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First Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Awards honor best of 2013
August 25, 2013 | 11:23 am

Announced close to the end of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the first ever Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Awards have recognized "the company who has the most exciting, progressive and developmental story to tell over the previous year of their activity," with an Award to Saraband, a former book packager that has transformed itself into an independent publisher, and a Commendation to Floris Books, a house with a strong focus on children's literature, and a very individual and innovative approach to commissioning and encouraging authors and illustrators. The Saltire Society exists "to improve the quality of life in...

Is The Main Street Trading Company Scotland’s best bookshop?
August 24, 2013 | 3:02 pm

bookshopDeep in the heart of Walter Scott country, between his own-built architectural fantasy at Abbotsford House, his favorite vantage point at Scott’s View, and his last resting place at Dryburgh Abbey, I chanced across The Main Street Trading Company—voted Independent Bookseller of the Year 2012 in The Bookseller’s 2012 Industry Awards; it was also winner of the Best Bookshop category in The Daily Telegraph's Best Small Shops Awards 2012. With accolades like that, and even against some very stiff competition, The Main Street Trading Company deserves its tag as Scotland’s best bookshop. Nestling in the lee of Eildon Hill, where King Arthur and...

Minnie Driver joins campaign against Lincolnshire libraries closure
August 24, 2013 | 2:24 pm

Minnie Driver lends a hand in Lincolnshire library closuresPublic opposition to a plan by the county council of Lincolnshire in eastern England to close or outsource to volunteers 32 of the county’s 47 libraries has been building, in the shape of a petition campaign that has so far garnered over 20,000 signatures, as well as support from singer and actress Minnie Driver. Protest moves include street demonstrations outside County Hall in Lincoln, and statements by local MPs, with the Lincolnshire Echo reporting that Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill himself signed the anti-closure petition. The plan is in its consultation period before implementation, and is part of an...

In Taipei or Beijing, a book launch is often a “sa ching” affair
August 23, 2013 | 10:52 am

With more and more Western publishers (and writers) looking forward to doing business in China and Taiwan, a special Chinese-language term, "sa ching," might be useful for folks in New York and London to know. Of course, in the West, we speak of a "wrap party'' for movies when they wrap up principal shooting. When writers finish a novel or a book series, there are also book parties, sometimes to celebrate the completion of a major work or the ''launch'' of a new book. A "sa ching" is a kind of launch party or publisher's party for a book in Beijing or...

Edinburgh’s mystery bird sculptor: Is this where she works?
August 22, 2013 | 12:58 pm

The work—and identity—of Edinburgh's mystery bird sculptor has been a recurrent theme throughout the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Speculation continues to revolve about who she might be and what inspired her to produce her captivating series of works. Now here's one possible solution to her enigma—all of it pure speculation, but based on some good evidence. Walking back to my digs in Edinburgh, I stopped off at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to see their fascinating "Witches and Wicked Bodies" exhibition. In their permanent collection is this work by André Breton, entitled Poème Objet (Poem-Object): Now, remember that the very first sculpture created...

Edinburgh guides you round its bookshops — if you’re on iOS
August 21, 2013 | 10:45 am

EdinburghTo help mark its status as the first UNESCO City of Literature during the International Book Festival, Edinburgh has put up an interactive Flash map of 53 of the city's bookshops and released a free Edinburgh Bookshops Trail iPhone App—but on iPhone only. The app "shows you all Edinburgh bookshops on a map, with shop descriptions, stock information, addresses, contact details, website links, the works. It even gives you the quickest way to get there! You can also filter by genre, and we have added a quick overview of literary events for the coming 7 days." Unfortunately, Android users will have to...

Poetry gets serious support in Scotland as Edwin Morgan Poetry Award launched
August 21, 2013 | 9:48 am

Scotland is a nation that takes poetry seriously—its national day, after all, honors Robert Burns. How seriously? Take the new Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, launched this weekend at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and worth £20,000 ($31,300). The new award, as the official release makes clear, "is the result of a bequest by the late Scottish Makar, Edwin Morgan (1920-2010), and a Trust has been established in his name to administer the award and further promote poetry in Scotland." The first modern Scots Makar (Scotland's Poet Laureate), Morgan inherited substantial investments from his parents, which grew still further in the hands of his retained advisors. One...

Why Indigo’s Boutique Model is Succeeding
August 19, 2013 | 4:21 pm

IndigoI wrote earlier about a mysterious walled-off section that just went up at my local Indigo, announcing the impending arrival of something called "Indigo Tech." This morning, there was news in my RSS feed from my friends at Good e-Reader, confirming that Indigo has signed a deal with Apple to carry tablets, Apple TV boxes and other products. Their write-up also had this intriguing quote: "Indigo said during a recent investors call that it will revamp many of its large format stores to fall in line with the growing popularity of the store-within-a-store concept at many other retailers. The new physical format store will...

Keats Library in London: Community takes over a piece of history
August 19, 2013 | 3:18 pm

Keats LibraryKeats Community Library in Hampstead is a beautiful period building in the grounds of Keats House, the house and museum associated with the poet John Keats. A library since the early 1900s as the Heath Library, it was closed in early 2012 as part of Camden Council's budget cuts and taken over by an independent charitable group of local residents as Keats Community Library. It survives on donations, and is staffed by volunteers. "We are not a trust but a company limited by guarantee and a charity registered with the English Charity Commission," explained Steven Bobasch, chair of the (unpaid volunteer) Board of Directors. "We qualify...

Library legacy cassette collections and the future: What’s the answer?
August 19, 2013 | 11:37 am

libaryMy younger brother is dyslexic, and an avid consumer of audiobooks on tape and CD. (He's been unable to get too comfortable with digital downloads and streaming yet, but he's getting there.) He's probably digested more books than any other member of my family besides me. (Thrillers and detective fiction mostly.) And naturally, he borrows a lot from the library. Hampshire local libraries, as it happens, have an appropriately substantial legacy in their audio collections of tapes and CDs. Cases are often worn and tattered, and in any case are bulky, awkward and hugely inconvenient to put away or to travel with....

Is Holland’s DOK Delft the most advanced library in the world?
August 19, 2013 | 11:28 am

The Netherlands has thrown up one of the more inspiring pieces of modern library design in the shape of Bibliotheek DOK (Library Concept Center) in Vermeer's old home city of Delft. According to the library architecture resource Celsius, DOK Delft was built "to become and remain the most advanced library in the world," after the old Delft library was deemed too small and inaccessible for the town's citizens. The result includes just about every AV, multimedia and connected resource conceivable, as well as printed books. "DOK is a modern, inspiring place where your books, music, movies, games and art borrows and information searching,"...

TeleRead live from the Edinburgh International Book Festival
August 19, 2013 | 10:42 am

Yes, it's true: TeleRead is officially reporting live from the Edinburgh International Book Festival ... which, by the way, is crazy: Huge crowds, long queues, yurts for journalists, authors mobbed at signings, special literary deckchairs. You name it, it's here. Below, a few shots from day one. Entrance to the Festival: The press yurts: Commemorative deckchair: More to come in the days ahead—stay tuned....