big authors reluctant to part with digital rights – Indie ebook publishing offers compelling advantages to the author. The economics are better (see #2) and the publishing cycle times are faster (an ebook manuscript can be uploaded today and achieve worldwide distribution in minutes or days, not years). Ebooks also offer greater publishing flexibility (shorts, full length, bundles, free books), and the opportunity to reach more readers with lower cost (yet still higher-profit) books. The advantages will entice more professional authors to self-publish some or all of their future catalog, and all of their reverted-rights catalog.

4. Self Publishing goes from option of last resort to option of first resort among unpublished authors – Most unpublished authors today still aspire to achieve the perceived credibility and blessing that comes with a professional book deal. Yet the cachet of traditional publishing is fading fast. Authors with finished manuscripts will grow impatient and resentful as they wait to be discovered by big publishers otherwise preoccupied with publishing celebrity drivel from Snooki, Justin Bieber and the Kardashians. Meanwhile, the break-out success of multiple indie author stars will grab headlines in 2011, forcing many unpublished authors off the sidelines. As unpublished authors bypass the slush pile, publishers lose first dibs on tomorrow’s future stars.

5. Big 6 publishers increase ebook royalties – They will have little choice. See #2 and #3. But don’t count big publishers out of the game. To the extent publishers can provide high value publishing services that authors cannot or will not fulfill on their own, smart publishers will continue to thrive. Not all authors want to be publishers, and most book sales are still in print, a format that is dominated by traditional publishers since they control access to brick and mortar stores.

6. Ebook prices to fall – It’s all about supply and demand. Demand is surging, but supply will overwhelm demand. Average ebook prices will decline, despite attempts by Agency 5 publishers to hold the line. The drop will be fueled by the oversupply of books, abundance of low-cost or free non-book content, influx of ultra-price-sensitive readers who read free first, fierce competition for readership, and digitization of reverted-rights and out-of-print books. Indie authors, since they earn 60-70% retail price, can compete at price points big publishers can’t touch.

7. The customer is king- Readers will decide which books become hits, not publishers. Marketing dollars will become less effective. Reader word-of-mouth, catalyzed by social media, will reign supreme as the single most important driver of book sales. Publishers begin to learn their “customer” is the reader, not their distributor or retailer.

8. International ebook market explodes, causing publishers to rethink territory rights restrictions – The proliferation of affordable, high-quality dedicated ereading devices, smart phones and ereading apps, and the international expansion of big US-based ebook retailers into green field markets, will power significant revenue for US authors, publishers and retailers. Large publishers will miss some of this growth due to self-inflicted territory rights restrictions, whereas indie authors and small publishers won’t face the same limitations. Publishers begin to realize geographic territory rights hinder ebook sales by limiting distribution, and will instead look to carve rights (or hold on them) language by language.

9. Discoverability becomes HOT – Amid glut of content, discovery will become the new obsession of publishing. Publishers of all sizes will begin to realize obscurity is the biggest threat facing their business. Solution: maximize availability of product, leverage metadata, create books that resonate with readers, enlist fans as extension of sales force.

10. Big 6 publishers refuse to abandon DRM, Continue to Mistrust Customers – More evidence will emerge that DRM -free lowers publisher expenses, increases customer satisfaction and sells more books, yet none of the major commercial publishers will fully abandon DRM in 2011, even though most of the major ebook retailers now support DRM-free. New research will reveal piracy is not the great boogeyman publishers believe it to be, yet publishers will continue to run scared. Please, my publisher friends, prove me wrong!

Creator of 'best website in world' dies

Author, contrarian academic and web entrepreneur Denis Dutton died yesterday, aged 66.
New Zealand Herald, Wednesday Dec 29, 2010

The professor of philosophy at Canterbury University had been diagnosed with prostate cancer but continued working until his health deteriorated quickly a week ago, his son, Ben,said.
Professor Dutton was due to retire early next year.

"I think that he has been an incredibly passionate advocate for ideas and truth and a wonderful father and husband," his son said.

Born in California on February 9, 1944, Professor Dutton was educated at the University of California Santa Barbara and joined the University of Canterbury staff in 1984.

He gained a significant public profile for the Arts and Letters Daily website he established in 1998, which was sold to the United States-based Chronicle of Higher Education in 1999.
Professor Dutton continued as editor of what some dubbed "the best website in the world".

His recent work focused on Darwinian applications in aesthetics, which he explored in his bestselling book The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution.

He is survived by his wife, Margit, and two children, Sonia and Ben.

The Bookman was very sad to read of Denis Dutton's death in the NZ Herald today. I was an occasional correspondent with Denis and greatly admired his intellect, and of course his establishment of Arts & Letters Daily which I visit daily.
I extend my condolences to his wife and family.

Those Franklin Road Christmas Lights

Cultural Curmudgeon Hamish Keith lives on Franklin Road and his Christmas-light-decorated home is one of those those that have made the street famous. Here is what he has to say on the subject, (from his blog).

December 1st is a date we dread at our house.
The Franklin Road Christmas lights turn on that night. They are a drag to put up and a greater drag to get the timers right. Then there is three weeks of struggling with a suburban footpath with the foot traffic of a shopping mall. A nightmare of fighting off huskers and amplified bands and this year. PlayStation who see the generosity of the householders as a marketing device and the families who see the fences put up to protect the grass verges as a jungle gym or a VIP enclosure for their benefit.

