News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, giveaways on this and other blogs, and other cool stuff.
Books & Ebooks in the News:
- The 2013 Hugo Award winners were announced this week. John Scalzi (currently president of the SFWA) won best novel for Redshirts, Brandon Sanderson’s The Emperor’s Soul took home the prize for best novella, and the movie The Avengers and HBO’s TV series Game of Thrones won best dramatic adaptations (long and short forms, respectively.) Mur Lafferty won the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer. You can find links to samples of the winning works at GalleyCat.
- “Kindle Program Offers Discounted eBooks for Customers Who Have Bought Print Editions”. I’ve been wanting this option for several years (and have written about it on this blog) — and finally someone listened! Kindle’s MatchBook program will let customers who purchase a print book, or who bought one in the past, buy an inexpensive e-copy of the same book. Unfortunately, publishers have to opt in title by title, so the program won’t cover all the books I’ve bought in the past. MatchBook will launch in October. (Diana Dilworth, Appnewser; Joan E. Solsman, CNET) Michael Kozlowski has a well-reasoned opinion piece on why this is a good move on Amazon’s part. (GoodeBooks)
- “Eight Years Later, the Google Books Fight Lumbers On“ (James Grimmelmann, Publishers Weekly)
- Two self-published books top Apple’s iBooks best-seller list, knocking J. K. Rowling’s psuedonymous The Cuckoo’s Calling out of the #1 slot for the first time in seven weeks. (Publishers Weekly)
- The ABA’s CEO, Oren Teicher, has written an open letter to Jeff Bezos in response to Amazon’s apparently contradictory stance on taxing online sales. Publishers Weekly‘s Judith Rosen explains the controversy.
- “Filmmakers Hit Kickstarter for Funding of Documentary on Books”. Sara Ossana and Mathew Provost have already shot half of the documentary about books and bookselling, which uses Larry McMurtry’s 2012 auction of 300,000 titles from his used bookstore. The filmmakers are seeking funding to finish the filming and do post-production. Find out more at the project’s Kickstarter campaign page. (Rachel Deahl, Publishers Weekly)
- Amazon announced the new Kindle Paperwhite. Or rather, a new edition of the Paperwhite, with improvements in contrast (via an E-Ink Pearl 2 display), better lighting, touch sensitivity, and processing speed. They’ve also added software improvements: Page Flip to let you skim and scan more easily and even skip to the end without losing your place; Smart Lookup; a Vocabulary Builder tool; better handling of footnotes; and (coming soon) Goodreads integration. (We all knew that was inevitable after Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads.) Reviews from CNET, PC Magazine, Engadget, and Gizmodo are generally positive given that there are no major hardware improvements, but no one has been allowed to play with the device for more than 20 minutes or so yet. The new Paperwhite is available for pre-order ($119 with ads, $139 without; $189/$209 for the 3G model.) Units start shipping at the end of September.
- “Why She Chose Us and Not Amazon”. Sometimes price isn’t the only consideration. Independent children’s bookseller Josie Leavitt muses on the added value offered by indie bookstores. (Publishers Weekly)
- “On Guilt and Reading” (Bella’s Bookshelves blog, 1/5/11) I stumbled across this older blog post about the guilt some readers feel about the time and/or money they spend on books. It’s something I think most of us have experienced at times.
For Writers & Bloggers:
- 30 days of writing prompts from the 30 Day Challenge Archives.
| Photo © AllyUnion, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 license
Frederick Pohl, once of science fiction’s legendary writers and editors and a winner of both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his 1978 novel Gateway, died this week, aged 93. Active to the last, he published a blog post on poverty only days before he died. There are several wonderful obituary worth reading, including those at The Guardian (David Barnett), i09 (Annalee Newitz), and The New York Times‘ very thorough tribute (Gerald Jonas).
- Agatha Christie’s estate has authorized a new Hercule Poirot novel, to be written by Sophie Hannah and published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. The book is currently scheduled for Sept. 2014. (Publishers Weekly)
- “41 Dr. Seuss Books Coming as eBooks” (Jason Book, GalleyCat)
Blogger and artist Mary Green (of the Green Paper blog)made these wonderful bookmarks from the spines of old books. Don’t worry, she uses books that are already damaged — mouse-eaten, water-damaged, missing pages, etc. I’ll be viewing yard-sale books from a whole new perspective in the future!
I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles, lists, and links for News & Notes, so please let me know if you see (or write!) anything that might be good for this feature. You can leave me a comment or send me an email — my address is on the About/Review Policy/Contact page.