Bookish? We thought so. And now, finally, publishers understand the reality of online booksales!

For those of you who don’t keep up with Publisher Weekly, there was an interesting article posted May 9, (Amazon as Publisher, Publishers as E-tailers), about a new site (yet to go up) called bookish. According to TIME’s Techland, bookish will go live on Labor Day.

The new site promises to be part content, part retailer and part recommendation engine—think IMDB for books. The big difference between this site and something like Goodreads, is that bookish is backed by Simon & Schuster, the Hachette Book Group and Penguin—who, let’s face it, are trying to find a way to recover a major portion of book sales from Amazon.

While this latest site will hope to draw book lovers in with a a mix of social and editorial content featuring breaking news, interviews, excerpts and reviews, the push is to inform readers about upcoming books, focus branding with updates about “favorite” authors, and close sales.

Bookish will be headed by Paulo Lemgruber, who told Publisher’s Weekly the site would run independent of publisher influence, despite backing by three major publishing houses. Uh . . . really? To quote the Techland article:

Users will see book recommends based on the information they input, i.e. the more information you surrender, the more ostensibly spot-on the recommendation engine and “personalized” ads. Though nothing’s been divulged about the recommendation algorithm itself, the announcement did include news of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group’s involvement as the ad sales team. (Translation: Your information will probably be handed straight to them.)

You’ll probably only be recommended books from the three  major US publishers connected to the site, but they are 3 of the 6 largest publishers of English language books in the US, and we do have to applaud these old house publishers for finally pulling their head out of the sand and banding together in an earnest attempt to establish their own broad-spectrum retail platform and attempt to compete with Amazon. Though at this point, it may be far too little, far too late.

If you’re interested in tracking it, you can go to and submit your email.

Published in: on May 31, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  

Memorial Day: Take the time to remember what this day is all about, and thank a veteran

And don’t forget war veterans that were animals!

Published in: on May 30, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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2011 Hillerman Mystery Novel Competition: $10,000 advance + Publication. The Deadline is Looming so Get Your Entry In Now!


Sponsored by the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference (THWC) and St. Martin’s Press

A word about self-published mysteries:

Although the judges make the final call, in general self-published mysteries are allowed. If a self-published book sold thousands of copies, got a starred review in Publishers Weekly, or otherwise made a big splash, it would be disqualified.

1.      The Competition is open to any professional or non-professional writer, regardless of nationality, who has never been the author of a published mystery (as defined in subparagraph 2(a) below) and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a mystery. Only one manuscript entry is permitted per writer.

2.      All manuscripts submitted: a) must be original, previously unpublished works of book length (no less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written in the English language by the entrant; b) must not violate any right of any third party or be libelous; and c) must generally follow the guidelines below.

Hillerman Prize Guidelines

1. Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story and emphasis is on the solution rather than the details of the crime.

2. The story’s primary setting is the Southwestern United States, including at least one of the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Southern California and/or Utah.
(The decision of the competition’s judges as to whether or not a manuscript qualifies will be final.)

3. Nominees will be selected by judges chosen by the editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press, with the assistance of organizers of the THWC, and the winner will be chosen by St. Martin’s editors. The decision of the editors as to the winner of the Competition will be final. St. Martin’s reserves the right not to select any winner if, in the sole opinion of the editors, none of the manuscripts submitted are of publishable quality.

4. An attempt will be made to notify the Competition winner, if any, no later than October 31, 2011.

5. If a winner is selected, St. Martin’s Press will offer to enter into its standard form author’s agreement with the entrant for publication of the winning manuscript. After execution of the standard form authors’ agreement by both parties, the winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000. Those terms of the offer not specified in the printed text of the St. Martin’s Press standard form author’s agreement will be determined by St. Martin’s Press at its sole discretion. The entrant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but St. Martin’s shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. St. Martin’s may, but will not be required to, consider for publication manuscripts submitted by other entrants.

6. All entries must be received or postmarked no later than June 1, 2011, and must include:

  • a) A double-spaced and neatly typed copy of the manuscript (photocopies are acceptable) with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end. The authors name should appear only on the title page and otherwise not appear anywhere on the manuscript pages.
  • b) A letter or cover sheet containing the name, address, email address and telephone number of the entrant and the entrant’s previous writing credits, if any.
  • c) The application form, duly completed, and a self-addressed letter-sized envelope for our response.

All entries must be mailed to St. Martin’s Press at the address below. For additional copies of the rules and to request an entry form, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:

St. Martin’s Press/ Hillerman Mystery Competition
Thomas Dunne Books
St. Martin’s Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10010

Each entrant must keep a copy of the manuscript for his or her own protection. St. Martin’s Press will not be responsible for lost, stolen, or mislaid manuscripts. Because of the great volume of submissions we receive, the fact that judges are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, and the fact that most writers now have the work in their computers, manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not send return postage or envelopes for return of your manuscript.