We grumble.
We mend.
We pay the bills.
We see the bands off and demand to see the hucksters vending license.
We wonder why we do it.

But the first time we hear a child squeal with delight or watch them in their PJs carried down the road on Dad's shoulders we know why we do it. The lights are a beautiful gift and we are all proud to give it.

We know why we chase off the hucksters and turn away sponsorships.
We know why we refuse competitions and why we discourage charity collectors however worthy their cause and why we don't think badly played pop covers have anything to do with Christmas and choirs do.

This is a free gift freely given.
And we will go on giving it every year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stieg Larsson Rules Kindle on Christmas

By Jason Boog on Galley Cat, December 27, 2010 3:53 PM

Amazon returned from the holiday season with another vague press release, calling the new Kindle the “bestselling product in Amazon’s history” without adding any concrete sales figures. Interestingly enough, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the most popular Kindle book given as a gift on Christmas Day.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had this statement: “We’re grateful to the millions of customers who have made the all-new Kindle the bestselling product in the history of Amazon — surpassing Harry Potter 7 … We’re seeing that many of the people who are buying Kindles also own an LCD tablet. Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions … Kindle’s $139 price point is a key factor — it’s low enough that people don’t have to choose.”

If you are looking to fill up your Kindle, follow these links to read sample chapters from the best books of the year–our literary mixtape collection: Best Novels of 2010, the Best YA Books of 2010, the Best eBooks of 2010, and the Best Nonfiction of 2010. If you are looking for larger gifts, eBookNewser has a holiday gift guide for eReaders.

WikiLeaks Assange Is Writing to Raise Funds


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims he had to sell a memoir to raise funds to defend himself, telling the Times of London, "I don't want to write this book, but I have to. I have already spent [more than $300,000] for legal costs, and I need to defend myself and keep WikiLeaks afloat." Did anyone tell him how long it was going to take collect his advance?

Assange says Knopf is paying about $800,000 and Canongate is paying him approximately $500,000. He estimates that money from serialization and other territories will add another few hundred thousand dollars, though again it's not clear if agent Caroline Michel at PFD negotiated flow-through on those funds or explained when they might arrive.

Knopf's Paul Bogaards tells the WSJ, "We are very excited to be publishing this book. The work that Assange has been doing at WikiLeaks has tremendous importance around the world." He "expects the manuscript to be delivered at some point in 2011 but doesn't yet have a timetable for publication." We should note the irony that one Random House division is proudly publishing Assange, while another of the company's groups, Crown, is issuing the book from former WikiLeaks executive Daniel Domscheit-Berg on his "disenchantment with the organization's lack of transparency as well as the concentration of power by Assange." They are "excited to publish his gripping and eye-opening account."


7 Major Ways We're Digitizing Our World, And 3 Reasons We Still Want Hardcopies
by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California on 10.11.10
Science & Technology - Tree Hugger

The digitization of our world has been a forward march for years now; still, it might be surprising to step back and look at how physical copies of our stuff have changed into something else entirely. And even more surprising might be to go beyond the debate of the level of pleasantness of reading a paperback book versus an e-book on a Kindle and look at how digitizing everything might save space and shrink the environmental footprint of everything we produce, but also put the longevity of our information at risk.

Full piece here.

Escape route

The surprising potential of a prison library
(Greg Klee/Globe Staff Photo Illustration)

By Avi Steinberg
December 26, 2010

 Every day, for the almost two years I worked as a staff librarian at the Suffolk County House of Correction at South Bay, the pattern was the same: Seconds after they were released from their units, inmates would not walk, they would run — as though catapulted — towards the prison’s library.

Many inmates, especially those in a hurry, arrived with some specific order of business. They would grab a book of case law, or they’d check out a newspaper or magazine and take a seat at the library’s long table. They might disappear into the labyrinth of bookshelves. Many would line up to speak with me. They’d pose legal questions, talk about their families and health concerns, describe their spiritual and educational quests. Time and resources were short, and the needs were urgent. The library was a site of activity, of perpetual motion.

In the public debate about our penal system, prison libraries tend to be a point of controversy. Some critics worry that tax money is misspent on coddling convicted felons. Some go further, and stoke public fear that prison libraries are giving violent convicts access to materials that will incite them. The concept of books in prison has been contentious since at least the

19th century, when prison chronicler Enoch Cobb Wines wrote that some government officials considered prison libraries to be “of doubtful influence.” There is a direct lineage from the 19th-century debate to a Connecticut politician’s recent proposed purge of state prison libraries based on the supposedly nefarious influence of certain “disgusting” novels.

The problem with the public discussion about libraries in prison is that it’s the wrong discussion. For over a century now, the debate has centered on reading — on which books should, or more often should not, be included on the prison library’s shelves; which books are “harmful” or “helpful”; whether reading is a privilege or a right. In 1867, Wines argued that a book like “Robinson Crusoe” — at the time, the only secular novel permitted in prison — served the cause of criminal rehabilitation. Others fervently disagreed.

