Friday, September 29, 2006

Sony to launch web bookstore, e-book device
27 September 2006

Sony said today it will launch an electronic book store on the internet and start selling a device that displays e-books purchased from the store on October 1, after missing an earlier unveiling earlier this year due to technical reasons.

The Sony Connect book store will carry about 10,000 books from the top six publishers, including HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.

The launch of the store coincides with the official debut of its highly anticipated electronics book reader, which reviewers have said mimic the quality of regular paper.

The Sony Reader Portable Reader system will sell for about $US350 ($NZ533). For a limited period, new Connect customers will receive a $US50 ($NZ76) credit to buy books from the service.

Electronic books cost on average about 25 percent less than the cover price of physical books, a spokesman said.

Sony's latest generation reader, announced in North America at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, garnered attention for the electronic ink technology it employs made by E Ink of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It uses new technology that allows digital text and graphics to be displayed without power-hungry back-lit screens.

Much like regular paper, the Sony Reader screen is not back-lit and requires a light source in the room to view the page.

The sales of the device and launch of the book store was delayed to work out kinks in the integration of the device, service and computer software required to connect the two, Sony vice president of marketing Ron Hawkins said in an interview.

"There's a lot of moving parts to make it work well," Hawkins said. "In the spring, we decided we needed to take more time."

The device and service will also let users download from the Really Simple Syndication or RSS Feeds of popular blogs, including Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, engadget and Gizmodo to read on the device. But it will only downloads from approved feeds, restricting users from freely downloading from any RSS feed.

"We'll be expanding and improving it beyond that," he added.

Newspapers and other periodicals will not be offered at first, although Hawkins did not rule out such features down the line.

"We're taking a serious look at it," he said. "But we're focusing on books and personal content at launch."

Sony to launch web bookstore, e-book device - New Zealand's source for technology news on

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


A website that features video of Ann Coulter getting pied and other goodies.

Designed To Promote Debut Suspense Novelists

Every best-selling author began as a debut novelist. But making the step from promising beginner to proven success can be tricky, which is why four online friends, Brett Battles, JT Ellison, Jason Pinter and Sandra Ruttan decided to start Killer Year.

Founded in May 2006, Killer Year is a now a collective of suspense novelists who have banded together, sharing promotion and marketing for their debut novels. "Fiction is a crowded market," said founding member J.T. Ellison. "By working together, we hope to reach a larger audience than we could alone."

"We wanted to find a way to have equitable attention paid to all types of publication formats, from mass-market paperbacks to hardcovers,"
said Brett Battles, a co-founder. "One voice to promote 14 authors seemed to be our best bet to sell our books."

Spurred by a mention on Sarah Weinman's award winning blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, the four put up a website and blog, and Killer Year was born. The ranks quickly filled with excellent authors who, like the founders, are debuting in the fiction genre in 2007. All the books will be released from major New York publishing houses and first class small publishers, and will be commercially available in all retail outlets.

International Thriller Writers (ITW), the first professional organization for thriller writers, is lending a hand to the 14 novelists. The idea resonated with M.J. Rose, who heads up ITW's marketing committee. "One of our mandates is to build a community of writers who can help each other. Another is to get serious attention for our authors and make them stand out from the crowd. Not just established authors, but debut authors as well. This program fits both those goals."

One ITW member will mentor each Killer Year member, providing individual advice, blurbs and a short review of their book they can use in promotional material. They will also introduce Killer Year at a special breakfast during ThrillerFest 2007, the premier event for the thriller writing community. After 2007, Killer Year will remain an ongoing program, with ITW welcoming a new class of debut novelists.

"Only in the suspense genre can something this exciting, this cutting edge happen," founder Sandra Ruttan said. "We work as a team," added Jason Pinter. "We're here to support each other and make sure all of our members succeed in their first year as published authors."

Killer Year is an elite group of 14 debut suspense novelists working to create an interactive community with potential readers, buyers, reviewers and publishing professionals. The Killer Year founders are Jason Pinter (THE MARK, Mira), Brett Battles (THE CLEANER, Bantam Dell), J.T. Ellison (ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS, Mira) and Sandra Ruttan (SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES, Tico).

Members include Robert Gregory Browne (KISS HER GOODBYE, St. Martin's), Bill Cameron (LOST DOG, Midnight Ink), Toni McGee Causey (BOBBIE FAYE'S VERY (very, very, very) BAD DAY, St. Martin's), Sean Chercover (BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD, William Morrow), Patry Francis (THE LIAR'S DIARY, Dutton), Marc Lecard (VINNIE'S HEAD, St. Martin's Minotaur), Derek Nikitas (PYRES, St. Martin's Minotaur), Gregg Olsen (A WICKED SNOW, Kensington), Marcus Sakey (THE BLADE ITSELF, St. Martin's Minotaur) and Dave White (WHEN ONE MAN DIES, Three Rivers Press).

