Friday, October 29, 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: Sterling's new YA imprint, social networks and marketing, Scholastic's own social network, the MySpace redesign, B&N's Nook plus color, kindergartners in a bookstore, a book seller in an elementary school, rearranging YA in B&N, raising boys who read, a PW interview with SCBWI board member Linda Sue Park, and more.

Sterling Publishing’s Splinter Imprint Opens with Colleen Houck Fantasy Series (GalleyCat)
Splinter, Sterling Publishing’s young-adult imprint, will launch with a three-part fantasy series by Colleen Houck. Breaking the tradition of publishing one book per year, the Tiger Saga will be available in its entirety by the end of 2011. Splinter will release Tiger’s Curse on January 11th, Tiger’s Quest on June 11th, and Tiger’s Voyage on November 11th. The books will be published in both hardcover and eBook formats.

B&N Divides Out Teen Fiction Genres (PW)
In a sign of just how popular teen fiction has become, Barnes & Noble is in the midst of rearranging its teen fiction section chain-wide this week in an effort to improve the shopping experience and boost sales. Already teen fiction is the biggest book growth category at Barnes & Noble, according to Mary Amicucci, v-p of children’s books. In terms of volume, it is the second largest subject, behind adult fiction.

It's All About the Social Network (PW)
Nearly 80 publishing professionals tuned in to a BISG-sponsored webcast, “Marketing ‘Books’ in a Digital World,” on Wednesday. The hour-long discussion covered a range of tactics publishers are taking to get their books into readers’ hands, but the topic that loomed largest was social networking.

Scholastic Launches Social Networking Site (PW)
Scholastic is releasing a new social networking site today,, that lets people build a profile based on the five books that were most influential in their lives. Like GoodReads and other social networking sites for readers, users can find other people with shared literary interests, or “Bookprints,” as Scholastic calls them. Scholastic books don’t appear to get special billing on, and nearly every book in print from any publisher is available for users to catalog on their profiles. There is a strong celebrity angle to the site, with visible profiles for more than 130 well-known personalities ranging from Bill Gates to Whoopi Goldberg.

B&N Intros Nookcolor Tablet, New Children's Titles (PW)
Approximately one year after introducing its first e-reading device, Barnes & Noble took a major step forward Tuesday with the introduction of the Nookcolor, a $249 tablet with a seven inch VividView Color Touchscreen. The addition of color to the e-reading device allowed B&N to officially announce Nook Kids, which in addition to 12,000 chapter books, will have 130 picture books at launch with that number expected to double by the end of the year. Some of the children’s books will be enhanced e-books, featuring video and audio. A third part of the launch was the announcement of Nookdeveloper that will allow creators to develop “reading-centric” apps that will be sold through the Nook app store. Since the Nook runs on the Android platform, apps from the Android Market can be ported to the Nook, but Android Market apps will not automatically be sold through the Nook since B&N want to curate the store, company CEO William Lynch said.

Amazon to Introduce Lending for Kindle (GalleyCat)
In keeping with a tradition of quietly releasing news on Fridays, Amazon revealed last week they will soon allow readers to loan Kindle books to other users–one crucial feature that many readers have sought.

How to Raise Boys Who Read (WSJ)
When I was a young boy, America's elite schools and universities were almost entirely reserved for males. That seems incredible now, in an era when headlines suggest that boys are largely unfit for the classroom. In particular, they can't read. According to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, for example, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. This disparity goes back to 1992, and in some states the percentage of boys proficient in reading is now more than ten points below that of girls. The male-female reading gap is found in every socio-economic and ethnic category, including the children of white, college-educated parents. The good news is that influential people have noticed this problem. The bad news is that many of them have perfectly awful ideas for solving it.

Kindergartners and Commerce (Shelf Talker)
Every year the Shelburne Community School kindergartners come to the bookstore. They walk over, hand in hand, from the school down the road. They pile into the store, one class at a time and settle in the picture book section on our comfy rug. It’s a cozy tradition.

Corrupting the Youth (Genreville)
My alumni association loves me; every time they ask me whether I want to give a talk, I say yes. Today I went back to my elementary school to teach seven-year-olds about book reviewing. If you’ve ever wanted to get back to basics in your work or personal life, try explaining what you do to a very smart seven-year-old. I knew I was going to be facing a tough audience: perceptive but easily bored. Fortunately, I also knew that they were all interested in books and reading–and in having and sharing opinions.

9 Super Annoying Twitter Personality Type (Social Times)
I dip in and out of Twitter, and lately it’s been obvious to me that I’m looking at the same personality types no matter where I go. Here are 9 – Which one are you?

Survey Finds College Students Love Laptops But Not eReaders, Facebook But Not Twitter (ReadWriteWeb)
Want to know what the future workforce thinks of technology, how it uses search engines, social networking, and online collaborative tools? The recently released ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology gives some excellent insights into trends in college students' technology ownership, perceptions, skills, and habits. The 2010 report was recently released by EDUCAUSE, a non-profit organization that supports the advancement of technology in higher education. The report is based on a survey from the spring of 2010 of over 36,950 freshmen and seniors at 100 four-year institutions and students at 27 two-year institutions.

iPads Hit AT&T And Verizon Store (eBook Newer)
Apple’s iPad goes on sales today at AT&T Wireless and Verizon stores. The tablet is popping up in various retailers this holiday season, as Apple hopes to push the iPad as this year’s holiday gift. The iPad is already available in Target, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.

MySpace Unveils Major Redesign (MediaWeek)
MySpace on Wednesday (Oct. 27) will unveil a striking redesign that represents a culmination of the News Corp.-owned social network's attempt at reinventing itself as an entertainment hub. According to president Mike Jones, MySpace had long suffered from what he calls "design debt"—i.e. an accumulation of different looks and incompatible functionalities. For example, there had been 117 different styles for the MySpace logo alone. Therefore, rather than undertake a simple redesign, Jones and his team elected to completely rebuild the site "from the ground up," he said. "This is something we can now build upon."

Q & A with Linda Sue Park (PW)
Linda Sue Park is the Newbery-Award winning author of A Single Shard and other acclaimed novels and picture books. Her forthcoming book, The Long Walk to Water, profiles two young people in the Sudan—one based on a real Lost Boy, who was forced to flee his village, the other a fictional girl who collects the water for her village.

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