But the issue of reading is only one dimension of the question, and not necessarily the salient one. The crucial point of a prison library may not be its book catalog: The point is that it is a library.

Read the rest at the Boston Globe.

Best of 2010: Most Popular Articles

Publishing Perspectives
Take a look back at our most popular feature articles of 2010, crowd-pleasers that reflect the changing landscape of publishing over the past year.

Read the article

In case you missed it:

The Most Radical Publishing Events of 2010 and Predictions for 2011

We at Publishing Perspectives look back on the landmark year of 2010 for publishing and the events that changed the business.

Read the article

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What's Obama Reading For Christmas?

President Barack Obama is looking to the life of Ronald Reagan for his vacation reading this Christmas. The White House announced that Obama will be reading Lou Cannon's "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime" while he vacations with his family in Hawaii. Recently, Obama was reading a history of the Clinton years by Taylor Branch. Obama arrived in Hawaii late Wednesday and will stay there through the New Year.

Read it at Fox News

Friday, December 24, 2010

I won't be posting during the long holiday weekends

Merry Christmas

Meri Kirihimete
Joyeux Noel
Buon Natale
Feliz Navidad
Happy Holidays
Happy Hanukkah

And thanks for all your visits during the year - just short of 500,000 visitors so far in 2010.

Great Weekend Reads

The Daily Beast
Three entertaining novels: an epic, wry account of Brits in the Balkans during WWII, a gripping murder mystery in a Southern town, and what Marilyn Monroe's dog, Maf, saw.

The Balkan Trilogy
By Olivia Manning

No young man dreams of growing up to be a lecturer for the British Council. But when I first stumbled across Olivia Manning's Balkan Trilogy in graduate school, I was ready to be signed up. At nearly a thousand pages, Manning's three novels are a sweeping story of marital love, English manners, and Balkan intrigues, set against Europe's descent into the Second World War. Harriet Pringle, bright and self-confident, joins her husband, Guy, in Bucharest, Romania, where he teaches English at the local university as part of a British cultural program. "Anything can happen now," Harriet thinks as her train chugs eastward, somewhere beyond Venice.

The world is both wide open and rapidly closing down in the fall and winter of 1939-1940, as refugees flood into a Balkan capital already teeming with dinner-suited nobles, penniless peasants, and a motley collection of hangers-on, ne'er-do-wells, Nazi schemers, Romanian fascists, and hounded Jews. At the English Bar in the Athenee Palace Hotel, a parade of exotics makes its way through the gin-tinged haze: Yakimov, the Irish-Russian sponger and alcoholic scion of two drinking cultures; Romanian politicians and their mistresses; and the buttoned-up men of the British legation, pursued by rumpled foreign correspondents. Outside, Romanian children offer themselves as prostitutes, while horse carts carry away the clustered bodies of dead beggars, frozen together in a vain attempt to escape the biting Balkan winds.

All this was part of Manning's own life. English by birth and Anglo-Irish by education, Manning was a painter and writer of minor distinction who, in 1939, married her own version of Guy Pringle. For the remainder of the war, she and her husband managed to keep just ahead of the Nazi armies, fleeing first to Greece and then to Palestine. Like Harriet, she knew both the thrill of adventure travel as well as the niggling dissatisfaction of confining love—the resigned devotion of a talented woman married to a man whose magnanimity and attention were usually directed elsewhere, "a husband made unreliable only by his abysmal kindness," as she wrote of Guy.

More at The Daily Beast.

E-book Readers Breed E-book Readers

Wednesday 22 Dec 2010

According to UK pollster YouGov, 15 per cent of Kindle owners have one or more extra units. For Sony's Reader, 13 per cent of owners have more than one.

The reason? Mostly - 36 per cent of cases - it's because the owner found his or her other half wouldn't stop using it, forcing the owner to acquire a new one.

The Register 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The editor of the Times Literary Supplement picks great British reads.

Weeds: How Vagabond Plants Gatecrashed Civilisation and Changed the Way We Think About Nature.
By Richard Mabey. 228 pages. Profile Books. £15.99.

 The editor of the Times Literary Supplement picks great British reads. This week: Richard Mabey explains why weeds are so important, Mario Vargas Llosa’s surprising new hero, and Ingrid Betancourt’s memoir of captivity.

In Praise of Weeds

An icy English winter, like the one that has begun this year so early, is excellent, it seems, for Danish scurvy grass, one of the subjects of Richard Mabey's wonderful new book, Weeds, reviewed in the TLS this week by David E. Cooper. Danish scurvy is a garden-invader which should normally stay out of town on cliff-tops and sea walls but, unlike related species, it is genetically equipped to benefit from the use of salt to grit our roads. Hence it is this week moving inland in pursuit of municipal lorries, part of the larger process of natural selection which, Mabey explains, has enabled weeds to prosper, not least by “gate-crashing civilization.”

Weeds have “evolved to grow in unsettled earth and damaged landscapes”–ploughed fields, say, and bombsites. By dint of this, weeds—though they presumably lack “purpose”—have “something close to a role” in the scheme of things: “to stabilise the soil” and otherwise enhance “stable plant systems.” Agriculture and horticulture would have been a “passing fancy” without the assistance of the very weeds that farmers and gardeners have ever since been cursing.

