Books

Abrams Books‘ staffers work to complete an origami version of Jabba from Tom Angleberger’s The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett as part of the celebration of the new book and the launch of the new OrigamiYoda.com website. The Origami Yoda books are just way too much fun, and Tom, as you can see from the video below, is an author who knows how to create an incredible amount of enthusiasm about reading and creativity.

Author Lauren Myracle signing galley copies of her forthcoming YA novel The Infinite Moment of Us at the Abrams booth at BEA 2013. The new book comes out on August 20, 2013. You can read select sample chapters at laurenmyracle.com.

And be sure to also check out art director Maria Middleton’s inspiration for the very cool cover of the book.

Love seeing these types of endcaps at bookstores. Here, chapbooks from New Herring Press are featured at McNally Jackson in NYC. I picked up Apprenticeship by Amanda Davidson.

Culminating a month long celebration of poetry at our Poetry Bomb Tumblr during National Poetry Month, Abrams Books and Tumblr presented this fantastic live poetry event at Housing Works Bookstore in NYC on April 30, 2013. Featured readers included both emerging and established poets: Paul Muldoon, Leigh Stein, Melissa Broder, Cathy Park Hong, Kevin Grijalva, and Faith Hahn.

Leigh Stein

Kevin Grijalva

Melissa Broder

Faith Hahn

Cathy Park Hong

Paul Muldoon

I was very excited to hear about the new Kindle Serials program that Amazon announced last month. Amazon has a way of carving out new marketplaces for digital content, and though serials are nothing new, the Kindle Serials program brings some new life to the form.

Here are just a few initial thoughts:

The new program got lots of attention during and just after the Amazon press conference on September 6, but one thing that I haven’t seen written up is the very low price point — at least with the serials that the program launched with, you pay just $1.99 upfront and you get ALL installments of the serial novel delivered as they come available. I realize this is an introductory price, but if you start out low, it’s tough to then attempt to set a higher price standard later on. Naturally, people respond positively to lower pricing, and go negative if prices start to climb.

And the very low-price point, again, while great for customers, is going to make it difficult to develop a true serials business. The percentages just aren’t going to make much sense. I get the low pricing for the short-form (Kindle Singles), but this is installment-based short-form writing that adds up to a long-form piece. It makes sense to price it closer to a full-length work.

Paying up front for all installments makes it much easier for consumers — they don’t have to remember to come back when new installments become available, as they will just get delivered to the purchaser’s device, slotted right into the serialized ebook. But it takes away the option of incremental payments for each new chapter. There’s no revenue incentive to keep a serial going — for the writer or publisher. It actually makes sense to wrap it up fairly quickly. That’s too bad because part of the fun of the serial form is to draw out the experience.

Another aspect that has come up with the Kindle Serials program is that writers of serials can interact with and take into account fan reactions, comments and suggestions as they work their way through the writing process. Amazon has said they will use the forums on the product pages to encourage this. The problem is Amazon’s forums are pretty lacking in terms of true online community. More likely, writers will be able to leverage their own online platform — most likely Twitter and Facebook — to foster this kind of writer/reader interaction.

Perhaps most of all, Amazon’s full circle ecosystem for publishing and delivering digital content direct to consumers gives it clear advantages. Technically, publishing a serial is pretty easy — you can do it on a website, in a stand-alone app, in a print magazine — but being able to seamlessly deliver content to a device that millions of people are already buying and reading content on is very clearly one of the most effective ways to establish a viable serial program.

All this being said, it’s fantastic to see these new pockets in the marketplace for digital content opening up. Readers obviously benefit from the options, and writers have new ways to present and publish content.

Beautiful day, great panels, huge crowd, books everywhere. Big cheers for an awesome Brooklyn Book Festival.

“Characters on Characters” panel featuring Dennis Lehane, Edwidge Danticat, and Walter Mosley. By far my favorite panel comment came from Dennis Lehane, talking about the “literary fiction” he is absolutely not interested in: “I don’t care about a middle-aged professor having an affair with his student written by a middle-aged professor having an affair with his student.”

“The Sex Panel: Taboo in Pictures,” moderated Heidi MacDonald, featuring Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Leela Corman, Molly Crabapple, and Bob Fingerman.

Fantastic panel (“1st over 40″) moderated by Alexander Chee featuring writers who broke through after 40: Carin Clevidence, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, and Julia Glass.

There was always a flurry of activity at the Greenlight Bookstore booth.

And wow, what an incredible line-up. The festival is on Sunday, September 23, from 10 am to 6 pm, but there are events going on all week. The events before and after the actual festival are considered “Bookend” events. In short: there are a week’s worth of awesome literary events in Brooklyn, starting Monday, Sept. 17. The point: set aside some time right now to review all your options and begin planning out your own personal Brooklyn Book Festival schedule.

Here are some key links that will help you discover all your options and get the latest festival updates:
— Brooklyn Book Festival’s website, Facebook and Twitter (the hashtag for the festival is #BKBF).
Bookends Schedule
Festival Schedule

And here are a couple of links to specific events that I think are definitely worth checking out:
— Tumblr, Electric Literature, The New Inquiry, & LA Review of Books Opening Night Party for Brooklyn Book Festival Bookends on Monday, Sept. 17.
Bookend Events at powerHouse Arena on Sept. 19, 20, and 21.

Over 300 people showed up celebrate the #JC100 @powerHouseArena on August 15, 2012. It may have been thundering and raining right around the 7 pm start time, but that didn’t keep people away. Alyssa Shelasky did a great job handling the MC duties, and our four speakers — Tamar Adler (author of An Everlasting Meal), Dave Crofton (One Girl Cookies), Matt Lewis (Baked), and Deb Perelman (SmittenKitchen.com) — gave wonderful, inspiring tributes to Julia Child.

I’ve storified the evening’s tweets, which probably tell the story best.

Here are some pictures from the event:

Alyssa Shelasky opens the program.

Tamar Adler.

Dave Crofton of One Girl Cookies.

Matt Lewis of Baked.

Deb Perelman of SmittenKitchen.com.

More photos can be found here and here and here.

And special thanks to the following sites and blogs and people that posted announcements about the event and helped us get the word out about the celebration: powerHouse Arena (of course); Brooklyn Based; Rachel Fershleiser; Abrams; Gothamist; Time Out New York; Village Voice; New York Grub Street; Bomb; brooklynbullshit.com; The L Magazine; This Week In New York; Nifty NYC; and GalleyCat.

Super-excited about the event I’ve been working to put together to celebrate Julia Child’s centenary. The event is tomorrow tonight (Wednesday, 8/15/12) from 7 to 9 pm at powerHouse Arena in Dumbo. The line-up: Tamar Adler (author of An Everlasting Meal), Dave Crofton (One Girl Cookies), Matt Lewis (Baked), and Deb Perelman (SmittenKitchen.com). Serving as MC: Alyssa Shelasky (author of Apron Anxiety).

There’s also a bake-off, if you dare.

Full details here. Make sure to RSVP.

Here’s the awesome event poster, which was created by Tina Wang:

What an awesome place for a reading! Martin Amis read from his new novel Lionel Asbo as part of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Books Beneath the Bridge reading series. It was absolutely fantastic to hear such an amazing author read his latest work while kicking back outside with views of the East River, the Manhattan skyline, and of course, the Brooklyn Bridge.

Note that this was the last event in the reading series during summer 2012, but the park of course has ongoing programming. Most of all, I should point out that just going to the park to relax on the grass or enjoy a nice stroll along the river is a regular must-do.