Friday, July 11, 2014

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Independent Booksellers Week

This is in the UK, but I thought it might be of some interest to booklovers on this side of The Pond.

Welcome to Independent Booksellers Week!
Independent Booksellers Week 2014 will take place from 28th June to 5th July this year.
Independent Booksellers Week is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, and seeks to celebrate independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland.  We do this with events, celebrations, reading groups, storytelling, author signings, literary lunches and face painting!  Your local bookshop will have their own way of celebrating, and we encourage you to visit to celebrate with them.

To find your local independent bookshop, check here 
You might also like to VOTE for your FAVOURITE Bookshop – our colleagues at National Book Tokens Caboodle are running a competition for consumers to do just that – check it out here
And if you are interested in the fabulous books stocked by indie bookshops, check our our IBW Book Award Shortlist and visit your local indie bookshop to pick up a copy of one of these wonderful titles – here
The Guardian newspaper is publishing a supplement on Saturday 28th June, featuring the best of children’s books, reviewed by some of our leading children’s booksellers.  Look out for the Guide this weekend.
And you may have seen the very exciting news about James Patterson donating £250,000 to independent bookshops in the UK & Ireland – make sure to help celebrate these wonderful places by visting your local bookshop during IBW, and every week!  See JAmes Patterson talking about his gift here
Check out our Twitter account – @IndieBound_UK –  for regular updates on IBW event and bookshop happenings, including the Bookshop Crawl on Saturday 5th July, our Great Bookshop Debate at Foyles on 2nd July and our IBW Literary Death Match on 3rd July – here’s more info on all of those:

If you are a publisher interested in getting involved in IBW for 2015, please email If you are a bookseller who would like to register to participate in IBW 2015, or to receive the 2014 IBW POS Kit, again email Sharon and she will register you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Amazon Overlord

Reposted from: 
Thalia Press Authors Co-op Blog
By Gary Phillips
June 23rd, 2014

There’s an ongoing dust-up over the selling price of e-books between publishing giant Hachette and retail behemoth Amazon. While Hachette author Stephen Colbert can give Amazon the double finger on his show, the rest of us might not be so bold. Not for the first time in a fight with a member of the Big Five, Amazon has shown it is not to be effed with. It has taken away the pre-order buttons on upcoming Hachette books – includingSilkworm by bestseller J.K. Rowling, and current Hachette books are said to be not in stock or new copies are not for sale.
While it would seem that a big, to use the baller term, like Hachette wouldn’t blink and promote its titles on other sources like Barnes and Noble online, iTunes and such, it seems Amazon has it by the short and curlies when it comes to the ebook versions of their cataloge. For reasons that are painfully technical, I reference what sci-fi writer and social commentator Cory Doctrow wrote on this matter in the June 20
“Hachette, more than any other publisher in the industry, has had a single minded insistence on DRM [digital rights management] since the earliest days. It’s likely that every Hachette ebook ever sold has been locked with some company’s proprietary DRM, and therein lies the rub. Under US law only the company that put the D
RM on a copyrighted work can remove it. Although you can learn how to remove Amazon’s DRM with literally a single, three-word search, it is nevertheless illegal to do so, unless you’re Amazon…It is precisely because Hachette has been so successful in selling its ebooks through Amazon that it can’t afford to walk away from the retailer. By allowing Amazon to put a lock on its products whose key only Amazon possessed, Hachette has allowed Amazon to utterly usurp its relationship with its customers.”

There’s a well-done article by George Packer that ran in the February 27 issue of the New Yorkerabout the irresistible rise of Amazon. Entitled “Cheap Words,” the piece begins with this portentous statement, “In the era of the Kindle, a book costs the same price as a sandwich.” Packer goes on to further note that its founder Jeff Bezos intended for Amazon to sell books as a way of gathering data on affluent, educated shoppers. That books would be priced close to cost, in order to increase sales volume.
As an example of how Amazon utilizes its prized data, this past week they released the Fire smartphone. The phone comes with an app called Firefly – not to be confused with Joss Whedon’s cult TV sci-fi show of the same name — that can identify a song from a few lyrics or, I guess, if you point it at a particular crystal vase, hipping you want kind of bric-a-brac it is. Of course these items for just a few clicks away can be ordered, paid for by your credit card on file, and delivered (maybe same-day) to your home or office from Amazon. As a sales incentive, any picture you take with the Fire phone will for free be stored on one of the retailers’ mighty computers.
Hmm, I wonder if facial recognition software will ID a Hachette author you might snap a pic of and the phone sends you a note urging you to buy a book from a Holtzbrinck author?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Local book published recently: Treasure: Orion's Legacy (Volume 1) by William H. Combs

     Star Trek, 2001 A Space Odyssey, ET and Star Wars are all fictional examples of space exploration and encounters that entertain and stimulate our imagination. The legacy of this genre is further enhanced by the author William Combs. In his story, Treasure: Orion's Legacy, William takes us on a compelling space adventure with the main character Bob Collins. 
     Written in an easy to read style, William's book is full of astrophysics what ifs, techno wonders, and aliens. Imagine if you can, being placed in "Balanced Suspension", a form of long term hibernation where the body neither ages nor dies; using advanced medical science to reduce age by genetic manipulation; and using host DNA to create exact body parts with no rejection. This makes possible the ability to increase life spans, not by years or decades, but by centuries. The use of artificial intelligence, (AI), will manage space travel and perform all manner of functions to meet human needs. BOTS as automated tools can carry out repetitive and mundane tasks. 
     In Williams story, travel in our current dimension is only possible at about 85% light speed. However, with 26 known dimensions, several of these are not subject to the limits of light speed. Thus it becomes possible to travel 40.9 light years, or 245.4 trillion miles in 24 earth hours. Applying advanced manipulation of gravity wells will make "normal" movement sensations possible during extremely fast space travel. With hundreds of known nearby stars similar to our sun, there are several containing habitable planets for dispersing earth's crowded population. All of this scientific wonder is wrapped around a love story with devotion to spouse and family. 
     William Combs imagines a better life for all mankind, not just the privileged few, in our world and worlds to come. The benevolent use of advanced scientific knowledge will reduce ignorance, violence, poverty and suffering for all mankind. Phil Eagon. Friend.

About the author:

If you visit Walla Walla, Washington and stop to buy gas at Main Street Conoco, chances are you'll meet me, William Combs. I've worked here for 24 years and I'm well known in my community. If I'm not working on a car or pumping gas, I'll be reading a book. I love the written word. My favorite genre's are Science Fiction, Westerns, Action/Adventures and World War II Aviation History. I am 60 years old and the father of three grown daughters who I am very proud of. They are the joy of my life. I came from a large family and have 5 sisters scattered across the United States. As a hobby I build and fly radio controlled model airplanes. Prior to becoming a mechanic, I worked in the medical field as an emergency room technician at a major trauma medical center in Southern California. I am a former Boy Scout, 1/4 mile Drag Racer and Civil Air Patrol member. One last thing, Chevy's Rule.

Earthlight Books is located across the street and one door down on Main from Combs' Conoco service station. He has been our mechanic for many years now and we are proud to carry his book!

Monday, June 16, 2014

If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? Kurt Vonnegut’s Advice to the Young on Kindness, Computers, Community, and the Power of Great Teachers

“Teaching, may I say, is the noblest profession of all in a democracy.”
Kurt Vonnegut was a man of discipline, achampion of literary style, a kind of modern sage and poetic shaman of happiness, andone wise dad. After the publication of his now-legendary 1969 satirical novelSlaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut added another point of excellence to his résumé: He became one of the country’s most celebrated and sought-after commencement speakers, and like other masters of the genre — includingNeil GaimanDavid Foster WallaceDebbie MillmanAnna QuindlenBill Watterson,Joseph Brodsky, and Ann Patchett — he bestowed his gift of wit and wisdom upon throngs of eager young people entering the so-called “real world.”

If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young (public library) collects the graduation addresses the beloved writer delivered at nine different colleges over the quarter century between 1978 and 2004, among which are his poignant and heartening remarks to the women of the graduating class at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, delivered on May 15, 1999 — the speech from which this entire collection borrows its title.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Most Famous Book Set in Every State

Original Article:

Maps like these are designed to get people arguing in the comments. So, have at it. Do you agree with the book chosen for your state?
The Afternoon Map is a semi-regular feature in which we post maps and infographics. In the afternoon. Semi-regularly. Today's book map was created by Business Insider's Melia Robinson and Melissa Stanger and designed by Mike Nudelman.
April 23, 2014 - 1:20pm

Saturday, March 8, 2014



In his landmark work Principles of Bibliographical Description, issued in 1955, Fredson Bowers scoffed:

"The craze for first impressions of first editions, and first issues of first impressions of first editions, and first states of first impressions of first editions, has occasionally resulted in speculation and bibliographical absurdity among collectors and dealers.... Any minor change made in the course of the original printing is immediately seized on as constituting an 'issue.' A trial binding used for perhaps twenty copies of salesmen's samples becomes a rare 'first issue.'"
But as anyone who has read him knows, Professor Bowers was a cantankerous old blowhard. (And, I have it on authority, notoriously slow to reach for the check at dinner. Just saying.)
"Edition," "impression," "issue," and "state" are terms with very precise bibliographical definitions, to be sure (for a concise discussion, see Terry Belanger's essay, "Descriptive Bibliography," pp. 97-99, in Jean Peters' Book Collecting: A Modern Guide). But for the modern collector, "first issue" is, for all intents and purposes, synonymous with "first edition," and when it comes to edition, First is King.
So. Let's pretend, for a moment, that you're a book. Let's pretend you're a very lucky book. You have been blessed with an editor with impeccable taste, a proofreader with an eagle eye, a printer whose inks are clear and true, a binder who checks his work not twice but thrice, and, most of all, an author who never, EVER, changes his mind.
You are, in all respects, PERFECT.
Yes. Well, that's that then.
Now let's pretend you're kind of, well, an ordinary book. Your editor has two kids under the age of three at home and hasn't slept in six months; your proofreader had a couple too many at bingo last night; your printer sometimes mistakes the green ink for the blue, or vice-versa; your binder has so many jobs waiting in the queue that he considers it a moral victory when he manages to get the title page bound in somewhere near the front half of the book; and your author just had a fight with her husband and, halfway through the print run, has decided to dedicate you, you poor abused, luckless tome, to the local cat rescue facility, instead.

Which brings us to the "points of issue."

First edition of The Great Gatsby
The making, printing, binding, and distribution of a book is a complicated and collaborative project. Mistakes are, to put it mildly, made. Typos are (hopefully) caught and corrected midway through print runs. Printers run out of paper and switch to a different brand after only a few hundred copies have been run off. Dust jackets sometimes mysteriously come off the press with the wrong colors, or lacking a photo credit or price, and are re-printed and replaced on as many volumes as have not actually left the factory.
This means that those earliest copies - the ones with the typos, the heavier-weight paper, the incorrect dust-jacket - are out there in the wild, ripe for the picking by the astute collector who knows that the true first issue of Ben Hur is dedicated "To The Wife of My Youth." (Later issues were re-dedicated "To The Wife of My Youth - Who Still Abides With Me" after Lew Wallace received thousands of letters of condolence - and not a few marriage proposals - from fans who thought that Susan Wallace - still very much alive - had died.)

Famous examples of first-issue "points" include...

  • A plethora of typos in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (as well as a missing blurb on the rear panel of the dust jacket)
  • A missing dedication page in Salinger's Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenters (later issues have the dedication page tipped in, hastily and wastily, at random spots)
  • Hemingway's Men Without Women has a number of points of issue, including a paper change which resulted in the earlier issue being heavier (printed on 80# paper) - so that copies printed later weigh only 15.8 ounces apiece.

More Resources for Points of Issue

There are field guides that can help you sort the wheat from the chaff, such as Bill McBride's Points of Issue and Allen and Patricia Ahearn's Collected Books, and of course there's much useful (though sometimes misleading - caveat emptor!) information on the Internet.
But sometimes a full-on author bibliography is called for. For instance, the Ahearns' guide will tell you about the addition to the wording in the dedication to Ben Hur. What they neglect to mention is that the first edition of the book (with the 6-word dedication) went through no fewer than 5 (or possibly 6!) different binding cloths, colors, and styles; at least 3 different states of the advertisements (bound in at the rear); and 2 different states of the title page. For that information, you need to turn to the definitive Wallace bibliography, the dauntingly titled Bibliographical Studies of Seven Authors of Crawfordsville, Indiana: Lew and Susan Wallace, Maurice and Will Thompson, Mary Hannah and Caroline Virginia Krout, and Meredith Nicholson, by Dorothy Ritter Russo and Thelma Lois Sullivan.
And, though Professor Bowers might be left cold by "These works [which] ... are a series of signposts leading the collector from 'point' to 'point' of the correct state of the impression to purchase," in this case, the collector (or dealer) might be forgiven for wanting to know the difference.
Because when it comes to market, a first edition Ben Hur with the correct dedication, title page, advertisements, and the pretty china-blue floral binding is an entirely different animal, price-wise, than all the rest!
cynthia gibson
Author Bio:
Formerly the founder and manager of the now-defunct Rare Books Department at Barnes & Noble, Cynthia Gibson is currently engaged in an exciting new venture,, which she hopes not to drive to a similar end. Further details of her sketchy life history can be found on her personal web site, She is eager to be reached at