Chelsea Green Continues To Chew Its Own Foot

Posted on February 16th, 2009 in Topically Topical by Gerry

In an interview with Book Business, Chelsea Green President Margo Baldwin continues to dig her own grave with independent book sellers.

For those of you in the cheap seats, check out this post. There are a couple more on the subject, but this gives you the general idea.

The money quote for me comes early in the interview, when Baldwin states:

It seems [that it is] sometimes hard for booksellers to understand that we are not in the same business as them and do not have the exact same priorities. Nor do they seem to understand the challenges of a small publisher competing against the corporate conglomerates.

Margo, for the last time, here’s is the reason that independent booksellers are po’d at you. Your company spent a lot of time and effort courting the business of independent booksellers. You proceeded to get in bed with Bezos & Co. because it was economically expedient for you. You then belittle the frustration that booksellers were feeling with your open letter to booksellers (which is, curiously, no longer available on your website).

Listen, if you wanna bump uglies with Amazon, it’s a free country. However, do you know why you don’t hear a thousand indies screaming bloody murder when it was announced that Stephen King had penned an exclusive novella for the Kindle? It’s because King didn’t spend the last eight months telling independent booksellers how wonderful they are and how important they are to his survival. Everyone knows that he’s looking out for number one.

At least he’s honest about it.

Hey Random House, You Can Stop Laying Off Employees. Dan Brown Has Finished Da Vinci Code Sequel!

Posted on February 13th, 2009 in Book News by Gerry

According to, of all places, Entertainment Tonight, Dan Brown has finally finished the sequel to his mega-bestseller of 2003. Actually, this will be his third novel featuring professor of religious symbology Robert Langdon.

Will readers still care?

Doubtlessly, Random House will print a copy for every man, woman and child in the industrialized world.

According to the article, it’s going to be called The Soloman Key, but there hasn’t been any word out from the publisher about a tentative publication date.

Chances are that this will be the BIG title at BEA if this is true. But I’ll also bet that there will be ZERO galleys, least anybody poo-poo the sequel.

(via Jacket Copy)

A Great Article On Ebooks & Readers

Posted on February 13th, 2009 in Topically Topical by Gerry

The gadget hounds over at Gizmodo have penned a very well-informed article about the state of ebook readers in light of the recent announcement of Kindle 2.0 from Amazon.

What makes this refreshing is that the writer assumes that, somewhere down the line, ebook readers will be the norm. However, it’s free from both the blind kowtowing to technology and the emotional knee-jerk reaction that nothing could ever replace the printed book.

I freely admit to being guilty of the latter.

Charity Or Goulish Opportunism: You Make The Call

Posted on February 12th, 2009 in Topically Topical by Gerry

In the wake of HarperCollins scorched earth restructuring, Stephen Viscusi, author of Bulletproof Your Job (published by Harper last  September), has offered the former employees of his publisher a fifty percent discount on services at his resume-building website.

I suppose that he means well, but I can’t help but feel that this is more than a little tasteless, which is why I’m not listing his website. Feel free to Google him if you like.

(Via GalleyCat)

EDIT-as promised, here’s a link to the New Yorker article he mentioned-

Will The Last Person To Get Fired Please Turn Off The Lights?

Posted on February 11th, 2009 in Topically Topical by Gerry


HarperCollins, in the face of disastrous revenue results, has begun a massive restructuring, resulting in an untold number of employees being shown the door.

One of the victims is a beloved sales rep based in the Northwest, making it difficult for me to be my usual glib self.

In addition to massive layoffs, they are closing the Collins and Bowen imprints, as well as Spanish-language imprint Rayo.

Memo to publishing monoliths: how about paying less for celebrity books and using that loot to keep your staff.

The real kicker here: the settlement that they paid to Judith Reagan a while back probably would have kept these folks employed for years.

(image from

Random Thoughts On Kindle 2.0

Posted on February 10th, 2009 in Book News by Gerry


Just like Kindle 1.0, it’s available in any color you want, as long as it’s white.

Its design looks a lot better then the previous version, which looked so ugly that one could believe that Bezos & Co. weren’t paying attention, saw it, and just decided to run with it anyway.

You’re limited to the 2GB memory hardwired into it, without any opportunity to expand it.

There is a feature that will translate text into speech. Give Bezos & Co. credit for finding new audiences for this device: the blind and the illiterate. While I haven’t heard it personally, I suspect that it will sound less like Jeremy Irons and more like the computer from Wargames.

Kindle owners will have a chance to pony up $3.99 to read an exclusive novella by Stephen King. According to a report in PW, the story “includes a scene which is a long product placement for Amazon and the Kindle, and noted that in the piece the main character’s Kindle gives him super powers”.

Isn’t this the same guy that called Stephenie Meyer a hack last week?

Also, the new Kindle can turn pages faster. Now, if only people could read them faster.

First One Is Always Free

Posted on February 9th, 2009 in Graphic Novels by Gerry

Fantagraphics, publisher of such fine graphic novels as Love & Rockets and Acme Novelty Library, is now making PDF excerpts of upcoming graphic novels available for anyone with a web connection.

I’m not talking about one or two watermarked pages, these are substantial. For example, if you wanted to check out the upcoming Complete Dennis the Menace 1959-1960, you can read download every strip from January of 1959.

PDFs are hardly a substitute for the real thing, so it makes good business sense for Fantagraphics to do this in an effort to drum up interest.  Hopefully other publishers, graphic or otherwise, will take note. I don’t know why, but this has a different feel to it than merely posting a sample chapter.

(Via The Beat)

Coraline Opens Today. Do You Have Enough Books?

Posted on February 6th, 2009 in Uncategorized by Gerry


It’s been cooking for a long time, but Henry Selick’s 3-D stop-motion adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline opens in theaters today.

I suspect that more American’s will want to see this over the weekend than Steve Martin’s career plummet even further or Die Hard trapped in a fat joke.

Coraline is available in both a paperback tie-in edition (Harper TP 9780061649691 $6.99) and a nifty graphic novel adaptation-I mean it’s an adaptation of the novel, not the film- (Harper TP 9780060825430 $18.99).

(photo from Focus Features-nicked from Cinema Blend)

Don't Beat Around The Bush, Alan, How Do You Really Feel?

Posted on February 5th, 2009 in From Page to Screen by Gerry

Ever wonder why Alan Moore hates Hollywood and what they’ve done to his films? Britain’s Total Film has an exclusive interview with the Watchmen creator. Turns out, he doesn’t just dislike adaptations of his own works, but comic book films in general.


He starts off okay, but he becomes a bit more unhinged as the interview progresses. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But, if I had to deal with Hollywood suits the way he has, I’d probably be bitter too.

(uncredited photo from Total Film)

Today Is Officially Scott Pilgrim Day

Posted on February 4th, 2009 in Graphic Novels by Gerry

Oni Press has just released Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe, the fifth volume of the greatest graphic novel series in the history of mankind.

It’s only being released to the comic trade for now (hey, at least its not a Walmart exclusive). Trade bookstores should expect their copies in a few weeks from Diamond.

Personally, I can’t wait that long, so I’ll be going to the release party being hosted in Portland by Floating World Comics from 6-10 pm. Bryan Lee O’Malley will not be there, but you’ll be able to score some cool exclusive SP swag.


Also, don’t dally on getting a copy. The first printing has a kick-ass foil cover, as you can see in the photo above. Sadly, the hot-pink obi band is only available if you buy it at New York Comic Con.

If you don’t mind spoiling the experience, you can read a few pages of SPVTU at New York magazine.

(photo yanked from destroyer zooey’s livejournal-O’Malley’s  blog, preview link via Topless Robot)

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