Some weeds are simply plants that we don't like or are in the wrong place. Other weeds—Japanese knotweed and dandelions, for example—really do possess features that dispose them to get into, stay in and take over the wrong places. They are typically invasive, highly adaptive, parasitic and adept at mimicking more benign plants.

Weeds can most usefully be seen, in Mabey's view, as a cultural category of plants. Japanese knotweed, for all its invasive attributes, was an ornamental plant for the Victorians. The knotweed’s problem, these days, is less that of being in the wrong place than in the “wrong culture.” Certainly, Cooper concludes, it is the “cultural profiles” of weeds, as much as their ecological ones, that attract Mabey’s reveries.

The rest at The Daily Beast.

Who the hell is Alix Bosco?

In the Summer 2011 issue of Booknotes, the exellent journal of the Book Council Greg MgGee denies he is Alix Bosco. Mmmmmmm.................

The Bookman did notice him a couple of weeks back among author guests at Penguin NZ's farewell to retiring pubishing director Geoff Walker and he can't recall anything Penguin have published by McGee. Was he there as Alix Bosco one must ask?

Forecaster says droughts should continue

Longrange forecaster Ken Ring, author of the Predict Weather Almanacs, says despite the pre-Xmas rain the drought should continue in the east of Northland through January, then shift to the west of Northland in February and all of Northland for March and April.
Greater Auckland and western BoP also get dry conditions in January as do Rotorua, Taupo and mid and S Canterbury. By February drought spreads to all of BoP, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Waikato, Central Plateau, Taranaki, parts of the lower NI, also the top of the SI to Kaikoura.
In March dryness continues in Northland and Greater Auckland, but the rest of the NI gets relief, while the SI goes dry Canterbury southwards. Rain relief in May will leave only eastern BoP and the far south still dry.

More on

Longrange peek into 2011

January and December may be cloudier than normal, but expect average sunshine in the other months. Ken Ring of PredictWeather says the news stories in 2011 will probably be tropical cyclones in the Pacific, returning after an absence, about 12 forming in all, with about half reaching and affecting parts of NZ, mainly with wind.
The drought will also fill the pages of newspapers, with speculations of relief right up to rain in May.
2011 will see winter temperatures start to ease upwards, similar to 2002 which was a warmer than normal winter for NZ. 2012-2014 are looming to be lean snow years, with snow return in 2016. 2010 may have been the last full ski season before 2016. There may be more snow for the NI in 2011 and SI skifields may not get the season they want.

More on

Angry Robot to accept unsolicited manuscripts

The Bookseller - 22.12.10 - Katie Allen

Independent publisher Angry Robot is to accept unsolicited novels for one month only next year.

The Osprey Group-owned sci fi publisher is to hold "Open Door Month" during March 2011, and is welcoming submissions from unrepresented authors.

Editor Lee Harris said, "We're delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to unpublished and unrepresented novelists. There are a lot of exciting authors out there, just waiting to be discovered, and we'd like to be able to help them kick-start their careers."

If successful, Angry Robot will consider further Open Door Months later in the year.

The Library at Pooh Corner

By Jennifer Finney Boylan, New York Times, December 21, 2010

EIGHTY-FIVE years ago this Christmas Eve, The London Evening News published a short story about a boy and a bear written by an assistant editor at Punch named A. A. Milne, thus engendering four children’s books, a slew of films and videos and a merchandising empire estimated to be worth more to the Disney Corporation than Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto combined.

It also resulted in my finding myself in tears last Christmas in the Stephen A. Schwarzman building of the New York City Public Library.

The story goes back 35 years. In the 1980s, I had a gruesome copy-editing job at E. P. Dutton, the American publishers of the “Winnie-the-Pooh” books. One of my colleagues was a crusty septuagenarian named Eliot Graham, whose title was director of publicity emeritus. Eliot was the shepherd of the original Pooh stuffed animals — Pooh, Tigger, Kanga, Piglet and Eeyore — which were kept in a glass case in the Dutton lobby on 2 Park Avenue.

He’d take them to schools and literary festivals and the sets of early morning news shows. We used to talk about the Pooh animals together, Eliot and I, as if they were members of a rock band, and Eliot their long-suffering manager.
Full piece at New York Times.

'Books For Christmas? What The Heck Is That?'

Book2Book - Wednesday 22 Dec 2010

It should serve as a cautionary tale for any parent who has decided to go down the 'learning present' route this Christmas.

Footage of a three-year-old boy losing his Christmas cheer over receiving books as a festive gift has become an internet hit.


Daily Mail

What’s the (Novelized) Story, Morning Glory?

Publishing Perpectives

Not all movies are based on books. Sometimes it works the other way around. Author Diana Peterfreund "utilized unusual writing muscles" to adapt the film Morning Glory into a book.

Read the article

Jamie Oliver Has The Christmas Number One Book

Tuesday 21 Dec 2010

Jamie Oliver's 30-Minute Meals (Penguin) is this year's Christmas number one book in the UK, according to today's book sales figures released by Nielsen BookScan.

The book outsold its nearest rival, A Simples Life: the Life and Times of Aleksandr Orlov (Random House) by the advertising world's most famous CGI meercat, by two copies to one in the last seven days. Jamie Oliver last had the Christmas number one in 2005, for Jamie's Italy (Penguin).

