Arthouse - Art for the New Ronald McDonald House

See links below regarding the Ronald McDonald House fundraising exhibition in Wellington that's coming up on 21 September:

Mikinobu Komatsu_Autumn Morning in Nelson
Mikinobu Komatsu, Autumn Morning in Nelson, C-Type print, edition 1/20, 600 x 400mm, $2,050

Book Review: Schulz on Zadie Smith's NW

NEW YORK: English novelist Zadie Smith poses for a portrait session in December 2008, New York, NY. (Photo by Steve Pyke/Contour by Getty Images)
Twelve years ago, in what remains one of the most remarkable literary debuts of our time, Zadie Smith strode into the new millennium and stole the show. Her first book, White Teeth, was funny, smart, and stunningly self-assured, and it announced the arrival not just of a novel but of a novelist: someone who could really do this fiction thing, who took its possibilities both seriously and gleefully.
Not that everyone was sold. The literary critic James Wood famously accused Smith and her stylistic peers (DeLillo, Pynchon, Rushdie) of “hysterical realism.” Rather than challenging realism, as modernism had done, they took it over like kids in a condemned building, overcrowding it, stringing the party lights of plot across the roof, hanging a story or six out of every window. What they sacrificed along the way, Wood argued, was psychological development and moral seriousness.
Me, I loved Smith’s narrative exuberance, and I don’t think any literary desiderata were harmed in the making of her tales. However antic her storytelling got, the story itself—about how we negotiate the legacy of colonialism, and the small mutual colonization that is marriage—did not strike me as lacking in emotional or ethical heft.
Interestingly, though, after her 2005 book, On Beauty—another brilliant update to the traditional novel—Smith herself started looking askance at the form. In her own most famous piece of literary criticism, she proposed “Two Paths for the Novel”: the long, worn road of realism, or the fresh earth flung up by the deconstruction workers who came along and bulldozed it—exposing its foundations in white liberal thought, demolishing its bedrock assumptions about meaning, language, and selfhood.
Smith championed the second path, and her new book seems to be an attempt to travel it. NW is about the divergent adulthoods forged by four people who grew up in Caldwell, a council estate (or housing project) in the eponymous northwest quadrant of London. It is also about a terrible crime, the nature of trust, the reach of the past, and whether any of us controls our own life story.
This is promising literary terrain, thematically sprawling and emotionally dense, well suited to Smith’s eagle eye and formidable wingspan.
Read full review at Vulture


from We Love this Book

Zadie Smith, who shot to literary fame aged 25 with her debut White Teeth, talks to us about London and writing

One of the most eagerly awaited literary offerings this autumn is NW, the new novel from Zadie Smith. It’s a return to the fertile north-west London setting of her hugely successful debut White Teeth. Fittingly, we meet at The Paradise Club on Kilburn Lane, about a mile from where Smith grew up in Willesden and where, earlier this summer, she gave the first public reading of NWto an enthusiastic audience of booksellers.
It’s been seven years since her last novel, the Orange Prize-winning On Beauty. Smith explains that she wrote the first few pages of NW that long ago, “and just got stuck there for a really long time, about five years”. That is usually the way with her books, but “it was a longer struggle than usual”.

Zadie Smith "owes life" to libraries

Author Zadie Smith has spoken out about the importance of libraries, saying she owes her "whole life" to them.
The writer, whose new novel NW was released by Hamish Hamilton on Monday, was speaking in an interview with Richard Bacon on BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday.
Smith said libraries were essential to providing an “equality of opportunity”, and said: “A library is the most simple and open way to give people access to books.” Talking about her own career as novelist, she said: “I owe my whole life to books and libraries. The library was a place I went to to find out was there was to know.”
She said that the internet could never be a rival for what libraries offered, because the way it ordered information was different.
Smith’s first novel, White Teeth (Penguin), won a clutch of awards, while her second, On Beauty (Penguin), was nominated for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Museum Treasures Tell Their Stories

The long-awaited launch of 'Flashback: Tales and Treasures of Taranaki' has arrived.
Three years in the making and based on the objects, images and taonga in Puke Ariki’s heritage collection, the book captures stories spanning several hundred years and paints a fascinating picture of some of the personalities and events that have made their mark on Taranaki.

“We were looking at different ways to share the collection widely with people; to make it more accessible,” says author Andrew Moffat, the Social History Curator at Puke Ariki. "So this is not so much a book about a museum collection, but more an historical visitors guide to some of the stories and people of Taranaki."

Stories and images abound, from the mystery of the Māori wooden tools which defy explanation to the development of the original Swanndri in 1913 by William Broome and the establishment of power in Stratford in 1899, New Zealand's third town to 'power up'. Find out about the discovery and recovery of the abandoned, unfinished totara Pūtikituna waka, which travelled hundreds of kilometres but was never in the water. See the first New Zealand made motorbike helmets - safety tested in ovens, pounded by lead weights and designed by an off-beat model maker. Discover the story of a quiet carpenter who became a gun-toting highwayman before being unmasked during a botched hold-up.

