Saturday, December 11, 2010

In the News This Week

Weekly 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. I've been doing this on Fridays since the blog debuted, but look for Saturday news round-ups occasionally in the next couple of months (due to a hefty freelance writing gig).

As you peruse the articles beginnings below, click titles to get to read the rest of the stories.

This week's stories include Google eBooks launch, trends courtesy of Scholastic, research tips from the recent NBA winner, a best YA list from GalleyCat, bookscan stats on Amazon, hard times for Borders, why teens don't tweet, eBook predictions, trouble for GLBT teens, and more.

Google Launches Google eBooks, Formerly Google Editions (PW)
After months of anticipation, Google today launched its long-awaited cloud-based e-book program, Google eBooks. Rebranded from its original moniker, Google Editions, Google eBooks overnight becomes the largest e-book provider in the world, at least in terms of its offerings, launching with nearly three million books available for purchase or download, including “hundreds of thousands of e-books” available for purchase and over two million public domain titles available for free.

Research Advice from National Book Award Winner Kathryn Erskine (GalleyCat)
Kathryn Erskine tackles tough subjects through children’s books. Her debut novel, Quaking, responded to the Virginia Tech tragedy. Her second novel, Ibhubesi: The Lion, dealt with apartheid. Her third book, Mockingbird, featured a character with asperger’s syndrome–winning this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. We caught with her to learn about her writing process. Here are some highlights from the interview.

Best YA Books of 2010: A Literary Mixtape (GalleyCat)
What’s the best young adult book you’ve read this year? Share it in the comments and we’ll add it to our new literary mixtape of the Best YA Books of 2010. This GalleyCat editor makes an annual mixtape (CD actually, but the idea is the same) collecting his favorite songs from the year–allowing his friends and family to sample some of the year’s best music. We love reading “Best Books of …” lists, but we want to build a list focused exclusively on sample chapters. Using your suggestions, we will create a giant directory linking to sample pages from your favorite YA books from 2010–allowing readers to sample the books like a literary mixtape. 

What Children's Publishers Are Doing in the Apps Space (PW)
Last week we looked at how some adult trade houses view the potential market for apps, finding that most publishers are cautiously moving into this area. While adult and children’s divisions face many of the same questions about apps—costs, sales potential, and whether they should drive profits or market books—children’s content is generally more suited to this space. Still, like their adult counterparts, children’s publishers are developing apps slowly. PW contacted a number of children’s divisions and houses and found that many publishers are experimenting with different formats—some are creating heavily educational material (which occasionally doesn’t even link to a specific title), others are investing in games, and still others are looking for more direct ways of adapting existing fiction into an app.

Scholastic Experts Issue List of ‘Ten Trends in Children’s Books from 2010’ (
Scholastic, the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, today released a list of 10 Trends in Children's Books from 2010. The list was compiled by editors from Scholastic, including children’s literature experts from Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs, divisions of Scholastic that distribute books from all publishers through schools nationwide. "We've seen some exciting innovation in children’s publishing in 2010, including new formats and platforms for storytelling that are helping more and more kids become book lovers," said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Book Clubs. "At the same time, we’re seeing a rejuvenation of some classic genres, which I think is evidence of the timeless power that stories and characters have on the lives of children."

5 Useful Tools to Monitor Twitter Hashtags (AllTwitter)
Want to know what’s being talked about on Twitter right now? Or how about what people are saying about your or your brand? Monitoring hashtags is a great way to get in on a conversation on Twitter, whether it’s a trending topic or a few tweets per day. We’ve compiled 5 useful tools that will help you monitor hashtags on Twitter, so you can keep up with the conversation.

'Get the Xanax ready': Authors respond to BookScan on Amazon
(LA Times)
Authors responded to Thursday's news of Amazon making Neilsen BookScan's sales numbers available with both enthusiasm and trepidation. "Get the Xanax ready," tweeted David MacInnis Gill, author of "Black Hole Sun," a sci-fi thriller for young adults. In an e-mail, he explained: "Authors worry. We worry about writing. Worry about our editors, our agents, our reviews, and our readers. We worry about everything, including all forms of social media including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and personal websites. The one thing we haven't been able to obsess about is real-time sales numbers."

Borders Sales Disappoint, Loss Soars; Liquidity Issues Arise (PW)
Borders third quarter results, released just after the market closed Thursday afternoon, provided little sign that the company is turning around as total revenue fell 17.6%, to $470.9 million and comparable store sales dropped 12.6%. The loss from continuing operations was $74.4 million compared to a loss of $37.7 million a year ago. CEO Michael Edwards called the results disappointing, adding they reflect “the business challenges facing Borders and the industry at large.”

Gay and lesbian teens are punished more at school, by police, study says (WashPost)
Gay and lesbian teens in the United States are about 40 percent more likely than their straight peers to be punished by schools, police and the courts, according to a study published Monday, which finds that girls are especially at risk for unequal treatment. The research, described as the first national look at sexual orientation and teen punishment, comes as a spate of high-profile bullying and suicide cases across the country have focused attention on the sometimes hidden cruelties of teen life.   

Why Teens Don't And Won't Tweet (ReadWriteWeb)
I'm 16 and, unusually, I use Twitter quite a bit. I say unusually because perhaps you've heard that teens don't tweet. This first came to light last year when a 15-year-old Morgan Stanley intern wrote a report [PDF] where he explained that teens "realize they are not going to update it," and that "no one is viewing their profile, so their 'tweets' are pointless. Teens' lives are entirely built around their actual friends. Quite simply, why would teenagers bother using Twitter when Facebook exists, and offers so much more? Teens want a platform that allows easy, fully-functional communication to an exclusive social circle. That is, solely to their friends and peers. Twitter is a platform built for inclusive broadcast (to everyone), and to teenagers it offers no obvious value.

Figment Looks to Attract Young Writers (PW)
Founded by New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear and former New Yorker managing editor Jacob Lewis, is an online writing community aimed at attracting a membership of young people, ranging from kids to teens and older, to post, share and comment on each other’s original writing. Launched this week, the site is also teaming with YA author Blake Nelson, author of the well-received 1994 adult novel Girl, who is serializing Dream School, a long unpublished YA sequel to Girl, on the Figment site. 

eBook Readership Will Grow To 30 Million Readers Globally By 2013 (eBookNewser)
eBook readership is predicted to grow to 30 million readers globally by 2013, almost double the predicted 2012 total, according to ABI Research. According to ABI analyst Jeff Orr, a number of these people will come from Western Europe followed by China. Orr had this statement: ““In two or three years we will enter a period in which much more digital printed matter will become available in other countries and regions. Western Europe will be first, followed by Eastern Europe and Asia, especially China.”

eBook Predictions Are Futile (HuffPo)
It's the end of the year, which means prophets will soon be flooding every possible venue with predictions for the future. Most of them will end up being laughably wrong. And because it's the end of the decade, they'll be wrong about what happens for the next ten years. The publishing industry is especially difficult to speculate about because it's undergoing so much upheaval.


paiwant said...

I recently bought a Nook--not wanting to see the death of the paper and ink, but needing the benefits the electronic format provided. I wanted to be able to carry a stack of books with me everywhere I go, without actually carrying a stack of books. I'm in love with my Nook and fear I shall never buy book in any other format. I'm a YA writer and need to read as much as possible, the Nook is significantly increasing number of books I'm able to read. Visit my blog at

Lee Wind said...

Hi Alice,
great round-up, as always. particularly liked reading about the "teens don't tweet" piece - it gave me some good food for thought!
Thanks for all you do,
Namaste and Hugs,