Small Press Shakedown: David J Howe and Stephen James Walker of Telos Books
Fiction: Coming Soon / Submissions Update

Weirdness Rodeo

Absolutely brilliant piece from the AV Club on the history (and place on the ash heap thereof) of the DVD: 

The popular understanding of the disappearance of the DVD is simple, and probably accurate: Digital storage technology is rendering hard copies of software and content obsolete. Being able to keep your music, movies, games, and books in your hardware system—or better yet, the cloud—is creating a concomitant desire to be done with yet another bulky material object... The irony lies in the fact that the internet isn’t merely the assassin of the DVD, but the progenitor, as well. Whatever their historical assessment, DVDs are primarily known for ushering in the era of bonus content.

Relevance to books, as the film industry (like music) is a few years ahead of words-based publishing in wrestling with the impact of new formats and new methods of consumption.

Maureen Johnson weighs in on the 'tumblr fans being a real dick to John Green' issue, and makes a lot of sense:

I genuinely believe with all my heart that the internet can remain totally open and free and we can make that connection between the words or image on the screen and the flesh and blood person those words or images represent. Few people are fully good or bad. We’re all a mix. We screw up. But we also learn, do better. We don’t have to go around being fake nice all the time–that’s not what I’m saying. I’m also not saying we shouldn’t criticize or comment. We absolutely must do those things. But it is never okay to threaten, or to make up claims that could poison someone’s life. There are fables and fairy tales written about how bad this is–that’s how far back this goes.

And the venerable Philip Pullman on piracy... He fears that we're teaching children that creative work has no value - and therefore endangering the future of the creative industries:

Every child must have the chance to make music as well as to listen to it. But we owe this to those who make music: we need to teach our children that music sounds even better when it’s paid for.

Meanwhile, a list! 25 reasons you don't make money selling at cons. Intended for comics, but very true for book dealers as well. Worth circulating ahead of convention season.

Another list! 50 scariest stories of all time. This is... a really good list. I had this independently verified by scary-story-lover James Smythe, and he agrees. So there you go.

Awards-related tangent

Claire Armitstead defends the role of literary prizes:

In an increasingly crowded publishing world, getting on a list can be a life or death issue for a book – and that is particularly true of the sort of fiction and non-fiction that doesn’t get piled high in the supermarket, invited to the top tables in bookshops, or advertised on the side of buses.

And, an (unintentional) counterpoint, from the extremely well-lauded Galley Beggar Press:

Things are fine. For now. We've always been incredibly lucky. We've found readers for our books – and enough of them that we've been able to keep going. We've brought quite a few new and glorious novels into the world and really don't want much more than that. Although we've had it. Over three quarters of our books so far have been longlisted (or shortlisted) for major awards... [but]... we’re feeling pretty trepidatious. And to keep going, we need to have more direct sales than ever, more web sales, more subscribers and yet more generosity from the public at large, and from you in particular.  

Emphasis mine. Galley Beggar are notable because it is a young, literary independent press that was set up not by naive outsiders, but by industry experts. And, as they note, their critical success has been rather spectacular - including A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. But, as the blog post explains, the current retail system is killing them - the discounts upon discounts to get books into shops, and then having those books returned (unsellable). As Jordison says, "Often we will be, in effect, paying booksellers to sell our products."

[I've had the same experience with Jurassic London, btw - one reason we only work with very few retailers, and virtually always in the form of exclusives. By the time a wholesaler/distributor is involved with their cut, plus the shipping costs? Simply can't work.]

Anyway, first - buy from Galley Beggar. They're rather terrific, and they do exist to take a punt on crazy literary titles that others don't. Second, if having 75% of your titles longlisted for major awards isn't enough to keep you feeling rosy, I question the commercial value of awards to publishers. 

Pornokitsch people elsewhere

Rob Sharp muses on the need for a 'personal opinions' icon because "on the Internet there are a remarkable number of people who are happy to conflate the views of an individual with that of the organisations they work for".

Molly Tanzer interviewed by the delightfully-named Schlock. Plus further love for Vermilion from Arkham Digest and io9.

Rebecca Levene will be signing Hunter's Kind at Forbidden Planet on 2 July.

Stark Holborn discusses the merits of serialisation in the Bookseller. (Did you miss Stark's first review for Pornokitsch? Say hi to Johnny Guitar.)

Mahvesh Murad interviews Paolo Bacigalupi for Midnight in Karachi.

Jared is reading the entire Gemmell Awards shortlist. You can follow his progress with the links here.

And finally


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