Moffat says most people living in Taranaki will find a connection to at least one story in 'Flashback'. 'One of the things I love about my job is bringing our work to life for the public, to see them make a connection with their history, and that is what we have tried to do with this book.'

'Flashback: Tales and Treasures of Taranaki' is published by Huia Publishers with the support of the New Plymouth District Council (Puke Ariki) and the Lysaght-Watt Trust. The invitation-only launch will be held on Wednesday 5th September 2012 at Puke Ariki, New Plymouth.

E-Books And Libraries

Guest Host:Frank Sesno

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 
A woman reads an e-book at a book fair in Frankfurt, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009.   - (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
A woman reads an e-book at a book fair in Frankfurt, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009.
(AP Photo/Michael Probst)

E-Books And Libraries
More than three-quarters of the nation's public libraries lend books electronically, a fact that's not widely known among the reading public. Some publishers worry that e-book borrowers don't buy books. But a recent study suggests that among those who read books electronically, 41 percent of those who borrow them from the library purchased their most recent e-book. Guest host Frank Sesno and his guests discuss the current and future role of e-books at our nation's libraries.
In the past year, libraries have seen a sharp growth in e-book borrowing. That trend is transforming the relationship between libraries and publishers. Libraries need to offer electronic books to remain relevant today. But some publishers worry lending e-books will lead to piracy and loss of sales. Two of the big six publishers license their e-books to libraries. Others are exploring pilot programs or have declined to participate. Many library patrons are frustrated with the limited availability of titles and long waiting lists. And some buy a copy of the e-book anyway. Guest host, Frank Sesno, and his guests discuss the challenges of e-booking lending at the library.


Jeremy Greenfield
editorial director of F+W Media's Digital Book World.
Carrie Russell
director of the Program for Public Access to Information, Office of Information Technology, The American Library Association.
Allan Adler
vice president of legal and government affairs at the Association of American Publishers.
Vailey Oehlke
director of libraries at Multnomah County Library in Portland, Ore.


First Look: Marilyn Monroe in Bed and Sticking Her Tongue Out, in Marilyn

To mark the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death, Florence's Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is releasing a book full of iconic and never-before-seen images of the star, to accompany an exhibit in her honor. Monroe was a loyal Ferragamo customer— she owned dozens of pairs of the designer's shoes and is credited with making his four-inch-heel pumps famous.
Monroe's footwear and 50 of her outfits are on display at the museum, but the book chronicles her day-to-day life. Click ahead to see her at age 3, with husbands Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, at various photo shoots, and holding her dog Maf Honey before the book, edited by Stefania Ricci and Sergio Risaliti, hits shelves September 25.
Images at Vulture

Don Donovan's World

Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author - 31 August 2012

Leaves From My Sketchbooks. 12. All Saints, Manaia

The door stuck so hard that when I finally pushed it open a cloud of dust descended. On the altar was a brass vase of dead flowers. There was an atmosphere of musty silence. The crooked cross says it all.

For all that this Coromandel Peninsula church had a charm and faded dignity that were impressive. Some children came from a local marae and giggled at me. I think I might have been wearing a silly hat; it was a sunny day and I have a bald patch.


INFOGRAPHIC: ‘Imagery rules across social media’

By Dianna Dilworth on Galley Cat, August 30, 2012  - 

M Booth, a communications company, has created an infographic called, “Storytelling: One Frame at a Time,” which highlights a number of trends in social media adoption.
The graphic gives writers and publishers insights into how people are using social media, good knowledge to have when it comes to promoting books. AppNewser has more details: “According to the infographic, Facebook reached 100 million users in four years but that Instagram is on track to beat that. In addition, 42 percent of all Tumblr posts are photos.” We’ve embedded the complete graphic below–what do you think?
Here’s more about the infographic: “We compiled the latest behavioral data around visual content on social media, and partnered with Simply Measured to research engagement and sharing habits on Facebook’s top 10 brand pages. In the spirit of visual storytelling, we’ve summed up our findings in the form of an infographic. The verdict – Imagery rules across social media.”
More at Galley Cat.

The Arts on Sunday for 2 September 2012 - Radio New Zealand National

12:43 Public art installations on in Christchurch We find out about a couple of the most intriguing public art installations on in Christchurch. Dr Jessica Halliday discusses COCA gallery's window space project and Riki Manuel describes his art installations made from the ruins of earthquake hit buildings.

12:48 The winner of the career-making Lexus Song Quest Amitai Pati

1:10 At The Movies
Total Recall, Hope Springs and Simon Morris talks to Richard Green about the new multi-director film 50 Kisses.

