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Pioneer Girl on the Prairie

This fall, the South Dakota Historical Society Press will publish Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder - apparently full of "not-safe-for-children tales includ[ing] stark scenes of domestic abuse, love triangles gone awry and a man who lit himself on fire while drunk off whiskey" (or, more academically put, "full of the everyday sorts of things that we don't care to think about when we think about history"). They've been blogging the process of research, annotation, and publication at The Pioneer Girl Project, as well as stories about crabs, a new letter from Pa, really useful books, as well as photos and a series of interviews with the researchers involved via.
posted by ChuraChura on Aug 20, 2014 - 30 comments

Don't wait for the movie

On 28 June, Santa Cruz typographer Adam Lewis Greene submitted his Bible-as-literature project Bibliotheca to Kickstarter for one month of crowdfunding. Within 27 hours, the project had attained its $37,000 funding goal. People kept pledging support. By 26 July, following publication of a Verge article about the project, backing passed the $1 million mark. Two days later, when the fundraising period closed, the project had raised $1,440,345 from 14,884 backers. "No notes, no chapter numbers, no scripture verses. Just the text." What the Success of Bibliotheca Tells Us About the Future of Publishing. [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Aug 7, 2014 - 55 comments

The Women's Prize For Fiction 2014

This year's Women's Prize For Fiction has been won by A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jun 6, 2014 - 7 comments

The Free Market at Work

Killing Conservative Books: The Shocking End Of A Publishing Gold Rush A decade ago, mainstream publishers became convinced they could make millions by churning out books for the right — and now the bubble may be bursting. (SLBuzzFeed)
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Mar 21, 2014 - 101 comments

relentless.com

Is Amazon Bad For Books?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 11, 2014 - 91 comments

Possibly the future of academic publishing

...one of the jobs of a publisher, I really believe, is to keep all forms in play, precisely because it is in keeping all forms in play (which forms are themselves always being reshaped in some fashion as they come into contact with each other) -- that creativity has the widest possible purchase on how things might turn out. Eileen Joy, co-director of open-access quasi-scholarly print-on-demand press Punctum Books, gives a talk on the state and future of open-access publishing in the academy and the arts.
posted by shivohum on Nov 20, 2013 - 15 comments

I hope the beer in hell is non-alcoholic.

Ruby-Strauss learned his craft working for the notorious Judith Regan, in whose shadow all lowbrow publishing still operates. In college at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he had been a comp-lit major who scoffed when friends talked up popular sci-fi books. “I was too pretentious,” he says. “I was reading Camus.” (A far way from that to Tucker Max, I noted. “Is it?” he replied.) Under Regan, he came to appreciate the simpler beauty of “books that sell.” He acquired a book by shock-rock star Marilyn Manson and then a series of pro-wrestling books, still his highest-selling titles ever. He once took Regan to a match, where he remembers her looking around the arena and declaring happily of the crowd, “You could sell them blank pages!” (SLNewRepublic) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Oct 23, 2013 - 15 comments

Andrew Wylie on publishing

"Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business. It doesn’t have to be Walmartized." Superagent Andrew Wylie, who represents Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Elmore Leonard, and Philip Roth, among others, talks about the future of publishing, his on-again-off-again relationship with Amazon, and "effete, educated snobs who read," with the New Republic.
posted by escabeche on Oct 7, 2013 - 30 comments

The [INSERT JOB TITLE]'s Daughter

"I was curious to see how many of these books there actually are, so I did a search for books with 'The' and 'Daughter' in their titles on Goodreads. Afterward I spent some time copying and pasting all instances of The ___’s Daughter into an Excel spreadsheet. How much time? A lot..." [more inside]
posted by taz on Aug 7, 2013 - 106 comments

Does Open Access Diminish Publishing Opportunities for Grad Students?

The American Historical Association just released a statement that "strongly encourages graduate programs and university libraries to adopt a policy that allows the embargoing of completed history PhD dissertations in digital form for as many as six years." The statement is aimed at publishers who are disinclined to consider books based on dissertations that have been made freely available in open access databases. Some responses cite a 2011 survey, "Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities?," that found most publishers self-reported they would indeed consider publishing such dissertations, but also suggested university libraries are refusing to buy books based on dissertations that have previously been available online. "The Road From Dissertation to Book Has a New Pothole: the Internet," a 2011 article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, quotes editors who are wary of publishing such books, and discusses the process by which students can restrict access to their work at companies like ProQuest, "the electronic publisher with which the vast majority of U.S. universities contract to house digital copies of dissertations." [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Jul 23, 2013 - 40 comments

Five Feet of Books

"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 11, 2013 - 89 comments

A funny thing happened on the way to the funeral

The novel resurgence of independent bookstores. {Single page version} [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 29, 2013 - 31 comments

"Publishing is tremendously susceptible to the availability heuristic"

What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 27, 2013 - 62 comments

The Mystery of the Book Sales Spike

Last August, a book titled "Leapfrogging" hit The Wall Street Journal's list of best-selling business titles upon its debut. The following week, sales of the book, written by first-time author Soren Kaplan, plunged 99% and it fell off the list. [...] But the short moment of glory doesn't always occur by luck alone. In the cases mentioned above, the authors hired a marketing firm that purchased books ahead of publication date, creating a spike in sales that landed titles on the lists.
posted by Chrysostom on Feb 22, 2013 - 26 comments

Rewarding The Poison Pen

The Omnivore's Hatchet Job of the Year rewards "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months," with the winning critic taking home a golden hatchet and a year's supply of potted shrimp. 2013's winner: Camilla Long, for her devastating review of Rachel Cusk's divorce memoir, Aftermath. Among other things, she described it as a nasty, bizarre memoir written by a "brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2013 - 71 comments

Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers.

Writers No One Reads
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 17, 2012 - 34 comments

A Penguin a Week

Karyn Reeves collects Penguin paperbacks. She reads and reviews a Penguin a week. She also blogs about Penguins (such as the elusive green Penguins) and showcases classic Penguin book covers. Nonfiction fans may want to check out her list of Pelicans - or visit the Pelican Project at Things Magazine (previously).
posted by kristi on Oct 30, 2012 - 18 comments

Random Harper Penguin

The book publishing world is merging into behemoths in order to better negotiate with Amazon. Rupert Murdoch (HarperCollins) has made an offer to buy Penguin for $1.6 billion. This just hours after Penguin said it was in talks to merge with Random House to create a 'Random Penguin' with nearly 25% of all English-language book sales. Either way the reputation of Penguin could soon be in tatters. As one agent said, "Authors have told me they are frightened by a Random House takeover, but terrified by a HarperCollins one."
posted by stbalbach on Oct 29, 2012 - 77 comments

Romance novel cover illustration

Romance novel covers are a frequent subject of ridicule. But they have also featured highly talented illustrators like Alan Ayers, Pino Daeni, Elaine Gignilliat, Phil Heffernan, and Albert Slark. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 30, 2012 - 13 comments

Including: Clandestine Best-Sellers of the Pre-Revolutionary Era

"The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe project uses database technology to map the trade of the Société Typographique de Neuchâtel (STN), a celebrated Swiss publishing house that operated between 1769 and 1794. As the STN sold the works of other publishers alongside its own editions, their archives can be considered a representative source for studying the history of the book trade and dissemination of ideas in the late Enlightenment." [more inside]
posted by Marauding Ennui on Jul 17, 2012 - 5 comments

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising." ~ Mark Twain

Don't judge a book by the ad on its cover. [Guardian.co.uk] Chalk it up as another brilliant innovation – or a sign of the impending apocalypse – as China Daily reports that publishers are making space on the front covers of books for advertising. Apparently the "first book to carry an advertisement" is an account of the famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, written by his mother, which was published in March adorned with "the logo of a well-known Chinese textile manufacturer".
posted by Fizz on May 3, 2012 - 40 comments

Nook finds it's niche

Barnes and Noble is spinning off Nook into a subsidiary business after a $300M deal with Microsoft which gives the Redmond company a 17% stake, bringing an end to a patent dispute between the two companies and sending shares skyrocketing. Commentary from John Scalzi and Tobias Buckell. Meanwhile the Kindle Fire, Amazon's competitor to the Nook tablet, has grabbed over 50% of the Android tablet market.
posted by Artw on May 1, 2012 - 91 comments

Apple and the Big Five

The U.S. has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the largest publishers, alleging a conspiracy to rig the pricing of e-books. Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins have agreed to settle, though Macmillan, Penguin and Apple continue to contest the charges. Some background from WIRED: Bigger Than Agency, Bigger Than E-Books: The Case Against Apple and Publishers
posted by Artw on Apr 11, 2012 - 192 comments

"Why is this book, 50 Shades of Grey, so popular?"