Visit the KillerYear website for more information on these fine authors.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Update on National Book Fest

Be sure to check out the author podcast at with John Hope Franklin, Poet Laureate Donald Hall, Khaled Hosseini, Marcus Samuelsson, Lisa Scottoline and Judith Viorst

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Everyday I come home from work and there is a neat pile of packages on my front door step, the ones delivered by UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Crammed into my new mailbox (the last one finally exploded) are usually one or two more. Not sure why my mail delivery person insists on forcing these packages into the mailbox but my personal feeling is that she's too damn lazy to get out of her cute little mail truck and walk fifteen feet or so to my door. But I digress...

I get lots of books, and I don't read most of them. I read a lot, but even I can't read 25+ books a week. Nor would I want to, much less review them. Lately Penguin has taken to sending me a box of reissued classics every week along with little notes asking me to review them. I'm sorry, but even as opinionated as I am, I am not presumptuous enough to review Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity, The Communist Manifesto by Friedrich Engels or The Bible.

But a book arrived yesterday that I would consider reading and even reviewing, except I'm not sure I have enough Ruby Red Absolut to get me through it. So we'll see. The name of this unsolicited book that caught my eye is

Brainless: The Lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter by Joe Maguire

William Morrow is the publisher and frankly, just reading the pitch that came along with it - did I mention that every book that arrives has at least a one page typewritten letter full of exclamation points stressing its vital importance to the reading community, nay, to the world at large, if only I would read it? Another digression, sorry. Anyway, the pitch was full of so much of the Coulter vitriol that it made my head spin. So I'm afraid to read more from the "Mistress of Malice". The letter included her thoughts on Jimmy Carter; "vengeful, sneaky and backstabbing." I worked for his campaign before I was old enough to vote and that is just wrong. Other thoughts include the fact that Intelligent Design is real science while evolution is "make believe".

But this is my favorite: women's liberation has led to "exhibitionism, promiscuity, sex toys, and adultery." Ummm, it's also led to Ann Coulter. It's given her the right to stay single and sexually active while proclaiming herself a good Christian, and even more importantly, it's given her the right to spew her vitriol, circle her wagons and stir up as much hatred as she possibly can. She's got a platform to speak from that is not in her kitchen, where she would be without women's liberation and all those women who fought for her right to publish snarky, malicious books full of "lies and lunacy".

So yeah, I want to read more. But I'm afraid to. I'm really not advocating drinking, but I am an adult and I know that numbing myself with alcohol may make it possible for me to read more than a page or two and not rip them from the book and burn the rest in effigy. Of course, if there is any book burning to be done I should probably start with the Ann Coulter collection, but I don't advocate that either. Just not buying them is enough for me.

But buy Brainless, if only for the jokes, including this tasteless one from David Letterman that made me laugh out loud:

"Here's what we know about Ann Coulter: She's blond, she's single. Maybe someone will set her up with O.J."

On sale date is October 10. Oh, and the book includes pages and pages of source notes.

2006 National Book Festival

Library of Congress Announces Award-Winning Authors Participate In Sixth Annual National Book Festival Celebrating the Joys of Reading and Lifelong Literacy

Library of Congress and Laura Bush Invite Book Lovers of All Ages to the National Mall on Saturday, Sept. 30

The 2006 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Mrs. Laura Bush, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets (rain or shine). The festival is free and open to the public.

“Each year, tens of thousands book lovers attend this national event to meet their favorite authors and celebrate lifelong literacy, which we are also highlighting in a partnership with the Ad Council” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “Now in its sixth year, the National Book Festival presents a wonderful opportunity to see firsthand how reading changes lives and how our country, its citizens and its libraries promote reading in imaginative and inspiring ways."

“The National Book Festival is a great way for families and friends to share in the joys of reading and discover the works of some of America’s most-loved authors,” Mrs. Bush said. “Readers of all ages can listen to and meet their favorite writers and enjoy a day on the National Mall.”

At the 2006 National Book Festival, more than 70 well-known authors, illustrators and poets will discuss their work in various pavilions, including “Children,” “Teens & Children,” “Fiction & Fantasy,” “Mysteries & Thrillers,” “History & Biography,” “Home & Family” and “Poetry.” Festival goers can have books signed by their favorite authors, and children can meet ever-popular storybook and television characters, such as Arthur The Aardvark, Maya and Clifford the Big Red Dog, who will appear on the festival grounds throughout the day.