1:31 Expat Kiwi ballet star Kase Craig
Kase Craig talks about dancing with a Bordeaux-based professional French company. He now dances in many of the most gorgeous performance venues in Europe.

1:39 The Evolution of Samoan Tattoo
Beauty has a cost, and in this case it's incredibly painful. For two weeks the art of Samoan traditional and contemporary tattoo is being performed live at the Wellington City Gallery for all to see as part of an exhibition 'Sui faiga ae tumau fa'avae'. For the gallery it's all about acknowledging the living art form as part of New Zealand's Pacific art history, and recognising the evolution of the traditional as it moves into  the contemporary, where the urban environment and hip-hop culture plays a part in young tattoo artists making sense of their Samoan heritage. Sonia Sly meets the artists from Taupoutatau studio who have been invited to take part in the exhibition and the Samoa-based master tattooist Su'a Paul Junior Sulu'ape whose skills are sought by those from near and far.

1:53 Dog Park
Another post-quake Christchurch art initiative, Dog Park. It's a new Waltham-based gallery presenting challenging works by both local and international artists.

2:05 The Laugh Track - Tom Trevella
Lyttleton's The Loons Company, who may have lost their premises in the earthquakes but not their sense of humour.
Tom's picks are The Young Ones - University Challenge; John Cooper Clarke; Ivor Cutler; and Benny Hill.

2:26 Virtuosi
Filmmaker Sue Healey has interviewed a selection of top New Zealand dancers who're now based overseas, for her documentary Virtuosi. It will premier at the upcoming Christchurch Body Festival.

2:35 Chapter & Verse
Riemke Ensing, who's one of the contenders for the Lauris Edmond poetry prize being announced on Sunday at the Christchurch Writers Festival; and Christchurch poet Karen Zelas, whose first collection, Night's Glass Table, won an Australian Publishing Prize.

2:45 Oliver Sewell
The Godley Scholar in ChristChurch Cathedral Choir talks about life for the choir without their much loved Cathedral and their preparations for the upcoming festival of cathedral choirs.

3:05 The Drama Hour
We begin a season of classic repeats - a range of major dramas from Kiwi writers. The first off the rank is from Matthew Saville - Kikia Te Poa set in the Boer war and exploring the notion of identity and belonging.

For more information and images visit the Arts on Sunday webpage:

The Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize for 2013

Entries are invited for the Third Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize, which will close on 31 December 2012. The Judge will be the Wellington poet, artist and curator Gregory O’Brien. The First Prize is $500, Second Prize $250, and there are also 5 Highly-Commended awards (with no monetary prizes).

The two winning poems and the Judge’s report will be printed in the May 2013 issue of Landfall, and all seven award-winning entries will be published on the Caselberg Trust web-site, copyright remaining with the authors.

For the Conditions and Entry Form please go to the Caselberg Trust’s web-site, any time between 1 September and 31 December 2012.
The Caselberg Charitable Trust operates a residence for writers and artists at Broad Bay, Dunedin. It has run a number of collaborative artistic events since its establishment in 2006, most recently its first ‘Creative Connections’ Residency, awarded to Featherston artist Megan Campbell, and the inaugural ‘Cutlers Real Estate’ Residency, held by Catherine Day.

Chore list of champions By Kurt Vonnegut

From a January 26, 1947, contract between Kurt Vonnegut and his pregnant wife, Jane, to whom he had been married for sixteen months. Kurt Vonnegut: Lettersedited by Dan Wakefield, will be published next month by Delacorte Press.

I, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., that is, do hereby swear that I will be faithful to the commitments hereunder listed:
I. With the agreement that my wife will not nag, heckle, or otherwise disturb me on the subject, I promise to scrub the bathroom and kitchen floors once a week, on a day and hour of my own choosing. Not only that, but I will do a good and thorough job, and by that she means that I will get under the bathtub, behind the toilet, under the sink, under the icebox, into the corners; and I will pick up and put in some other location whatever movable objects happen to be on said floors at the time so as to get under them too, and not just around them. Furthermore, while I am undertaking these tasks I will refrain from indulging in such remarks as “Shit,” “Goddamn sonofabitch,” and similar vulgarities, as such language is nerve-wracking to have around the house when nothing more drastic is taking place than the facing of Necessity. If I do not live up to this agreement, my wife is to feel free to nag, heckle, and otherwise disturb me until I am driven to scrub the floors anyway—no matter how busy I am.
II. I furthermore swear that I will observe the following minor amenities:
a. I will hang up my clothes and put my shoes in the closet when I am not wearing them;
b. I will not track dirt into the house needlessly, by such means as not wiping my feet on the mat outside and wearing my bedroom slippers to take out the garbage;
c. I will throw such things as used-up match folders, empty cigarette packages, the piece of cardboard that comes in shirt collars, etc., into a wastebasket instead of leaving them around on chairs or the floor;
d. After shaving I will put my shaving equipment back in the medicine closet;
e. In case I should be the direct cause of a ring around the bathtub after taking a bath, I will, with the aid of Swift’s Cleanser and a brush, not my washcloth, remove said ring;
f. With the agreement that my wife collects the laundry, places it in a laundry bag, and leaves the laundry bag in plain sight in the hall, I will take said laundry to the Laundry not more than three days after said laundry has made its appearance in the hall; I will furthermore bring the laundry back from the Laundry within two weeks after I have taken it;
g. When smoking I will make every effort to keep the ashtray I am using at the time upon a surface that does not slant, sag, slope, dip, wrinkle, or give way upon the slightest provocation; such surfaces may be understood to include stacks of books precariously mounted on the edge of a chair, the arms of the chair that has arms, and my own knees;
h. I will not put out cigarettes upon the sides of, or throw ashes into, either the red leather wastebasket or the stamp wastebasket that my loving wife made me for Christmas, 1945, as such practice noticeably impairs the beauty and ultimate practicability of said wastebaskets;
i. In the event that my wife makes a request of me, and that request cannot be regarded as other than reasonable and wholly within the province of a man’s work (when his wife is pregnant, that is), I will comply with said request within three days after my wife has presented it. It is understood that my wife will make no reference to the subject, other than saying thank you, of course, within these three days; if, however, I fail to comply with said request after a more substantial length of time has elapsed, my wife shall be completely justified in nagging, heckling, or otherwise disturbing me until I am driven to do that which I should have done;
j. An exception to the above three-day time limit is the taking out of the garbage, which, as any fool knows, had better not wait that long; I will take out the garbage within three hours after the need for disposal has been pointed out to me by my wife. It would be nice, however, if, upon observing the need for disposal with my own two eyes, I should perform this particular task upon my own initiative, and thus not make it necessary for my wife to bring up a subject that is moderately distasteful to her;
k. It is understood that, should I find these commitments in any way unreasonable or too binding upon my freedom, I will take steps to amend them by counterproposals, constitutionally presented and politely discussed, instead of unlawfully terminating my obligations with a simple burst of obscenity, or something like that, and the subsequent persistent neglect of said obligations;
l. The terms of this contract are understood to be binding up until that time after the arrival of our child (to be specified by the doctor) when my wife will once again be in full possession of all her faculties, and able to undertake more arduous pursuits than are now advisable.

Thanks to southern poet David Howard for bringing this story to my attention.

19th Century Writers Who Are Even More Relevant Today

by . Posted on Flavorpill - Aug 30, 2012

Mary Shelley has some serious staying power. The author was born a whopping 215 years ago today, and her work is more relevant now than ever. Not only is Frankenstein, which Shelley began writing when she was eighteen years old, still ubiquitous in classrooms, but the cultural phenomenon of the cobbled-together monster has and continues to inspire and inform artists of every stripe (Tim Burton’s rebooted Frankenweenie is only the most recent example, we think you’ve probably heard of a few more). To celebrate the life and legacy of this fantastic author, we’ve but together a list of a few 19th century writers who are continually — and sometimes exponentially — culturally relevant in our time. Though some of these authors did garner some amount of acclaim during their own lifetimes, we’d venture that they’re all much more famous and more important to the culture at large today. Click through to check out our list, and as always, add any writers you think we’ve missed in the comments.

Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851)
Though Shelley is most famous for Frankenstein, she was a writer all her life, entertaining herself as a child by writing stories, reading everything she could get her hands on. she even managed to make a living of it. But for a long time after her death, she was largely remembered as Percy Shelley’s wife — in the introduction to a 1945 publication of her letters, editor Frederick Jones wrote, “a collection of the present size could not be justified by the general quality of the letters or by Mary Shelley’s importance as a writer. It is as the wife of [Percy Bysshe Shelley] that she excites our interest.” It was not until the 1970s that her work really started to garner serious critical attention, due in large part to the rise of feminist and psychoanalytic criticism, and not until 1989 that a serious biography of the writer was published.

Herman Melville (1819 – 1891)
Okay, it’s true: Herman Melville was a literary celebrity in his day — but not for the book you think. Melville’s first three books were very popular at the time of their publication, especially his bestselling debut novel, Typee, but after a few brief years of fame, he fell out of favor and was almost completely forgotten by the time of his death in 1891. “Though I wrote the Gospels in this century,” Herman Melville moaned in 1851, just after the publication of Moby-Dick, “I should die in the gutter.” Probably an overstatement, but we understand how he felt — after all, by 1876, all of his books were out of print. It wasn’t until the 1920s, in the so-called “Melville Revival” that critics began to reassess (and champion) the author’s work, and now Moby-Dick is considered by just about everyone to be an essential literary masterpiece.

