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Eleanor Catton uses NZ Post Book Award to fund Kiwi writers reading
September 4, 2014 | 10:25 am

eleanor cattonNew Zealand author Eleanor Catton, youngest ever winner of the UK's Man Booker Prize with her novel The Luminaries, has also won two of the top prizes in the New Zealand Post Book Awards. And in her acceptance speech, Catton announced that she would be using the prize money and her other income from writing to support a new, as yet unnamed, grant to give New Zealand writers more time to read. Although denied the most prestigious prize in the Awards, the New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award, by Jill Trevelyan's Peter McLeavey: The life and times of a...

Hugh Howey launches petition letter thanking readers for their support
July 3, 2014 | 11:49 am

You know that open letter I mentioned Douglas Preston circulating? Self-published author Hugh Howey has just launched one of his own, as a petition from self-publishing writers, thanking readers for their support, explaining self-published authors’ side of the Amazon/Hachette feud, and asking them not to boycott Amazon. It’s a remarkably clever idea, and already has over 500 signatures. The letter, and signatures below it, are replete with endorsements from authors explaining that Amazon has made it possible for them to earn a living, or (in my case), expect to earn a living at some point, from self-publishing their...

TeleRead selected as an Essential Site for Voracious Readers
February 22, 2013 | 4:38 pm

TeleRead 100 Essential Sites for Voracious ReadersTeleRead was the recipient of a rather flattering honor earlier this week. On Wednesday, we were informed that we'd been featured on the just-published list of 100 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers, which is curated by Masters in English, "a site dedicated to helping students find the right graduate-level English program." "We built this list for our audience of aspiring graduate students in English literature and relevant fields," says MIE's Elizabeth Kelly. "But we think anyone who likes to get lost in a book will find something they love here. The list of 100 Essential Sites is split into five different categories; TeleRead...

The lessons of Fifty Shades for bookstores, publishers, and media
July 1, 2012 | 4:46 pm

50-shades-of-grey-o_thumb[1]The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey continues, and people keep trying to make sense of it. The Bookseller’s blog had a couple of interesting posts lately on the phenomenon. Scott Pack writes of how the book came from right out of nowhere, completely overturning established expectations, and now publishers and bookstores are scrambling to capitalize on the momentum. Expect a bunch of copycat covers to appear over the next few months. Pack believes that this is a great thing, regardless of the quality or lack thereof of Fifty Shades itself, not because it will get people to read...

Differences in screen vs print reading contributing to illiteracy?
March 16, 2012 | 12:07 am

Do we read faster on paper than on the screen? Bob Sutton feels he gets better comprehension out of paper books, and so often buys both paper and electronic copies of volumes he needs to read for research. He was curious enough about this to see if anyone had done studies on the matter. While he didn’t find any studies on comprehension, he did find studies that suggested the iPad and Kindle offer reading speeds 6 to 10% slower than printed books—though as he noted further down, other studies suggest the advantage may be going away as displays get...

John Scalzi: Publishers DO consider readers their customers
December 30, 2011 | 3:15 pm

There’s a long-running argument about whether publishers consider readers to be their true “customers”. It’s probably rooted in the way that, before e-books came along and changed the market, middle-man distributors were how publishers sold the vast majority of their books. With the exception of things like order forms in the back of paperbacks, publishers didn’t need to worry about how to sell books to readers—the stores those middle-men turned around and sold books to handled that. They could concentrate on selling books to the middle-men instead and not think about the reader except in terms of making their products as...

Competing with Free: eBooks vs. eBooks
July 28, 2011 | 9:58 am

My to-be-read pile of ebooks keeps growing. Unfortunately for publishers, however, it keeps growing with free offerings from both publishers and self-publishers. I admit that a lot of the free self-published books should never have seen fingers on a keyboard, but I also have to admit that I am finding a lot of good reads among the free self-published books. Some are very high quality, many are just good reads. But “just good reads” is more than enough. These are books that aren’t of the caliber that one would choose for a book club discussion, but they are decently written and...

3M working on its own ereader device for libraries
July 10, 2011 | 11:42 am

20110710-114609.jpgNext month, 3M's recent investment in German ebook device company txtr will bear fruit in a pilot program in Minneapolis. reports that the library system there will test 3M's new cloud-based ebook library lending service using cloud-connected kiosks and custom ereader devices that users who don't own any hardware will be able to check out. Allowing library patrons to check out an actual e-reader does come with some security concerns. But the St. Paul libraries are comfortable with the risk. "Our biggest focus is giving access to people who can't afford them," said Sheree Savage, a spokeswoman for the St. Paul...

Why genre fans are the vanguard of the ebook revolution
July 8, 2011 | 8:40 am

In a new article on, Vancouver Free Press took a look at the recent BISG report that identified where ebook adoption rates are growing the fastest—particularly among readers of genre fiction like romance and sci-fi. The article notes that fiction outperforms all other categories, and the most voracious readers, who can go through several genre books a week, see the benefits of ebooks more quickly than others. But on the publishing side of things, it's the willingness of genre publishers to meet their customers' needs that makes this possible: Peter Darbyshire worked for six years as a proofreader for Harlequin Enterprises,...

Publishers need to interact more meaningfully with readers
April 27, 2011 | 12:28 pm

crowd_at_Frankfurt_fair-300x217I’ve brought up a number of times the idea that publishers need to do more to connect with the general audience. On Publishing Perspectives, Amanda DeMarco writes that the same holds true in Germany—even at industry events that are open to the public. DeMarco writes about the Leipzig Book Fair, an open-to-the-public event that had 163,000 visitors this year. She feels publishers missed a great opportunity to inform interested members of the general public about some of the issues that are facing publishers today concerning the migration of books to e-books, online vs. brick-and-mortar sales, and other matters....

Magazine publishers still not happy about iPad; iPad users prefer ads to fees
January 18, 2011 | 10:15 am

The New York Times has a piece summing up the unhappiness magazine publishers feel with Apple’s current limitations on e-magazine apps. Though it does not mention the “thou shalt not” that Apple issued to European publishers who wanted to give free iPad subscriptions to print subscribers, it mentions a number of the other points that have been raised over the last few months: high price, no reasonable subscription capability, and Apple’s refusal to share purchaser demographic data with the publishers. The article also mentions the planned News Corp daily iPad newspaper The Daily, whose debut has been held...

The iPad and the future of e-text: lockdown vs. openness
April 28, 2010 | 2:37 pm

Jeremy Kaplan at the Wall Street Journal’s “Digits” blog offers an interesting discussion on the two possible futures of e-text: the iPad-like lockdown, where digital text can be carried around easily but not so easily shared or remixed—or a more open future where text can be shared and used in many different ways. The blog post links to and summarizes a presentation by Steven Johnson at the Columbia Journalism School, discussing those futures. I haven't yet had the chance to watch it or read the transcript, but the discussion sounds like an interesting, albeit familiar, one. Certainly Cory...

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