Waterstone's Press Release

And he does it in Ireland too (Irish PN) said to have sold 8m Kindles in 2010

The Bookseller - 22.12.10 will have sold more than 8m Kindles by the end of this year, at least 60% more than predicted. Analysts at Citigroup, Barclays Capital and others had estimated, on average, that the e-tailer would sell 5m Kindles in 2010. But, according to Bloomberg, two people who are aware of the company’s sales projections say these figure undershoot the reality.

In 2009, Amazon sold 2.4m Kindles, according to Bloomberg. The projections also show that Amazon is growing share in the e-reader market faster than predicted by analysts.

Earlier this month the e-tailer revealed it had sold "millions" of its new Kindle reader during the holiday season, beating sales figures for all of 2009.


Best books of 2010: nonfiction

In 2010 Monitor reviewers critiqued hundreds of books. Here's a list of the 28 nonfiction titles they considered the most outstanding.

True Grit 'Beautifully Adapted'

The Daily Beast

Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges in the Coen brothers’ remake of “True Grit,” the 1960s western.
Lorey Sebastian/Paramount Pictures

You may want to read True Grit before you head to theaters to see the new film. The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis writes that the Coen Brothers “have been surprisingly faithful to the tone and idiomatic tang of Mr. Portis’s novel, perhaps because its worldview suits their ironic purposes.”

Recognizing their strong material, “twisty, funny sentences have been plucked by the filmmakers right from the novel.” She also says that Hailee Steinfeld, the girl who plays the lead role, is “terrific,” while Jeff Bridges is at his scene-stealing best.

Read it at The New York Times

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ian Fleming's Casino Royale goes under hammer for £4,000 more than expected

A rare first edition of the first James Bond book, Casino Royale, has sold for £19,000 at Dominic Winter’s auction House. Ian Fleming's 1953 book, went under the hammer for £4,000 more than was expected.

A first edition of Live and Let Die, the second Bond novel, went for £6,600 while a copy of Moonraker, the third novel in the series, sold for £7,200.

Auctioneer Dominic Winter said "the strikingly colourful" Bond first editions had "always been one of the surest certainties over the last 30 years". He said: "The 007 film industry has helped that impetus by drawing in thousands of new fans keen to buy into the James Bond fantasy."

The highest price for a Bond first edition is believed to be the £22,750 paid for a signed copy of From Russia With Love sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in London in 2004. A signed first edition of Casino Royale is believed to have sold for £21,000, also at Bloomsbury, the following year.

Other items sold at last Thursday's (December 16) auction included a 1961 first edition of John le Carre's first book, Call for the Dead, which sold for £3,800 and an original edition of the ‘Superman’ comic, published in 1939, which went for £9,000.

From IBookcollector # 241.
Ibookcollector © is published by Rivendale Press Ltd.

Suzy's Coffee House

Stephen Oliver writes:

I saw your posting on Suzy’s Coffee House.
I remember it well and often went there in the late 60s. This is a photo of young writers ‘at work’ (probably on each other’s insecurities and egos) upstairs, at Suzy’s Coffee House, c. 1968. 
An 18 year old Stephen Oliver (middle) and an 18 year old Geoff Cochrane being engaged, no doubt, in some self defensive riposte, on the right. The other person to the left is a friend with more mundane concerns, quite fed up with all the literary one-upmanship & brag.
The photo was taken by one of those roving photographers you would see around Wellington during those days who would buttonhole you and present his studio card after seeking permission to take a photo or two.
We would meet upstairs at Suzy’s maybe on a Friday evening, but more likely on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to discuss our latest literary intrigues, newly discovered writers, and show each other fresh bunches of newly penned poems. Innocent days!

Photo © Stephen Oliver


Cooking for the people you love
Rachel Grisewood
Allen & Unwin - $49.99

Gosh what a gorgeous big book filled with great recipes, loads of helpful advice and wonderfully illustrated throughout by colour pics and appealing drawings. It has only just come to my notice.
Manna From Heaven is of course the name of Rachel Grisewood's Sydney-based firm renowned for its delicious cakes and biscuits.
Her book, with over 150 recipes, does include many of her most treasured cakes, sweet treats and savoury delights but it also includes main courses, desserts, snacks etc but more than that it is a great story about cooking and cakes, warmth and family, nurturing and life, messiness and love. Rachel Grisewood shares a part of her life with us and I found her story both entertaining and instructive.

I especially liked this line, I know exactly how she feels ! :
I'm not sure I could live without olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and basil.

This thumper of a book  is a real  cracker so if you are still short on Christmas gifts, (and you are of course rapidly running out of time!), then consider this one, you will make someone very happy.

Great Writers Rescue Obama

by Samuel P. Jacobs - staff reporter at The Daily Beast.
He has also written for The Boston Globe, The New York Observer, and The New Republic Online.
The media claim the president has "lost control of his narrative." So we asked Margaret Atwood, Sam Lipsyte and other fiction masters to offer tips for the president to fix his storyline.

"Presidential politics is about storytelling," Politico's John F. Harris said last year. "No one understands this better than Barack Obama and his team, who won the 2008 election in part because they were better storytellers than the opposition."

