Friday, October 8, 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.

Among this week's news: New York Times on the suffering picture book; Open Road Media's new addition signal children's books ahead; Scholastic's reading report; reasons you may be losing Facebook friends; NYC is top Twitter city (I'm sure it's all the publishing tweeps); a new book featuring literary tattoos (guess who's got the Mad Hatter on her bum?); iPad and Facebook continue to take over the world; NYT's "spaghetti taco" expert (who's hungry?); bye to "Huge" (sad face!); and more.

Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children
Picture books are so unpopular these days at the Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, Mass., that employees there are used to placing new copies on the shelves, watching them languish and then returning them to the publisher. The picture books section at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington. Even some best-selling authors feel the pinch. “So many of them just die a sad little death, and we never see them again,” said Terri Schmitz, the owner. The shop has plenty of company. The picture book, a mainstay of children’s literature with its lavish illustrations, cheerful colors and large print wrapped in a glossy jacket, has been fading. It is not going away—perennials like the Sendaks and Seusses still sell well—but publishers have scaled back the number of titles they have released in the last several years, and booksellers across the country say sales have been suffering.

Barbara Marcus Joins Open Road (PW)
Children's publishing industry veteran Barbara Marcus has joined Open Road Integrated Media as an adviser, and will help lead the company's entry into the children's market. She will also help further Open Road’s international business development and consult on general strategic issues. 

Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report: Next Chapter Of eBooks, Reading Roadblocks Vs. Potential Portals & More (Ypulse)
The other day in Essentials I pointed to a New York Times piece, reg. required, on the latest Kids & Family Reading Report out of Scholastic conducted by the Harrison Group among children ages 9 to 17 and their parents. Some of the big takeaways were enthusiasm from young readers towards adopting new digital platforms like eBooks (not at the sacrifice of traditional books!), concerns coming from parents around digital distraction (with some notable quotable exceptions: One father says, "The need to read and comprehend video game instructions seems to have helped my son’s reading ability..:") and, lastly, a persistent lack in information literacy when it came to "reading" the web.

5 Reasons You Got Unfriended On Facebook (And How To Prevent It From Happening Again) (All Facebook)
Have you been loosing sleep trying to figure out why you got unfriended on Facebook? I hope not! But if you have been unfriended recently, you might still be curious to know the reason behind this distasteful act. Lucky for you, a new study conducted by University of Colorado Denver researchers will help you make sure you will never be unfriended again! After surveying 1500 Facebook users on Twitter (loving the irony!), University of Colorado Denver Ph.D student Christopher Sibona found the following top reasons for Facebook unfriending:

iPad Adoption Rate Fastest Ever, Passing DVD Player (CNBC)
Apple’s iPad sold three million units in the first 80 days after its April release and its current sales rate is about 4.5 million units per quarter, according to Bernstein Research. This sales rate is blowing past the one million units the iPhone sold in its first quarter and the 350,000 units sold in the first year by the DVD player, the most quickly adopted non-phone electronic product.

Google Editions Coming In 2011  Google Editions has surfaced in the press today. The long awaited Google book platform is getting some ink from the Frankfurt Book Fair, and is reportedly set to launch this year. It was supposed to be out this summer, so we’ll wait and see. The Bookseller has more: “Google Editions will be available on multiple devices, including the iPad, online via a Google ‘web reader’, but will not be available on Amazon’s Kindle device at launch.”
New York Is the Top Twitter City: You Got a Problem with That? (WebNewser)
Start Tweeting the news: According to the Social Business Report study from marketing database outfit NetProspex, New York is the top Twitter city—which NetProspex defines as cities with the most active businesspeople on the microblogging site, based on employee presence and average numbers of Tweets, followers, and profiles followed—reports Katie Kindelan from sister blog Social Times.

Lit-snobs, hot librarians, and the rise of the literary tattoo (Boston Phoenix)
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich was sitting down for a meal at Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, when she found herself under critique "I sat down in the cafeteria," the Jamaica Plain writer recalls. "One of the famous poets who was there to teach sat down next to me and read the first line of the Sexton poem off my arm, and he said, 'That's a terrible poem! That's not one of her good ones!' " The eminent bard—she wouldn't name names—found fault with Anne Sexton's "Curse Against Elegies." That poem, along with Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Dirge Without Music," wash over each other to form the outline of an orchid on Marzano-Lesnevich's bicep. She didn't take offense at the poet's criticism. "I just let him talk," she says. "How often do you get to hear a famous poet rail against another famous poet?" At that same conference, the tattoo led to another, more fortuitous encounter. "Amy MacKinnon [the Boston-based author of the novel Tethered] saw my tattoo and said to me that a woman in her agent's agency was putting together a book of literary tattoos."
After only one short season of 10 episodes, the weight loss camp drama Huge has been canceled. The creators of the show, Winnie Holzman (who is also responsible for My-So-Called Life) and her daughter Savannah Dooley, told Entertainment Weekly:

'Glee' to help bullied gay teens (Toronto Sun) 
Glee creator Ryan Murphy is planning to devote an upcoming episode of the show to bullied gay teenagers following the recent suicides of tormented youths in America. The writer is hoping the hit show, which features a gay high school student played by Chris Colfer, will show fans struggling with their sexuality how to cope with any taunts aimed at them. 

How Facebook Can Become Bigger In Five Years Than Google Is Today (TechCrunch)
Remember three years ago, when Microsoft paid a quarter-billion dollars for 1.6% of Facebook and the exclusive right to run banner ads across Tell the truth, how many of you thought that was a killer business decision? I can’t say I did at the time. But as that deal is about to expire in 2011, Facebook’s status as a revenue juggernaut is rarely questioned any more.

It's True: Spaghetti Tacos "Expert," Prof. Robert Thompson, Has Now Been Interviewed By 78 Different NYT Reporters.  (The NYTPicker)
In tomorrow's NYT, reporter Helene Stapinski performs what might appear to be a near-impossible feat of journalism dexterity--producing a college professor to support her thesis that more Americans now consume spaghetti tacos than ever before. "Spaghetti tacos has made it possible to eat spaghetti in your car," Robert J. Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, tells Stapinski. "It’s a very important technological development. You don’t even need a plate."

1 comment:

Lee Wind said...

Fun round-up, Alice! Thanks,
Namaste and a Hug,