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Thursday, April 28

Are Newspapers Dying? Hmnn - Depends On How You Define It) "Yes, it's true that newspapers are steadily losing readers and that younger people will undoubtedly choose the web. Ultimately, the printed word will die off. Not tomorrow or the next day, but in the coming decades. It's inevitable since it will be more cost-effective (not to mention better for the environment) to distribute news over the web and via cell phones and PDAs than by printing it on paper and relying on trucks to deliver it to newsstands and subscribers' doorsteps. What is not true, however, is the notion that newspapers are dying. They aren't. In fact, more people read traditional news outlets today than ever before. But they are doing it on a screen." Wired 04/28/05

Litblogging Into Relevance Literary blogs can be addictive for those interested in the written word. And there are so many litblogs to catch up on. "Reading other writers’ writing about writing is hardly what most people would consider “connecting with others.” In fact, maybe I’m even more isolated when I carry around this illusory notion that I’m interacting with people simply because we’re reading the same blog. It’s like celebrity stalkers who think being slapped with a restraining order is as fine and true a connection to fabulousness as being invited to stay in the guesthouse for the weekend." CBC 04/28/05

Gimme A Pound Of The Roast Beef, And One Of Those Tom Clancy Things Independent booksellers may be dying by the dozens, but a new frontier is fast being established to compete with the oh-so-alluring chain stores. You'll find it wedged between the Cheerios and the artichoke hearts. "Grocery stores have gone beyond the traditional spinning racks of pocket-size paperbacks, adding mahogany fixtures, sitting areas and cafes, and often placing their book sections in the center of the store, where shoppers are likely to stroll. Eye-catching displays of new hardcovers are sprinkled throughout the stores, encouraging impulse purchases." The New York Times 04/28/05

Another Indie Bookstore Gives Up The Ghost Bound To Be Read, a large-scale independent bookseller operating stores in Albuquerque and the Twin Cities has announced that it will close its doors within a few months. The company had sought to attract consumers who would ordinarily shop at large chain stores by offering a wide array of products and services (including a coffee bar and on-demand CD burning) in addition to a huge in-store stock of literature. 68 employees at the two stores will be laid off - the Albuquerque store had been open for fifteen years, the St. Paul outlet for five. Minneapolis Star Tribune 04/28/05

Getting Foreign Lit A Place At The Table It's old news that literature in translation doesn't sell too well in the English-speaking world, and even getting the stuff displayed can be difficult in a marketplace of megachains bent on squeezing every drop of profit out of the latest bestsellers. But a new promotional push by two indie publishing houses has signed up 80 independent booksellers who have agreed to prominently feature ten works in translation over the next month. The aim isn't necessarily to make a killing, merely to get bookstores and readers in the habit of considering foreign books alongside the usual domestic choices. Publishers Weekly 04/25/05

Blogging The Written Word In today's lowbrow world, face-to-face conversations about serious literature can be hard to come by. But then, that's what the Internet is for, and a new generation of lit-blogs has sprung up, to the delight of obsessive readers everywhere. "It’s infinitely appealing for a person who loves to read and aims to write to slip through the wardrobe into a parallel world where other people actually care about books; where Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem aren’t just boldface names but animated superheroes forced to face the wrath of supervixen Candace Bushnell." CBC 04/28/05

Ontario Book Awards Announced "All That Matters, the latest novel from Toronto-based writer Wayson Choy, is among the winners of the 18th annual Trillium Book Awards." The Ontario-based awards ceremony took place on Wednesday, and other winners included Antonio D'Alfonso in the French language category, and Maureen Scott Harris for her poetry collection, Drowning Lessons. CBC 04/28/05

Wednesday, April 27

Australian Book Chain Goes Bankrupt Collins Booksellers, Australia's third largest book chain, has declared bankruptcy and owes $7.5 million. "The family-owned company has just $36,000 in the bank but the administrator will try to keep it trading while he seeks a buyer." The Australian 04/27/05

