Archive for November, 2011

NPR’s Kids’ Book Club Continues

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The recently released Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu is the third pick for the NPR’s monthly Backseat Book Club. The club is aimed at “all those 9- to 14-year-olds who listen to NPR programs while riding in the car or working on homework at the kitchen table.” On the NPR Web site, host Michelle Norris says the book is the perfect selection for this time of year because it “captures the wonder of winter.”

The announcement caused the book to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings to #315, from #3,416.

The second book in the club was a classic from 1961, Norman Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth (RH/Knopf), illustrated by Jules Feiffer. Juster took young reader’s questions on All Things Considered last night. That book also received a boost, rising to #172 from #1,596 on Amazon’s rankings.

Anne Ursu
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press – (2011-09-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0062015052 / 9780062015051

How to Write Flap Copy

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

As the former Editor-in-Chief of Random House, Daniel Menaker knows flap copy. On the Barnes & Noble Review, he offers a great tongue-in-cheek guide to incorporating as many cliches as possible into a few short paragraphs.

Dystopia Reigns

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The celebrity Web site FabLife kicks off Dystopian Week, a look at upcoming book adaptations, with Lauren Oliver’s Delirium(HarperCollins).

It was recently picked as a best teen book by both Kirkus and the Amazon editors.

Oliver tells FabLife that she expects to be very involved in the filmmaking process, saying, “One of the reasons I really wanted to work with [producers Paula Mazur and Mitch Kaplan] specifically was that they got on the phone with me from the start, explained their vision, and it really felt like a collaboration from the start.”

Not surprising, since Kaplan has been very involved with books and authors. He’s the owner of Books & Books, Miami, Fla. and was recently honored at the National Book Awards. This is the second title that he and Mazur have optioned, after The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (Kenneth Branagh, who was signed to direct it back in August, but has turned his attention to another project).

What’s a dystopian novel without a sequel? Coming at the end of February is a follow-up, Pandemonium. Oliver talks about it on MTV’s Hollywood Crush blog.

Lauren Oliver
Retail Price: $13.99
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins – (2012-03-06)
ISBN / EAN: 006197806X/9780061978067

Oliver’s first book, Before I Fall, is also being adapted. Oliver says she has seen the script and “loves it.” Both movies await a director and cast.

Kathryn Stockett on Face the Nation

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Fiction rarely gets attention on the political talk show, Face the Nation. Breaking precedent, Kathryn Stockett (The Help) was the featured in discussion about race in the South, along with three other authors who grew up in the south, Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs), Michael Lewis (Boomerang) and Condoleeza Rice (No Higher Honor).

More Children’s Best Books

Monday, November 28th, 2011

UPDATE: 12/23:

We’re happy to announce that our annual spreadsheets, rounding up all the titles in the national best books lists, with ISBN’s and information on additional formats — audio, large print, and eformats from OverDrive — are now available for downloading and checking against your collections.


Below is the text of the original post:

Two new childrens best books list appeared over the holiday; the New York Times Book Review’s Notable Childrens and Kirkus Review‘s Childrens and Teen lists.

Consensus is a rare thing, particularly in best books picks. Of the 172 titles, only 14 were picked by three or more sources; 82% of the titles were picked by just one.

Below are the top titles, by number of picks.

Four Picks

Children’s fiction


Schmidt, Gary D Okay for NowHMH/Clarion (RH/Listening Library; OverDrive). Picked by: Amazon, National Book Award Finalist, Kirkus, NYT BR Notable Children’s Books

Selznick, Brian,  WonderstruckScholastic. Picked by; AmazonPublishers WeeklyKirkusNYT BR Notable Children’s Book

Young Adult

Sepetys, Ruta, Between Shades of GrayPenguin/Philomel (Penguin Audio; OverDrive); Picked by AmazonPublishers WeeklyKirkusNYT BR Notable Children’s Books

Stiefvater, Maggie, The Scorpio Races, Scholastic, (Scholastic Audio; OverDrive); Picked by AmazonPublishers WeeklyKirkusNYT BR Notable Children’s Books

Taylor, Laini Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Hachette, (Hachette Audio); Picked by Amazon (one of the Top Twenty), Publishers WeeklyKirkusNYT BR Notable Children’s Books

Three Picks

Picture Books

Klassen, Jon, I Want My Hat Back, Candlewick; Picked by NYT Book Review Best IllustratedPublishers WeeklyNYT BR Notable Children’s Books

Rocco, John Blackout, Disney/Hyperion; Picked by Publishers WeeklyKirkusNYT BR Notable Children’s Books

Young Adult


Billingsley, Franny Chime YA Penguin/Dial (RH/Listening Library; OverDrive); Picked by National Book Award FinalistPublishers WeeklyKirkus

