Friday, August 31, 2012

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 Schools participants, 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.

Self-published authors react with anger to 'laziness' charge

Comments by novelist Sue Grafton, dismissing the 'short cut' of self-publishing, have provoked a storm of anger

Sue Grafton
Sue Grafton: 'I am still learning'

Bestselling American crime novelist Sue Grafton has back-pedalled on her description of self-published authors as "too lazy to do the hard work" following disbelief and anger from the independently published community.

Speaking to her local paper earlier this month, Grafton, the author of the A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar series of "alphabet" crime novels starring detective Kinsey Millhone, advised young writers not to self-publish, because "that's as good as admitting you're too lazy to do the hard work". The self-published books she has read are "often amateurish", she said, comparing self-publishing "to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he's ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall".

Becoming an author, according to Grafton, is about hard work: "taking the rejection, learning the lessons, and mastering the craft over a period of time". Having had her first three novels rejected, she said she sees "way too many writers who complete one novel and start looking for the fame and fortune they're sure they're entitled to".

"To me, it seems disrespectful … that a 'wannabe' assumes it's all so easy s/he can put out a 'published novel' without bothering to read, study, or do the research," said Grafton. "Learning to construct a narrative and create character, learning to balance pace, description, exposition, and dialogue takes a long time. This is not a quick do-it-yourself home project. Self-publishing is a short cut and I don't believe in short cuts when it comes to the arts."

But Adam Croft, a British self-published thriller author who says he has sold 250,000 copies of his books in the last year, called Grafton's belief that taking the DIY route was lazy "outrageous". "The complete opposite is true," he said. "Self-publishing means finding your own proofreader, finding your own editor, finding your own cover designer (or designing your own), doing all your own marketing and sales work, etc. Having a publisher is lazy as all you need to do is write a half-acceptable book and allow your publisher's editor to make it sales-worthy. Self-publishers must do it all – we have no one else to pick up the slack."

Even so, Croft has no intention of taking the publisher route: self-published authors take 70% of the royalties, he said, while traditionally published writers get around 15%. "I've been approached by a number of publishers but have rejected contact every time. I don't even have the slightest desire to enter the negotiation stage with any publisher as there's no way any of them could offer me anything like what I'm able to do for myself," he said.

Croft believes that the fact that "every author can now find every reader" is a "fantastic" thing. "People like Sue Grafton are elitist, trying to quash new writing due to some sort of perceived threat. The industry is changing – has changed – and for the better. We have a wonderful open market through which all manner of books can be read by anyone. How can that be a bad thing?"

Independently published novelist and playwright Catherine Czerkawska also took issue with Grafton's comments, saying they displayed "a profoundly amateurish and unacceptable ignorance of changes to the industry in which she claims to work".

"I've had 40 years as a novelist and award-winning playwright, I've been a Royal Literary Fund writing fellow and I'm currently serving on the committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland. Is that professional enough for her?" said Czerkawska. "I still found myself at the mercy of an increasingly restrictive and blockbuster-focused industry. There are many of us working away quietly, selling ebooks to readers who give every appearance of enjoying them. For us and our readers, the indie publishing movement has been nothing less than an inspirational and creative godsend."
More at The Guardian

Publishing Perspectives

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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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Craig Brown's Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings takes the Six Degrees of Separation idea to new heights and may be the ultimate bathroom book.
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Talk about a brand extension: the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books has over 200 million copies in print, and, naturally, are now going into the book biz.
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Indian self-publishing is already on the rise, but with the introduction of KDP and sales priced in rupees, expect a flood of new authors offering cheap books.
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From the Archives:
Now in its 43rd year on television, Sesame Street offers 150 e-books, 15 apps, and continues to think of itself as "an experiment."
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10 Contemporary Politicians’ Favorite Books

by . Posted on Flavorpill- Aug 29, 2012

After it was revealed that Paul Ryan was a longtime Ayn Rand fanboy, reporters, critics, and the general public had a literary field day. Out came in-depth analyses of how Ryan’s fiscal policies were akin to Randian philosophies, and what character he would play in Atlas Shrugged. It all got us thinking about other political candidates and their literary preferences. Usually politicians are the ones who are being written about in books, not talking about them. So is Obama still as big of a fan of poetry as he was in his college days? Which classic novel for young ladies has a beloved spot on Hillary’s bookshelf? After the jump, we take a stroll through some contemporary politicos’ favorite reads.

Three Settling Publishers Agree to Pay Consumers $69 Million, Plus $7.5 Million to States for Legal Costs

A little later than planned, attorneys general from 49 states (all but Minnesota), five territories and the District of Columbia have filed with Judge Denise Cote's court a proposed settlment of their ebook price-fixing action with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. The publishers have agreed to pay approximately $69 million in consumer restitution, and "about $7.5 million to the states for legal fees and other costs." (When the agreement to settle was announced in April, the AGs said they expected the publishers would pay about $52 million, but that was before Simon & Schuster had agreed to settle with the states. In all, the state complaint alleged that the original five agency publishers' actions had "resulted in e-book customers paying more than $100 million in overcharges."
The agreement now awaits Judge Cote's review and approval--just like the pending Federal settlement. The settlement was due by August 20, and the attorneys general were granted a brief extension earlier in the month. The AGs from Ohio, Connecticut and Texas--writing as the settlement committee--told the judge that working out the mechanics of how restitution would be provided to consumers "has proven to be a far slower process than we originally contemplated." Their objective was to "develop a notice and distribution plan that harnesses the very technology used in selling ebooks." In other words, the big retailers will play a key role in notifying buyers and distributing the money or credit. Florida's AG indicated that "about 97 percent of consumers will get notice of the settlement by e-mail."
Consumers who purchased Agency Five ebooks between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 are eligible for some form of compensation. The pool has already been allocated on a state-by-state basis, with each attorney general in the land telling their constituents how much money their state will divvy up. (In the very roughest of terms, we figure consumers may be looking at one dollar or less per ebook purchased.) Payments will begin 30 days after the court's final approval of the settlement.
With a nationwide settlement, expect the settling publishers to push for dismissal of the pending class action suit (with the possible exception of Minnesota), since those publishers will argue that they have fully compensated all consumers and the additional suit is unnecessary.
Judge Cote Accepts Authors Guilds' Brief; Will Accept A Kohn Filing of 5 Pages Only
Separately, in a brief ruling on Tuesday on the pending Federal settlement, Judge Denise Cote accepted the amicus curiae brief submitted by the Authors Guild, and agreed to do the same for businessman and attorney Bob Kohn, as long as he resubmits his brief by next Tuesday, September 4 and turns his dozens of pages into 5 pages or less, just as everyone else was ordered to do. "Kohn had a full opportunity to express his opinion on the proposed FInal Judgment during the public comment period and took full advantage of this opportunity. Any additional remarks need only address new arguments presented in the Government's July 23 and August 3 submissions.
As you may have inferred, the likelihood that new ebook contractual relationships with Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others will be forced into place by the court during the important holiday selling season is diminishing with each passing day. Judge Cote reiterates in this week's ruling that the court "must [our italics] determine in advance whether the entry of an antitrust consent decree is 'in the public interest.'" The court has accumulated a lot of public comments and subsequent briefs to consider and reply to in its decision. It is still not known whether Judge Cote will agree to hold a hearing on the matter, but even a quick approval--if that should be the case--still looks to be a minimum of weeks away.
Multiple parties, including Apple, have all but vowed to appeal any approval of the settlement. If that comes to pass, Judge Cote would be asked to stay execution of the final judgment pending appeal--which she has to consider and rule on--and if she does not agree, then the decision not to stay would go to the Court of Appeals as well with a plea for expedited consideration. Given the seven days plus approximately 60 days or more the settlement itself provides for new contracts with everyone but Apple to be put in place, you can see how any new business paradigm looks to be sliding into 2013.

Barnes & Noble announced that retailer Argos, academic bookseller Blackwell's and independent bookstore Foyles will also sell the Nook in the UK as of October, after announcing its deal with John Lewis earlier in the week. The Argos deal is particularly significant as it means the Simple Touch and GlowLight devices will be sold in a chain of 700 stores, while Blackwell's and Foyles enables BN to have some bookstore presence to compete with WHSmith (which stocks Kobo) and Waterstones (which sells Kindle.)
In a statement BN director of digital products Jamie Iannone touted that "Argos built its brand on choice and convenience, and with 90 percent of the population living within 10 miles of an Argos store, this literally brings the NOOK experience close to home for millions of UK consumers."
Managing director of Blackwell's Bookshops and online David Prescott commented in the release that it was "critically important...that we found a device partner who understood the specific needs of our customer groups. Barnes & Noble’s bookselling expertise, academic heritage and market leading NOOK reading devices made them the outstanding choice for Blackwell's customers."
Foyles ceo Sam Husain added: "Barnes & Noble's NOOK was born in and developed by a bookshop, so it is the ideal digital reading device to be sold by one. Foyles is always looking for new ways to recommend books to our customers and with NOOK, our booksellers now have superb hardware at hand to do so. NOOK is a market leader in eBook technology we are delighted to now be able to offer to our customers." 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sugu Pillay interview

Tim Jones' interview with poet Sugu Pillay, who has just started a book tour for her first collection "Flaubert's Drum", is now online at 

Poetry for sale in Edinburgh

A rare first-edition book of poems signed by Robert Louis Stevenson's mother is being auctioned for charity. A Child's Garden Of Verses was anonymously handed in to an Oxfam shop in Byres Road, Glasgow, and will be sold to raise funds for the charity.

The book is inscribed: "To my GG Niece and Nephew at Chudleigh with kind love." Stevenson's mother Margaret gave the book, to her niece and nephew as a gift.

The book is expected to fetch between £400-£800 at the Bonhams auction in Edinburgh on 30 August. A slip of paper inside the book, which was first published in 1885, revealed it came from the library of Dr Adam Watson, who was Stevenson's contemporary at Edinburgh University and his first cousin once removed. 

Ibookcollector © is published by Rivendale Press.

Off to Christchurch for The Press Christchurch Writers Festival

The Bookman heads south today for the Festival, it promises to be a wonderful weekend.
Blogging over the weekend may be a bit patchy but I will be posting whenever possible.
Check out the very impressive programme here.

Eighty Year Old Writer and Stroke Survivor Honoured at Storylines Festival

Debut children’s author and Remuera resident Janette D. Moleta did not expect to be waking up in a hospital bed on the day of her book launch.

The 80-year-old former primary school teacher, farmer’s wife and mother of six was looking forward to launching her first collection of short stories Tales of Old Shaky, illustrated by Christine Hannah Grace, at Storylines Festival’s Auckland Family Day. However, a severe stroke which caused paralysis on her right side, meant that Janette D. Moleta couldn’t attend her own book launch.

Instead, Auckland-based independent publisher Jill Marshall and illustrator Christine Hannah Grace paid tribute to Janette D. Moleta’s writing and officially launched Tales of Old Shaky. Both talked about Janette’s love of flowers, animals and birds; all of which feature strongly in her charming collection of children’s stories.

Jill Marshall said that it was a “poignant moment to be launching Tales of Old Shaky without Janette. The whole team at Jill Marshall Publishing are devastated by what’s happened, and we all want Shaky to garner the great success it deserves and to make Janette proud. She’s a delightful, charming lady, and our hearts are all with her”, said Jill Marshall.

Tales of Old Shaky is a compilation of 10 classic New Zealand stories, beautifully illustrated by Christine Hannah Grace with simple watercolours to appeal to old and young alike. The title comes from a name given to New Zealand because of its frequent seismic activity, aka the ‘Shaky Isles’, and is published under the Pear Jam imprint of Jill Marshall Publishing.

Don Donovan's World

Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author - 30 August 2012

Leaves From My Sketchbooks. 11.St. Stephens, Judges Bay, Auckland

While I called my book Country Churches of New Zealand, I nevertheless included the final illustration of this Auckland city church because when it was built it was in the country. It's such a charming little chapel hidden in the inner suburbs of the city that it's easy to forget that well over a million people live in the district.

