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Archive for August, 2009:


David Drummond’s Cover Designs for Véhicule Press

posted August 26, 2009

Posted by Anne Healey in book design

David Drummond is doing some very nice book cover designs for Montreal publisher Véhicule Press. Here are just a few highlights.

Hood drummond_thurston willard2

(Andrew Hood, Pardon Our Monsters; Harry Thurston, Animals of My Own Kind; Christopher Willard, Garbage Head)

On his blog he often lets readers in on his creative process by posting designs in progress. In this post he explains how he created the cover image for Don LePan’s forthcoming novel Animals, for which he appears to have smashed some Delft china—but it’s in fact some cheap plates and a little Photoshop magic.

LePan

 

Drummond discusses the evolution of the cover for Pure Product by Jason Guriel here.

Guriel1

 

And Ukula magazine has this interesting article on the creation of a Véhicule cover (Postscript by Geoffrey Cook), talking to Drummond, the publisher, and the poet.


Cultivating Culture . . . in an Airport?

posted August 21, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in books publishing trends

Heathrow Terminal 5 - Piccadilly Line
Image via Wikipedia

Corporations have long been supporters of the arts, but London’s Heathrow Airport is pushing the concept to the extreme by hiring writer Alain de Botton as its writer-in-residence. In exchange for its no-doubt generous funding, de Botton will spend one week at the airport and write a book about his experience. The book will be entitled A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary, and 10,000 copies will be given away to passengers in September 2009.

Heathrow has provided de Botton with a desk at Terminal Five and free access around the airport. De Botton claims he has free rein as to what he writes about. When this Guardian article was published, de Botton had already explored the baggage delivery system and visited Gate Gourmet, which produces in-flight meals. De Botton planned to interview airport and airline executives as well.

While the writer-in-residence program may seem innovative to some, others have already found it worthy of ridicule. Media website Gawker posted an article about de Botton’s deal entitled “Boring Airport Book Contract Better Than No Book Contract.”


Books in the Wild. It’s Hunting Season!

posted August 20, 2009

Posted by Thomas Riggs in books

The message was simple and soft and alluring. And since I was in France, it was also in French.

Allons voir plus loin, veux-tu? Voir la mer, la baie des anges et ses palmiers . . . un peu plus loin, de l’autre coté du Musée Masséna.

Translated into our more accented English, it said,

Let’s go see farther. Do you want to? See the sea, the Bay of Angels and its palm trees . . . a little farther, on the other side of the Masséna Museum.

Nice, Musee Massena

Musée Masséna by DrOMM via Flickr

Musée Masséna? That’s in Nice, where I live, so how could I say no?

I had never met the person who wrote the note. In fact, I read the message on bookcrossing.com, a website that promotes “free range books.” The idea is simple: read a book, and afterward, instead of putting it to rest on your bookshelf, set it free. The site gives suggestions.

Leave it on a park bench, a coffee shop, at a hotel on vacation. Share it with a friend or tuck it onto a bookshelf at the gym – anywhere it might find a new reader!

When I found the listing for Allons voir plus loin, veux-tu? by Anny Duperey, I saw there were almost 800 books “in the wild” in France, all waiting for someone to find them. In the United States there were some 10,000 books left in parks, coffee shops, and other random places.

The site also lets readers post notes about books before passing them on to someone else. This copy of Allons voir plus loin, veux-tu? began in Feins, Bretagne, in the north of France. It then traveled to nearby Pléneuf-Val-André before heading south to Lyon and finally Nice in southeastern France, where a reader left a rather uninspired recommendation: “Enfin je ne sais pas pourquoi j’avais envie de lire ce livre! . . . mais j’ai passé un bon moment” (”In fact, I don’t know why I felt like reading this book! . . . but I had a good time”).

After reading the note, I decided it was my turn to “passer un bon moment.” Fortunately there was one more clue: “Livre laissé côté rue de France, sur les grilles du Musée” (”book left on the side of rue de France, on the gate of the museum”). As I was going to a concert that evening not far from the museum, I decided to “go hunting,” as the site says.

The museum is a stone’s throw from the sea and next to the famous Hotel Negresco, where, as one site claims, Claudia Schiffer, Orson Welles, and Michael Jackson all stayed. But rue de France is one street in from the sea, and at night, when I arrived, it seemed desolate. A light breeze was pushing around a plastic sack. I was wearing headphones, listening to the French pop singer Bénabar, and reached my hand through the gate to search through a thick stretch of shrubbery. I must have seemed like a thief or a homeless person.

After a while, something didn’t seem right.