7. No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or the editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press unless, in the sole opinion of the editorial staff, evaluation or commentary is appropriate in the case of a manuscript being considered for publication.

8. This competition is void where prohibited or restricted by law.

It is important that you submit your manuscript as early as possible. Our judges are volunteers who are extremely busy with their primary concerns, and it is inevitable that your submission will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries. However, it is not necessary to send it the most expensive way. We judge its on-time performance by the post-mark or equivalent, not by the date the judge receives the manuscript.

Good luck!


Sponsored by the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference (THWC)

and St. Martin’s Press, LLC

I have read, understood and agree to the foregoing rules. I affirm that the enclosed manuscript is original and was written by me. I further affirm that I have never written a published mystery novel of the type described in the rules.

Signature of Entrant: ____________________________________________
Name of Entrant: _______________________________________________
(please print or type)
Manuscript Title:__________________________________________________

Address of Entrant:________________________________________________

Please send your manuscript to:

St. Martin’s Press/ Hillerman Mystery Competition
Thomas Dunne Books
St. Martin’s Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10010

And mark the outside of the package HILLERMAN MYSTERY COMPETITION

Dr Sally Ride Day . . . because science is for girls!

Today is Sally Ride Day. Sally Ride is the first woman in space. She’s devoted her life to helping girls aspire to science and math careers through her Sally Ride Science website, books, festivals . . . and life!

Interested in helping your little girl move from scifi sidekick to The Doctor? Check out these reads

A book in every home, and then some —

We read A Book in Every Home, and Then Some (an article by the consistently amazing David Bornstein of the NY Times) last week (May 16). But we felt its content so  important to publishers, consumers, and educators, we just had to mention it here again to make sure  that you had a chance to read it.  A follow-up piece, Publishers as Partners in Literacy, was run on May 20 (that Friday) and we encourage you to read that as well.  However, if you read nothing else, please read the footnote which we are publishing here.

The following content falls under the copyright of the NY Times!

Excerpted from: A Book in Every Home, and Then Some


. . . .


[1]study of close to 3,000 children in Germany found that the number of books in the home strongly predicted reading achievement — even after controlling for the parents’ education levels and income. And a massive, longitudinal study examining the educational attainment of 70,000 students from 27 countries found, surprisingly, that having lots of books in the home was as good a predictor of children’s educational attainment as parents’ education levels. In fact, access to books was more predictive than the father’s occupation or the family’s standard of living. The greatest impact of book access was seen among the least educated and poorest families.

Apple to exhibit at Book Expo of America publishing conference? What’s the deal Camille?

Apple, which doesn’t really need to do trade shows, they’re their own universe, and thank God, we LOVE Apple, but even we are a little surprised to see they’re making their first appearance at Book Expo America this week in New York City. Apple has a prime spot at the American publishing world’s biggest convention — smack dab by near publishing giant Random House, and spitting distance to Disney and MacMillan.

There’s been some buzz, as in “Why is Apple there? They aren’t a publisher.” But it makes sense to us since they do have iBooks. It actually makes perfect sense to us. Apple is invested in iBooks, but the reality is eBooks don’t make up the vast bulk of publisher sales.

Apple’s appearance at BEA is probably more to do with branding and a forward-thinking strategy. You have to make people think about the future of books, and eBooks via a platform like iBooks is a definite part of that future. Too, it says something about Apple that they turn up. It says they understand that to be taken seriously in publishing you have to be a part of that community and not just a vendor of its products.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog TUAW speculates that Apple might be planning to announce an Apple digital library. But we think that’s probably baseless. Apple sees a benefit to being at the BEA, or they wouldn’t be there. And it’s all the more interesting they turn up when BEA has sort of downshifted from a weekend to a weekday conference and instead of moving between major American cities, decided to run only in its home base, New York.

Also, over the last couple years, many major publishers pulled back on their “on the floor” booth presence. Some skipped the booths altogether, doing business in more out-of-the-way meeting rooms (read hotel rooms). Apple turning up my signal its faith in a rebounding book market, or perhaps Apple was able to snag the prime spot for a song and thought now is the time to promote iBooks as “serious publishing” and expose traditional publisher and members of the publishing world to their brand of delivery.

Last year, the closest Apple came to attending the BEA was a nearby billboard. If Apple is there this year, you have to ask why?

Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Revive your royal interests . . . it’s Victoria Day!

Happy Victoria Day . . . today is the day our neighbors to the north celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria, who until 2015, will be the longest reigning monarch to have ever sat the throne in England.  (In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II, will surpass Victoria’s record.)

Anyone looking to brush up on the monarch might do well to check out Gillian Gil’s book:

or if you’re in the mood for a flick check out the most recent Victoria . . . .

Published in: on May 23, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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