Archive for the ‘New Technology’ Category

Order Alert: Stephen King’s DRUNKEN FIREWORKS

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 9.37.12 AMStephen King will release an audiobook-only title this summer, Drunken Fireworks (Simon & Schuster Audio; CD and DD, OverDrive Sample), about a fireworks rivalry that gets way out of hand.

To be released on June 30th, at the close of audiobook month, it is narrated by Tim Sample, who also read King’s Four Past Midnight: The Sun Dog.

In early November the short story will be released in print as part of a new King collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (S&S/Scribner; Nov 3.; ISBN 9781501111679). The full collection of stories will also be published in audio (no word yet on the narrator).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Drunken Fireworks will stream for free on July 2 as a promotion for CBS’s new web-based podcast platform CBS Radio stations in more than 20 markets will run promotions for four days starting June 29.

The Wall Street Journal sees this as a case of corporate synergy, since King is published by the CBS-owned Simon and Schuster.

King is known for his interest in helping promote new technologies. Back in 2000, he brought attention to eBooks by releasing the digital novella Riding the Bullet, causing the NYT‘s critic Christopher Lehmann-Haupt to wonder, “is this the wave of the future or just a confluence of unusual circumstances?”

Google Killed The Travel Star

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Frommer's First EdLike many library reference sections, Frommer’s print travel guides recently became the latest victim of Google. In this case, the link is even more direct, since Google actually owns Frommer’s (they bought the series from Wiley for $22 million last year).

The reasons may seem obvious, but Fortune explores them anyway and notes that other guidebooks may be under the gun. The L.A. Times objects that there are still places in the world that don’t get decent cell service (there’s a business opportunity; print travel guides for places without cell service).

Frommer’s continues as a Website, featuring the indefatigable Arthur Frommer’s blog. Long before Rick Steves, he encouraged Americans to travel, self-publishing his first book, The GI’s Guide to Traveling In Europe in 1955 and followed that with the first Europe on 5 Dollars a Day (cover above).

Kids New Title Radar, Week of March 25

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Next week, celebrate the new season, with an extraordinary picture book about the famous ballet, The Rite of Spring (it really did cause a riot). Preschoolers will fall in love with a little pig who speaks frog and get ready for summer reading programs with a new Origami Yoda Activity Book by Tom Angleberger.

These and other titles coming out next week are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, Kids New Title Radar, Week of March 25

Picture Books

When Stravinsky

When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot written and illus. by Lauren Stringer, (Harcourt)

There are many children’s picture books about music and musicians (the Pinkneys’ Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, and Raschka’s Giant Steps) and dance and dancer’s (numerous Nutcrackers, even one illustrated by Maurice Sendak, lovely ballet books by Rachel Isadora, Dance! with Bill T. Jones featuring Susan Kuklin’s photos, and the Pinkneys’ Alvin Ailey).

But, believe me when I say there are none like this one. Stringer’s words are music and her illustrations dance. She captures the excitement and movement of a turning point in music and dance history. In 1913, the avant-garde composer Igor Stravinsky composed The Rite of Spring (in French, Le Sacre du printemps) to be choreographed by the internationally renowned dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The collaboration was so shocking at the time that the debut performance ended with the audience rioting.

Stringer’s lyrical text and exuberant paintings reflect the artistic styles of the period without being imitative, expressing the joy, frustration and excitement of creative processes.

In addition, Stringer offers a few gifts on her Web site, including an activity guide created with Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. There is also a curriculum guide to the Rites of Spring from Carnegie Hall, and you can also hear the music and a discussion of its reception on NPR.


Ribbit!, Rodrigo Folgueira, illus. by Poly Bernatene, (RH/Knopf BYR)

If, like me, parents and teachers continually ask you for more books like Bark, George and Meow Said the Cow, latch onto this one.  Pre-schoolers find it hysterically funny when an animal makes the wrong sound; it’s becoming a genre of its own.

Oversized Preschool Board Book

Tell Me Something Happy

Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep (lap board book), Joyce Dunbar, illus. by Debi Gliori,  (HMH)

This oversized board book reprint of a book originally published in 1998 and no long in print, is just right for reading aloud with parenting classes, Headstart or a pre-school programs and is a good title for modeling the pleasure and possibilities of reading aloud.

