I took the day off that day after Thanksgiving (devoting the day to eating was pie), but I'm back this week with links to piece a piece on Black Friday book sales, a great PW roundup of YA publishers, the continuing Kindle vs. iPad popularity contest, the best agents on Twitter, some tips for self-editing, ABC plus ABA, an addictive blog on subway reading, and more.
Jeff Kinney and Rick Riordan Put the "Black" into Black Friday
Many independent booksellers contacted by PW earlier this week reported solid holiday sales over the Thanksgiving weekend. While those figures include adult titles, especially memoirs—former president George W. Bush’s Decision Points, Keith Richards’s Life, and The Autobiography of Mark Twain—children’s books contributed to sales boosts. Two standouts, even at stores that don't typically boost a high percentage of children’s sales, were the fifth Wimpy Kid title and the first book in the new Heroes of Olympus series. At 40-year-old Breakwater Books in Guilford, Ct., where children’s comprise 30% of sales, the bestseller for the entire weekend came from the kids’ aisle: Peter Yarrow’s The Night Before Christmas, which features a musical recording by Peter, Paul, and Mary, and paintings by Eric Puybaret. And at BarnesandNoble.com, the perennial holiday favorite, The Elf on a Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold, held top positions in books for the gift set, with a light-skinned elf at #1 and a dark-skinned elf #10.
There is no shortage of media coverage about boom times in the young adult market. Looking beyond the houses responsible for many of the bold-faced headliners at the top of bestseller lists, one finds an enthusiastic group of publishers, some newcomers to YA, whose authors are making impressive contributions and helping to satiate the reading appetites of Twilight- and Hunger Games-frenzied fans.
From these publishers comes word of thriving YA programs, fueled by a bumper crop of talented new writers—many of whom are startlingly young—and a sizzling double-edged crossover market involving more adult authors penning YA novels and more adult readers buying YA fare. Editors claim they are not filling their lists with derivative stories (though vampires and dystopian landscapes are surely in evidence), but are signing up books in an increasingly diverse range of genres. Here's a look at some of these publishers' offerings and observations.
Small Press Spotlight: Purple House Press (Shelf Talker)
For some time now, I’ve meant to start a recurring feature highlighting some of our favorite small presses. We independent booksellers are always working to get the message out about the wonderful benefits we offer to readers; just as important is our support of smaller indie publishers, who likewise depend on us to recognize and value (and buy) the unique books they have to offer. In this economy especially, we need to put our money where our mouths are. Let’s hear it for small presses!
Kindles And iPads Are Most Popular eReaders: ChangeWave Research (eBookNewser)
Kindles and iPads are closely competing this holiday season. While more people currently own Kindles, iPads are growing in popularity, says a new consumer research study by ChangeWave Research.
In August, ChangeWave interview more than 2,800 consumers to inform the new report called “The Consumer Electronics Spending For the Holidays. The report found that 47 percent of eReader owners own a Kindle and 32% own an iPad. Interestingly, readers find the iPad more satisfying as an e-reader, with 75% of iPad owners saying that they are “very satisfied” with the tablet as an eReader, compared to 54% of Kindle owners reporting the same thing.
ABC Booksellers Overwhelmingly Approve Merger With ABA (PW)
By a vote of 105 to 23, members of the Association of Booksellers for Children have approved a merger with the American Booksellers Association. This marks the culmination of a process set in motion nearly two years ago when the ABC board, concerned about the organization’s long-term survival given that nearly two thirds of its budget is funded by publishers, initiated possible merger discussions with ABA.
Best Literary Agents on Twitter (GalleyCat)
Looking for an agent? To help aspiring writers, literary agents, and publishing professionals connect online, we are building a new directory of best literary agents on Twitter. At the eBook Summit on December 15th, we will have a special panel discussion about finding an agent in this new digital publishing landscape. Reading these agents every day will help you prepare as well. Add your favorite agent (or yourself) to the growing list below. Our feeble list IS NOT COMPREHENSIVE–yet. We will regularly update the directory, just like our other directories of publishing professionals on Twitter. This will a BIG directory, so please be patient as we update.
Flipping through e-readers, a skeptic becomes a believer (LA Times)
The last time I was stuck somewhere without a book to read was 1988. The place was Homa Bay, a village on the Kenyan shore of Lake Victoria that I wouldn't be leaving for five days at the minimum, with lots of downtime in store. After three days I'd finished both John Le Carre novels I'd brought with me. I was only saved from spending the endless hours watching scorpions skitter across the sand by the Gideons, whose geographic reach really is remarkable. After that experience, I never left home without a Dickens in my knapsack, on the principle that you can't get stuck anywhere on Earth long enough to get all the way to the end of "Little Dorrit."But that wouldn't be an issue for me today, because now I have my Kindle.
5 Tips for Productively Editing Your Writing (HuffPo)
I've got writing on the brain these days. I've recently joined a writing group and I'm about to turn back to my own manuscript in a few days. (Drumroll, please...) So I'm thinking again about the craft of writing. Not the initial creative burst that yields a blog post, an article or a novel, but that potentially stomach-churning, roll-up-your-sleeves and stare-the-beast-in-the-face process commonly known as editing. (I think Ernest Hemingway summed up the distinction between these two phases best when he said: "Write drunk. Edit sober.")
Book Spy Sees What You Read on the Subway (GalleyCat)
Ever feel like you’re being watched on public transportation? Maybe you’ve been spotted by The Book Spy. This anonymous New York City blogger explained in a post: “Every day, I spend nearly two hours in a dank, dark box hurtling through tunnels under the ground. It is my curse, but also my blessing. In the subway I’m exposed to a culture of readers unequaled elsewhere. They flip through magazines, shuffle through print-outs, and contort their newspapers into elaborate origami folds to keep the pages from encroaching upon their neighbors. Above all they read books. Books of every shape, size, genre, and format.”