Tag Archives: publication

James Franco Adds “Novelist” to Actor, Producer, Student Title

The 34-year-old stud is no longer just an actor, producer, Oscar host, and grad student. Now James Franco is entering “novelist” to the list.

Franco — who has studied creative writing at Columbia and English at Yale — has signed a published deal with Amazon Publishing.

According to this article by the L.A. Times, Franco’s first novel will be semi-autobiographical and titled Actors Anonymous. That might not be the best title as Carolyn Kellogg explains.

Franco has been nominated for one Oscar, two Emmys, three MTV Movie Awards, three SAG awards and a couple of Golden Globes. He’s won one Golden Globe and two Independent Spirit awards. He co-hosted the 2011 Academy Awards, which were watched by millions of people worldwide. Maybe he should consider taking the “anonymous” out of the title.

There are a few things I wonder here: a) is Franco really that smart and creative or does he just enjoy taking classes and acquiring as many degrees as possible? b) how is the novel going to sell under the new Amazon publishing company? and c) when he says it’s “loosely based on his life,” are we talking about Lauren Conrad a la L.A. Candy or are we talking about Jack Kerouac a la On the Road?

What do you guys think? How will it do? Will you read it?

**Note: Franco has already published a collection of short stories, titled Palo Alto, as seen in the photo above.

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So You’ve Heard of E-books, But What About E-book Shorts?

If you haven’t heard of e-books by now, you most likely reside under a rock. But just because you’ve heard of or have read e-books doesn’t mean you know what e-book shorts are.

E-book shorts are e-books that are longer than articles but shorter than books. Often times, they’re short stories excerpts from a novel. They’re also cheaper than a full-length book. Up until last week, they had been available  through Amazon. Amazon calls them Kindle Singles.

But now, Princeton University Press is jumping on the e-book short bandwagon, publishing 5 e-book shorts. According to this article by the L.A. Times, the shorts are all excerpts and became available last week. They include an excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Princeton University Press’s shorts are available through a variety of vendors, but are separate from Amazon’s Kindle Singles program.

The question here is whether or not these shorts hurt or help the book industry. On one hand, people will buy them and consider not buying the entire (and more expensive) book. But on the other hand, reading an excerpt may help a reader realize they want to read the whole book. I think it’s an interesting idea nonetheless and hope it means more business for the book industry. What do you think?

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First Came Smartphones, Now Come Smart Books

As if smartphones don’t already do enough thinking for you, now they will be equipped to assist with your reading.

According to this article by the L.A. Times, Atria will begin publishing books with smart chips inside. They will be compatible with NFC-enabled (Near Field Communication) smartphones to provide additional materials for the book.

Right now, the concept is mostly functioning as a marketing tool. Shoppers can use their phones at the bookstore to see what else the books have to offer. The ability to interactively connect with the book lures in the buyer, instantly sparking further interest in the material.

So if books that might otherwise be overlooked start to use this technology, they might do better in sales than anticipated. Though the author of the article brings up a few good points.

I guess this makes me old-fashioned: the way I decide to buy a book in a bookstore is to pick it up and look inside. Would it be possible for a book with a smart chip that adds enhanced content, rather than marketing? How could it be packaged if the book is sitting there on the shelf, easy to flip through?

The first smart book Atria is publishing is The Impulse Economy: Understanding Mobile Shoppers and What Makes Them Buy by Gary Schwartz.

What do you think? If a book were a “smart book,” would you be more inclined to buy it?

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Amazon May Get Netflix-like Service for Books

Kindle e-books might now be available at libraries across the country, but the changes don’t stop there. A report by the Wall Street Journal says Amazon might be working on a new Netflix-like service for books.

The service would be part of the Amazon Prime package — a special program that gives members free two-day shipping and reduced price one-day shipping on all Amazon orders for a year, for a $79 annual fee.

The additional book service would allow Prime customers to read a limited number of books for free every month from a library of “older titles.”

According to this article by PC World, it seems Amazon hopes the service — which is still in its early stages — will help gain Prime members.

Perhaps spurred by the reaction to its Prime Instant unlimited video streaming, Amazon hopes to convince more people to join Prime with enticing add-ons. The company’s Prime library might also tie-in to the retailer’s strategy for its highly rumored, Android-based tablet to compete with the iPad.