The Endangered American Libraries America's public libraries are under threat. "From coast to coast, budget strains and tax pressures are forcing cities to make hard choices about how to spend limited money, and libraries, much to many residents' dismay, are taking the hit. Residents are left stunned and outraged at the thought of doing without a beloved national resource. Can't check out books for the summer, log onto the Internet for free, listen to preschoolers giggle during story time or get help searching for a job? Incomprehensible." Dallas Morning News 04/27/05

Tuesday, April 26

Who Knew? Great Libraries Draw Readers Two bright new library buildings in the UK are proving very popular. "In a development watched with envy by library authorities across the country, visitor numbers have soared at the new libraries in Gosport, Hampshire, and Brighton, East Sussex. Book borrowing has gone up too. The pattern supports the official view that the decline in library use is the result of financial neglect rather than an inexorable flight from reading." The Guardian (UK) 04/23/05

Harper Collins Sees a Down Year Publisher Harper Collins reports a 30 percent drop in profits. "The firm was hit by Sean Connery's decision last month to scrap plans for an autobiography, and it has also been plagued by rumours of in-fighting among executives, which it strongly denies. Operating profits were down from £15.4 million to £10.7m in the year to June 2004, according to accounts published last week. Turnover was down slightly at £165.5m." The Guardian (UK) 04/24/05

Monday, April 25

Queues For Quixote Venezuelans are lining up in the country's capital to get free copies of Don Quixote. The Venezuelan government is handing out a million copies to mark the 400th anniversary of its publication. BBC 04/24/05

Against Good Books "Today's corporate weather-makers hate "book-lovers", as they sneeringly refer to them. They despise curious readers committed to the range and quality of what they buy, such as those who bother with books coverage in intelligent magazines or newspapers. Instead, extra resources will now go into snaring the fitful attention of affluent but apathetic semi-readers who, deep down, believe that, in the deathless words of Philip Larkin's "A Study of Reading Habits", "Books are a load of crap." Ah, but those non-readers made an exception for The Da Vinci Code. So let's have much more of the same brain-shrinking junk." The Independent (UK) 04/22/05

The Literary No-Man's Land Even well-established writers with great reviews are having difficulty getting their books sold these days. "If you speak to publishers about the sales of literary fiction - I mean we're in real trouble in this country. Sales are shocking these days, even compared to 10 years ago. And publishers are seriously cutting back." The New York Times 04/25/05

Books Get Wired (As A Plot Device) "A recent spate of old-fashioned low-tech printed books have all abandoned traditional narrative for Internet terminology, using e-mails, chat-room dialogues and instant messaging instead of regular prose, chapters and verses. Authors say the use of e-mails is not simply a gimmick, but a way of reflecting the world they see." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 04/25/05

Challenging Chabon On His Story Did Michael Chabon invent a personal Holocasut history to "fashion his previously banal suburban persona into a more complex Jewish identity?" After stories on a book website and in the The New York Times, the charges get nasty... MobyLives 04/25/05

Sunday, April 24

Self-Publishing Finds Its Legs "For the first time, print-on-demand companies are successfully positioning themselves as respectable alternatives to mainstream publishing and erasing the stigma of the old-fashioned vanity press. Some even make a case that they give authors an advantage -- from total control over the design, editing and publicity to a bigger share of the profits." The New York Times 04/24/05

Is The Quintessential Chicago Writer No More? "Chicago was very much a writer's town in 1951, even if no one obvious giant walked the Loop, and remains a writer's town to this day, though the one indisputable giant of the last five decades, Saul Bellow, died earlier this month. Dozens of writers in Chicago -- or from Chicago -- continue to produce critically acclaimed novels and stories, occasionally inspired but seldom intimidated by the Ghosts of Chicago Writers Past. What may be on its last legs, however, is the idea of the quintessential Chicago writer, neck-deep in despairing urban realism, following in the bottom-dog literary tradition of Dreiser, James T. Farrell, Richard Wright and Algren. You just don't hear that voice much anymore." Chicago Sun-Times 04/24/05

Examining The Oprah Book Club Phenomenon Every book Oprah chose for her book club saw a huge increase in sales. So "why did the books come under so much criticism? The question goes to the core of our perceptions about culture and art. Oprah, Rooney posits, found herself caught in an ongoing unease in America between highbrow and lowbrow culture generally summed up as: If a huge number of people appreciate something, can it really be art?" Rocky Mountain News 04/24/05

2005 PEN Awards "An American librarian, an imprisoned Saudi Arabian writer, a Turkish book publisher and a Gambian newspaper editor who was fatally shot last year were honored at the 2005 PEN Montblanc Literary Gala." Yahoo! (AP) 04/18/05

English Exams That Skip The 19th Century Is the English school curriculum being dumbed down? "More than 400,000 students took the AQA GCSE in English literature last year. The exam offers questions on one of eight novels, including Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, and The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger - both 20th century classics. But no 19th century novels make it on to the list, and teenagers can also get an AQA A-level without studying a single pre-20th century novelist. 'This is a real sign of dumbing down. Many of the books which are put in front of children nowadays simply do not merit the amount of time which is spent on them'." The Guardian (UK) 04/23/05

Thursday, April 21

Oprah To Publish Books Oprah has decided to launch a series of hardback books spun off from stories from her magazine. "The deal with Oxmoor reflects continued audience growth for Ms. Winfrey and her feel-good message directed mainly at women. Ratings for her daily talk show are the highest they've been in years. The May issue of the magazine, which will mark the its fifth anniversary, will be packed with 200-plus pages of ads--a record for the title." Crain's New York Business 04/20/05

Why E.E. Cummings Matters "In the long revolt against inherited forms that has by now become the narrative of 20th-century poetry in English, no poet was more flamboyant or more recognizable in his iconoclasm than E.E. Cummings. By erasing the sacred left margin, breaking down words into syllables and letters, employing eccentric punctuation, and indulging in all kinds of print-based shenanigans, Cummings brought into question some of our basic assumptions about poetry, grammar, sign, and language itself, and he also succeeded in giving many a typesetter a headache. That said, determining Cummings' influence and his present stature in the poetry world calls for a more measured view." Slate 04/21/05

Where To Sit In The British Library? Finding a seat in the British Library is getting difficult. "It had always been the case that the British Library kept users down to manageable levels through a series of polite, but formidable, barriers. You were interviewed, and had to demonstrate a need to use the library. A reader's ticket was, one understood, a scholar's privilege, not a citizen's right. Above all, the BL was at pains to keep at bay London University's 100,000 students. But, in the last few months, undergraduates have suddenly been made very welcome. Word of mouth means more are streaming in every day. Why is the British Library now Liberty Hall? Bums on seats is mission statement 2005. And, if there are more bums than seats, it's hard luck for the seat-less." The Guardian (UK) 04/20/05

Oprah - Please Help Us! A group of prominent writers has written to Oprah Winfrey imploring her to retart her book club of contemporary fiction. "There's a widely-held belief that the landscape of literary fiction is now a gloomy place. Book Club members stopped buying new fiction, and this changed the face of American publishing," said the letter, which was signed by 158 authors. Yahoo! (Reuters) 04/21/05

The Pope J-P Insta-Biography Hits Shelves "What is billed as "the first biography" to tell Pope John Paul II's full story hits bookshelves on Thursday, less than two weeks after his funeral and with the new pontiff just moving in to his old apartments. The book is one of what will undoubtedly grow to form a pile of profiles on offer in book stores - the latest instant response to the death of a public figure." BBC 04/21/05

Lilly Prize Awarded "Poet C.K. Williams, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and many other honors, has been named this year's recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, for which he will be awarded $100,000." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (AP) 04/21/05