Henry David Thoreau
Walden, Thoreau’s 1854 treatise on self-reliance, may still be required reading for many high schoolers, but in his own time he was considered a little… off. He only published two (rather obscure) books during his lifetime, and many of his contemporaries criticized his work, notably Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote a scathing essay on the author in 1880, wherein he described Thoreau’s experience in the woods as “like a plant that he had watered and tended with womanish solicitude; for there is apt to be something unmanly, something almost dastardly, in a life that does not move with dash and freedom, and that fears the bracing contact of the world. In one word, Thoreau was a skulker.” It wasn’t until the 1920s that Thoreau began to get his due.
More at Flavorpill

Amazon Publishing buys 1,000 titles from defunct Dorchester

Amazon Publishing has acquired about 1,000 romance, Western and horror titles from defunct publisher Dorchester's backlist. Amazon will pay Dorchester authors any outstanding royalties and divide the books among its various West Coast imprints.

Why Google Bought Frommer’s? The Metadata, Baby

Publishing Perspectives
To Google content is a ready-made store of metadata and the Frommer's purchase, combined with Zagat last year, provides additional context for travel searches.
Read more »

In search of new revenue streams, should publishers get into the service provider business and potentially give competitors a boost?
Read more »
Craig Brown's American bookselling giants Amazon and Barnes & Noble have their eyes on foreign markets as they expand their offerings abroad.
Read more »

With 400 million potential readers, why hasn't Spanish Latin America been yet wooed by any of the major global e-book power players? The reasons are myriad.
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Our Show Dailies are THE best opportunity for you to get your ad in front of people who matter most. We offer flexible formats and affordable pricing. Talk to us today.
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From the Archives:
Any bookstore can sell you books you didn’t know you wanted to buy, but the best are able to sell you books you didn’t ‘remember’ you wanted to buy.
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50 Shades Drives "Record Operating Profits" At Random House

As expected, sales of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy--selling more than 30 million units in the reported period in English--powered Random House to "record operating profits" for the first six months of the year and made the book division a standout performer for Bertelsmann as well.
Random House's sales for the reported period grew 160 million euros, or 20 percent, to €947 million for the period, and operating EBIT increased to €113 million, up 64 percent from €69 million a year ago. The company notes that "favorable currency exchange rates also contributed to its positive performance." (The weakened euro helps the European conglomerates with substantial interests in the US and the UK, since those revenues are "worth" more when converted into euros.) In a letter to staff, Random House ceo Markus Dohle notes that "our first-half momentum continued through July and August." Digital revenues accounted for 22 percent of Random House's overall sales worldwide, and 27 percent of the US division's sales. Dohle wrote that "growth in our e-book sales, which continued to rise significantly in each of our divisions, was complemented by our increasing market share among physical retailers. The special programs and services we have created for them have led to their enthusiastic sell-through of Random House books."
Just how much of that performance did 50 Shades drive? Bertelsmann does not break out the number, but with sales running roughly equal between print and ebooks, by our rough calculation the three books accounted for about 170 million euros in sales--driving all of the gain, and then some. Dohle remarked that "creating and fulfilling the unequalled demand for the novels has mobilized an ongoing Random House publishing effort of unprecedented scale and teamwork within and across our international divisions."
Companywide, sales from continuing operations at Bertelsmann rose to 7.572 billion euros, up from 7.209 million euros a year ago, and "operating EBIT from continuing operations almost reached the prior year's high level," at €731 million. (meaning, in plain English, that they declined, slightly). CEO Thomas Rabe reminded investors of their "four strategic approaches to gradually reshape Bertelsmann over the next few years. The first of these strategic thrusts is strengthening our core businesses; second the transformation to digital of our businesses; third the development and expansion of growth platforms; and fourth expansion into growth regions, especially in Asia and South America." At a press conference, Rabe said that "acquisitions will play a role, next to organic growth, in the implementation of our growth strategy. We are also looking at the opportunities resulting from the takeover of EMI's publishing business by Sony and the recorded media business by Universal Music" (which may sell some music labels to satisfy regulators).
Separately, as predicted earlier in the week, 47-year-old Christopher Mohn will take over as head of Bertelsmann's supervisory board in January, as former chief executive Gunter Thielen retires from that position. And Gruner + Jahr chief executive Bernd Buchholz resigned from the board earlier this week "in an apparent protest about strategy", the FT reports, just days after Bertelsmann dropped hints about taking over the 25 percent stake in G+J still controlled by the Jahr family.

