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Now THAT Is What I Call a Book Tour

posted August 5, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling authors book design books events marketing trends


There are probably plenty of writers out there who kind of dread book tours, but author Jim Lynch isn’t one of them, or at least he isn’t at the moment—he has found a way to combine pleasure with work. An avid sailor, Lynch cruised from his home in Olympia, Washington, to various booksellers in the San Juan Islands (in the Seattle area) during a weeklong tour at the end of July. He promoted two of his novels on the tour: The Highest Tide, his first novel, and Border Songs, recently issued in paperback.

Lynch’s sailboat is a 1970 Bristol 32. He kicked off his tour on July 24 on Shaw Island as guest speaker at the Shaw Island Historical Society Annual Meeting. His final stop was on July 31 in Anacortes at Watermark Books. Lynch also made stops on San Juan Island, Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and Lummi Island. This month he will be traveling on land in Oregon and Washington. For more information visit his website. Also check out this article about his nautical tour in the Wall Street Journal.

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.

Gone 2 Paris–for the Shakespeare and Company Literary Festival

posted June 16, 2010

Posted by Erin Brown in Bookselling events literary awards uncategorized world literature


This weekend (June 18-20) in Paris, the much-venerated Shakespeare and Company bookstore is holding its fourth literary festival. Inaugurated in 2003, the festival has since settled into a biannual schedule, running in 2006, 2008, and now 2010. Each festival has centered on a different theme, including “Lost, Beat & New: Three Generations of Writers in Paris”; “Travel in Words: Celebrating Travel Literature”; and “Real Lives: Exploring Memoir and Biography.”

This year’s theme is “Storytelling & Politics”—appropriate, given that Shakespeare and Company founder George Whitman (now in his nineties) has always seen his bookstore as a political vehicle, even describing it as “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore.” Check out this video to get a sense of the unique literary atmosphere he created.

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Happy 75 Years to Penguin Books

posted May 28, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling book design books events marketing publishing


First there was the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and then the Peeps Fun Bus, and now there’s the Penguin Anniversary-mobile. The automobile, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of Penguin Books, will be touring the United States and making stops for anniversary parties at bookstores. The Penguin Car, a flaming orange Mini Cooper emblazoned with the Penguin logo, will also be transporting authors to book signings and celebrations.

Penguin will donate a set of 75 of its most prominent titles to a library or literacy organization in each scheduled stop along the anniversary tour. In June the Penguin Car will visit Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, Kentucky, and California. Though Penguin’s official anniversary date is July 30, the anniversary tour will continue through the summer. At the end of the anniversary celebration, the Penguin Car will be auctioned off, and proceeds will be donated to a literacy group.

Another fun part of Penguin’s celebration is Penguin Ink, which pairs six tattoo artists with six Penguin titles. The tattoo artists designed new covers for the titles, which include Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee, From Russia with Love (yes, it’s a James Bond title) by Ian Fleming, and The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace.

Visit Penguin’s special anniversary website here to follow the Penguin Car and read about the history of Penguin Books.

Global Marketplace Demands Literature That’s Easy to Translate

posted March 4, 2010

Posted by Erin Brown in Bookselling E-books events translation trends uncategorized virtual offices world literature

global novel

Tim Parks, who blogs for the New York Review of Books, had an interesting post recently about the pressure that writers (particularly non-American writers) feel to reach an international audience and the way this is affecting what and how they write:

There is a growing sense that for an author to be considered “great,” he or she must be an international rather than a national phenomenon . . . [M]ore and more European, African, Asian and South American authors see themselves as having “failed” if they do not reach an international audience.

Parks goes on to describe how this pressure has increased with the advent of electronic submissions, which enable an author to send a new work simultaneously to publishers all over the world, such that international rights may even be purchased before the writer has found a publisher in his or her own country:

An astute agent can then orchestrate the simultaneous launch of a work in many different countries using promotional strategies that we normally associate with multinational corporations. Thus a reader picking up a copy of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, or the latest Harry Potter, or indeed a work by Umberto Eco, or Haruki Murakami, or Ian McEwan, does so in the knowledge that this same work is being read now, all over the world . . . This perception adds to the book’s attraction.

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