Category Archives: social networking

Touchy Subjects: Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Jessamine Chan -- January 6th, 2014

tampa 2I saw the Facebook chatter about Alissa Nutting’s first novel, Tampa, when it was published last summer. Though friends insisted that it was a “must read,” I was turned off by the marketing campaign: emphasis on “graphic sexual content” in the ads and a lurid fuzzy black dust jacket. I don’t want to read anything that comes in a fuzzy black dust jacket. However, a friend lent me a copy with the dust jacket removed, and the denuded book plus being house-bound because of the snow and a sinus infection resulted in finishing the book in 1.5 days.

Tampa concerns a monomaniacal, super-hot 26-year-old married blonde middle school teacher, Celeste Price, who seduces 14-year-old boys. I was impressed by Nutting’s refusal to make the protagonist “likeable.” The book’s crescendos of pathological behavior spiral higher and higher, and the momentum of the narrative’s craziness is part of what kept me reading. Continue reading

Tough Questions about Families and Technology

Jessamine Chan -- October 4th, 2013

TheBigDisconnect hc c2

In the past week, I’ve told every friend I’ve seen about this book. Some have toddlers and found the scary anecdotes to be too much. A friend who is 6 months pregnant was intrigued. While reading about how texting has replaced normal conversation or even email for today’s kids, I felt so guilty that I phoned my parents and best friend 90’s style and left voicemails and played phone tag. Remember phone tag? (My mom pointed out that she only texts with her daughters because we never pick up the phone.) One friend whose children are grown worries that maybe it’s too late—maybe technology is so much a part of children’s lives, the damage can’t be undone.

But it’s not too late, and you, blog readers who are parents or soon-to-be parents, should all read this book. The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age (Harper, Aug.) by clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair, writing with Teresa H. Barker, charts the negative impact of the digital revolution on parents and children. Continue reading

Standardizing bookmarks

Peter Brantley -- November 2nd, 2011

Earlier this year, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for two meetings, coordinated with the Internet Archive, that would encourage standards discussions around bookmarks and annotations. The aim of the meetings was to bring together as many stakeholders as possible – social reading startups, standards groups like the IDPF and EDItEUR, academic and research initiatives, and large ebook retailers – to discuss the challenges in creating standard-format, portable bookmarks and annotations.

As we described in the grant application materials, “The ability to accurately refer to a specific location within a digital text is fundamental for bookmarking and annotations in a digital environment. For both casual readers as well as professional and academic researchers, such pointers must be recognized across reading systems to enable social uses of books, articles and grey literature that range from personal memory aids to citations and critical analysis, as well as deep inter-linking. At present, no standards exist in this space.”

Continue reading

Han Solo Said It Best: A Guest Post by Eileen Gardner, PW’s 200,000th Twitter Follower

Eileen Gardner -- October 25th, 2011

Eileen Gardner has just become Publishers Weekly’s 200,000th follower on Twitter. Turns out she’s an aspiring novelist and blogger; to mark our Twitter milestone, we asked her to contribute a guest post to PWxyz.

I think sometimes in life it is better not to know how difficult something is going to be before you attempt it. I can now file “publish my novel” under this heading. The odds of seeing my work in print are frighteningly small, but I didn’t know that when I started my quest for publication. If I’d known the odds going in, I probably wouldn’t have gone in.

Ok, that’s not true. Writing for me is not a choice. It’s a passion, it’s a calling. I couldn’t stop writing if I tried, and believe me, I’ve tried. But like a siren’s song, writing keeps calling me back. I am a writer.

About two years ago, I had that thrilling spark of a great idea. I sat down in my chair and put my hands on the keyboard. Every day. I fell in love with my characters. I thought I developed an interesting plot. And I did something I’d never done before: I finished.

I think we should give out awards to anyone who actually finishes a novel. It is a major accomplishment.

Continue reading

PW on the Web and Made to Order

Parul Sehgal -- August 26th, 2011

A few months ago, we launched our audiobook blog, Listen Up, and today (on #ff, most appropriately) we’re launching a twitter account for all things audiobook — news, reviews, inside information, Q&As, contests.