Wednesday, April 20

Poetry "Watchdog Website Shuts Down "This week the poetry world is atwitter over the closing down of an Internet site that for the last year dedicated itself to exposing what it calls fraud among the small circle of poetry contests that frequently offer publishing contracts as prizes. Alan Cordle, a research librarian who lives in Portland, Ore., has managed the Web site, www.foetry.com, anonymously since its inception a little more a year ago. He called his site the "American poetry watchdog" and aimed to expose the national poetry contests that he said "are often large-scale fraud operations" in which judges select their friends and students as winners." The New York Times 04/21/05

Is Papyrus "Breakthrough" Credible? Last weekend London's Independent newspaper published a story telling of a major brakthrough in deciphering a trove of ancient texts. The story smells fishy to other papyrus researchers. "As of right now, the rest of the papyrological community is waiting to hear Dirk Obbink at Oxford either back up for disavow the claims made in the article. At the very best, the Independent's reporters are covering some kind of new imaging breakthrough in an extremely hyperbolic fashion. And at the worst, they're trying to make a major story out of 20-year-old news." ArsTechnica 04/20/05

Da Vinci Code Named British Book Of The Year The Da Vinci Code has been named book of the year at the British Book Awards. "Former US president Bill Clinton won best biography for his memoirs, and actress Hancock was named author of the year for The Two Of Us: My Life With John Thaw. " BBC 04/20/05

Tuesday, April 19

A Da Vinci Code Parody (On Publishing) "The Da Vinci Code is obviously not a normal novel. It is enormously long and very badly written ("Everyone in the reception area gaped in wonderment at the half-naked albino offering forth a bleeding clergyman"). It is simultaneously bombastic and bafflingly banal, full of uncontrolled, wrong-headed prose, tin-eared dialogue and crazy errors of fact. The characters are drips. And yet I stayed up half the night reading it. So what is the secret?" The Telegraph (UK) 04/19/05

Bloggers Band Together To Promote Old-Fashioned Lit "Marking a departure from the solitary life of reading and writing, about 20 independent literary bloggers announced last week that they will begin working together in hopes of drawing readers to books they feel deserve more attention, while seeking to generate more and deeper public discussions of literature. Calling themselves the Litblog Co-Op, the effort includes the sites the Elegant Variation, Moorishgirl, Rake's Progress and Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, all of which will continue to operate separately, the bloggers say." Chicago Tribune (LA Times) 04/19/05

Monday, April 18

Orange Prize Finalists Six finalists have been chosen for the Orange Prize for fiction. Three Britons and three Americans will vie for the £30,000 prize, with the winner announced on 7 June in London. BBC 04/18/05

Sunday, April 17

The New Face Of Iowa Writers' Workshop Lan Samantha Chang will take over running the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop in January. "Ms. Chang will teach a graduate fiction workshop, choose students for the fiction program (poetry students are chosen by the poetry faculty) and will consult on hiring, among other duties. The two-year program, which leads to a master's in fine arts, has no specific academic course requirements. The fiction workshop, which became a full-fledged program in 1936, receives 750 applications for 25 places, and there are 450 poetry applications for 25 places." The New York Times 04/18/05

Did Scholar Plagiarize In cummings Bio? A critic charges in the new issue of Harper's magazine that a major new biography of e.e. cummings has plagiarized extensively from a 25-year-old biography. The New York Times 04/16/05

Friday, April 15

Atlantic Magazine Moving To DC The owner of the Atlantic magazine has decided to move it from its lohg-established home in Boston to Washington DC. "It's a Boston institution. It's a huge disappointment . . . and I'm really sad about it. I've actually written an apology which I'm sending to all of the Boston staff tonight." Washington Post 04/15/05

Thursday, April 14

Ah, You're Such A Romantic (Just Don't Admit It) Why are people so snobby about romantic fiction? "Domestic? Boring? Who would want to be dubbed romantic as well? Maybe that explains the collective identity crisis that seems to have seized the Romantic Novelists Association in its choice of shortlisted novels for its annual prize." The Guardian (UK) 04/15/05