But, as the saying goes, you campaign in poetry and govern in prose, and before long, everyone wants to edit.

Take the moment this summer during the Gulf oil spill when Obama seemed upended by calamity. "He'd better seize control of the story line of his White House years," opined Maureen Dowd. "Woe-is-me is not an attractive narrative."

Click on cable television or flip to the opinion pages, and you'll discover that whenever things aren't going the president's way, it's because he has lost control of the narrative. In other words, the Obama camp is desperately in need of a re-write.

But rather than listen to the political journalists, who rate the president like National Book Award judges, we decided to ask some veteran novelists for a few hints of how to improve his plot in 2011.

Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask, said it's time for Obama to look at his earliest chapters.

"When I am writing and floundering, with no sense of where to go, I look back to the beginning of what I am working on, and ask: Where did I start? What set this all into motion? Obama could do the same with his novel, of which we are all characters," he wrote in an email.

"The answer would be, 'Oh, yeah, I promised change, I promised to fight some very righteous fights, I gave my supporters [the reason] to believe that I would be tough enough, or at least magical enough, to rout the armies of the evil Republican wizards, even though I would try to be nice first.'
Then I think he would 'find' his 'narrative,' and perhaps find the will to finally go berserk on these thugs, these goons of the oligarchy, and save the kingdom of the middle class. And people far and wide would say, 'Have you read Obama's latest? It's a great read!' He might even get on Oprah. In short, when you lose something, it's usually where you've been, not where you think you're going."
Full story at The Daily Beast.

Shop or grow, keep and eat.

The New Zealand Vegetable Book
Glenda Gourley for Horticlture New Zealand
Hyndman Publishing - $24.99

Top tips from NZ market gardeners.
A new book from Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ), gives top vegetable tips from this country’s market gardeners.

It’s a book that promises and delivers by the bunch, spelling out ways the reader can get the most out of vegetables, eat better and feel healthier.
From artichokes to yams, beetroot to sweetcorn, chilli peppers to leeks, herbs, garnishes and edible flowers – they’re all covered in this comprehensive book. For beginners and experts alike, gardeners and cooks, there’s something inside these pages to enlighten and inspire.

Eat right:
New Zealand nutritional guidelines recommend that we all eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day. The New Zealand Vegetable Book covers the wide range of vegetables available to us in NZ. It gives the nutritional benefits of each vegetable, how to prepare and ways to eat it. A delicious recipe for every vegetable plus tips on how to grow for the gardeners amongst us, make this an indispensable book! Remember eating across the rainbow of colours of vegetables available will help keep you healthy.

Fresh really is best:
Basil, beans, beetroot and eggplant all come into their own at this time of the year but broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, garlic, ginger, kumara, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, radishes, silver beet, spinach, spring onions, tomatoes… are grown here all year round.
Choosing a reputable supplier, shopping every two to three days, buying smaller quantities and storing your vegetables correctly will all help keep that quality produce fresher, and for longer. You’ll always know that you’re buying the best quality produce if you follow the guidelines in this book.

Know your julienne from your chiffonade:
The way a vegetable is chopped, diced or sliced needs to complement the style of dish it is being used for, for example a robust casserole requires larger pieces than a light consommé. The New Zealand Vegetable Book will show you how.

And here is a recipe example from the book:

Tomato couscous salad

So quick and delicious. Great with any meal – any season!

1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
5 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp light olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Soak the couscous in the water until the water is completely absorbed, about
5 minutes. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss gently. Serves 4–6.


Heather McAllister
Beatnik - $29.99

Who You Are Is What You Do is a funky and informative workbook, designed to help teenagers make good decisions when taking the sometimes scary step of entering life after school. Author Heather McAllister has drawn on her experience as a career coach to create an essential resource for schools, students and parents alike. Attractive and fun-to-use, Who You Are Is What You Do gets its readers asking the right questions about themselves.

About the author:
Heather McAllister is a philosophical counsellor specialising in life-direction guidance for teenagers and adults. While she was manager of student recruitment at the University of Auckland, she spent several years counselling and advising students regarding the transition from secondary to tertiary education. She has experience as a career consultant and has also worked in corporate recruitment.

As she says in the introduction: "Much of this book is inspired by my discussions with thousands of students around the country about their life goals and dreams."

Heather has an MA in Philosophy and is an adjunct member of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association.

Simon & Alison Holst’s tried and true recipes for chicken.

I'm not surprised that this book has been hovering around near the top of the best-seller lists since being published last month. Not only is chicken great comfort food but its versatility means it can be used in dishes for every occasion.
And with mother and son team Simon and Alison Holst’s original chicken book being out of print this new book is filling that gap. 100 Favourite ways with Chicken has all their great recipes from the original book plus  much more.

100 Favourite ways with Chicken is the team’s 26th book together, and all of their cookbooks quickly become best sellers. Recipes here include sensational soups, tasty salads, quick and easy techniques with the frypan or wok, barbecued delights, spicy treats, easy wraps, comforting casseroles, tender treats for your Slow Cooker, and roasts with all the trimmings that will please all age groups.

The Holst are two of New Zealand’s best known and most popular cooks and their cookbooks have sold more than 1,500,000 copies to date.