Our audiobook reviews editor and Listen Up blogger Adam Boretz (and his faithful intern) will be tweeting, so don’t be shy, go on, follow us: @PWAudio!

It’s also a fine moment for us to round up all the ways you can join the conversation with PW and get book news and reviews tailored to your needs.


“Like” us on Facebook and be eligible for free subscriptions, stimulating and scrappy dialogue with PW editors and fellow readers:

Publishers Weekly

PW Reviews

PW Comics World


On Twitter:

@Publisherswkly: The mothership

@PWAudio: All things audio

@PWComicsWorld: All comics, all the time

@PWKidsBookshelf: Children’s and teen book business news

@Pwreligion: Updates from our religion editor

@PWReviews: Book reviews and gossip from PW and beyond

@PWxyz: Updates from our news blog


Plus, take advantage of our email newsletters. Signing up is free and easy. Do it here. Do it now!

Children’s Bookshelf (Weekly): Children’s and teen book business news, reviews, and more

Cooking the Books (Twice A Month): News for cookbook enthusiasts.

PW Comics World (Monthly):  News, feature stories, interviews on graphic novel and comics publishing.

PW Daily Newsletter (Daily):  Authoritative reporting of the day’s big deals, personnel moves, sales information and technology developments.

Religion BookLine (Monthly): Religion and spirituality publishing’s premier source of information.

Hashtag of the Moment: #bookswithalettermissing

John A. Sellers -- August 2nd, 2011

As we post, Twitter’s more literary corners are having fun with the latest book-themed, procrastination-inducing hashtag, #bookswithalettermissing, which, with the stroke of a delete key, turns Dickens into an ill-conceived ice cream flavor (Liver Twist, courtesy of @NicholasPegg) and C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair into a meditation on aging, The Silver Hair (via @lisibo). Writers and publishers are getting in on the action, too. Kate Wilson, @NosyCrow, has offered such gems as The Collected Woks of William Shakespeare and Far from the Adding Crowd (“autobiography of an accountant-turned-smallholder”), and YA author Patrick Ness’s contributions include Homer’s The Ilia (“an epic poem about many pelvic bones”) and Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ma. Other favorites:

@tommydonbavand: Charlie and the Chocolate Factor
@CodeNameTanya: Notes on a Sandal
@angegarrod: Lady Chatterley’s Over
@Kari_Luana: Breaking DanNew Moo
@SteveSparshott: Laughterhouse-Five
@KBreathnach: Civilization and its Disco Tents
@Daracho: Naive Son

Got some of your own you’d like to share? Add ‘em in the comments, or join the fun on Twitter.

SXSW: Ogilvy & Mather Gives Back Cool Graphic Recordings

Calvin Reid -- March 13th, 2011

Jordan Berkowitz (l.) and artist Heather Willems in front of her drawing on "Health in Africa"

One of the first things I noted at certain SXSW panels was the presence of artists, set up with large boards and drawing tables, frantically drawing and sketching. Turns out they are part of Ogilvy Notes, an impressive visual project by the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather that is creating large-scale “visual notes” or vivid graphic documentation of a selection of panels and keynotes, improvised and executed on the spot by a team of artists.

Directed by Jordan Berkowitz, Ogilvy & Mather executive director Creative Technology & Innovation, Ogilvy Notes has brought together a team of artists that specialize in a process called variously, “viz notes,” or “graphic facilitation.” The artists set up at events, panels or business meetings and have the ability to sketch representations of the themes, topics and high points of the discussion on the spot, rendering a kind of graphic map of the event in a frenzy of typographic and representational design. Although the drawings have elements of comics, they really offer an overall field of clever, funny and pointed illustration that essentially visually recreates the event they feature.

“They’re a stream of consciousness creation,” said Berkowitz, who brought together a team of about 6 artists who specialize in this kind of on-the-spot graphic recreation. At a time when schools, businesses and the media have realized the importance of visual learning and visual storytelling, the project offers an inventive and memorable strategy to connect and communicate topical issues with the public.