Middle Grade Series

Stallion By Starlight  978-0-375-87026-2

Magic Tree House #49: Stallion by Starlight (A Stepping Stone Book) by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca (RH BYR; Listening Library)

Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #27: Horse Heroes: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #49: Stallion by Starlight, by Mary Pope Osborne, Natalie Pope Boyce and Sal Murdocca, (RH BYR)

It might not be news or cause for a parade when a new Magic Tree House book is published, but it should be. Whenever a new Jack and Annie comes out of the box (the series is now just one titles shy of 50 titles), my heart still sings. Osborne’s consistently engaging, just-right stories hit home with newly fluent readers. The companion Fact Trackers are a terrific way for classroom teachers to connect the fantasy with Common Core standards. So, who wants to help organize the parade?

Defies Category


Art2 – D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling: An Origami Yoda Activity Book by Tom Angleberger, (Abrams/Amulet)

Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami YodaDarth Paper Strikes Back, and The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee were runaway hits with Bank Street’s 4th and 5th graders (Origami Yoda was a Mock Newbery honor winner). Fair warning, this is “consumable,”  because of its pull-out pages. Buy one for reference and start planning Star Wars summer reading programming, using this and  Star Wars Origami36 Amazing Paper-folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Chris Alexander (with forward by, guess who, Tom Angleberger).

You can thank me later.

Young Adult 

If You Find Me  Yaqui Delgado

If You Find Me, Emily Murdoch, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s)

A suspense-filled story about 15-year-old Carey, who is rescued after living in the Tennessee wods with her sister and meth-addicted mother. Prepub reviews are  strong, with Kirkus calling it a “deeply affecting story … made all the more so by Carey’s haunting first-person narration.” PW had issues with the credibility of the story, but still called it “memorable and deeply moving” and predicted that readers will fall in love with the characters.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, Meg Medina, (Candlewick; Brilliance Audio)

Kirkus calls this first-person story about a 15-year-old who is bullied when she goes to a new school in Queens, NY, “nuanced, heart-wrenching and ultimately empowering.”


Witch & Wizard, Manga

Witch & Wizard: The Manga, Vol. 3, James Patterson and Jill Dembowski, Yen Press

It’s Patterson’s popular series, Manga style, a high-interest title that will appeal to graphic novel fans, both boys and girls.

The Frankfurt Book Fair, Vicariously

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

If you’ve wondered what it’s like to be in the midst of the world’s largest book fair (featuring over 7,000 exhibitors in multiple buildings), the New Yorker gives a good impression of it:

The Frankfurt Book Fair, which took place in Germany last week, feels like an airport (gift shops, people movers, high ceilings, ample bathrooms, the anxiety of missing something), except you can’t go anywhere.

And, in a description that could be applied to an ALA show floor, “Little separates the book fair from a tech fair,” but with a different twist:

The juxtaposition of game giants with paper products seemed an accurate—if slightly disorienting—reflection of today’s publishing landscape. The book publishers are doing digital products and the video-game makers are doing books.

Tellingly, the story focuses on the technology and not the books.

EGalleys from Edelweiss

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Edelweiss, the company that creates electronic catalogs for many of the major publishers, has begun offering Digital Review Copies. The first publishers to sign on are Random House and W.W. Norton.

To see what’s available, go to the Review Copies tab. Each available title is listed, with a blue “Request Digital RC” bar.

Several titles getting buzz from librarians on GalleyChat are downloadable to approved users, including Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz (Norton, 10/31) and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus (Doubleday, 9/13).

An advantage of Digital RC’s over paper is that several staff can read a forthcoming title at the same time; no need to pass around the paper copy. offers a similar service.

THE ATLANTIC Draws Lessons from NYPL

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

In a feature of the new issue of The Atlantic magazine, Alexis Madrigal lauds the NYPL’s digital efforts, because,

The library’s employees give a shit about the digital aspects of their institution, and they are supported in that shit giving. I mean this in the most fundamental way possible and as a damning critique for media companies…The logic of protecting offline revenue pushed most media companies away from aggressively reevaluating their role in the information ecosystem. Something you hear a lot in the magazine business, for example, is that you “can’t trade print dollars for digital pennies.”