I looked around and across the street. Two prostitutes stood waiting for tourists. A flic, as cops are called here, sped by on a motorcycle. Great, I thought. This is all fine, and I don’t mind the weirdness, but someone already took the book.


Books on Demand

posted August 17, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling trends

With the advent of e-books for your e-readers and iPhones and other electronic devices, instant gratification has become common and even expected. Well, what about those who want to fan the pages of a physical book? Worry not, for there’s a solution for everyone! What’s an insomniac with a hankering for a meaty book to do? If he’s lucky, he can go down the street and purchase or borrow a book from a book vending machine.
Borrow a book? Yes! Brodart, a company that provides book services to libraries, has developed the Lending Library, a vending machine of library books. It’s perfect if you really, really want to read the latest best-selling mystery only to discover your library branch has closed for the day. Brodart not only provides libraries with the machine itself but also with the books, plus the titles rotate on a monthly basis. Libraries have to purchase a subscription with Brodart and can select from a number of genres, including adult hardcover, young adult hardcover, Spanish-language books, as well as DVDs and audio books. Once you’re finished with the materials, you just return them to the library!
All over the globe you can find vending machines selling books. Since summer of 2005 Paris bookseller Maxi-Livres has sold books in their vending machines. The machines were located at several Metro stops in Paris and offered best sellers in a number of genres. When the machines first debuted, the best-selling title was The Wok Cookbook. I wonder if most of those sold around dinnertime?
Novel Idea Vending of Ireland’s “Mini Bookshop” machines can hold 20-24 titles up to a total of 290 books! The Mini Bookshop can be found in the United Kingdom at the Gatwick airport. And book vending machines have long existed in Japan, land of the vending machine, though most feature manga (comic books) of an, ahem, adult nature.
Brodart's Lending Library

Brodart's Lending Library

With the advent of e-books for your e-readers and iPhones and other electronic devices, instant gratification has become common and even expected. Well, what about those who want to fan the pages of a physical book? Worry not, for there’s a solution for everyone! What’s an insomniac with a hankering for a meaty book to do? If he’s lucky, he can go down the street and purchase or borrow a book from a book vending machine.

Borrow a book? Yes! Brodart, a company that provides book services to libraries, has developed the Lending Library, a vending machine of library books. It’s perfect if you really, really want to read the latest best-selling mystery only to discover your library branch has closed for the day. Brodart provides libraries not only with the machine itself but also with the books, plus the titles rotate on a monthly basis. Libraries have to purchase a subscription with Brodart and can select from a number of genres, including adult hardcover, young adult hardcover, Spanish-language books, and DVDs and audio books. Once you’re finished with the materials, you just return them to the library!

All over the globe you can find vending machines selling books. Since the summer of 2005 Paris bookseller Maxi-Livres has sold books in its vending machines. The machines were located at several Metro stops in Paris and offered best sellers in a number of genres. When the machines first debuted, the best-selling title was The Wok Cookbook. I wonder if most of those sold around dinnertime.

Novel Idea Vending of Ireland’s “Mini Bookshop” machines can hold 20-24 titles and up to 290 books! The Mini Bookshop can be found in the United Kingdom at the Gatwick Airport. And book vending machines have long existed in Japan, land of the vending machine, though most feature manga (comic books) of an, ahem, adult nature.


Come Back! That Book Is Part of Me!

posted August 14, 2009

Posted by Thomas Riggs in E-books books technology trends

Just when I thought I already had a full catalog of woes to consider, I had the pleasure of reading James Wolcott’s essay “What’s a Culture Snob to Do” in Vanity Fair. In considering the death of the physical book, I usually think about such mundane issues as the survival of publishing or the pleasure of print on paper. But Wolcott gives me something more existential to fear: the loss of personal artifacts essential to my identity. He writes,

Books not only furnish a room, to paraphrase the title of an Anthony Powell novel, but also accessorize our outfits. They help brand our identities. At the rate technology is progressing, however, we may eventually be traipsing around culturally nude in an urban rain forest, androids seamlessly integrated with our devices.

He also imagines degraded moments of nostalgia.

Reading will forfeit the tactile dimension where memories insinuate themselves, reminding us of where and when D. H. Lawrence entered our lives that meaningful summer. “Darling, remember when we downloaded Sons and Lovers in Napa Valley?” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Wolcott seems concerned that, by using an e-reader, we won’t be able to show strangers on a train or in a coffee shop that we’re reading Nietzsche and not Danielle Steel. Or vice versa.

But not everyone wants to use books for creating an identity. Or at least not the books they’re actually reading. Some people prefer the anonymity of the Kindle. And for those wanting to hide certain embarrassing titles from people snooping on their Kindle, here’s a tip from CNET.


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