Sylvia L. is a German-born artist and designer who did a number of illustrations for one of my books and has branched out to do greeting cards that are now sold in retail stores and museum shops in the US and Germany. I've been asking her for a long time to do some book-related illustrations or cards and she finally agreed.
Here is her first book-themed card, made specifically for Booklikes, that shows her favorite models Chapman and Lily wondering what to do with a printed book from Santa. It's always a pleasure to see former colleagues go in new creative directions. Best of luck to her and a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season to everyone here at Booklikes!
For more info, click on the illustration to go to her old website, which is in the process of being upgraded for release in January 2014. She has promised more book-related cards to come soon and is already getting some advance orders from independent bookstores.
What started as a joke a few years ago has become a hot new literary mashup genre that grew out of the Amish romance fiction genre. Amish Vampires in Space has just made the Amazon top 100 download list. Author Kerry Nietz notes he has never seen quite so much buzz in the book world as this new genre has generated.
The story explores the idea of Amish farmers being rescued from a remote space colony when they discover a vampire on board the space ship, and that leads to a conflict of conscience versus survival. Apparently the Amish faith disallows staking vampires in the heart to kill them, something to remember if you are Amish and decide to take a holiday in Transylvania.
This title and others are printed by Marcher Lord Press, a publisher of Christian fantasy and science fiction. Click on the photo for more info:
The National Book Awards for 2013 were announced late last week. Here are the winners and the runners up for each category.
Fiction: James McBride
Non-fiction: George Packer
Poetry: Mary Szybist
Youth Literature: Cynthia Kadohata
Digital comics publishers are disturbed because of recent bans on certain comics titles from IOS apps such as those offered by Comixology. The latest flap is over a series called Sex Criminals, supposedly a humorous story about a couple that can stop time when having sex and use that time to rob banks.
The complaint is that Apple is vague about what standards it uses, which of course prevents publishers and writers from exploiting loopholes. This past May, Apple notified Comixology that 56 titles must be removed for sale via the distributor's IOS app. Titles are still available through other channels, just not via apps for Apple products.
Apple is notorious for maintaining strict control over all aspects of its products. What do you think? Is that the same as censorship or do they have a right to control content?
I can't remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside the day the music died...
(from American Pie, Don McLean)
This is actually a bookstore in Aix en Provence, France. Wow.
Books-A-Million, the book chain based in Birmingham, AL, with stores throughout the south, will offer print-on-demand books using the Espresso Book Machine built by On Demand Books. The machine looks and functions like a large copy machine and can output any of thousands of titles as a perfect-bound book in just minutes.
BAM is trying it out at two of their primary locations as a joint marketing effort with ODB. Machines will be serviced by Xerox. Book content will come through the EspressNet system. There are many advantages to the concept of e-book meets print edition at a store, including the ability to offer far more titles and keeping costs down (no shipping or warehouse).
Pricing is based on length of the book. The machine can handle any paperback edition up to 600 pages long in sizes from 5x5 to 8x5 with a full-color cover. Major publishers involved include Penguin, Harper, McGraw Hill, Random House, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. Hopefully this will help independent bookstores and publishers as well.
Library Reads polls librarians around the country for their choices of the top books each month. Here is the list for December 2013. Click on the banner to go to their website for more details on the book selections.
Grant Snider is the enterprising creator of Incidental Comics and also does posters. This one seemed especially appropriate for BookLikes.
Click on the picture to see more of Grant's works:
An interesting article from CNN Travel about hotels inspired by or used by famous authors. The only one I've had the pleasure to stay in is The Library Hotel in NY, a delightful boutique hotel just off Madison Avenue and not far from the NY Public Library main branch on 5th Ave (in front of Bryant Park where there was just a shooting unfortunately).
Probably one of the most memorable comments made by an author about a hotel was from Oscar Wilde who, as he lie dying at L'Hotel in Paris, said "either this wallpaper goes or I do." Both Oscar and the wallpaper are long gone now.
For the whole story on CNN, click on the photo below:
Considered Britain's most dreaded literary award, the Literary Review states that the contest was started in 1993 to "to draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it." It is not intended to highlight pornographic or "expressly erotic" material.
This year's short list of possible winners includes:
The final winner will be announced on December 3, 2013.
Love it or hate it, Amazon manages to sell more books than any other retailer and yet doesn't have any physical stores. How to introduce new books to readers is a problem for online retail, and Amazon tries to get around that by putting out a "best of" list each year that they hope will draw attention to various books their editors supposedly select. Too often "best of" is based on best sales rather than literary merit, but at least they're trying. You might also wonder why a retailer has book editors. Can you say "publisher wannabe?"
To promote even further, Amazon puts out a Kindle version of it's list, just shy of 100 pages long, that gives a brief description of each title. This is available as a free download, assuming you have a Kindle of course. Amazon has recently tried making some peace overtures to indie bookstores by offering to let them sell Kindles bundled with specially priced e-books, but many indie retailers feel that's just a way for Amazon to ultimately steal their clientele away. You're going to have to do better than that Mr. Bezos.
If Amazon really wanted to make friends with indies it could offer them special wholesale pricing to actually carry books, which would then give it a large network of "showrooms" to sell from. Here is the latest list from Amazon's "editors." Click on the photo to link to the Amazon download area: