The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Amazon’s new discounts, ‘Byzantium,’ David Gilbert, Scorsese on Cinema

BookBitsAnakana Schofield, the author of Malarky, (Item 7) raises some questions about book promotion that sound familiar to those of us who write novels. One thing that rings especially true is the fact that people tell her she’s lucky to have a published book on the market.

In one sense, that’s true, since publishing is such a crapshoot. But in another sense, the “you should feel lucky” comment discounts the hard work, often over a long period of time when there was little or no income, that goes into a novel. Luck doesn’t write the books.

Today’s links:

  1. News: Amazon hikes sales, but posts $7m loss in second quarter, by Lisa Campbell – “Amazon posted a surprise loss of $7m (or £4.56m) in its second quarter, despite achieving a 22% hike in sales to $15.7bn (£10.2bn) in the period. Shares fell 2% at the news.” The Bookseller
  2. lonerangerCommentary: How the Western Was Lost (and Why It Matters), by Michael Agresta – “As superheroes, sequels, and international appeal influence Hollywood studios, films from the frontier are riding off into the sunset—just when America needs them most. ”  The Atlantic
  3. News: Independent Penguin Goes Out on High Note, by Jim Milliot – “In reporting its last results as an independent publisher Penguin Group posted a 16% gain in sales, to 513 million pounds, and a 27% rise in adjusted operating profit to 28 million pounds. Favorable exchange rates helped the increase, but even without the currency bump sales were up 6% and profits 14%.”  Publisher’s Weekly
  4. ByzantiumReview: “Byzantium,” by Ben Stroud, reviewed by Malcolm Forbes – “‘Byzantium,’ Ben Stroud’s collection of short stories, is proof, if ever it were needed, that the short story can hold its own alongside the novel. ‘Short’ can still mean capacious, just as ‘story’ can speak volumes. Indeed, several of the tales here contain more ideas, more depth — more life — than a longer prose work” Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  5. How To: 50 Idioms About Legs, Feet, and Toes, by Mark Nichol – “Here is a list of expressions that refer to one’s legs or feet or their parts, and the meaning of each idiom.” Daily Writing Tips
  6. freudmistressFeature: Spend your weekend with ‘Freud’s Mistress,’ fiction about the father of analysis, by Jocelyn McClurg – “What should you read this weekend? USA TODAY’s picks for book lovers include two new memoirs that will appeal to travelers and foodies, and a novel about Sigmund Freud’s affair with his sister-in-law. Freud’s Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman.” The article also looks at other top picks. USA Today
  7. Viewpoint: Anakana Schofield: publicising a novel – the problems – “The first-time novelist asks why the media are so interested in herself, not her book, and why can’t she be paid?” The Guardian
  8. Gilbert


    Interview: David Gilbert (“& Sons”), with Alden Mudge – “David Gilbert seems largely unfazed by the online kerfuffle regarding the title of his terrific second novel ‘& Sons.’ ‘I heard a little about it after the fact,’ Gilbert admits during a call to his office on the ground floor of the Greenwich Village apartment where he lives with his wife and their three children, ages 11, 10 and almost 5. The issue is that ‘&’ as an opening character refuses to show up in Internet searches, which could mean that online book buyers will miss a chance to read one of the best novels of the year.” BookPage

  9. Feature: ‘Cloud Atlas’ author is rare novelist-translator, by Hillel Italie – “‘The Reason I Jump,’ coming out in the U.S. next month, is a memoir about autism and a deeply personal book for [David] Mitchell, the father of an autistic boy. But he is not the author…Mitchell and his wife, K.A. Yoshida, were the translators.” The Denver Post
  10. sisterlandReview: “Sisterland,” by Curtis Sittenfeld – “Her psychic sister’s prediction of a major earthquake unsettles a St. Louis woman’s life in the latest from best-selling Sittenfeld (American Wife, 2008, etc.)…A rich portrait of intricate relationships within and among families by one of commercial fiction’s smartest, most perceptive practitioners.” Kirkus Reviews
  11. Essay: The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema, by Martin Scorsese – “Whenever I hear people dismiss movies as “fantasy” and make a hard distinction between film and life, I think to myself that it’s just a way of avoiding the power of cinema. Of course it’s not life—it’s the invocation of life, it’s in an ongoing dialogue with life.” The New York Review of Books
  12. amazonlogoNews: Amazon’s ‘Declaration of War’ – “Yesterday quietly began discounting many bestselling hardcover titles between 50% and 65%, levels we’ve never seen in the history of Amazon or in the bricks-and-mortar price wars of the past. The books are from a range of major publishers and include, for example, ‘Inferno’ by Dan Brown, which has a list price of $29.95 but is available on Amazon for $11.65, a 61% discount; ” ShelfAwareness
  13. Commentary: Barnes & Noble’s Ex-CEO Might Still Have a Job If He Cared About Books, by Arit John – “Earlier this month William Lynch, the Barnes & Noble CEO responsible for pushing the company’s failing Nook business, resigned. Since then, the general consensus in the publishing world was that while the nation’s largest bookseller may yet survive, Lynch took the company off course. ” The Atlantic Wire
  14. thistownReview: “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral in America’s Gilded Capital,” by Mark Leibovich, reviewed by Erik Spanberg – “What really goes on among the power-brokers of Washington, D.C.? New York Times Magazine correspondent Mark Leibovich tells us in a book that is as dark as it is wildly entertaining.” The Christian Science Monitor
  15. News: Margaret Atwood writes her first opera about the tragic life of Canadian heroine Pauline Johnson, by Nick Clark – “Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood is set to finally see a 15-year project realised, when her first commissioned opera is staged in 2014.” The Independent

“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of “The Sun Singer,” Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire,” “The Sailor,” “The Seeker,” and “Sarabande.”

Contemporary fantasy

Contemporary fantasy


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