E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey started out as Master of the Universe, an adults-only Twilight fanfiction posted under the pseudonym Snowqueens Icedragon. The erotica re-imagining of Bella Swan as a 21-year-old college student and Edward Cullen as a 27-year-old billionaire -- with BDSM tastes -- was published by Australia's Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing in May 2011; names and details linking it to Stephenie Meyer's bestselling trilogy were changed (...for the most part). In recent months, the book has gone viral, selling more than 250,000 copies (over 90% in ebook format) and landing the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List. Last week, E.L. James sold republishing rights for the Fifty Shades trilogy to Vintage Books in a seven-figure deal. [more inside]
posted by changeling on Mar 15, 2012 - 97 comments

A single creature with the power of three beasts

If Nicholas Carr is right, and consuming words on a screen is a "more primitive way of reading," then the iPad is a little bit Neanderthal and a little bit Prometheus. Its potential for creative ways to interact with literature makes it more than just an e-reader. And while it took more than a year and a half since the iPad's launch, some publishers are beginning to experiment with that potential. Last year saw several forays into innovative literature apps, most notably T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land; Atlas Shrugged and On The Road also received the "enhanced" app treatment.
Laura Miller (Salon.com co-founder, NY Times Book Review columnist, author) and Maud Newton (writer and critic for The NY Times Book Review, Granta, The Awl) have both written extensively about digital reading and publishing and they've launched The Chimerist, tagline: Two iPad lovers at the intersection of art, stories, and technology. Newton writes: [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Feb 7, 2012 - 20 comments

Black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... small pale dot... black... black... black...

Astronomical... the solar system in book form
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 28, 2012 - 24 comments

Lists are the curse of the age.

Fifty things I've learned about the literary life
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 20, 2011 - 63 comments

One-stop publishing.

Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers. “Everyone’s afraid of Amazon. ... If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out." (Some adventures in self-publishing.) [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix on Oct 17, 2011 - 68 comments

"The prize itself is a mug...but the glory is incalculable!"

Novelist, frontman, economist, pig stealer, and man from Ireland, Julian Gough invites you to join him on an adventure in "a love-based mutant version of capitalism."
posted by villanelles at dawn on Aug 13, 2011 - 18 comments

Unbound: like Kickstarter but soley for books

Unbound - like Kickstarter but for books. The idea is simple, authors pitch their idea and interested readers then pay a specified amount to bring the idea to life. [more inside]
posted by Faintdreams on Jun 21, 2011 - 54 comments

Subtext

The Guardian has a new series of webchats with various people in the publishing industry starting with literary agent Karolina Sutton. Also various writers are asked: Can you teach creative writing?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 15, 2011 - 18 comments

Cheese sandwiches required.

The anchovies are restless. Margaret Atwood, grand dame of Canadian letters, addresses the future of publishing. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Feb 22, 2011 - 44 comments

Transition

Iain Banks interviewed by the Open University (45min). Compare and contrast with Iain Banks interviewed on STV (25min) back in 1989. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 1, 2011 - 44 comments

"Increasingly illiterate, disgusting and meritless."

‘We feel that the stories in this book are such that if your nerves are not of the strongest, then it is wise to read them in daylight.' For a certain time, in every second-hand bookshop in the UK you would always be able to find a musty and dog-eared copy of one or more of the Pan Books Of Horror Stories edited by the splendidly named Herbert Van Thal. Now the first is being re-printed. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 8, 2010 - 21 comments

James Patterson Inc.

James Patterson Inc.
posted by Joe Beese on Aug 22, 2010 - 157 comments

"These are like pioneer times in publishing"

Dorchester Publishing (an original paperback publisher that distributes the Hard Case Crime series and is home to Leisure Books, which is "the only mass-market house with dedicated lines for Westerns [four books a month] and horror [two books a month]," and which also publishes a romance line that features six to eight titles monthly) will transition to an e-book only model. Perhaps only temporarily? Perhaps not so temporarily after all! Currently, e-book sales account for just 12% of Leisure's business, and their overall sales saw a 25% loss over the course of 2009. Popular horror novelist Brian Keene has already jumped ship from the house, citing lack of payment for his work.
posted by kittens for breakfast on Aug 14, 2010 - 18 comments

Vintage Series Books for Girls

Vintage Series Books for Girls
posted by Joe Beese on Jul 29, 2010 - 49 comments

Circle Jerk

"This post touched me in places I've never been touched" Over at Salon, Laura Miller talks about those little belches of beatification -- Book Blurbs. The Guardian is running a contest where you (Yes, YOU!) can try to out praise all comers by blurbing The DaVinci Code. [more inside]
posted by Trochanter on Jul 9, 2010 - 48 comments