And I have made a couple of the dishes in their latest book which were both very well received and which the publishers (Hyndman Publishers) have agreed I can post here on the blog to give you a taste of the book which I must add is a bargain at $24.99.

Greek Barbecued Chicken

Cooked outdoors on a barbecue, or inside under a grill, this chicken is easy to prepare and cooks without fuss.
For 4 servings:

4 large or 8 small bone-in chicken pieces*
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive or other oil
1 tsp paprika, optional
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp oregano

* Choose chicken legs or quartered chickens for this recipe or thread wings or small pieces on skewers for easier turning during cooking. If necessary, break joints so pieces lie flat.

Put chicken with all the remaining ingredients in an unpunctured plastic bag. Leave to stand for 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally.

Preheat then lightly oil the barbecue grill, then arrange the chicken over a medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes per side over the grill, then transfer to the hotplate (if available) and cover with the hood, lid or a foil tent and cook for a further 8–10 minutes per side. The chicken is cooked when the juices run clear, not pink, when the flesh closest to the bone at the thickest part is pierced (or a meat thermometer inserted at the same spot reads 80°C or 180°F).

Serve hot or at room temperature with a Mediterranean or a green salad.

Tuscan-style Chicken Baked with Tomatoes & Olives

Although it does require spending a little time indoors cooking it, there is something about this dish that gives it a real taste of summer. Serve it with pasta and a simple salad in warm weather, or replace the salad with cooked vegetables when the weather is cooler.

For 4 servings:

1 Tbsp olive or other oil
6–8 chicken thighs or assorted portions
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 medium red pepper, deseeded and sliced
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes in juice
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp salt
pepper to taste
½ cup Kalamata olives
grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frypan. Fry the chicken in batches until golden brown on all sides. Remove the cooked chicken and set aside while you cook the next batch. Arrange the browned chicken skin-side up in a single layer in a large non-stick sprayed casserole dish.

Return the frypan to the heat, then stir in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the red pepper to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 2–3 minutes further, then add the next six ingredients, and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.

Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with grated Parmesan if desired, then transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 25–30 minutes.

Serve over pasta, accompanied with a salad or vegetables, some crusty bread and a glass of wine.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to Write His Memoirs

by Sarah Weinman, Daily Finance
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange cleared one legal hurdle last week when he was granted bail in the U.K. over sexual assault charges filed in Sweden. And as the embattled 39-year-old Australian hacker's lawyers fight his extradition, he'll be working on a memoir.
The book will be published in the U.S. by Knopf, a division of Random House, and in the U.K. by Edinburgh-based Canongate.

Canongate publisher Jamie Byng confirmed the news to DailyFinance by email, adding that the U.K. publisher was handling all translation rights. (A spokesperson for Knopf was on vacation and didn't return request for comment.) Caroline Michel of the U.K.-based literary agency Fraser, Peters & Dunlop brokered the English-language book deals, and both publishers expect Assange to deliver a finished manuscript by March, with plans to publish later in 2011.

Interest in Assange is at fever pitch since WikiLeaks began disseminating more than 250,000 diplomatic cables in late November. Companies such as Visa , Amazon  and PayPal have cut off the organization's ability to collect donations and existing funds, and Time magazine passed over Assange for Person of the Year, giving Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg the honor. As a result, a memoir from Assange is a logical step, since the book will have great interest for his many admirers -- and just as many detractors.

Interestingly, news of Assange's memoir first came through in Spanish, when Claudio Lopez, head of the literary division for Random House's Spanish-language division Mondadori, posted a message on Twitter Monday afternoon. That's even more ironic since rights to the memoir haven't sold yet in Spain, though that will almost certainly change -- as it likely will in other countries around the world.

Speaking of irony, what are the chances the book gets leaked before it's published?

See full article from DailyFinance:

Writers in prison: when having an opinion becomes a crime

The latest issue of Index on Censorship highlights the global plight of writers imprisoned for their views

Robert McCrum The Observer, Sunday 19 December 2010

There's an apocryphal story about Picasso, who was asked to subscribe to a fund for getting Soviet writers out of prison, but refused. They write better in prison, said Picasso. Oddly enough, in the more recent case of Jeffrey Archer, he would have been right.

Leaving aside Lord Archer and the Russians for a moment, when you come to examine Britain's library of prison books, the pickings are surprisingly slim. In the English tradition, I think there are just three manuscripts directly attributable to the clink: John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Oscar Wilde's De Profundis (and "The Ballad of Reading Gaol"), and Money in the Bank by PG Wodehouse, written during his internment in Nazi Germany.

Still, from Shakespeare to Byron, self-expression always came with some fear of reprisal, and the list of English writers whose work has been shaped, however slightly, by the prison cell includes Thomas More, Walter Raleigh, Daniel Defoe and Charles Dickens. Arguably, his father's tenure of the Marshalsea (a debtors' prison) was, as much as the celebrated "blacking factory", the novelist's defining experience.

Further afield, in the English-speaking world there were the injustices of the Raj and, later, of apartheid. From South Africa, Breyten Breytenbach's masterpiece, True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, owes everything to his imprisonment, which takes us back to Picasso's provocative contention.