Ness, Patrick, A Monster Calls, Candlewick, (Brilliance Audio; OverDrive); Picked by Publishers WeeklyKirkus, NYT BR Notable Children’s Books

Children’s Fiction


Lai, Thanhha, Inside Out & Back Again, HarperCollins/Harper (OverDrive, 26 circs), National Book Award Winner, Publishers WeeklyKirkus

Valente, Catherynne M., illustrated by Ana Juan, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, (Brilliance Audio); Picked by AmazonPublishers WeeklyKirkus

Picture Books

Tullet, Herve,  Press Here, Chronicle; Picked by AmazonPublishers WeeklyKirkus

Children’s Nonfiction


Nelson, Kadir Nelson, Kadir Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African AmericansHarperCollins/Balzer + Bray; Picked by Publishers WeeklyKirkusNYT BR Notable Children’s Books

McDonnell, Patrick McDonnell, Patrick Me … Jane , Hachette/LBYR; Picked by NYT BR Best Illustrated BooksKirkusNYT BR Notable Children’s Books

New Title Radar – Week of 11/28

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Now that Black Friday is here and the big gift-giving season looms, most titles are already in stores, leaving our radar to pick up only a few late arrivals. Usual suspects include Michael Connelly, Diana Gabaldon and Karen Robards, while Richard Rhodes looks at the unlikely role Hollywood star Hedy Lamar played in the invention of spread-spectrum radio.

Usual Suspects

The Drop (Harry Bosch Series #17) by Michael Connelly (Little Brown; Hachette Audio; AudioGo; Little, Brown Large Print)  finds the LAPD detective three years from retirement and neck deep in cover-ups and corruption. Publishers Weekly says, “all of Connellys considerable strengths are on display: the keen eye for detail and police procedure, lots of local L.A. color, clever plotting, and most important, the vibrant presence of Harry Bosch.”

The Scottish Prisoner: A Lord John Novel by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte/RH) returns to the world Diana Gabaldon created in her Outlander and Lord John series, and is set in 1760 London.

Justice by Karen Robards (Gallery Press/S&S) finds attorney Jessica Ford in a tough spot after witnessing the murder of the first lady.

The Alpine Winter: An Emma Lord Mystery by Mary Daheim (Ballantine/RH; Thorndike Large Print) is the 23rd installment in this cozy series. PW says, “as usual, the detecting tends to take a backseat to Lords love life, in particular her uncertain relationship with local sheriff Milo Dodge,” and predicts that it “will gratify longtime fans emotionally invested in the characters, but isnt likely to attract new ones.”

Young Adult

Legend by Marie Lu (Penguin Young Readers; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print, 9781410446060), the first in a new series, it is receiving a major push and already has been signed for a movie by the producers of the Twilight Saga. Set in the near future U.S., it weaves together science fiction dystopia, police procedural, and coming-of-age, with superhero and wild west touches. PW says it’s a “stunner…she fashions a narrative in which the action is kinetic and the emotional development is beautifully paced.”  It was featured on many of the fall fiction previwes, including  Nancy Pearl’s picks.


Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes (Doubleday/RH) is the unlikely story of the invention of spread-spectrum radio by Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr, who trained as an engineer, and avant-garde composer George Antheil, by the NBA and Pulitizer Prize winner. Sure to be catnip for the media, Entertainment Weekly gives it an early review, “While Rhodes takes his time to reach the meat of his story, he manages to capture the sheer improbability of these unlikely Edisons.” Newsweek calls it a”beguiling book.”

Anne McCaffrey Dies

Friday, November 25th, 2011

The author of the enduringly popular Dragonriders of Pern series died on Monday at her home outside of Dublin at 85, after suffering a stroke. Born in Cambridge Mass., she moved to Ireland in 1970 after the Irish government began a program to allow novelists to live there free of income tax.

Her 23rd novel, Dragon’s Time, written with her son, was published in June. The next in the series, Sky Dragons, is set for publication next year. Her books are published by Ballantine/Random House and are available via OverDrive.

Obituary roundup:

LA Times, 11/25

New York Times, 11/24

The Wall Street Journal, “Speakeasy” blog, 11/23

Penguin Kindle Title Restoration is Temporary

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

After OverDrive’s announcement that Penguin had decided to restore access to older titles for library lending via Kindle, Penguin released a statement that this will only be in effect through the end of the year, unless concerns about unnamed security issues are resolved (see last line)

Penguin USA took the decision yesterday [11/22] to withhold the supply of new digital titles from suppliers to US libraries until concerns about the security of the copyright of its authors have been resolved.

