Link of the Week: Book Club Central

Book Club Central, a new online resource for book clubs and readers, has a new book recommendation, No One is Going to Save Us, selected by itsHonorary Chair person, Sarah Jessica Parker.

Book Club Central is a new online service for book clubs and readers to supply them with reading recommendations, book reviews, author interviews, discussion questions and more. Along with the aforementioned book pick, Parker will offer more book selections called SJP Picks.

Book Club Central is distributed by the American Library Association and have several sponsors and partners including Booklist, Libraries transform, and, big 5 publishing house, Penguin Random House.

Book Club Central also offers users the opportnity to not only search for book selection, but to lead a book club, find a new book club, and start a book club online. The site has author interviews with Colson Whitehead, Underground Railroad, and Matthew DesmondEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City available as well.

Link of the Week: Greenpeace

Greenpeace, a non-governmental environmental organization, focuses its campaigning on worldwide issues such as climate change, deforestation, overfishing, anti-nuclear issues, and now a long-running battle against Resolute Forest Products over the forest company’s logging practices in Canada’s boreal forest.

Greenpeace unexpectedly tabled a booth this at this year’s BookExpo. Their presence at the trade show and the subsequent ads in Publisher’s weekly were “designed to pressure Resolute to modify its forest practices and also to drop a lawsuit it brought against the environmental organization.”

Resolute Forest Products first filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace in Canada in 2013, charging the organization with defamation and economic interference. Then came another lawsuit in May 2016 in Georgia alleging RICO violations and defamation. Greenpeace believes this is an infringement on free speech and aims to silence the group and possibly other advocacy groups as well.

Greenpeace brings this issue up to publishers due to the fact that publishers are buying products from resolute Forest Productions. Greenpeace took a petition to BookExpo, that was signed by more than 100 authors, calling for publishers to stand up for free speech by opposing the Resolute lawsuits and pressure Resolute into engaging in more sustainable forest practices.

“The message isn’t that publishers are the bad guys,” Rodrigo Estrada, a spokesman for Greenpeace, said, “we want to show them we aren’t the enemy.”

Link of the Week: Subway Library

New York’s three major public library systems, the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Transit Wireless joined forces to launch Subway Library, an online service that offers free eBook downloads to subway-goers.

The six-week promotion will offer free eBooks, eShorts and excerpts from full-length novels to transit riders by simply connecting to the TransitWireless WiFi at any MTA station. These short stories and excerpts are intended to be read during short half-hour to an hour daily commutes.

Along with this promotion, a Library Train—a subway car resembling the Rose Main Reading Room inside the 42nd Street branch of the NYPL—will alternate running along the 6th and 8th Avenue corridor lines of the E and F trains. Along with the newly designed subway car is a social media challenge where riders can share photos of themselves by Subway Library posters or in the Subway Library train to win one of six possible prizes, including three Amazon Kindle Voyages.

E-books and short stories offered come from the New York Public Library’s permanent collection. Subway Library is powered by SimplyE, the free library eReader app.

Link of the Week: Penguin Random House Acquires Apparel Company, Out of Print

Penguin Random House, according to a recent article by Publishers Weekly, has just acquired the company Out of Print, which creates and sells literature themed clothing, accessories, and home goods.

Out of Print was founded in 2010 by Todd Lawton and Jeffrey LeBlanc and “is dedicated to celebrating our favorite stories while promoting literacy in underserved communities.” The company’s mission includes helping to fund literacy programs through each person made from the company. “It also supports the authors, publishers and artists who made these iconic works an integral part

Todd Lawton and Jeffrey LeBlanc

of our lives.”

Penguin Random House intends to “greatly expand its author- and imprint-brand-based merchandising capabilities.” The publisher, through this acquisition, will intend on expanding its “expertise in product sourcing, creation, licensing [and] distribution.” Authors will also be able to capitalize on the success of the retail business by incorporating it into their promotional efforts, including social media, while also building their relationships with readers.

The company, as well as its co-founders, will continue to be based out of their New York headquarters. The pair will also serve as Managing Directors for Penguin Random House, reporting to Alison Rich, VP of Publishing Innovation Development.

Link of Week: University Presses

An online interview goes into the different practices of university presses versus commercial publishers and what larger publishers can learn from them.

The Huffington Post posted an interview with Peter Dougherty, the director of the Princeton University Press, about the press’s success and growth. Over a century old, the press has evolved from being a publication aimed at only the university to attaining a global reach through digital library subscriptions and e-book adaptions. Dougherty explains how university presses tend to get overlooked and considered specialized and academic-oriented, which was true in the past, but these days they all also publish more general titles as well. He adds that university presses get overlooked in traditional advertisement spaces, such as larger bookstores and news paper columns, that a lot of their revenue and reviews come from online sources, and how imperative maintaining healthy relationships with book blogs and reviewers is for publicity.

Smaller university presses, Dougherty also mentions, are forward-thinking, and their approach to creating online digital libraries that can be accessed through subscriptions is something that larger publishers should pay attention to. Princeton University Press wants to allow anyone to access a number of titles for a set-fee, both academic and otherwise, which is much different than the typical process of publishers’ charging for one book.