Similar to Apple, Amazon’s slate could offer an integrated shopping experience with one-click access to online movie and TV viewing, e-book sales, MP3s, and apps. But Amazon would also want to encourage people to use their Amazon tablets to shop for physical items such as TVs, consoles and games, physical books, DVDs, computers, and toys.

Many of the details of this project are still unknown, however. For instance, how old are these “older titles”? And how many books will be available on a monthly basis? Not to mention, is this service even worth it now that libraries are offering Kindle e-books anyway? It sounds good on paper, but the kinks definitely still need to be ironed out. What do you guys think?

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Good News for Kindle Could Be Bad News for Nook

The Amazon Kindle is the most popular, bestselling e-reader out there. But the Nook always had one up on the Kindle — library access. Until now.

Amazon announced Wednesday that people would now be able to download library books to their Kindles. They’re a little late to the game, since the Nook, Sony’s Reader, and other e-readers had already been offering the same service. But the deal will inevitably increase popularity and revenue for Amazon and libraries nationwide.

According to this article by The New York Times, the deal means that publishers are concerned more people will borrow e-books than buy them.

But another point that goes unmentioned here is what Kindle will now do to business for other e-readers.

When my boyfriend wanted to get me an e-reader, he was back and forth about whether to purchase the Kindle or the Nook. He knows I’m a library girl, so he went with the Nook. Later, one of my friends told me she was jealous of me for having gotten the Nook — while she had the Kindle — for the sole reason that I could download library books. The library aspect was a selling factor for the Nook, and now it’s lost that.

We’ve seen such a change in the book industry and publishing over the years as e-books have grown in popularity. But it looks like we’re in for another major change — complete domination by Kindle.

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Like Radio, Books Aren’t Going Anywhere

In the 1950’s, when television entered the market, the industry feared radio would become a thing of the past. Sixty years later, we’re still listening, and those worry warts are smiling. And it seems the same thing is happening with books.

Though the public is generally more inclined to turn on the tube than pick up a book, it seems books are actually growing in popularity, according to a new survey by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group.

According to this article by the New York Times, a recent study shows the publishing industry has expanded since as recently as 2008. Numbers are up in all categories — including trade, academic, and professional books. Researchers say that may be due to the rise in adult students who have returned to school to increase their marketability and find jobs in a struggling economy. Another reason for the increase? As Julie Bosman explains: e-books.

Sales of trade books grew 5.8 percent to $13.9 billion, fueled partly by e-books, the report said. Juvenile books, which include the current young-adult craze for paranormal and dystopian fiction, grew 6.6 percent over three years.

One of the strongest growth areas was adult fiction, which had a revenue increase of 8.8 percent over three years.

E-books were another bright spot, thanks to the proliferation and declining cost of e-reading devices like the Nook by Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s Kindle, and the rush by publishers to digitize older books.

The end of the article, however, touches on a few notable drops, like hardcover trade books. Overall, it’s nice to see that not only is the publishing industry doing well, but improving! As a book lover, it gives me all kinds of warm and fuzzies to know that books will keep on keeping on.

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Borders Bust Hurting More Than Just Books

When Borders announced it would liquidate its remaining 400 stores earlier this summer, it was no surprise that it would hurt the book industry. But what some may not have realized is that it also hurts magazines.

As you may recall, there are walls of newsstands filled with magazines inside both Borders and Barnes and Noble. I can remember a number of Friday nights spent with my friends in high school, just flipping through magazines at our local bookstore. We read all the juicy, gossipy ones our parents wouldn’t let us subscribe to.

But among those newsstands are lesser-known magazines — ones like Mother Jones, Witches and Pagans, and Crone. They’re smaller publications that don’t get the popular placement in supermarket checkout lines like People or Cosmopolitan.

According to this article by The News Frontier, with Borders going out of business, these smaller publications are suffering. And they don’t have many other options, as Alysia Santo explains:

She says Borders’ closing leaves her at a huge loss because there are very few outlets interested in stocking magazines which are specifically aimed at “pagans, witches, and goddess worshippers.” “I’m not checkout stand material,” says Niven. “People aren’t necessarily going to want to see a magazine about witches next to their gum.”

Add to that the financial burden of the magazines that don’t get sold before Borders closes, and these publications are already halfway out the door. Now they’re relying almost solely on subscribers.

It’s a sad time for the little guys. Will they ever come out on top?

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