In addition, Penguin informed suppliers to libraries that it expected them to abide by existing agreements to offer older digital titles to libraries only if those files were held behind the firewalls of the suppliers.

Following receipt of this information, Overdrive, a supplier of ebooks to US libraries, removed “Get for Kindle” from its offering.

Penguin has subsequently been informed by Amazon that it had not been consulted by Overdrive about the terms of Penguin’s agreement with Overdrive. Amazon has undertaken to work with Penguin and Overdrive between now and the end of the year to address Penguin’s concerns. Penguin will, as a result, restore the supply of these titles until the end of the year in order to return the availability of older titles to all its digital customers.

Lending to Kindle of Older Penguin eBooks Restored

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

This just posted on the OverDrive site. Note that new titles will not be available:

November 23: UPDATE Penguin eBook titles for lending to Kindle restored

‘Get for Kindle’ for all Penguin eBooks in your catalog has been restored.  Penguin titles are available for check out by Kindle users and the Kindle format will be available for patrons who are currently on a waiting list for a Penguin title. This does not affect new releases, which remain unavailable.

We apologize for the inconvenience this caused for your library and patrons.

At this time, no further information is available. We hope to share more details in the near future.


Holiday Movie Season Begins Today

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

The holiday movie season kicks off today and three of the big movies are based on books (The Hollywood Reporter rounds up their reviews of all the films opening today):

Movie Title: A Dangerous Method

Director: David Cronenberg


Viggo Mortensen … Sigmund Freud

Keira Knightley … Sabina Spielrein

Michael Fassbender … Carl Jung

Based on: A Most Dangerous Method by John Kerr (RH, 1993)


A Dangerous Method (Movie Tie-in Edition): The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein (Vintage)
John Kerr
Retail Price: $16.95
Paperback: 624 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2011-10-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0307950271 / 9780307950277

Audio from AudioGo, 11/2011)

Official Web Site:


Title: Hugo 

Director: Martin Scorsese

Based on: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Format: Live action, 3-D

Starring: Jude Law, Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Emily Mortimer and Michael Stuhlbarg

iTunes Site, with trailers and show times


The Hugo Movie Companion
Brian Selznick
Retail Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press – (2011-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0545331552 / 9780545331555


Nov 23, 2011

Movie Title: My Week with Marilyn

Director: Simon Curtis


Michelle Williams … Marilyn Monroe

Kenneth Branagh … Sir Laurence Olivier

Eddie Redmayne … Colin Clark

Judi Dench … Dame Sybil Thorndike

Based on: My Week with Marilyn (2000), a memoir by Colin Clark (the son of Sir. Kenneth Clark, best known for the classic BBC documentary, Civilization, recently re-released in HD). It caused a sensation when it was published in the UK ten years ago. It’s been released for the first time here,  as both a hardcover and audio tie-in (also on OverDrive).

Official Movie Site:


My Week with Marilyn
Colin Clark
Retail Price: $16.00
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Weinstein Books – (2011-10-04)
ISBN / EAN: 1602861498 / 9781602861497

Audio; Dreamscape

Today is just the beginning, three dozen movies will open through Christmas Day, aimed both at families and at Oscar consideration. Entertainment Weekly‘s Jess Cagle offers his assessment of the top twelve (8 of which are based on books) on the CBS Early Show (for tie-ins, check our list of Upcoming Movies Based on Books, with Tie-ins).


Random House Still Selling eBooks to Libraries

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Now that Random House is the only publisher of the Big Six that sells ebooks to libraries without restrictions (HarperCollins limits the number of circulations to 26), we thought it was a good idea to check in with them, to see if they are standing firm.

In response to our inquiry, spokesperson Stuart Applebaum replied, “Random House, Inc. is maintaining our current position regarding digital sales of our books to libraries while actively reviewing our position.”

Now is a good time to show library support for RH titles. Early reactions about galleys can be a critical element in developing buzz. Publishers regularly hear from booksellers (particularly via the IndieNext program), but less so from librarians.

Here’s what you can do:

Get to know which titles RH is working to build buzz for. Read Random Revelations, the RH Library Marketing catalog and the Random Revelations blog. Pay particular attention to the debuts, such a Chris Pavone’s The Expats (Crown, March) or Thomas Mallon’s Watergate (Delacorte, Feb; more about it here; Digital review copies available from Edelweiss), and titles positioned as breakouts, like Defending Jacob, by William Landay (Delacorte, Jan; more about it here; Digital ARC on Edelweiss).

Let RH know what you think of specific titles, via comments on the blog, or by writing directly to the RH Library Marketing staff ( Tell them if reading a galley made you decide to order more copies, what audience you envision for particular titles, which ones you plan to use with reading groups. Give them quotes they can use in promo copy. This information is particularly helpful in the critical time before a book is published, the earlier, the better.