The day I did this scribble is memorable because an elderly couple stopped to talk to me. They were off a cruise liner and they'd seen the church from the ship as it entered Waitemata Harbour early that morning. They were quietly spoken Yorkshire folk and I was impressed that they were smart enough to bypass all the touristy seductions of Lower Queen Street and make a bee-line for an Auckland jewel.


Printer in Residence programme 2012

From Donald Kerr:

Last year, John Denny, owner-operator of Puriri Press, Auckland, completed the hand-setting of poems by local poet Peter Olds at the Otakou Press Room in the University Library (as part of our Printer in Residence programme). The colourful 'Skew-Whiff' was the result, with 8 images local artist Kathryn Madill. We have a few left for sale, so please contact me if you are interested in buying one.

Come mid-September, the printing presses at the Otakou Press room will be pumping away again. Dr John Holmes, owner-operator of his own Frayed Frisket Press, will be printing poems by poet Kevin Cunningham. The poems have been selected by Bill Manhire (University of Victoria, Wellington), who also offers an introduction. As usual, the print run will be only 100 copies.

Dr. Donald Kerr, F.L.S.
Special Collections Librarian
University of Otago
P.O. Box 56
Dunedin, New Zealand
Phone: (03) 479-8330

Suzanne Collins Hits Bestseller List with 8 Year Old Book

By Maryann Yin on Galley Cat, August 29, 2012

Author Suzanne Collins has grabbed the #11 spot on the USA Today’s bestseller list with a book she published eight years ago.

The Hunger Games novelist hit the chart with her 2004 release, Gregor the Overlander: Underland Chronicles Book One, following a special sale. Have you read this older series?
Here’s more from Book Buzz: “Why the high spot for a book that made the list only once before, back in 2007, at No. 140? Perhaps because on Saturday offered the e-book for a one-day-only price of $1.99, 62% off list price.”
Altogether, Collins wrote five books for The Underland Chronicles. The final title, Gregor and the Code of Claw was released in 2007.
As of this week, all three Hunger Games books have spent more than 100 weeks on the USA Today list. Back in July 2012, Scholastic announced that there are more than 50 million copies of the books in The Hunger Games trilogy in print.
The series has also become the bestselling book series of all time on

Jack Reacher's latest adventure now on sale

A Wanted Man
A Wanted Man
A WANTED MAN goes on sale in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand - today August 30th.

Australia on September 3rd.

The US and Canada on September 11th.

The latest Reacher novel picks up where WORTH DYING FOR ends. If you haven't read WORTH DYING FOR, go grab yourself a copy and skip to the next paragraph. Reacher's hitchhiking his way to Virginia to meet Susan. He looks like 5 miles of rough road, with a broken nose and duct tape holding it together. That's our guy, always a fashion plate. Three people in one car (think tight fit for our Mr. Long Legs) pick him up and none of them are telling the truth.

More news -
Lee's on tour! Starting September 4th, he'll be meeting readers in the UK and Ireland. Right after, he's back in the States to tour for the US edition of A WANTED MAN. Take a look at the website APPEARANCES page for dates, times and places. (No new events will be added, so what you see is what there'll be.)

Speaking of Lee's website, we're about to launch a new design. There are some simple changes (such as calling the current Appearances page "Events" instead) and it's a whole lot simpler to we will be adding lots of goodies for y'all by year's end. As many of you know, the Forum is closing down but that's what Facebook and Twitter are for. Come back next week and take a look. We hope you like it.

The redesigned website will also make it easy to discover the latest news. Every nugget of info will be posted on the "News" page as well as on Facebook and Twitter. We've added a YouTube channel for Lee Child, too. These are the places (website "News" page, Facebook, Twitter) where we will announce contests for books and sweepstakes for Jack Reacher movie premiere tickets so keep on the look-out.
The Affair
THE AFFAIR mass-market paperback just went on sale in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and thanks to you readers, it's topping the charts. (Before you ask, the US/Canada paperback went on sale earlier this year so you may already own a copy.)

DEEP DOWN, the digital-only short story came out in August and is still on bestsellers lists. You guys rock!