What you can say about Lagardere Publishing's reported sales for the first half of the year is, it could have been worse. Even with "a substantial market contraction in all countries in which the division operates"--from a 2.9 percent decline in French results to a 4 percent drop in US sales and a 7.6 percent decline in the UK--totals sales of 905 million euros were actually up, by a slim 0.5 percent on a reported basis, compared to 900 million euros a year ago. (Apparently "a complex accounting adjustment linked to reserves for returns in education" helped balance out those reported declines, along with gains in Japan helped outweigh the drops in major territories.)
Even on a like-for-like basis,  which excludes a 30-million-euro currency exchange gain, results were down 2.4 percent. Similarly, EBIT declined to 57 million euros, down from 71 million euros a year ago. Conditions clearly worsened in the second quarter, since HBG USA was up 2.8 percent in the first quarter and even the UK division was down by only 0.4 percent.
The company says "prospects are positive" for the second half of the year and "profitability in the second half will be significantly higher than in the first half, due to a seasonal effect" (no doubt thanks in part to JK Rowling's first novel for adults THE CASUAL VACANCY, as well as the French translation of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY).
eBooks accounted for 27 percent of US revenues and 23 percent of UK sales (compared to 28 percent  and 25 percent respectively after the first quarter.) Consistent with other reports we have highlighted--the even more so at HBG USA than some other houses--ebook growth slowed considerably, gaining just 20 percent over the same period a year ago. Overall, ebooks comprised 8.4 percent (or 76 million euros) of all Lagardere Publishing revenues.

The Press Christchurch Writers Festival gets underway in style

After being abandoned twice after the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes, The Press Christchurch Writers Festival is on again this weekend with a full programme featuring local, national and international guests. The venue for the biggest event of its kind in the South Island is being staged in the impressive Geo Dome in Hagley Park.

And yesterday the Festival launched in style with a series of events for school children during the day followed at 4.30pm with In So Many Words featuring four local techno-savvy communicators - librarians & bloggers Donna Roberston and Moata Tamaira, writer & art historian Lara Strongman and Will Harvie an editor and blogger with The Press - talking about the impact of tweeting, blogging, Facebooking and digital publishing on their working and personal lives.
The 80 strong audience had plenty of questions for the panellists after each had spoken.
This was however something of a curtain-raiser for the evening's main event, London Burning, when before a sell-out crowd two heavyweights of the UK literary scene - John Lanchester and Chris Cleave - were skilfully lead by Kate de Goldi in an interesting discussion on London - their experiences of living there,the impact of the economic recession, writing about the city in their novels, the impact of the Olympics and much more.
Afterwards the punters went off happily into the cool night after an entertaining session. A great start to the Festival.

Talking shop with an indy bookseller

This is a new and occasional series that asks some of our favorite independent booksellers four simple questions. The questions are the same, but the answers (predictably) vary. If you’re interested in the business of bookselling, read on for a quick shot of indy insight — this week, it comes compliments of Megan Wade, from Skylight Books in Los Angeles.

1) Could you tell us something of the history of your bookstore? What’s your role there?
2) What got you into selling books? What keeps you inspired, or I guess what keeps you dejected if that’s how you’re feeling lately?
Skylight opened in 1996, taking over the space where Chatterton’s, a long-time staple of Los Angeles’ literary scene, had closed just a couple years before. We were lucky that the space remained available, and though there are many ways that Skylight differs from Chatterton’s, many of its customers and others in the neighborhood were very supportive. And Skylight is really marked by the neighborhood, which is a place that may contradict the stereotype many have of Los Angeles: our street in Los Feliz is marked by several very walkable blocks of small stores; it’s easily reached by public transit; and the surrounding residential blocks are quite dense and diverse. Our customers are quirky and intelligent, with a wide variety of tastes, and dedication to our more unique sections, including our translated lit, our local zines and art magazines, and our “Alt” section (which includes anarchist theory, drug culture, and conspiracy theory and culture).
I play an interesting role, in that I came in as a bookseller but in the last year also took over much of our bookkeeping. That was a skill I didn’t have at first but wanted to learn, to just get a better overall sense of the business. It means lots more interactions with publishers, mostly their credit departments, and for me, there’s been a little bit of shock to see the out-of-date, bureaucratic processes that make up so much of how publishers and bookstores interact — or for that matter, the modern, globalized bureaucratic processes that seem inherently unfriendly to the idea of small, independent businesses. There’s a disjointed experience for me in that my role as bookseller is focused on personalized, face-to-face interactions and conversation with customers — what I really think bookselling is about — while in my bookkeeping job generally involves being treated in a very impersonal, distant manner by those on the financial end of publishing. Some days it feels a little like all give and no take. There’s a similar experience with the various financial and banking institutions — daily reminders of how our legal and economic structures are not set up to easily benefit small or independently-owned businesses, or their workers.
Full interview at Melville House

Guardian first book award: the longlist 2012

Big US hits line up against British poetry and Irish short stories for this year's £10,000 prize

Katherine Boo's Behind The Beautiful Forevers is one of 11 titles on the Guardian first book award 2012 longlist. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian
Chad Harbach's highly praised debut The Art of Fielding is competing with an Iraq veteran's "raw, visceral" novel about the impact of war and a journalist's account of the time she spent living in a Mumbai slum on the longlist for the Guardian first book award.
Eleven titles have been chosen for the £10,000 prize, from Mary Costello's collection of Irish short stories The China Factory, released by small publisher Stinging Fly Press, to Harbach's novel, which follows the story of baseball player Henry Skrimshander and arrives garlanded with praise from Jonathan Franzen and John Irving. For the second year running, Guardian readers nominated a title, this year choosing Sarah Jackson's "assured and mysterious" poetry collection Pelt.