“Its an amazing skill. How do you manage to spot and represent a point made in an ongoing discussion,” Berkowitz said. Ogilvy is using the artists as way to “give back”, Berkowitz said, to the SXSW community. He also emphasized that a team of editors went over the schedule to choose a broad range of panels—from “Public Transit Data and APIs” to “Black Women in Media”—“we didn’t want the content to be self-serving; there is bredth and depth in the subject matter,” said Berkowitz.

The project will document panels for three days over the weekend and producing a phenomenal 25-30 drawings at day! Once completed the project will have about 85-90 drawings and Ogilvy will turn them into original prints and make them available for free (you can pick them up today). In addition the public can download free high resolution versions of all the drawings at the Ogilvy Notes website.

“They’re constructed and created in the moment, people can find them through twitter and facebook,” Berkowitz said. Ogilvy has stacked the large drawings in a kind of “house of cards” sculptural installation on the top level of the Austin Convention Center. Berkowitz said the site is also encouraging artists interested in working in this manner to upload their sketchbooks and art and they may get a chance to work on future graphic documentations.

SXSW: Be On Time for Panels

Rachel Deahl -- March 11th, 2011

We’ve only been Austin a few hours and we’ve already learned two things: those in the know call this event “South By,” and you really do need to show up early for panels. At “South By” you can’t sneak into a panel late and linger in the back chair-less. Here they apparently abide by fire safety regulations and go with a policy we’ve only seen enforced at clubs and bars–one in, one out. So, if you’re in Austin, be sure to show up early.

We’ve really just dipped into the programming here, but already we’ve had lots of conversations about gaming, apps, and transmedia. We’re circling back to questions about how publishers, authors, and agents should be thinking about content, and wondering whether those in the book business should just think beyond the book–i.e., what else is the story besides a book?–but instead of the book. We’ve asked this question before, but it bears repeating and will clearly be a theme for all book publishing folks at SXSW: should publishers and authors be getting into the business of creating things other than books, that may start from the seed of a story?

We just met with Pawan Deshande, who runs a company called HiveFire (who’ll be on a panel here called Brave New World: Debating Brands’ Role as Publishers), and discussed some of the things his company does, namely create software that allows companies and individuals to better curate content. The conversation led us to discussions about publishers creating fan sites around their content areas, which is something we’ve seen with imprints like Tor and the recently launched Mulholland Books. With software like HiveFire’s, that allows someone overseeing a content site to more easily pull in content (and push it out with SEO help and connections to social networking sites), is it more feasible that a single staffer at an imprint can create a fan site dedicated to the topic that that imprint covers? And, really, why shouldn’t every imprint have a fan site, instead of a page on an overarching corporate website?

These are some early thoughts from SXSW. We’re heading to PubCamp shortly and will come back with more on that.

Laura Hillenbrand Teams with NPR for Month-Long Social Media Event

Craig Morgan Teicher -- January 31st, 2011

Throughout the month of February, bestselling author Laura Hillenbrand will participate in a social media event through NPR’s Facebook, Twitter and Web portals, where NPR will be sponsoring discussion about Hillenbrand’s new book, Unbroken, the story of WWII hero Louie Zamperini.

Over the course of the month, NPR will host a discussion board about Unbroken on the NPR Books Facebook page; Hillenbrand herself will participate in this discussion, as well as on her own “Talk to Laura” board. NPR will also host a live chat with Hellenbrand at the end of the month.

In our signature review of Unbroken, we said Hillenbrand “tells the stories of thousands whose suffering has been mostly forgotten. She restores to our collective memory this tale of heroism, cruelty, life, death, joy, suffering, remorselessness, and redemption.”

Full details on the event can be found here.

CES 2011: Where Are All The Book Publishers?

Calvin Reid -- January 9th, 2011

Heading to the exhibition halls. Photos by J. Culkin

It shouldn’t be surprising that arriving at the world’s largest trade show would offer a one-of-a kind experience. No, not the 2 million sq. feet of exhibition space or the nearly 3,000 companies exhibiting. It was the jaw-dropping length of the taxi lines at McCarran airport that wound around in a depressing loop de loop of cranky travelers dubious of ever reaching their hotels.

