Happy 40th birthday to travel publisher Lonely Planet. Just after they were married, Tony and Maureen Wheeler travelled across Europe and Aisa, happy but flat broke. They wrote their first travel guide because so many friends kept asking questions about their trip. The stapled-together book sold 1,500 copies. They never got traveling, or guidebooks, out of their systems.
Lonely Planet is now the number one guidebook publisher with over 500 titles and 100 million copies sold.
- News: Indie Bookstore Sales of Kobo Ebooks Dwarf Google; Still Small, by Jeremy Greenfield – “Just six months after forging a partnership with the American Booksellers Association (ABA) to help independent bookstores sell ebooks, Canadian upstart Kobo has shown that it can crush the competition – even when the competition is one of the world’s largest and most admired companies.” Digital Book World
- News: Thin Reads, an online guide to e-singles, launches, By Laura Hazard Owen – “Thin Reads, a website devoted to e-singles, launched Monday. The site offers reviews and author interviews, bestseller lists drawn from Amazon and a database of titles.” Paid Content
- Reviews: “150 Best Desserts in A Jar” by Andrea Jourdan and “150 Best Ebelskiver Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury,” reviewed by Linda L. Richards – “When it comes to esoteric cookbooks, there aren’t a lot of outfits who can beat Robert Rose. It’s not that the company produces weird cookbooks. And they’re mostly pretty good. What gets me is what would seem to be the limited potential market for some of these books. ” January Magazine
- Viewpoint: Bob Schieffer: Newspapers’ decline could lead to unprecedented ‘corruption’ by Steve Friess – “Local news stations must pick up the slack in local investigative journalism brought on by the demise of newspapers or the nation will be beset with a wave of unprecedented official corruption, CBS anchor Bob Schieffer said as he accepted the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award on Monday in Las Vegas.” Politico
- Viewpoint: Scott Turow decries ‘slow death’ of the American author, by Alison Flood – “Novelist and Authors Guild president fulminates against depletion of writers’ incomes by publishers, libraries and copyright changes” The Guardian
- Interview: Owen King (“Double Feature”), with Brad Listi – “Larry McMurtry says ‘Double Feature is a beautiful, wrenching beginning, and Owen King is a young writer of immense promise.’…Monologue topics: listener feedback, overdoing gender politics, Bad Sex in Fiction Award.” Other People
- Quotation: “The codex, which is the ancestor of the book, was invented 2,500 years ago, and ever since then the book business has been in incredible flux, and it’s not going to change. But one thing that’s also not going to change is people love to go to bookstores, and people still have tremendous loyalty for the physical book. And our task and our challenge is to give the people of Concord the best bookstore that we can possibly put up.” – Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, N.H
- Lists: The 25 Books Every Kid Should Have on Their Bookshelf, by Emily Temple – “This month marks the 70th anniversary of one of our favorite children’s books of all time, the beautiful, contemplative novella The Little Prince. To celebrate the book’s legacy (and to encourage any parents currently dragging their feet to get it for their little ones), we’ve put together a list of 25 essential books that every kid should have on his or her bookshelf growing up.” Flavorwire
- News: B&N Launches Nook Press – “Nook Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, has launched Nook Press, a self-publishing e-book program designed with input from PubIt!, B&N’s original self-publishing platform, and using technology from partner FastPencil.” – ShelfAwareness . . .for details, see the Digital Book World story.
- Event: Kick Off events for World Book Night 2013, by Erin Cox – “While World Book Night is completely focused on the 25,000 volunteers and getting you the books and materials, supporting the bookstore and library host locations, and the 500,000 future book recipients, we DO want to get publicity for World Book Night, of course. We want to support your efforts as you go out on April 23, and we want to increase awareness of the value of reading and community.” World Book Night
- Essay: Paucity of Art in the Age of Big Data: A Dispatch from San Francisco, by Lydia Kiesling – “My quest to find the great tech novel — something sprawling and social and occurring inside the Teach-Up and outside the restaurant and around the home of the displaced shopowner and the H1B-visa programmer — is in itself a kind of solutionism. Novels are captured social data. ” The Millions
- Review: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” by Neil Gaiman, reviewed by Ray Olson – “Gaiman mines mythological typology—the three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)—and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and the theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he’s told since Stardust (1999). And don’t worry about that “for adults” designation: it’s a matter of tone. This lovely yarn is good for anyone who can read it.” BookList
- Feature: Are you Writing to Reach a Particular Kind of Reader? by Pat Bertram – “I am the reader I was writing for. There were stories I wanted to read and couldn’t find, so I wrote them. The dichotomy of this is that I always wanted to reach a large readership and make a living by writing, so it would have been more practical to write books that a large number of people would like. ” Angie’s Diary
- Commentary: Annette Funicello: End of an Era, by M. R. Moore – “Annette Funicello’s death, at age seventy, occurred one day after the Sunday night premiere of season 6 of Mad Men. The pilot of the show, you will recall, was set in the year 1960: the same year Annette Funicello segued from The Mickey Mouse Club (which aired from 1955 to 1959) to her career as a singer and performer in a passel of musicals produced in Hollywood, before the British Invasion transformed youth culture. ” The Paris Review
- Feature: To: 5 Tips for Self-published Authors to Maximize Rights and Licensing Deals, by Hannah Shepphard – “The discussion of the pros (and cons) of self-publishing (or indie publishing, if you prefer) rages across a wide gamut of publishing media every day. But the debates all focus on the idea of getting a book published in one market — what few fail to address is how self-published authors can maximise the full potential of their creative work in terms of rights licensing deals.” Publishing Perspectives
- Review: “Deserter.” by Charles Glass, reviewed by Chitra Ramaswamy – “150,000 Allied soldiers deserted in the Second World War. Now the stories of three of them are told for the first time in a fascinating new book…”Deserter” explores “the last untold story of the Second World War” through the individual histories of three combat soldiers who deserted: Steve Weiss, John Vernon Bain, who fought with the Gordon Highland Regiment in North Africa and Normandy, and Al Whitehead, who survived Omaha Beach. ” The Scotsman (This book is titled “The Deserters” in the U.S.)
- Feature: Searching for Bill Watterson by Liv Combe – “The creator of “Calvin and Hobbes” is notoriously reclusive. Does he owe it to his fans to stay in the spotlight? ” Salon
- Interview: “Z,” by Therese Anne Fowler. . .Giving Zelda ‘a fair shake’ in a fictional memoir, by Cat Acree – “As it turns out, Zelda wasn’t crazy. She was probably misdiagnosed as schizophrenic and more likely suffered from bipolar disorder. Her wild behavior in New York has also been exaggerated over time (though she did jump from a table down a flight of stairs). ” Book Page
- Obituary: Peter Workman Dies at Age 74 – “Peter Workman, who founded Workman Publishing in 1967 as a book packager and turned it into one of the country’s most successful independent publishers, died April 7 after a battle with cancer. He was 74.” Publishers Weekly
- News: Meet the 17-Year-Old Who’s Already Got a Three-Book Deal with Random House, by Jen Doll – “Beth Reekles is the 17-year-old Welsh high school student who posted her first novel, The Kissing Booth, online at the story-sharing site Wattpad, where it got more than 19 million views—not to mention the eyes of editors at Random House Children’s Publishers UK. They reached out, which led to her book’s release in Britain.” Atlantic Wire
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“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy novels and short stories, and the satire “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire.”