Banning Social Media in Libraries

Friday, May 6th, 2011

A year ago, we began an experiment in social media. Using Twitter, we invited librarians to come together once a month to talk about the galleys they’ve been reading. Called GalleyChat, it gets more interesting each month and has become a useful RA and ordering tool.

There’s one small snag, however; some librarians can’t join because they are not allowed to use Twitter or other social media at work.

It’s painful to hear that librarian creativity is being limited by shortsighted policies. In more enlightened areas, social media is used as another tool for reaching out to the community. The Kansas City Public Library, for instance, has an active Facebook page. During National Library Week, they posted this:

Looking for a great read? Just post the titles of the last 3 books you enjoyed on our Wall, and our readers’ advisory experts will suggest your next favorite book.

The community enjoyed challenging the staff and, as Kaite Stover attests on Booklist‘s “Book Group Buzz,” the librarians learned a lot.

Even library schools see the value of social media. As the Boston Globe recently reported last month, at Simmons GLIS, “Every student must create a website and wiki page within the first six weeks.” Unfortunately, those students may be in for a rude awakening once they land jobs.

Help us build the case for social media in the library; let us know in the comments section how you are using it and how you have fought off threatened bans.

A New Kindle; Closer to the Magic $99 Price

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Amazon has released a new, smaller and less expensive Kindle in two versions; the Kindle Wi-Fi is just $139 and the Kindle, with both Wi-Fi and 3-G is $189 (Amazon’s promotional video is available here).

Reviewing it, the Washington Post says it’s the first Kintle that fits comfortably in one hand, is better designed ergonomically and that the display is dramatically better, summing it up as  “a winner poised to top the pack.”

Newsweek says to dismiss it as “nice, but no iPad” would be “too bad, because the new model is a pretty slick little device, despite the fact that it still has only a black-and-white screen and is only good for reading books and newspapers.”

Both versions are now available for pre-order and will ship August 27th.

Hardcovers vs. Kindles

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Amazon, facing Wall Street’s concern about competition from the iPad (the stock is down 16% in the last three months), announced yesterday that sales of ebooks are outstripping sales of hardcovers. In the last three months, for every 100 hardcovers, Amazon sold 143 books in Kindle format. In the last month, the rate has increased to 180 ebooks to 100 hardcovers.

This is significant news, if not the “tipping point” that Amazon claims (as of May, according to the AAP, ebook sales are 8.48% of trade sales; adult hardcovers are 43.2%).

Amazon doesn’t reveal actual numbers, just comparisons, so it’s important to remember a couple of things;

Ebooks are being compared to hardcovers, but paperbacks are still the strongest sales category for Amazon

In June, Amazon lowered the price of the Kindle, tripling sales of the device. All those new Kindle owners did what anyone with a new toy does; they bought software to go with the hardware.

For information on actual sales, we have to turn to estimates. NPR’s Morning Edition quotes an analyst at Forrester Research who says there may be 6 million devices in the market right now, most of them Kindles and that by the end of the year, the total may be close to 11 million.

WSJ on the Internet Archive

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

The nonprofit digital library, Internet Archive has created the “Digital Lending Library” (, a project that scans public domain books and makes them available for borrowing through libraries. The project is covered in the Wall Street Journal.

The scanned books are available through OverDrive’s Digital Library Reserve.

The story is also covered in a WSJ video:

BEA eCatalog by Edelweiss

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

If you didn’t get to BEA, or even if you did and feel that you missed a few publishers, Edelweiss has created an online catalog of titles that were at the show. It’s worth checking out, if only to get a glimpse of the future of publishers catalogs.

The Edelweiss catalog offers several advantages over print. You can browse all the catalogs by genre, allowing you to look at all 332 cookbooks that were exhibited, and further letting you to narrow the search down to the 17 Vegetarian and Vegan books (hey, look at that, there’s a vegan book for “Latin Food Lovers”).

The GeoSearch tool (accessible from the tabs across the top) is a new function from Edelweiss, allowing you to find books related to your local area. I used it to discover that a new book on the Auburn Cord Duessenberg Racers is coming in October; it’s within driving distance of my former high school. This works with publishers full catalogs, too; get to them via the “Switch Market View” tab at the very top.