Random House, Inc. is a big company with many imprints and divisions. Get to know the players by studying the list on the RH site, which provides descriptions of each division and imprint, with links to their home pages.

Taking these steps will reinforce the point that libraries are key to building readership for books.

Penguin and Libraries; Common Ground on Kindle Lending

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

A new theory on why Penguin has pulled the plug on library lending of their ebooks came out in today’s Publishers’ Lunch. Surprisingly, it’s an issue that also concerns libraries.

According to the story, publishers are upset because OverDrive sends library users to Amazon’s site for Kindle downloading, essentially making Amazon the administrator of library lending and thus not “governed by publishers’ contracts with Amazon or OverDrive.”

Libraries, also, have expressed concern about sending users to Amazon. California librarian Sarah Houghton recorded a comment on the subject in October, in which she states, “when you check out a Kindle book from Overdrive, it dumps you out on the Amazon web site, and you conclude the transaction there. The transaction ends with a pitch for you to buy more books.” She also expresses concern about the data that Amazon gleans from library users. This subject was also explored by librarian Bobbi Newman on her blog post, Public Library eBooks on the Amazon Kindle – We Got Screwed.

What’s Behind Penguin’s Security Concerns?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Like many of you, we have wondered what Penguin means by saying they are re-evaluating lending eBooks via libraries because of “security risks.” We’ve asked Penguin to explain why library lending is more of a threat than selling through bookstores, but have not yet received a response.

In the absence of information, speculation is rife. In a story for Publishers Weekly, Andrew Albanese suggested that another issue might be at work,

OverDrive’s David Burleigh told PW there was no incident he was aware of at OverDrive where the “security” of any titles has been questioned or compromised, fueling speculation that Penguin’s actions may be directed at Amazon, which recently drew the ire of authors, agents, and publishers with the launch of its Amazon Prime lending model.

The tech news site, The Register, also sees the situation that way. In a story dramatically headlined, “Penguin pulls its eBooks off library shelves — Fed up with Amazon giving away its stuff for free” they speculated,

The move could be a swipe at Amazon, which has been giving out Penguin books for free on Kindle against the wishes of the publisher.

For more on that issue, read the 11/14 statement from The Authors Guild, “Contracts on Fire: Amazon’s Lending Library Mess.”

[UPDATE: It appears The Register has it wrong. Neither Penguin’s, nor any of the other Big Six publishers’ titles are included in Amazon’s Lending Library, since they all sell to Amazon via the agency model, which prohibits lending.]

Meanwhile, a Forbes reporter notes the potential effect on Amazon,

It will be interesting to see Amazon e-reader competitors Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Sony might stand to benefit if Kindle lending is specifically stopped by more publishers.

At one point, Kindle was the only eReader that did not offer library borrowing. Publishers could effectively put Amazon back in that position.

Libraries may be caught in a battle that is not of their own making.

Checking The Lists

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

The NYT BR Notable Books section is now up on the Web, offering a trip down memory lane of the year’s publishing (and an opportunity for consumers to create buying lists).

Kirkus is rolling their best books lists slowly. Yesterday, they released the Best Childrens list — Teen, Nonfiction, Indie and Apps still to come.

UPDATE , 12/21– We have now collated all the titles from the national lists into spreadsheets, with information on audio, large type formats as well as which titles are available from OverDrive:

2011 Adult Fiction

2011 Adult Nonfiction

2011 Childrens and Young Adult

After the jump,  a roundup of all the lists to date:


To Publishers…

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

After Penguin’s announcement yesterday, we hope none of the rest of you are planning to disallow library lending of your ebooks. However, if you are considering such a move, please remember to let libraries know before the policy goes into effect.

Libraries are not only your customers, they are your business partners. They display and promote your books, make important One City and reading group picks, and educate the public on new technologies. Barnes and Noble stores regularly send their customers to local libraries to learn how to use the Nook. All over the country, libraries are offering classes on how to use eReaders (the Darien Library is holding one at the perfect time; the day after Christmas).

When a publisher changes its lending policy, libraries are the first to hear the complaints. Penguin cut off lending over the weekend, leaving library users first confused then angry. Since libraries didn’t receive notification until mid-day Monday, they were left blind-sided. If there’s one thing a librarian hates, it’s not being able to answer a question.

It’s unfortunate that Penguin’s move comes on the heels of Amazon allowing library lending via Kindles. Libraries are now facing increased demand and a reduced pool of titles. Please, publishers, respect the difficult position a change of policy puts them in.