Publishers submitted 94 titles for the prize, and judges, chaired by Guardian Review editor Lisa Allardice, called in many more. Army veteran Kevin Powers was chosen for The Yellow Birds, a novel about a soldier's return home after a year in Iraq, Patrick Flanery for his book about the fictional great South African writer Clare Wald, Absolution, and Charlotte Rogan for The Lifeboat, in which an ocean liner capsizes in 1914, stranding passengers in a lifeboat for three long weeks.
"In fiction we've got novels like The Art of Fielding, a popular and critical hit earlier this year, alongside lesser known titles such as The China Factory," said Allardice. "One criticism of new writing is often that it doesn't engage with contemporary events or recent history, but something like The Yellow Birds, a very raw, visceral account of the Iraq war written by a young soldier, shows this can be done.
"Judging a prize like this, you do very quickly become aware of trends and foibles. Semi-autobiographical novels seems to have given way to whimsical child narrators. The one on our longlist which might seem to fall into this category is Kerry Hudson's novel Tony Hogan Brought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, but the voice is so fresh and the writing so energetic that we felt it needed to be included."

Four non-fiction titles make this year's line-up: New Yorker journalist Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, her account of her time living in the Annawadi slum built on rubbish dumps at the edge of Mumbai airport; Susan Cain's Quiet, about the power of introverts, Faramerz Dabhoiwala's The Origins of Sex; and Lindsey Hilsum's Sandstorm, about the Libyan revolution.
"The non-fiction we've chosen is wide-ranging both geographically, from Mumbai to Libya, and across subjects from sex to silence," said Allardice, who is joined on the judging panel by authors including Jeanette Winterson, Kate Summerscale and Ahdaf Soueif. "We've tried to put together a lively list which reflects the diversity of first books this year."

Reading groups across the country, run in partnership with Waterstones, will now help the panel pick a shortlist, which will be announced in late October. The winner will be unveiled on 29 November, joining names including Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Foer and last year's winner Siddhartha Mukherjee, who took the prize for his "biography" of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies.

The longlist

The China Factory by Mary Costello (Stinging Fly Press)
Absolution by Patrick Flanery (Atlantic)
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (Fourth Estate)
Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus)
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (Sceptre)
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (Virago)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (Portobello)
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Viking)
The Origins of Sex by Faramerz Dabhoiwala (Allen Lane)
Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution by Lindsey Hilsum (Faber)

Readers' choice
Pelt by Sarah Jackson (Bloodaxe)

Sarah Forster interviews the phenomenal Fleur Beale

from New Zealand Book Council Newsletter
Fleur Beale is one of New Zealand’s finest Young Adult fiction authors. Earlier this year she was the recipient of the 2012 Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award and she has been nominated for, or won, the YA section of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards six times. Beale is one of our most active Writers in Schoolsparticipants, and has visited hundreds of schools on behalf of the Book Council in the past 20 years. As Education Manager here at the Book Council I’ve worked with Fleur regularly and thought it was about time I interviewed her about her writing, books and the subjects that fascinate her.

Fleur has had a remarkable output since she began writing when her children were babies, with 50 published titles to her name. She started out writing very short stories for a radio programme called 'Grampa’s Place', eventually writing for National Radio for older children. After ten years of writing for radio, Fleur won a competition, and found herself with a firm supporter in the form of Dorothy Butler, and an agent in the form of Ray Richards.
Fleur writes primarily Young Adult fiction, but dabbles occasionally in junior fiction and has even published one book for an adult audience. One of the most remarkable qualities of her books is her ability to put herself into male teenage characters so seamlessly. When I remark on this she says writing male characters is like writing any character – you need to work out who they are very early on in the process, what makes them tick, and what is important in their life. For Fleur, character also drives where she sets her books – no matter if the action takes place on farms, deserted islands, in small towns, or in a cult compound.

Read the full feature here on NZ Book Council blog Open Book. You'll also find entry details for the draw to win copies of Fleur Beale's new book The Boy in the Olive Grove.


Songs of My Life: Bill Manhire

The publication of the career-view Selected Poems is the perfect opportunity to profile this major figure in our literature. In his retirement year from Victoria University, it might also be time to lay to rest rumours of warm slippers and the fireside chair. The five-time winner of the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry will read and discuss his work with Damien Wilkins.
DATE:     Monday 3 September
TIME:     12.15 - 1.15pm
VENUE:  The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa (please note that no food may be taken onto the Marae).
These events are open to the public and free of charge.
Writers on Mondays is presented with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and additional support from Circa Theatre, City Gallery Wellington and the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation at Victoria University.