JACK REACHER'S RULES will be out in November. More on that, later...

Let's see...what else? Lee will be in the news often over the next few months. We'll let you know as dates are confirmed but don't be surprised if you see Lee in Playboy (sorry ladies, no centerfold).

Happy Reading!

Big news for Margaret Mahy Fans

Two newly updated editions celebrate the life and work of the incredible and wonderful Margaret Mahy.

Margaret Mahy: A Writer’s Life by Tessa Duder was first published in 2005 to critical acclaim. Now seven years on, it has been fully updated and re-published.  

     Updates include:

     Updated introduction
     New Epilogue of over 5000 words which covers Margaret’s life between 2005 and 2012
     Updated Notes
     Updated Chronological Bibliography with Margaret’s books published from 2005 onwards
     Updated Awards and Honours (including the Hans Christian Andersen Award which        Margaret won in 2006)
   New photos
§       Margaret Mahy: A Writer’s Life by Tessa Duder
RRP $39.99
Trade Paperback, with flaps
Release Date 1 September 2012   - Harper Collins

The Word Witch by Margaret Mahy, illustrations by David Elliot, edited by Tessa Duder
was originally published in hardback in 2009 and is the ultimate collection of Margaret Mahy’s much-loved poems and stories in rhyme.  Each of the 66 pieces is accompanied by a poignant illustration by one of New Zealand’s best, David Elliot. 

This new paperback edition includes a CD with recordings of Margaret reciting 12 poems including favourites such as Down the Back of the Chair and Ghosts.

The Word Witch is set to delight readers who have grown up with Mahy and will enchant newcomers to her work for many years to come.

The Word Witch is a cornucopia of riches, a treasure trove from a living treasure. It's also an inspired idea, which will long continue to inspire. A beautiful and essential book.’
— Bill Nagelkerke

Margaret Mahy was one of the world’s leading authors for younger readers for four decades. In her own country she was popularly known as the writer in the multicoloured wig who wrote marvellously funny picture books and enchanted generations of school children.
Her story had its fairy-tale elements. In 1968, a hard-pressed solo mother of two daughters, working as a librarian by day and writing long into the night, she was ‘discovered’ by a leading American publisher who flew ‘to the end of the earth’ to offer her a multi-book publishing contract.

From those first picture books, through the great novels of the 1980s and new books and awards right up to the year of her death, she came to be regarded as the third in New Zealand’s literary pantheon, alongside Katherine Mansfield and Janet Frame. In 2006 her achievements were recognised by IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People), awarding her the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the world’s ‘Little Nobel’, for her distinguished contribution to children’s literature.

Sadly, Margaret passed away on 23 July 2012.

Tessa Duder's literary career now spans three decades; she is one of New Zealand’s best-known writers. Awards include the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal, Katherine Mansfield Fellowship, and Artists to Antarctica Fellowship. In 2008 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato.

The Word Witch by Margaret Mahy
Illustrations by David Elliot
Edited by Tessa Duder
RRP $39.99
Release Date 14 September 2012 - Harper Collins
Includes CD with recording of Margaret Mahy reciting 12 poems, which are also in the book

American Metal Company Produce Weird And Wonderful Book Ends

Nestled in a quiet corner of Kentucky, America is a small privately owned metal work company called KnobCreekMetalArt.
Amongst other things they produce this collection of witty, wonderful and often plain weird bookends inspired by everything from wildlife to horror movies.
"We started this business for fun when we were slow with our other interests," the team explain on their website.

"We have dealt with metal products for more than 15 years and decided to try our hands at more artistic and creative designs.
"Less than a year it was occupying most of our time. The stream of inspiration feeds on itself through communication with all of our fans. Every day we hear from people all over the world, wanting to know if we can make something different for them.
"It is rewarding to personalize art work for someone trying to express a feeling to others."
View the range of 28 amazing designs at HuffPostUK

Kobo to Help Independent Bookstores Sell eBooks

By Jason Boog on Galley Cat, August 29, 2012

Kobo revealed a new partnership with the American Booksellers Association today, giving independent bookstores a new way to sell eBooks.
The program will launch 400 participating bookstores, all of them using Kobo’s collection of nearly 3 million digital books. ABA members will share in the revenue on every sale.

