Feeling Bookish?


Bookish has finally launched, about 2 years late, but hey that’s the speed at which major publishing houses move.

This is a publisher-driven (20 larger publishers, see below) booksite similar to Goodreads. Except, of course, the only books you’ll find on it or be recommended to read are ones by the publishers sponsoring it, which is not a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

It looks to be fairly hip, pintrest-ish site. The Registration experience is pretty intense, but they want to “customize” your experience. Not sure why they need your zipcode or sex, but it was interesting they asked for a preferred format. It was also interesting that under sex the choices were Female, Male and Other — in that order. This implies they are expecting female readers.


Using the Recommendations box is also an interesting experience. It asks you to put in a book you recently read. We put in “The Extra Man” an Easter mystery by Indra Anderson. Nothing. The truth is, after several more attempts, it was clear the only books you can use to generate recommendations are books by the sponsoring 20 publishers. So far the Bookish catalog contains 251,029 books.

Bookish seems too little too late. It would have been a good idea 5 years ago. Today? Not so much. It just continues to make the big publishers look behind the times and somewhat out of touch. However, we can say a good thing about Bookish — they do request an age, so they don’t give you inappropriate content.

This is something Goodreads fails to do — and it has some bad consequences. For instance, publishers end up in situations such as having to send a clearly R-rated book won in a Goodreads’ Giveaway to someone whose profile lists her age as 10. Failing to send the book means the publisher is unable to host future giveaways, so . . . .

In a recent NYTimes article on the launch of Bookish, Goodreads’ owner suggested that the Goodreads site is more reader-driven (true) and less likely to have ghost-written glowing reviews about books (false).  Goodreads certainly has a better chance of giving a book an honest overall rating because it has so many passionate readers. However, just as on Amazon, there are people on Goodreads who do quid pro quo,  “send me a free book and I’ll give it a good review.”

Bookish is a bit like Amazon in that you can read samples and then decide to buy the book directly. It also provides an opportunity for you to rate and review the books, which might be more helpful in future — depending on how the reviews are controlled. For, despite Bookish being brand new, there are already loads of rating and reviews.

Bookish reviews are all pulled from LibraryThing currently. And something you notice right away is that every book has an amazingly  high star rating, 4.5 out of 5, 8.5 out of  9. Apparently every book is wonderful. Already sensing a problem? Us too! It seems as though they will give you a wide range of reviews (from 1 star to the max), but when put together, the book is always a superstar. Sorry, that just smacks of Bookish tweaking the reviews.

At any rate, Bookish seems a glossy, design-hip, interactive direct-selling tool for major publishers’ upcoming books and recent back catalog. Whether that’s of use to the majority of readers already using Goodreads and other sites, which are inclusive of a much wider range of books with less suspect ratings systems, remains to be seen.

And the publishers are . . . .

Hachette Book Group
HarperCollins Publishers
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Inner Traditions
Independent Publishers Group
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kensington Publishing Corp.
New Harbinger Publications
Perseus Books Group 
Penguin Group (USA)
Random House, Inc.
Simon & Schuster
Sourcebooks, Inc.
Workman Publishing Company
W. W. Norton & Company

Published in: on February 20, 2013 at 12:27 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Before You Buy That E-Reader As A Holiday Gift . . .

Here’s the skinny– Over One Third of All eReaders Are Used Just Once Before Being Set Aside and Kindles topped the survey list of unused devices!

A recent poll showed that a third of US ereader owners said they only used their device once before putting it away or selling it.  (A survey conducted in the UK yielded an even more anti-eReader message: nearly half given as Christmas gifts had yet to be opened a month later.)

A group of almost 2,ooo ereader owners, when questioned about average usage

  • 17% used their ereader at least once a week.
  • 29% use it once a day.
  • 35% indicated that they used the device just once — ever.

The survey went on to ask why those owners who only used the ereader once, did so.

  • 57% stated they didn’t have the time to use it; they are too busy.
  •  22% said that they’d received it as a gift and didn’t have a need for it.
  • 25% simply preferred to read actual physical books.

The survey data went on to show that 37% of the regretful ereader owners did not think it was a good buy, and another 29% planned to get rid of their ereader because they used it so rarely.


  1. Only buy an ereader for yourself. It’s a waste of money buying it for someone else. It won’t be used, it won’t be appreciated.
  2. If you plan to buy an ereader for yourself, buy it after Christmas when unhappy owners are unloading them.
  3. If you plan to buy a gift for a reader, the best gift is still a real physical book or a gift card to a bookstore!

(This post was based on an article by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader that ran Nov 11, 2012. We encourage every would-be gifter to read it!)

Published in: on November 15, 2012 at 1:53 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Stacks or Tracks? What the Music Industry Can Teach the Book Biz

Visit Billboard Magazine to purchase a copy.

Flipping through a copy of the Sept 01, 2012 Billboard magazine while at the gym — yeah, it’s just so California cliche it makes you want to wretch, right? — we came across an interesting article about sales of albums versus sales of tracks.

What became apparent after even the most cursory perusal was that top-sell album artists (Adele) don’t rake in the amount top-selling track artists do. Industry-wide, the tracts bring in about $2.1 billion, while the albums brought in $502.6 million.

It was at that point we got to thinking about book serialization in a new way. Considering that most books had a serial life before becoming book, think Dickens, this isn’t necessarily a giant leap in an unheard of direction.

What if authors released a book one chapter at a time, for 99 cents a go?