Participating authors include best-selling novelists Khaled Hosseini, author of the “Kite Runner” and Geraldine Brooks, winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for her book “March”; novelist and essayist Joan Didion; historians John Hope Franklin and Doris Kearns Goodwin; biographer Taylor Branch (“Martin Luther King”); Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin, winners of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for their biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer; authors of books for children and teens, including Andrew Clements, Stephenie Meyer, Richard Peck, and Louis Sachar; award-winning illustrators Bryan Collier, Betsy Lewin and Mark Teague; Donald Hall, the recently named 14th Poet Laureate of the United States; and poet Dana Gioia, the director the National Endowment for the Arts; best-selling mystery and thriller authors, including Michael Connelly, Lisa Scottoline, Kathy Reichs and Alexander McCall Smith; science fiction award-winner Spider Robinson; and Elmer Kelton, author of more than 40 novels and voted “the best Western author of all time” by the Western Writers of America.

Popular personalities in the “Home & Family” pavilion include television celebrity chefs and authors G. Garvin and Marcus Samuelsson; CNBC economics and investments commentator Jim Cramer and popular linguistics expert Deborah Tannen, whose new best-seller is titled “You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation.”

Beyond meeting their favorite authors, festival visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the reading programs and resources in libraries across the country. The “Pavilion of the States” will highlight the book, reading, literacy and library promotion activities of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several American trusts and territories. Representatives from every state and territory will welcome families and children interested in that state's writers and reading programs. In addition, the “Let’s Read America” pavilion will feature reading promotion activities developed by select festival sponsors.

The Library of Congress Pavilion will feature a variety of interactive family-centered activities about the importance of lifelong literacy, cultural preservation, and preserving digital culture. Computers will be available for children and adults to explore the Library’s acclaimed Web site at The Library’s myriad online resources contain examples of American creativity in all forms such as music, poetry, films, photographs, maps, and sound recordings. The Library’s new National Audiovisual Conservation Center will introduce the latest technologies in film and audio preservation. The Veterans History Project will also feature a teacher and her students who use VHP material in the classroom. Two students will interview Ezra Hill, a Tuskegee Airman. VHP historian Tom Weiner will interview Darlene Iskra, the first woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy and serve during the Persian Gulf War.

In the “Teens and Children” pavilion, the national student winners of the Letters About Literature contest will read their personal letters to authors who inspired them. Sponsored by the Library’s Center for the Book with support from distinguished benefactor Target, Letters About Literature invites young readers in grades 4-12 to write personal letters to authors, past or present, who have changed their views of the world or of themselves. Each year, winners are selected at the state and national levels. As the project’s corporate sponsor, Target awards the six national winners and their parents with a trip to the National Book Festival in Washington, to share their winning letters with a national audience.

“It is inspiring to see the number of young people whose lives have been positively affected by a particular author or book,” said Laysha Ward, vice president, community relations, Target. “Through its comprehensive support of early childhood reading, including the Letters About Literature program and the National Book Festival, Target is able to helping to instill a love of reading in kids as the foundation for reading early in life and further the goals of lifelong learning literacy.”

In addition to planning a range of activities for this year’s festival on the National Mall, the Library is offering a variety of ways for people around the country to participate in the event online. New this year will be downloadable podcasts of interviews with popular participating authors. The Library will also present same-day webcasts of selected authors’ presentations from the “Teens & Children,” “Mysteries & Thrillers” and “Fiction & Fantasy” pavilions. Both the webcasts and the podcasts will be available on the Library’s Web site at

During the week leading up to the festival, will host a series of online chats with authors appearing at the National Book Festival. These text-based discussions can be viewed daily, starting on Monday, Sept. 25, on the site at The schedule of chats and authors’ names will be posted on the site and the Library’s site at Participants can submit questions in advance or during the live discussion. Authors’ responses will post while the program is airing or at a later date on’s online discussion archive.

In addition to live webcasts, the Library will again collaborate with Book TV on C-SPAN2 to televise the National Book Festival “History & Biography” pavilion events live on Sept. 30. The C-SPAN2 Book TV Bus, a mobile Book TV studio with a multimedia demonstration center for the public, will also be on the National Mall. Festival coverage will be streamed live on C-SPAN’s website

The artist for this year’s festival is award-winning Russian illustrator Gennady Spirin, whose lush contemporary technique brings a rich, imaginative depiction to the 2006 National Book Festival poster. Spirin combines a modern aesthetic with the great traditions of the Renaissance. He has illustrated 30 storybooks for children and has won four gold medals from the Society of Illustrators. Four of his books, including “The Sea King’s Daughter” (1997), were named the best illustrated book of the year by The New York Times. Posters featuring the illustration painting will be available free of charge at the festival.

The 2006 National Book Festival is made possible with generous support from Distinguished Benefactor Target; Charter Sponsors AT&T, The Amend Group and The Washington Post; Patrons AARP, the James Madison Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; and a myriad of contributors. The Junior League of Washington will again contribute hundreds of volunteers to help with the National Book Festival.

A preliminary list of participating authors, illustrators and poets follows. For more information about them and the festival, visit

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