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A New Twist on Public Poetry

posted September 14, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in marketing poetry

Flux Film 001 | Morse from Proper Medium on Vimeo.

Artist John Morse has come up with a clever way of spreading haiku around Atlanta. His project, dubbed “Roadside Haiku,” uses bandit signs, those not very attractive, cheap white plastic corrugated advertisement signs that are ubiquitous in metropolitan areas. In keeping with the general aesthetic of bandit signs, Morse uses large black lettering, and the poems begin with catch phrases commonly found on bandit signs.

Morse has written 10 haiku, each printed on 50 signs for a total of 500 scattered across Atlanta. Here are some examples:

In the comfort of your home!
Read to your children.

Feel Happier! Healthier!
Dump your bigotry.

You can also check out the signs on Morse’s Facebook page.

For more information on the project, visit Flux Projects or see this article from the Guardian.

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.

Bookstore Readings

posted June 15, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling book design books marketing trends

Amy Karol book reading

Do you attend bookstore readings? I am fortunate to live in Portland, Oregon, home to many bookstores, including the venerable Powell’s Books. I could probably go to a bookstore reading on a daily basis, and I often read through the listings in the local paper with great interest. The truth, though, is that I rarely go to bookstore readings. I never gave it much thought other than to attribute it to laziness, but then I saw this article, “The Dreaded Question: What is a ‘Reading’?” in the Huffington Post. The piece is by bookstore owner Alex Green, who talks about how the label “reading” is not quite accurate. He writes that “many of us are reluctant to attend a reading because we don’t know what one is, and we become afraid that something egregiously uncomfortable, or boring, is going to happen.” Green then goes on to explain that readings, at least at his bookstore, are engaging and lively discussions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eyes on the Prize

posted November 9, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling books publishing

Nobel Prize for literature

Small, independent, or university presses get little glory. These publishers are generally not in the business in order to make heaps of money or attain celebrity status. Books are selected with much thought and care but probably with little hope they will ever make it onto a bestseller list.

Literary prizes, however, can sometimes boost a publisher’s reputation and affect sales. Take, for instance, the Nobel Prize for literature. The Nobel committee tends to bestow its awards upon relatively unknown authors, at least to readers in the United States. This, as you can imagine, generates a lot of interest and curiosity. When French writer J.M.G. Le Clézio won Read the rest of this entry »

Ox-Tales Story Collection to Support Oxfam

posted July 2, 2009

Posted by Anne Healey in book design

Book-design afficionados are talking about Ox-Tales, a new four-volume set of story collections published to raise money for Oxfam. Each of the volumes takes one of the four elements as its theme. Thirty-eight British and Irish writers—including Kate Atkinson, Zoe Heller, Ian Rankin, and John le Carré—donated their work to the project.

oxtalesdisplay  oxtales-water 

In addition to looking gorgeous and supporting a great cause, the collection is also getting praise from book reviewers. Nick Rennison of The Sunday Times writes: “As a showcase for a fictional form that too often gets pushed to the back of the queue when critical plaudits are being distributed—and one that’s filled with fine exhibits—it deserves support on its own merits.” Likewise, William Skidelsky of The Observer says that the collection “would be worth reading whether or not an NGO was responsible for it.”

I wonder if they’ll distribute it in the U.S. . . .

The designer, Jon Gray (, also designed this, which you may recognize:


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