Probably the best delivery system would be to subscribe to a book release similar to a podcast and have a release of a chapter every week. This rather suggests the book is already written, but that would not be required.

A book might easily be written until there are no subscribers buying it anymore, and then it’s dead. Alternatively, once a book was completed, then it could actually be released in hardback or paperback.

A 27-chapter book (at 99 cents per) ends up netting the author 9.35 from Amazon. The total payout for the book is about the average of a hardback ($25.00).

That sounds a lot, but it isn’t because a new book is a new book and should be priced as such especially if only being released in an e-version.  Also, in this scenario, the reader in this case has the ability to opt out of the book at any time if he/she doesn’t like a chapter and doesn’t wish to continue on. If after spending, $2.99 you don’t want to read any more, you can save your money. Try doing that with a $25.00 hardback!

Just sayin’, there are many ways to think about distribution of a work and authors should consider them all.

Published in: on September 24, 2012 at 5:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Tweet Seats, and other 17th century trends now trending

The rise of Tweet Seats, where one can tweet an in-progress theatre or musical event with the sanction of venue management, is not disturbing in and of itself.  In the past, going to a theatre or concert was considered a social event (that could any moment become a brawl, political rally or . . . . you name it). People spoke, threw food, and generally thought of the entertainment (and entertainers) as “peripheral” to themselves and what they felt like doing.

With the rise of tweeting and other social media, we again see the rise of . . . well, it’s difficult to say what. Is it narcissistic to ignore a play to tweet?  Is it self-centered? Is it a case of I paid to be here, I can do what I want?  It’s quite difficult to tell.

And then of course there is the recordablity of the performance, in audio or video, violating copyright and artist’s right to make a living.  So there may also be an “I’ll get back to it” mentality at play (and with fractured attention spans, that’s too a growing trend.)

With a book, one can read  the story or not (by putting the book down) but one never has the option of mentally removing from the story while in fact reading it. One must read it (unless of course you listen to it, but most books are meant to be read privately not audibly — pity that, but a discussion for another day) and therefore focus all attention on it.

The rise of tweeting in real time at an event in actuality means that viewers/patrons consider something more important than paying attention– themselves. And if that’s so, why bother to be there?

It does make one question the future of live events, and of respect in general for the Arts. If we are going back to 17th century behavior at live events, then are we going back to 17th century levels of respect for the Arts, and for those who keep them alive? One can only hope not.

Published in: on December 6, 2011 at 12:52 PM  Leave a Comment  
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The most literary cities in the world, does not include Hay-on-Wye. Why?

File:Hay-On-Wye Booksellers - geograph.org.uk - 235428.jpg


National Geographic Traveler came out with a list of the  top 10 literary cities.  Feel free to agree or disagree. In order of precedence

  1. Edinburgh
  2. Dublin
  3. London
  4. Paris
  5. St Petersburg
  6. Stockholm
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. Washington, DC
  9. Melbourne, Australia
  10. Santiago, Chile

It’s a strange list, frankly speaking.  The top 3 are all in the UK. It overlooks cities like New York, or San Francisco. Or even Seattle.  Asia apparently doesn’t exist, nor does the Middle East, or Africa.  So weird.

For our money, the most literary city in the UK is the one that sells literature . . . Hay-on-Wye. If you have not been to the Hay Festival, (or a Hay Festival somewhere in the world), described by Bill Clinton as “A woodstock for the mind,” you don’t love books enough!


Books: Art, Culture, Entertainment, or not even a blip on your radar?

In London’s Guardian you find Books listed under Culture. Just after Art & design, but before Film, Music, Stage, and TV & radio

In the NY Times, you’ll find Books listed under Arts. And following Books in the same group Art & Design, Dance, Movies, Music, Television, Theater and Video Games.

In the LA Times, you’ll find Books listed under Entertainment, at the very end of a list that begins with Movies, TV, Celebrity (really, that’s a category) . . . and continues on with Arts & Culture, Industry (the entertainment industry), Awards, and Calendar.

Alternatively, you can find Books under the LA Times category Living as well, after Home, Food, and Image (you  read the correctly) but before Parenting (we kid you not).

In Seattle‘s Times, a very bookish place, Books reside in the Entertainment section at the very bottom of a list that begins Restaurants, Movies, Music & Nightlife, The Arts, Books.

And CNN? Doesn’t even recognize Books, unless you count Facebook. The section called Entertainment is strictly of the Movie/TV/Celebrity gossip variety.

We want to point up that there are people who are passionate about books everywhere, but that not every area values books equally. A place can be amazingly rich in culture, just not extremely bookish. That’s cool. But take a moment today to ask yourself, where would you place Books?

Are Books first on your list? As in NY, where they’re Arts. Or last as in LA or Seattle, where their low-rent entertainment. Are Books part and parcel of your Culture, as in London, or something you don’t even think about (CNN!)?

Published in: on November 16, 2011 at 5:05 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Falling back on the classics for Halloween — Stephen King & Salem’s Lot


OK, call us old softies around FAB, but we love a good thrill.  Save your gore and guts, gives us genuine spine-tingling entertainment. To that end . . . our recommended read for Halloween? Salem’s Lot.

We dare you to read it alone in your home, on a dark and windy night. You will not be able to go to bed until you turned every last page, and even then? You’ll sleep with the lights on in the middle of the afternoon, with a crucifix in hand!

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 5:21 AM  Leave a Comment  
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