But after finally arriving at our hotel—me and wife/multimedia professor/artist-photographer Jody are at the Luxor, a hilariously impressive recreation of an Egyptian Pyramid complete with a mammoth Sphinx—and later the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center, I noticed the seemingly complete absence of book publishing folk at CES 2011. This is the first time PW has covered CES on the ground, so feeling a little full of myself it occurred to me that at a time when the industry is going through seismic changes and when pretty much any device with a screen is a de facto book reader, that publishers should also be on the ground at a show like this just to check out the lay of the digital landscape.

Kate Rados

Of course there are lots of good reasons why book publishers would not be exhibiting here; from cost of attending to the conflict this year with ALA. But I decided to go on a parallel quest—along with my primary task, essentially counting new tablet computers on display at CES—to both find some book people and ask them how they were using the show. While I didn’t find a lot, I certainly found a few. Starting with Brett Sandusky, a smart new media guy (I follow him on Twitter @bsandusky) who heads up new product development at education and test prep publisher Kaplan. We found Brett, naturally, at the HigherEd Tech Summit, an all day mini-conference on Thursday that featured panels on Education and educational publishing as well as WSJ tech columnist Walter Mossberg, and we spent a good bit of time yakking about devices (10” tablets versus 7” tablets versus iOS4 versus Android, and so on) and where this whole tech revolution was taking publishing.

Early on I got a tweet from Kate Rados (@katerados), group marketing director at F+W media, at the show accompanied by an executive v-p, checking with F+W partners and looking to learn about new devices and sign new content deals. Rados is a lively Twitter personality and seems to personify the new media book professional—tech savvy, a device nut with a background in TV as well as books and a fixture at digital conferences. We gabbed about, what else, where were all the book publishers and what was the next important conference they should be attending—South By Southwest (SXSW), she says without hesitation, the supremely geeky Austin conference focused on emerging technologies in music, interactivity and film. “Publishers need to be anyplace where new ideas are being tested,” she said.

Steve Potash

OK, but I had found a few publishing folk—including Magellan’s Brian O’Leary (@brianoleary), digital piracy researcher, new media consultant and Twitter wag, who was walking the floor on Friday—so I went off to find more. I headed straight over to the booth of e-book distributor OverDrive and sat down with CEO Steve Potash, who corrected some of my presumptions. According to Potash, publisher representative are at the show. “All the major trade publishers have representatives here,” said Potash, specifically counting off HarperCollins, Wiley, Hachette and others. “They’re walking the floor and meeting with us. They know the importance of this show,” said Potash

After being reassured by Steve, my quest for book folk continued with renewed enthusiasm.  I hooked up with Antony Antolino (@AnthonyAntolino), former executive with Copia, the recently launched social network/e-book retailing platform, who has been attending CES for 12 years and we talked bout the future of books and the new business models that may emerge. Antolino, a self-described “business guy,” is consulting these days, looking to move into a new business sector, while taking the same approach he did launching Copia—combining sales with social media to create a platform not just for selling but to allow consumers to talk about the products and services they like and don’t like.

Anthony Antolino

The quest continued, meeting up with School Library Journal tech editor Kathy Ishizuka (@kishizuka) for dinner and talking about libraries, and then I got a heads up from New York that Rick Richter, the former head of S&S Children’s publishing, was at the show. Richter is now a full-fledged new media publisher after launching the children’s app publishing venture Ruckus Media with his business partner Jim Young. We caught up with Richter and Young outside the mammoth Central Hall and talked futurepub. Although Ruckus isn’t exhibiting, Richter said he was at CES because “We’re here because we need to know about every new device that will be displaying our content and their platforms.” And Young pointed out that CES is important not only for the devices on display, “ but to figure out how they will effect, “the future of storytelling. This is the place to find out.”

Jim Young (l.) and Rick Richter

So yes, publishers are at CES in one way or another. But as the industry lurches through one paradigm shift after another, is simply walking the floor and checking in with your e-book vendor enough for a show like CES? Should book publishers be exhibitors, or perhaps should the AAP be an exhibitor and act as an information clearing house for manufacturers looking for new content partners? To paraphrase Rados, publishers come to CES to meet with the partners you know and look around for the partners you don’t know. Any Comments on publishers at the Consumer Electronics Show?