Under specific title pages, you will find publishing background you won’t find elsewhere. For instance, the first novel, Juliet, which was one of the picks for the librarian’s “Shout ‘n’ Share” program, will be getting quite a bit of promotion when it is released in August; clearly, the publisher has already invested heavily in it, as evidenced by this note:

HOT TITLE!: The talk of 2008’s Frankfurt Bookfair, this debut novel was preempted by Ballantine on the morning of what promised to be a highly competitive auction. Write-ups about the novel appeared in all the publishing press. Foreign rights were subsequently sold in twenty-nine territories.

Edelweiss also lets you see how the book is being discussed on Twitter and, if you register with Edelweiss, you can tag titles, to create lists accessible from the navigation bar at the top.

Hurry, though, the BEA listings will only be up through June 11th.

A Bookless Library

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Stanford University’s Physics and Engineering Libraries are undergoing some very heavy weeding. The two libraries are being turned into a smaller electronic library, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The new facility “saves its space for people, not things. It features soft seating, ‘brainstorm islands,’ a digital bulletin board and group event space,” as well as access to online databases and scientific journals.

An eBook Crash?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

On AOL’s DailyFinance blog, Sarah Weinman surveys the many devices and formats for eBooks in “How to Navigate the Confusing E-Book Landscape” and warns,

…device makers must be on guard that the constant confusion and lack of consistency may precipitate a crash akin to the Great Video Game Crash of 1983. The e-book market may be a lot more mature than it was a decade ago, but it still has a long way to go before it fully grows up.

The iPad Cometh

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

It may seem anti-climactic, after all the hoopla preceding its announcement back in January, but the iPad arrives in stores on Saturday.

Many have predicted it will be “the Kindle killer,” but in the NYT today, David Pogue’s review indicates otherwise,

There’s an e-book reader app, but it’s not going to rescue the newspaper and book industries (sorry, media pundits). The selection is puny (60,000 titles for now). You can’t read well in direct sunlight. At 1.5 pounds, the iPad gets heavy in your hand after awhile (the Kindle is 10 ounces). And you can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine — not even a Mac or iPhone.

In USA Today, tech columnist, Edward C. Baig, likes how books appear on the iPad,

Judged solely from a sizzle standpoint: There’s no contest. Titles on the iPad such as Winnie the Pooh (which comes preloaded on the iPad) boast colorful illustrations. The 6-inch Kindle screen is grayscale.

But, like Pogue, he objects to the weight of the device, “Curling up in bed was more comfortable with a 10.2-ounce Kindle than with the weightier iPad,” and the backlit screen, which may prove tiring when reading a long book. He also points out that the Kindle is much cheaper (he suggests that they will need to drop the price even further) and has longer battery life.

The following video from USA Today demonstrates the device (ironically, this video cannot be viewed on an iPad; it doesn’t play Flash).

Espresso Book Machine Aids Haiti

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Three booksellers used their print-on-demand Espresso Book Machines to create copies of the Haitian Creole (Kreyol) Pocket Medical Translator for relief workers in Haiti. According to a report in the Grand Rapids Press (the local Schuler Books & Music is one of the participating stores), the project was originated by Google, which waived the fee for accessing the title and is underwriting shipping costs.

During a panel at the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute last week, booksellers talked about their experiences with the machines. Shelf Awareness reports today that they are popular for self-published works. One bookseller said people get very excited about finally seeing their book in print; “I go downstairs when I know an author is coming in so I can witness that exchange.”

This week; The Christian Science Monitor ran a post on about two Seattle-area stores that have installed the machine. One of them, Third Place Books, has a blog devoted to the store’s experiences in on-demand printing, including a visit from a group of librarians from Bainbridge Island, who “thoroughly grilled [the staff] on the EBM’s promise to books, retailing, and libraries.”

For those of you not able to grill the Third Place Books staff, they have provided a helpful FAQ on the machine. You may also want to check the  list of Espresso Book Machine locations to find one near you. The only public library on that list is New Orleans (NYPL exhibited the machine in 2007).