Lit Bloggers Band Together For Book Club "Hoping to promote overlooked contemporary literary fiction, 20 literary bloggers have created Read This! Four times a year, the Litblog Co-op will share its pick with readers, with the first announcement coming May 15." The idea is to see if coordinated focus on the same books will help promote them. Yahoo! (AP) 04/14/05

  • A Lit Experiment The new Lit Blog consortium is an experiment in literary sociology. "Can a group of people frustrated with prevailing trends in the publishing industry (which is constantly on the lookout for the next Da Vinci Code, as if one weren’t enough) and with mainstream media (where reviewing space shrinks constantly) win recognition for a worthy, but otherwise potentially overlooked, piece of fiction? Or, to put it another way: Do literary bloggers have any power? Considering  how many novels and short story collections they now publish, university presses may well want to monitor the results." InsideHigherEd 04/11/05

The First Fiction Tour Take a group of emerging writers, put them in a bar and watch the crowds roll in. "Whenever I would see a band in a bar, I'd be amazed that the place would be packed even if the band was terrible. So I started to think, what if we brought book writers and readers together in places other than bookstores. Of course, we didn't invent this -- Allen Ginsburg did this years ago in bars in New York. But we also wanted to take books to where the people are since they weren't coming to bookstores. And we wanted to try to make writers of literature as cool as rock stars." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 04/14/05

Tennessee Williams Poem Discovered A previously unpublished poem by Tennessee Williams, described as having been "written out of absolute, complete despair," has been discovered in his blue test booklet from a college course in 1937... Seattle Times 04/14/05

The Problem With Writing Too Much Where many authors struggle to write 1000 words a day, others crank out full novels at a super-human rate. Steven King is so prolific he even invented another persona to take credit for the overflow. A dependable high-performer can help a publisher's bottom line. But can writing too much saturate an author's market? CBC 04/14/05

Wednesday, April 13

Chick Lit Moves Down A Generation "Since the late 1990s, teen chick lit -- think Bridget Jones in high school -- has been gaining popularity, reaping profits for publishers and booksellers, prompting established adult authors to target younger audiences and giving teens and tweens (9- to 12-year-old girls) their own heroines. Teen chick lit is still growing each year by double digits."
The Star-Tribune (Mpls) 04/13/05

In Canada - It's A Mystery Mystery novels are hot in Canada, and the genre is filling publishers' lists. Some "40 per cent more mystery novels were published this year than the year before, and there has been a 50-per-cent increase in juvenile mysteries. And the number of nominations for the Arthur Ellis Awards, the CWC's annual mystery prize, has spiked dramatically. This year 67 novels were submitted to the fiction category, 43 for best novel, and 24 for debut works." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 04/13/05

Chang To Lead Iowa Writers' Workshop Lan Samantha Chang, a Harvard University professor and award-winning fiction author who specializes in stories of Chinese-Americans, has been named director of the nation's most prestigious writing program, the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop. Chicago Tribune 04/13/05

Monday, April 11

ReganBooks To LA Judith Regan says she's moving her publishing and media group from Manhattan and relocating to Los Angeles. "In doing so, ReganBooks, which is part of HarperCollins, which is in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, would be one of the few major book imprints to be based outside Manhattan and one of the first to leave New York for the West Coast. The move could shake up an industry that has long operated in a parochial, Manhattan-centric fashion, even as technology has made the location of a company less important." The New York Times 04/12/05

Dana Gioia: Why Books Matter "A strange thing has happened in the American arts during the past quarter century. While income rose to unforeseen levels, college attendance ballooned, and access to information increased enormously, the interest young Americans showed in the arts -- and especially literature -- actually diminished. That individuals at a time of crucial intellectual and emotional development bypass the joys and challenges of literature is a troubling trend. If it were true that they substituted histories, biographies, or political works for literature, one might not worry. But book reading of any kind is falling as well." Boston Globe 04/10/05