A Stadium of 4 Million

Martin Snedden, the Rugby World Cup 2011 Chief Executive, takes us behind the scenes of this major international event. He shares the excitement of ‘selling our story’ through to all steps along the way to deliver ‘A Stadium of 4 Million’ – the title of his gripping book.

Wednesday 12 September – HAMILTON
Lunch with Martin Snedden
Time: 12.00 – 2.00pm
Location: Novotel Hotel, 7 Alma Street, Hamilton
Tickets: $45 members, $65 non-members.
To book email:

Wednesday 12 September – TAUPO
Time: 5.30 – 7.00pm
Location: Suncourt Hotel, 14 Northcroft Street, Taupo
Tickets only $15 available from Paper Plus Taupo. Cash bar available.

Thursday 13 September – HASTINGS
Breakfast with Martin Snedden
Time: 7.30 – 9.00am
Location: Ellwood Function Centre, 12 Otene Rd, Waipatu, Hastings
Tickets available at Hastings, Flaxmere and Havelock North Libraries and Ellwood Function Centre or online at

Thursday 13 September – WELLINGTON
Carillion Club event with NZRUF and Wellington Wanderers Cricket Club
Time: 5.30 – 7.30pm
Location: The Basin in the Long Room
Tickets: $50.00 per person (cost of ticket covers drinks and nibbles) $5 from each book sold will be donated to the Carillon Club and the Wellington Wanderers Cricket Club. All proceeds to The Carillon Club and the Wellington Wanderers Cricket Club. Call 04 802 7404 or to purchase tickets

Friday September 14 – PAREMATA
Breakfast with Martin Snedden
Time: 7.30 – 9.00am
Location: Monteiths Paremata
Tickets: $25 per person (including breakfast). Please register:

Friday September 14 – Feilding
Lunch with Martin Snedden
Time: 12.00 – 2.00pm
Location: Feilding Yellows Club, Drake Street, Feilding
Tickets: $25.00, proceeds to Feilding Rugby Football Club. Tickets available from Paper Plus Feilding. Ph: (06) 323 4058, email:

Friday September 14 – Palmerston North
Time: 5.30 – 7.00pm
Location: NZ Rugby Museum, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North
Ticket $20: includes one drink and nibbles. Cash bar available. Tickets available from Paper Plus Palmerston North, ph: (06) 359 4635, email:
Te Manawa, ph: (06) 355 5000, email:

Amazon NY signs deal to sell its ebooks through other retailers

Amazon’s New York-based imprint has signed a deal with Ingram to distribute its ebooks to other retailers, paidContent has learned. The deal will make the ebooks available to Amazon competitors like Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo.
Larry KirshbaumAmazon’s New York-based book publishing imprint, which is headed by publishing industry vet Larry Kirshbaum, has signed a deal with Ingram to distribute its ebooks to other retailers, paidContent has learned. Amazon and Ingram confirmed the news.
The deal, with Ingram’s digital distribution arm CoreSource, will make the ebooks available to Amazon competitors like Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo — though, of course, those competitors won’t be required to stock Amazon titles. The idea of Apple selling Amazon’s ebooks is particularly interesting, given the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Apple and book publishers for allegedly colluding to set ebook prices.
“We welcome Amazon Publishing’s New York adult group to the growing list of publishers who use our service,” said Phil Ollila, Ingram Content Group’s chief content officer. Titles from Amazon’s West Coast imprints are not included in the Ingram deal.
Amazon New York is publishing its first list this fall. Feature titles include Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Chef, Penny Marshall’s My Mother Was Nuts and Jessica Valenti’s Why Have Kids?
Amazon already makes a couple of its ebooks available through other retailers. Barnes & Noble previously stated that it would not carry Amazon Publishing print titles in its physical stores, in part because it was not allowed to sell the digital editions. Now that Barnes & Noble will have access to the ebooks as well, I’ve asked the company if it is going to change its policy.
A quick search through Barnes & Noble and Kobo’s websites this morning did not yet turn up Amazon NY titles. For example, one of the early titles on Amazon NY’s fall list – Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business by Harley Manning and Kerry Boche — is available through Amazon as a print book and an ebook. Outside In is only available as a print book on Barnes & Noble’s site, and it is not available as an ebook on Kobo. I have asked Ingram for a statement and will update this post when I hear back.

Publisher Takes On Amazon With Australian-based Site

Book2BookThursday 30 Aug 2012

The publisher has rebranded the site which Pearson bought for less than $5 million after owner REDGroup's collapse last year. The company says its new site is aiming to compete with Amazon on price and delivery, offering free shipping with two-to-three day delivery to any capital city on Australian books. Bookworld has about 100,000 e-book customers and a total of 750,000 customers on its database.