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Who’s Got Bieber Fever?

posted November 12, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling book design books digital media publishing trends

I was going to write about Portland State University’s partnership with Hewlett-Packard and Lulu to create print-on-demand books, but then I came across this video. It may not be more newsworthy than the new print-on-demand machine, but it is much funnier, and sometimes that’s what you need.

I suppose the video clip IS somewhat newsworthy, though, since I was not even aware that pop star Justin Bieber had published a memoir. Well, until just recently I was not even aware of Justin Bieber at all! He’s not just another pretty face, dear readers! He sings and dances, and he is a published author. Lest you think I am being too sarcastic, here’s a confession: I saw Justin Bieber on the season finale of Shaq Vs., and I actually found him to be quite charming.

Epic Coffee Battle

posted October 13, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in digital media marketing

So what does this video have to do with publishing or virtual offices? Well, nothing, really, unless you consider what a staple coffee is in the publishing industry as well as offices (I know, it’s a stretch, but I am taking it). In addition, it’s hard to think about the pleasures of reading or writing without also considering coffee.

I think you can also draw a parallel between the coffee industry and the book publishing/book selling industry. There are the giants, and then there are the small, fiercely independent outfits. To say that coffee is important here in Portland, Oregon, would be a gross understatement. There are dozens of microroasters and nanoroasters with their single-origin, medium-roast coffees. Sometimes, as with small publishing houses and booksellers, it can start to feel a bit . . . precious. That is why I appreciated this Coffee Wars video. I love coffee, and I love books, but I also think it’s important to maintain a sense of humor and not take things so seriously.

The Evolution of Book Clubs

posted July 9, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling E-books book design books digital media events technology translation trends world literature


Book clubs are pretty amazing things. I don’t belong to one at the moment, but I would say 80 percent of my friends are members of book groups. I really believe there is a book group for everyone. There are highly structured book groups, very laidback ones, clubs that read only classics, I could go on and on. Well, I just learned of a public book club in Minneapolis called Books & Bars. The group meets once a month at Bryant Lake Bowl, a theater that is adjoined by a pub and bowling alley.

Books & Bars has a moderator, comedian Jeff Kamin, and each session boasts about 70 attendees. Among the book club’s sponsors are independent bookseller Magers & Quinn and satirical newspaper The Onion. Participants are encouraged to purchase the selected books from Magers & Quinn and to enjoy food and drink at Bryant Lake Bowl during the gatherings. And even though it’s a book club, reading the book selection is not a requirement.

Upcoming book selections include The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, and illustrated novel Blankets by Craig Thompson.

Celebrate Audiobook Month!

posted June 9, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling books digital media

jiamHey, did you know that June is Audiobook Month? Well, it is, so let the festivities begin! The whole point of Audiobook Month is to promote audiobooks and to increase listenership. Get Caught Listening, part of Audiobook Community, an online network of audiobook enthusiasts and professionals, is making available six audiobook excerpts every Tuesday for the month of June. The segments can be streamed or downloaded as MP3 files.

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has solicited a number of authors and narrators to help celebrate Audiobook Month. The participants will blog, tweet, and otherwise promote their way through June to generate interest in audiobooks. Among the authors lending a hand is David Sedaris. Sedaris has a distinct and, to many, instantly recognizable voice. He recorded some promos for National Audiobook Month. Other author advocates include Jennifer Egan, Deepak Chopra, James Patterson, Chelsea Cain, and Cory Doctorow.

Going Paperless: Not the Green Panacea It’s Cracked Up to Be

posted April 15, 2010

Posted by Erin Brown in digital media

Guiyu, China, is the e-waste capital of the world; photo by Bert van Dijk

Thanks to Megan Halpern over at Melville House (MobyLives) for her recent post challenging the idea that digital media is a necessarily “greener” alternative to paper. Halpern points to an important article by Don Carli at PBS MediaShift, which calls the choice between paper and e-media a “false dilemma.”

As Carli explains, “going paperless” (with our bills, with our books) may feel like a great leap toward reducing our carbon footprint because the evidence of our consumption disappears, but the environmental benefits of digital media are as-of-yet largely illusive:

Just because we cannot see something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. While paper mills emit visible plumes of steam and waste paper can pile up visibly in our homes and businesses, the invisible embodied energy or “grey energy” used to manufacture digital technologies and the toxic e-waste associated with electronics are largely out of sight and out of mind, but their impacts can be profound.

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