NewSouth Books

"La Rosa does not care who knows she sees the world from well left of center. Williams balks at accepting the liberal title; instead he states his preference to be known as a progressive. 'When people hear liberal, this happens,' he said while making hand gestures showing steam coming out of his head." Their views and their press are helping to remake Montgomery, Alabama.
[more inside]
posted by jefficator on May 2, 2010 - 16 comments

Common Misconceptions About Publishing

Charles Stross exposes some common misconceptions about publishing. How Charles Stross got into the writing game.
posted by Artw on May 2, 2010 - 48 comments

Betraying Salinger

Betraying Salinger. "I scored the publishing coup of the decade: his final book. And then I blew it."
posted by chunking express on Apr 6, 2010 - 29 comments

The price is write

Cory Doctorow gives a talk at Bloomsbury on book pricing in the internet age (47min video)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 2, 2010 - 132 comments

From Distribution to Attention

In Publishing: The Revolutionary Future, Jason Epstein posits "The resistance today by publishers to the onrushing digital future does not arise from fear of disruptive literacy, but from the understandable fear of their own obsolescence and the complexity of the digital transformation that awaits them... The unprecedented ability of this technology to offer a vast new multilingual marketplace a practically limitless choice of titles will displace the Gutenberg system with or without the cooperation of its current executives." [more inside]
posted by netbros on Mar 3, 2010 - 19 comments

"When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers." — Kikuyu proverb

The announcement of the iPad earlier this week has prompted a lot of discussion about ebook prices among publishers and their sales partners. That discussion took a major turn yesterday when Amazon pulled the buy buttons for Macmillan's books off their site. Many of Macmillan's titles are still available through Amazon, but only through third parties. Right now, one of the largest publishers in America is no longer available from Amazon because they can not agree on ebook prices. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Jan 30, 2010 - 306 comments

"I am a former child,'' she said, ''and I haven't forgotten a thing.''

Ursula Nordstrom—the "Maxwell Perkins of the Tot Department"—was, from 1940 to 1973, head of the Department of Books for Boys and Girls at the New York publisher Harper & Row, and until 1979 had her own imprint there, Ursula Nordstrom Books. A legendary editor known to her authors as UN, she published the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Margaret Wise Brown, Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak (whom she is credited with discovering) and, to not a little controversy, E. B. White (previously). One of "the last generation of devoted letter writers," she wrote nearly 100,000 during her five decade career at Harper, of which 300 of the most amusing, acerbic, and illuminating are collected in Dear Genius by Leonard S. Marcus, the first hundred pages of which can be read at the Harper website. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Jan 6, 2010 - 8 comments

Tom's Glossary of Book Publishing Terms

Tom's Glossary of Book Publishing Terms
posted by Prospero on Dec 29, 2009 - 11 comments

Revenue reality of a bestseller

Revenue reality of a bestseller. Lynn Viehl's Twilight Fall was a top 20 mass market paperback bestseller. Here, she analyzes and posts her royalties and discovers "If I published only one book a year, and it did as well as this one, my net would be only around $2500.00 over the income level considered to be the US poverty threshold."
posted by HumanComplex on Nov 18, 2009 - 175 comments

Frankfurter Buchmesse

Perhaps you have seen the recent video of flies zooming around a "German trade show" like little banner planes? That "German Trade Show" was the Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse)—the most important event in the book publishing world. It's international; all the major US publishers go, as do many agents, to meet their foreign counterparts and to buy and sell projects amid publishing's eternal and ever-present air of fatalism. This year's fair had some interesting subplots, the most visible of which was the complicated dance the organizers did with this year's guest of honor, China, as accusations of censorship (on the part of China) and of brown-nosing (on the part of the fair's organizers) flew. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Oct 30, 2009 - 16 comments

'Where Forgotton Books are Remembered'

The Neglected Books Page
posted by anastasiav on Dec 5, 2008 - 13 comments

The Henry Ford of Literature

How One Nearly Forgotten 1920s Publisher's “Little Blue Books” Created An Inexpensive Mail-Order Information Superhighway That Paved The Way For The Sexual Revolution, Influenced The Feminist And Civil Rights Movements, And Foreshadowed The Age Of Information. [more inside]
posted by amyms on Sep 4, 2008 - 29 comments

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