Friday, September 3, 2010

In the News This Week

Fridays on the SCBWI blog, I share snippets of and links to some of the publishing/media-related news I've read during the last week that I found interesting, helpful, and/or fun. Click titles to get to the full articles.

I donned my silver lamé jumpsuit as I compiled this week's brave new world of publishing news. Among the stories: MOCKINGJAY sales soaring, Borders sales slumping; Borders' and Sony's new e-readers coming soon, PW to review self-published and POD books (for a price), a new dictionary app from Macmillan, a new social network from Apple (and why it won't trump Facebook), why bloggers should be on Facebook, tweens who blog, and Lane Smith on his new book which pokes fun at the wired world. (That doesn't mean there's not a trailer--it's included below for your amusement.) 

Mockingjay' Sells More Than 450,000 Copies in First Week
Mockingjay, the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, sold more than 450,000 copies (hardcover and e-book) in its first week on sale in the U.S., its publisher, Scholastic, announced today. The book debuted at number one on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists. Scholastic has gone back to press for an additional 400,000 copies, bringing the total number of copies in print for Mockingjay in the U.S. to 1.6 million since its August 24 publication.

The New PW Select: A Quarterly Service for the Self-Published
We are returning to our earliest roots. PW dates to 1872, when it was first known as Trade Circular Weekly and listed all titles published that week in what was then a nascent industry. We have decided to embrace the self-publishing phenomenon in a similar spirit. Call it what you will—self-publishing, DIY, POD, author-financed, relationship publishing, or vanity fare. They are books and that is what PW cares about. And we aim to inform the trade.

Macmillan Dictionary Launches Apps (eBook Newser)
Macmillan Dictionaries has teamed up with software company DW Education to launch a suite of iPhone and iPad apps based on their dictionaries. The apps are interactive and users can create personalized word lists. Users can also distinguish between British and American English. The Macmillan website explains: "These tools will give you immediate access to definitions, phonetics, pronunciation and synonyms, plus the unique Macmillan English Dictionary red-star system indicating frequency of word usage for the most common words in English.

Apple's Ping, MySpace & The Future of Music Social Networks (Ypulse)
The big news out of Apple today is the debut of music social network Ping. Packaged with the latest version of iTunes, the opt-in newsfeed detailing friends' listening and buying habits already has tech pundits speculating about game changing and MySpace killing potential. So.. should we buy into the hype?

10 Reasons Apple Ping Won’t Beat Facebook Anytime Soon (All Facebook)
Yesterday Apple announced Ping, a network which many have suggested will replace MySpace and present a new competitor to Facebook. However Apple’s first shot at building a social network has many flaws. As such, there are many areas that the company needs to improve before it can be considered a legitimate competitor to Facebook. With a physical platform of distribution however, if Apple can fix the product’s flaws, there’s no doubt they could rise to become the most legitimate Facebook competitor.

Scholastic Books Revamps Its Marketing (NY Times)
WHEN Karen Rice was a little girl, Santa Claus visited multiple times a year. At least it felt that way when Ms. Rice, now a 22-year-old elementary-school teacher in Elizabethtown, Ky., got the books she ordered from the Scholastic Book Club. The Scholastic Book Club says its Facebook page will help teachers, students and parents talk about class and reading. "I can remember as a kid, it’s kind of like a little Christmas when your books come in," she said. In a tradition carried out in classrooms countless times during the club’s 60 years, Ms. Rice got a catalog and order forms from her teacher and then went home, selected a few books and returned the forms and money to her teacher. A few weeks later, a box full of books arrived for distribution. 

The internet comes of age: Meet the tweeny bloggers (Independent)
They are the Generation Net, whose toddler years have spawned countless mummy blogs, whether they liked it or not. Now, they're getting their own back. Children as young as three are turning to blogging to tell their side of the story. The growing army of child bloggers is tackling subjects from politics to new toys, while improving their literacy skills. The interest has triggered a debate on the wisdom of giving children free rein online, as social networking sites aimed at pre-teens soar in popularity.

Another Weak Quarter from Borders; Expands Non-book Offerings (PW) 
Borders Group reported another disappointing quarter this morning with sales in the period ended July 31 falling 11.5%, to $526.1 million and the loss from continuing operations increasing to $51.6 million from $45.1 million in the comparable quarter in 2009. Same store sales fell 6.8%. Looking for a bright spot, Borders said sales through increased 56.2% to $15.5 million.

Borders eReaders Go On Sale (GalleyCat)
After some early rumors, Borders has put the Kobo eReader and the Libre eBook Reader Pro on sale.
The Kobo is now priced at $129.99, down from $149.99. The Libre eBook Reader is now $99.99, down from $119.99. The Libre eReader will be on sale through September 14th.

Sony Refreshes Reader Family With New Screens And Bodies (CrunchGear)
As expected, the new lineup of Sony Readers has arrived with the rumored touch capability, though there’s none of the 3G we heard about. Query: why is every company releasing things so late tonight? It’s a good thing I have no life! The familiar three “editions” of the e-reader family are still around, but they’ve been improved with the new Pearl e-ink display for improved contrast and speed, and Sony says it’s improved the touch-sensitive layer as well.

Staples To Sell Kindles (eBookNewser
Staples is going to start selling Amazon's Kindle this fall. The office supply retailer will carry the new Kindle, the Kindle DX and the Kindle 3G. Staples will also carry Kindle accessories.

Facebook is Not Your Blog (blogworld)
Last week, one of the most-clicked stories from SmartBrief on Social Media was an article from Advertising Age: What Happens When Facebook Trumps Your Brand Site? It’s a legitimate concern for businesses. With millions of people using Facebook and that number growing every day, brands like Coca-Cola, Victoria’s Secret, and Oreo are getting more Facebook traffic than they are getting traffic to their home websites. According to reports, there are nearly 40 fan pages with at least a million Facebook fans, or “likes” as they’re calling ‘em these days, whatever. The point is that Facebook might not be around forever, but right now, they are securing controlling the social networking market.

‘It’s a Book’ Author Lane Smith on Kids and Technology (WSJ)
As demonstrated by books like "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs" and "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales," his collaborations with Jon Scieszka, author and illustrator Lane Smith has a wonderfully sardonic sense of humor that lends itself well to subversive children’s books. In his latest title, "It’s A Book," Lane turns his humor to a pervasive cultural issue among the younger generation today: explaining the merits of a printed book--a property that can’t text or tweet. He explores the issues through two main characters: A monkey who’s trying to read, and a jackass who keeps interrupting him with questions and manages to condense to a page of "Treasure Island" into a Twitter-post length message, complete with emoticon.


Julie Hedlund said...

Love, LOVE the "It's a Book" video. Thanks for sharing!

Children's books fan said...

How may I contact you via email? I have big news that I think would make for a great story on your blog and I'd love to send you details. This is in relation to the children's book Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy and it's creation as an app for iPad with sign interpretation, by the DreamWorks affiliated company iStorytime.

Children's books fan said...

Alice please contact me at - thank you!