France: Fighting Off Google's World-Wide Domination Does Google's global reach create "the risk of a crushing domination by America in the definition of the idea that future generations will have of the world?" The president of the Frnech National Library believes so. "Europe, he said, should counterattack by converting its own books into digital files and by controlling the page rankings of responses to searches. His one-man campaign bore fruit. At a meeting on March 16, President Jacques Chirac of France asked Mr. Jeanneney and the culture minister, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, to study how French and European library collections could be rapidly made available on the Web." The New York Times 04/11/05

Sunday, April 10

US Poet Laureate Gets A Second Term Ted Kooser - who last week won a Pulitzer Prize - has been appointed to a second term as US Poet Laureate. "Kooser's idea was to offer a free weekly poem to U.S. newspapers. The second poem, Jonathan Greene's "At the Grave", was posted Thursday. The Library of Congress said 24 newspapers signed up within the first few days of the project. The library gives the poet an office and expects a few readings and lectures in return. Kooser is due to lecture at the library on May 5. He receives a stipend of $35,000 for each term." USAToday 04/08/05

Liverpool Poets (Not Named John, Paul, George & Ringo) Liverpool is the UK's Cultural Capital designate for 2008, and just to prove it deserves the moniker, the city is hosting its first-ever poetry festival this week. The event will include a reading in the crypt of the city's central Roman Catholic Cathedral, as well as workshops for budding poets and readings by several of the city's best-known poets. BBC 04/10/05

The Great Textbook Price Debate Ask any college student or professor, and they'll tell you that textbook prices are horrendously inflated, and that publishers are taking advantage of a captive group of consumers with no choice but to buy the books at whatever price. But the publishers insist that the problem is overblown, since students can frequently use the same book for multiple semesters, and most college bookstores will buy back used textbooks for up to 50% of their original cost. Boston Globe 04/09/05

Friday, April 8

Report: Thousands Of Small Publishers Add Up A new report says that there are thousands of small publishers in America "earning between $1 million and $50 million on their own, but adding up to an estimated $11 billion market. Traditional studies released by the study group, the Association of American Publishers and others assume that the solid majority of book sales comes from the larger organizations, with the top 50 making at least $20 billion out of a $28 billion market. Wednesday's report, titled "Under the Radar," asserts that the industry is both larger and less concentrated than previously believed." Yahoo! (AP) 04/07/05

Thursday, April 7

German Author Accused Of Plagiarism Best-selling German author Frank Schätzing has been accused of plagiarizing "large chunks of his latest blockbuster from the internet. The book, The Swarm, is an apocalyptic eco-thriller which tells the story of how a mysterious undersea being known as Yrr incites the natural world to revolt against humans. It has been an extraordinary success, selling more than 700,000 copies in Germany. It has even been credited with saving the lives of several German holidaymakers who fled to safety after reading its vivid description of how the tide goes out before a tsunami. Yesterday, however, a German biologist accused Schätzing of "plundering" much of the material used in the book from his scientific website." The Guardian (UK) 04/08/05

A Wedding Verse? (How To Make It Memorable) (You Can't) One of Andrew Motion's jobs as British Poet Laureate is to compose a poem to comemorate Prince Charles' Royal wedding. "Every single time, it's an impossible job. One's not entirely clear why anyone bothers to do it."
The New York Times 04/07/05

Wednesday, April 6

Weisbach To Head Miramax Books Simon & Schuster exec Rob Weisbach has been named to run Miramax Books. "Plans call for Disney to take over Miramax Books' catalog and to keep the imprint going after the Weinsteins give up control on Sept. 30, 2007, the companies announced Wednesday." Yahoo! (AP) 04/06/05

Book Busking Hawking your self-published collection of poetry on the New York subway might not sound like a fun way to make a living. But for Brad Bathgate, aka Blue, it's the only life he knows, and when you watch him work his magic on a subway car full of jaded, hostile New Yorkers, you start to believe that there just might be something to this unusual sales technique. New York Daily News 04/06/05

Tuesday, April 5

Scientists: Poetry Makes You Think Harder Than Prose "Psychologists at Dundee and St Andrews universities claim the work of poets such as Lord Byron exercise the mind more than a novel by Jane Austen. By monitoring the way different forms of text are read, they found poetry generated far more eye movement which is associated with deeper thought. Subjects were found to read poems slowly, concentrating and re-reading individual lines more than they did with prose." Scotsman on Sunday 04/03/05