But here in Britain, for the last 100 years, our literature has been unrestricted. Some homosexual writers might dispute that, but most writers have enjoyed real freedom. What's more, most British readers would say they live in a free society.

Sadly, this has not been the experience of writers, or readers, worldwide. Beyond Bars, the latest issue of Index on Censorship, a co-production with English Pen and edited by Natasha Schmidt, presents a chilling catalogue of literary repression in our time, from China's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, to Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), Faraj Sarkoohi (Iran) and the murdered Anna Politkovskaya (Russia).

A protester holds an image of jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo outside the Chinese Embassy in Oslo. He is one of many imprisoned writers. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Robert McCrum's full, thoughtful essay at The Observer.

Are paper-book-lovers in denial?

December 20, 2010 - TeleRead
by Chris Meadows
There’s another post from someone on FutureBook wondering, based on their personal experience, whether the e-book is going to “kill” the printed book. There’s nothing particularly special about this post—indeed, it’s only four paragraphs long, and most of what it says has been said before: e-publishing probably won’t end printed books, but might end cheap, mass-produced word containers in favor of printed-to-last objects d’art.

But what interests me about this is just how many of these particular posts we’ve been seeing over the last few months. They’ve always been with us, even from the days when the preferred e-book device (among those few who read e-books) was the Palm Pilot, But we’ve been seeing so many of them lately (and everyone posting them seems to think he’s stumbled upon some new and original insight) that it seems almost as if the e-book has finally become popular enough that paper-book-lovers are starting to go into denial. “E-books won’t kill printed books! They’ll make them better.”

Of course, it’s certainly possible e-books will lead to publishers concentrating on printed books as artifacts rather than just word containers. But it’s funny to see so many readers seemingly all grasping at exactly the same straw at once.

Taschen launches first app

The Bookseller - 21.12.10 - Katie Allen

Taschen is to publish its first app this week, a re-release of architectural title Yes is More.

Exclusive to the iPad, the £5.99 app will be launched on the iTunes App Store this week. The illustrated publisher appointed its first digital director Julius Wiedemann last month.

Yes is More comprises the original 400-page "archicomic", which sets out the radical agenda of Danish architectural practice Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in comic-book form. It also includes updates of building projects the Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo and the 8 House in Copenhagen, details of three new constructions, 25 videos and 360° images of BIG exhibitions.

The app will be launched at Taschen's Copenhagen store on 22nd December. It will also update with new information and projects as they develop.

The £17.99 paperback was published in December 2009, and has undergone four reprints.

"Da Vinci Code" author taking over sequel script

By Jay A. Fernandez and Borys Kit

Tue Dec 21, 2010 - Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Mega-selling mystery author Dan Brown has taken over writing duties on the film adaptation of "The Lost Symbol."

Columbia Pictures is developing the film version of Brown's most recent novel, which was published in 2009 and sold more than a million copies in its first day on shelves. In it, Brown's regular protagonist, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, gets mixed up with the Freemasons in Washington, D.C.

The 2006 adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code" and the 2009 version of "Angels & Demons" grossed $1.24 billion at the worldwide box office for Sony. But this is the first time Brown has taken on screenwriting duties. Akiva Goldsman penned Da Vinci, and co-wrote Demons with David Koepp.

Oscar-nominated "Eastern Promises" scribe Steven Knight first took a run at the "Symbol" screenplay. Although Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment is once again producing, Howard, who directed the first two Brown adaptations, has not committed to directing "Symbol." Nor has star Tom Hanks officially come on board to reprise Langdon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seresin Landfall Writers’ Residency Call for Applications

Entry criteria for the Seresin Landfall Residency have changed.

In late 2008 Seresin Estate highlighted its commitment to the arts and creative endeavour with the establishment of an annual writer’s residency with Otago University Press, publishers of Landfall. The Seresin Landfall Residency provides six weeks’ accommodation for the winner of the Residency in either Tuscany or Marlborough, with timing and location to be agreed with Seresin.

Previous winners have been CK Stead and Wystan Curnow. To celebrate the establishment of the award, Jenah Shaw also received a residency in 2009 as a young emerging writer.

Michael Seresin and Otago University Press have been keen that the Residency should maintain the nurturing role of Landfall for writers and new work. To that end, application criteria have now been changed for the 2011 Residency. The Residency will be open to entries from early to mid-career New Zealand writers, aged twenty-one or over, working in any genre, who have previously published at least one book. Landfall publisher Wendy Harrex says ‘We are looking for people who need time out to finish work which will advance their careers as writers.’

The Residency is the result of Michael Seresin’s desire to support the work of Landfall magazine – his father was an early subscriber to Landfall and Michael has continued the subscription – and the literary arts in New Zealand. ‘I wanted to provide a place where writers feel comfortable and can write. We are fortunate to have access to two beautiful properties, which I hope will provide some inspiration for a writer during their six-week stay.’

Writers who have held the Residency have been productive. In 2009 the inaugural winner CK Stead completed his autobiography, South West of Eden, in Tuscany, while Jenah Shaw finished her first novel. And in 2010 Wystan Curnow also spent six weeks in Tuscany, working on his forthcoming book on Colin McCahon.
Full conditions of entry can be found on Results will be announced in the May 2011 issue of Landfall.