Indie bookstores can only sell digital books through Google currently, but that program will end early next year. Kobo’s new program will start in October. Here’s more from Kobo:
By partnering with the nearly 2,000 ABA-member stores, Kobo continues its successful strategy of working with booksellers around the world, and America’s indie booksellers grow their ability to discover and deliver great reads, in any format, to their customers … The program includes valuable training, in-store merchandising, marketing, sales, and logistics solutions to help independents be successful. ABA members will also be able to offer ebooks directly to their customers online.

Want a good night's sleep? Read a book

Reading an iPad can suppress melatonin production, a study says. (krossbow / Flickr)
There are many ways to slide into a good night's sleep -- here, we're concerned with just one of them: reading. And if you take to bed with a good book on your tablet, like the man above, you're doing it wrong.
That's according to a new study -- a teeny, tiny study -- at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center. RPI found that looking at a backlit screen, like those on iPads and other tablets, can lead to sleeplessness.
“Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent," said Mariana Figueiro, the lead researcher. “Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to bedtime.”
In the study, 13 subjects read, watched videos and played games on tablets with backlit displays for two hours. The subjects were equipped with devices to measure the light their eyes were receiving, and some wore goggles that filtered the light they saw.
Results of the study, titled “Light level and duration of exposure determine the impact of self-luminous tablets on melatonin suppression,” were recently published in the journal “Applied Ergonomics.” It was funded by Sharp Laboratories of America.
Another researcher suggests that teenagers and young adults, who “tend to be night owls,” may be particularly sensitive to the tablet light exposure.
What’s a bedtime reader to do? These results suggest avoiding backlit tablets and reaching for something else. A text-only Kindle, for example. And paper books, while old fashioned, work perfectly.
Happy reading, and happy sleeping.

Barbara Else, Gecko Press and The Children’s Bookshop are pleased to invite you to the launch of the latest ‘Tale of Fontania’, The Queen and the Nobody Boy

Wednesday 19 September, 2012

The Children’s Bookshop
26 Kilbirnie Plaza

To be launched by special guest, Barbara Murison

RSVP by 14 September to

Navy SEAL Book To Come Out Early

By Dianna Dilworth on Galley Cat,August 29, 2012 

Penguin’s Dutton imprint has moved up the publishing date for the Navy Seal memoir about the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Originally slated for an October release, No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden was then supposed to come out on September 11th, but will now be out on September 4th.

Publisher’s Weekly has more: “In a statement, the publisher said the publication was moved up ‘in response to the overwhelming excitement in the marketplace,’ and Dutton “‘now feels it is important to put No Easy Day on sale and let the book speak for itself.’”
Read more

Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s spell can’t save historic Kensal Rise Library

Despite a campaign involving several leading authors, Kensal Rise Library has been put on the property market.

JK Rowling is a member of the Royal Society of Literature Photo: GETTY IMAGES
JK Rowling has encouraged a generation of children to read and has become one of the world’s richest women, but she has failed to save a historic library.
The Royal Society of Literature, of which the Labour-supporting Rowling is a leading member, said it was “appalled” that Kensal Rise Library had been stripped of its books by Brent council in May.
However, Mandrake can disclose that the elegant library, whose opening was attended by Mark Twain in 1900, has now been quietly put on the market with Cluttons.
The estate agent refuses to say how much it is seeking for the 5,850 sq ft building, which is in an increasingly fashionable corner of north-west London, but it would be worth millions.
Labour-controlled Brent closed the library last year as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Under the terms of its lease, the building’s ownership reverted to All Souls College, Oxford, which is now selling it.
“All Souls were fine with the land being used for free until Brent council insisted on giving it back to them. Now they, understandably, have to look at their options. I feel betrayed by the council and the Government.”
Denis MacShane, the Labour MP, says: “The decision is a symbol of cultural philistinism. It is sad to see this wonderful coalition of writers and artists has been unsuccessful in their campaign.”