Video Finds The Book Biz "With the advent of services like VidLit, which produces short, humorous, animated Flash films about books, authors have a new way to reach online readers. Because of the viral quality of online videos, some writers are finding success at the end of the broadband pipe..." Wired 04/05/05

Pulitzer Win Boosts Poet Laureate US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's win of a Pulitzer Monday will boost exposure and sales of his work. Kooser's publisher Michael Wiegers said that, "in the wake of yesterday's announcement, he received orders from book distributors for an additional 10,000 copies of "Delights," which has already sold some 30,000 copies. "You're looking at selling 40,000 copies of a poetry book in a world where you'd be happy if you sell 3,000." Washington Post 04/05/05

Monday, April 4

A Dictionary That Changed The World (It's 250 Years Old) Samuel Johnson was a failed teacher, who, in 1746 began work on his monumental Dictionary of the English Language. It was a labor designed to rehabilitate his reputation and redefine use of the English language. It took him nine years. April 15 marks the 250th anniversary of its publication. The Guardian (UK) 04/03/05

A Run On Pope Books Publishers and book stores are bracing for a run on books about Pope John Paul II. "Sales of books by and about Pope John Paul II have soared since his death Saturday, with several quickly reaching the top 20 of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com." Yahoo! (AP) 04/04/05

New York Mag - A Successful Makeover In Search Of Readers It's been a year since Adam Moss took over as editor of New York Magazine. "New York has enjoyed some journalistic success under Mr. Moss, with three National Magazine nominations. But it has been slower to find financial success. Though its advertising is up, the level is not as high as it was as recently as 2001, and circulation is flat, with newsstand sales down. The magazine is losing money, although executives would not say how much." The New York Times 04/04/05

Will Steinbeck's Hometown Close Its Public Library? Could it be? Salinas, California, the place that proudly calls John Steinbeck its native son, may close its public library? "Unless the city can raise $500,000 by June 30, the John Steinbeck, Cesar Chavez and El Gabilan Libraries will be shuttered, victims of the city's $9 million budget shortfall. If the branches are closed, Salinas will become the nation's largest city without a public library." The New York Times 04/04/05

Canadians And Their Reading Habit Canadians are voracious readers, spending $1.1 billion on books last year. "In fact, money spent on books is the third-highest category of cultural spending in the country, just after newspapers ($1.22-billion) and visits to movie theatres ($1.18-billion). Significantly more dollars are shelled out for books than are spent on live performing-arts events ($824-million) and more than double the amount spent on live sports events ($451-million)." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 04/03/05

Sunday, April 3

A New Generation Of 9/11 Books Bookstores are heavy currently with books having to do with 9/11 in some way. "These books are at the forefront of a second wave of creative works related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The first wave included predictable spasms of simple-minded jingoism and commercial calculation, from bullying country music ballads to cloying hagiographies of political figures eager to make hay out of the nation's grief. But now we're getting the good stuff." Chicago Tribune 04/03/05

Friday, April 1

Graphic Noveldom Hath Arrived Graphic novels - comic books - are a big and growing market. "Big sales and increasing interest from movie studios in recent years - to wit, Sin City, a movie opening today, based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller - has helped transform these book-length comics from the butt of the joke to the belle of the ball." Rocky Mountain News 04/01/05

The New Chick Lit: He’s Just Not That Into You A new generation of non-fiction advice books does a disservice to women. "Pink is the colour of chick lit, that universe of trade paperbacks covered in cartoon martini glasses and lipstick tubes. Faced with these new self-help books, each a litany of romantic woes and female humiliations not unlike those that befall Shopaholic and co., it seems apt to borrow phrasing from Sex and the City heroine Carrie Bradshaw: Could it be that non-fiction is the new chick lit?" CBC 04/01/05

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