Other major institutions interested in the future of digital publishing that larger publishers can learn something from include Stanford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Yale University Press, and Oxford University Press. The unity of the shifting approach to include digital publishing, and how these presses are going about handling this shift, says a lot about the direction of publishing’s possible future.

Link of the Week: Social Media Book Tags

Keeping track of social media tags for books makes it easier to follow trends and interact with other people about what’s popular in publishing.

Figuring out the tags most commonly used to share books on Instagram, Twitter, or other social media platforms can open up a lot of possibilities. Whether you’re trying to keep up with what’s popular, share what you’re reading, or market up-and-coming books getting published, the right tag can make the difference between getting noticed or slipping under the radar.

#Bookstagram on Twitter and Instagram is perhaps the most widely used hashtag for sharing all things books. Given the popularity of the tag, the community of casual to heavy #bookstagram users generates plenty of online advice on how to succesfully use and navigate the tag, which has more than 10 million posts on Instagram alone.

Other lesser-used but still popular tags include bookwormbibliophileinstabooksbooktography, booknerd, bookaholic, and booklove. Finding and including niche tags to get in touch with a particular readership, such as yalit and yafiction for Young Adult books, can also be beneficial to clicking with the right audience. Using and being aware of the tags is important on sites where the right hashtag can unlock more viewers, or the right kind of audience, versus not getting noticed at all. So keep checking out tags and seeing what works for projects that trend to stay in-the-know on tag-heavy social sites!

Link of the Week: Incorporating Augmented Reality Into Books

Traditional print books and ebooks are getting technological facelifts that aim to make readers’ experiences more immersive, and publishers are only just starting to discover the possibilities.

Considering the constant advancements in technology, coding print books for e-readers is far from the end of the evolution timeline for interactive books. Established publishers are currently exploring how to use phone apps to interact with readers, such as what’s being done by Melville House‘s HybridBooks Project and Sourcebooks’ DragonHunters trilogy. These examples typically use apps as quick ways to search text in a book or to give pictures 3-D effects.

What it looks like to view the Modern Polaxis app over images in the book.

Modern Polaxis and Head and Neck Anatomy, which are both successful Kickstarters, use their apps as crucial storytelling and learning components respectively. While HybridBooks Projects and DragonHunters don’t require apps to fully appreciate or understand the material in the book, Modern Polaxis and Head and Neck Anatomy include so much information across these platforms that having just a copy of the book is having only half of the full experience.

What it looks like to read a Sensory Fiction book with all the gear needed.

There are even projects that take the blend of books and technology beyond including apps and ebooks. Sensory Fiction is one company that aims to accomplish this by using a vest and a digital e-reader to generate physical reactions (like temperature and vibrations) to complement what’s being read.

The amount of progress being made in the world of book publishing to create new and memorable reading experiences using technology feels like it’s only just beginning. There’s going to be room for exploration and growth in this area that will impact the future of publishing, whether it’s discovering new ways to incorporate technology or helping to carry-out ideas that become the norm in publishing. These changes happen so fast, it’s important to be aware of now and consider as we move forward with our publishing careers.

Link of the Week: National Library Week

“Libraries Transform” is the theme for this year’s National Library Week, which started on April 9th and will end on the 15th.

With observance led by the American Library Association (ALA), one week every April is dedicated to recognizing the importance and contributions of libraries and librarians nationwide. This week will include events such as National Library Workers Day, National Bookmobile Day, and Take Action for Libraries Day, as well as other celebrations.

To commemorate specific, timely aspects of the library industry, the theme of this year’s week is “Libraries Transform.” “Libraries Transform” is meant to draw attention to how libraries have grown throughout American history, and how they still strive to be an essential resource and hub of knowledge for the community.

Libraries around New York are posting activities to take part in, and getting involved is also easy to do to show support for the work of local libraries and librarians.

Link of the Week: National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, which is dedicated to celebrating poetry’s impact on culture and society.

Publishers from W.W. Norton (and their poetry oriented website, Poets Out Loud) to Scholastic are amongst the many organizations participating in National Poetry Month. Helmed by the Academy of American Poets, participants are encouraged to host, participate, or attend poetry readings and similar events, share poetry and writing challenges online, get involved with poetry-based activities, and find other ways to inspire and be inspired by poems all month long.

Another way to show support during National Poetry Month is to check-out some poetry journals. Poetry journals are a great way to explore trending themes in poems and to analyze a wide variety of work from different poets, especially for someone who doesn’t know a lot about poetry. For anyone looking for longer collections, some recent must-read titles to start with are  Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, Bestiary by Donika Kelly, Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet, and The Chaos of Longing by K.Y. Robinson.

Link of the Week: Bookwitty

Bookwitty is an online service designed to simplify readers’ discovery of books, and other book-relevant information, by providing  recommendations based on context rather than popularity.

One of many online-based resources to match new specific types of books and authors to its users, Bookwitty is a growing platform that posts books and pertinent publishing articles. A multicultural catalogue of upwards to 26 million books, Bookwitty not only matches readers with books but also sells them at discounted prices. Bookwitty also encourages social media practices by offering playlists of books, information and novel discovery pages, and other services to help and appeal to book lovers and publishers.