Here’s some news that will make fans of the late Elmore Leonard’s Raylan Givens novels breathe a little easier: there will be at least one more of them. Leonard was in the process of writing another Raylan Givens story (with the working title Blue Dreams) and Peter Leonard, the acclaimed author’s son, has said that he will likely finish it for his father.
Peter and Elmore Leonard
The Guardian has the scoop.
Raylan Givens novels breathe a little easier: there will be at least one more of them. Leonard was in the process of writing another Raylan Givens story (with the working title Blue Dreams) and Peter Leonard, the acclaimed author’s son, has said that he will likely finish it for his father.
Peter also reveals that his father could be a harsh critic, so harsh, in fact, that Peter put fiction writing aside for 27 years after showing Elmore a six-page short story he wrote shortly after college.
Leonard, whose published novels include Back from the Dead, Voices of the Dead and Trust Me, described his father’s input into his own writing career. “Just after college I wrote a short story that was six pages long. A few days later, I got his three-page critique, the gist of which was ‘all of your characters look and sound the same, they’re like strips of leather drying in the sun’. I didn’t write another word of fiction for 27 years.”
Peter Leonard finally got past the critique and has three published novels under his belt.
|Jeffrey Stuart Kerr|
I don’t know what to think about this NBC news clip about a new “trend” in what is on offer at public libraries. Even though I can see the usefulness of the new library offerings, I have to wonder how this kind of thing impacts the buying of…you know, books.
I love my county library system but I really don’t think I would be thrilled to see my tax dollars go toward the purchase of tools, toys, cameras, and the like. For me, a library will always mean books, be they audio, electronic, or physical – plus computer access for research. For a traditionalist like me, music CDs and movie DVDs are already pushing the envelope far enough.
Take a look at the video I’ve linked to here and let me know how you feel about something like this. Maybe I’m just getting old.
I’m excited about this one.
Now I hope that my high hopes about the film’s quality and loyalty to one of my favorite novels of the past few years is not just setting me up for a huge letdown.
After watching the trailer, my biggest concern is the absence of the narrator’s voice. As fans of the book will remember, The Book Thief is narrated by Death himself. I hope that the film does not ignore this aspect of the story because that voice is one of the things that makes The Book Thief so special.
Sandra Boynton is best known as the successful author of a long series of humorous books aimed at very young children such as the ones shown below:
Frog Trouble, Boynton’s first venture into the country music genre, is scheduled for a September 3 release.
I have been thinking about the post I made here last week about the rapid decline in e-book sales growth percentages. As I pointed out there, e-book sales seem to be flattening out sooner, and at a much lower percentage of the total book market, than all the experts had predicted.
Forbes magazine has just released its annual reminder to me (otherwise known as “The World’s Top Earning Authors List”) that, relative to the kind of fiction that is sold in grocery stores across the country, serious, high-quality fiction is seldom rewarded in the marketplace.
Yes, it’s always good to see that books are still selling well enough to make some serious money for a handful of authors, but come on, world, can’t we do better than this?
1. E.L. James ($95 million) – for poorly written soft porn?
2. James Patterson ($91 million) – for books he doesn’t even to pretend he writes himself anymore?
3. Suzanne Collins ($55 million) – for milking a one-trick pony series way beyond the point it deserved
4. Bill O’Reilly ($28 million) – for a co-written series of pop history books and regurgitating the same old mantra to the faithful
5. Danielle Steel ($26 million) – on average, more than 3 romance titles per year – and it shows
6. Jeff Kinney ( $24 million) – I’ll give you this one, world. The “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books are exceptional and young readers seem to love them
7. Janet Evanovich ($24 million) – How many times can an author write the same old book over and over again?
8. Nora Roberts ($23 million) – Just the cover of a Nora Roberts book is enough to make a reader cringe
9. Dan Brown ($22 million) – Proving that a very nice living can be made from poorly written conspiracy theory novels
10. Stephen King ($20 million) – Still has his moments but is starting to become a parody of himself lately
11. Dean Koontz ($20 million) – A whole career that would probably never happened if not for Stephen King’s success in kickstarting a dead genre…interesting that he made almost exactly the same amount of money that “the master” made last year
12. John Grisham ($18 million) – Like King, Grisham still has his moments but does seem to be slipping
13. David Baldacci ($15 million) – Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t get David Baldacci’s tremendous success
14. J.K. Rowling ($13 million) – Not bad considering that no new Potter books were released
15. George R.R. Martin ($12 million) – Thrones, thrones, thrones, everywhere, it seems; a one-trick pony who owes much of his success to the HBO network
I think it is a shame that more literary authors never come close to earning this kind of money. But who ever said the world was fair?
Rant over; feel free to throw rocks at me. I even supplied the rocks for you.
|William R. Forstchen|
For those of us who truly love books, bookstores, libraries, and most anything to do with publishing, these are strange times. We watch helplessly as our favorite bookstores disappear one after the other, all the while knowing there is really nothing we can do to help save them. Or is there?
From the New York Times comes word about a new bookstore trend in which indie stores are forced to ask for patron donations in order to ensure their survival for even another few months. This kind of thing seems to be the trend…even grocery store cashiers are pushing pricy bags of school supplies this time of year that often leave me wondering how much profit is in them for the grocery chains.
Where do we draw the line? Is a one-time donation tied specifically to some catastrophic event acceptable but not a fundraiser to help a small bookstore meet its increased rent burden? What obligation, if any, does a bookstore have after raising money this way? It certainly cannot be forced to keep its doors open, but what if management squanders the money and then calls it a day? How would that make you, a donor, feel?
I have mixed emotions about this kind of thing, wanting to help but wondering what good I am really doing in the long run. I wish more of us were just willing to pay a “book tax” by shopping at indie bookstores in the first place:
In San Francisco, a campaign for Adobe Books successfully raised $60,000 onIndiegogo.com in March after the store faced a rent increase and nearly went out of business.In Asheville, N.C., the Spellbound Children’s Bookshop collected more than $5,000 when it appealed to customers for help moving to a new location.In the Flatiron district of Manhattan, Books of Wonder raised more than $50,000 in an online campaign last fall after the recession and other losses depleted its financial resources.Web sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, originally made for the public financing of creative projects, have simplified the logistics of raising money, and bookstores facing financial distress are seizing the opportunity. They can set up a Web page explaining what their fund-raising goal is, why they are asking for it and what the deadline is. Donors pitch in as little as $5 or $10 with a few clicks and a credit card number.
Despite trying to make some of these same points here in the past, I never said it half as well as Verlyn Klinkenborg says it in a New York Times piece in today’s “Sunday Review.” Here’s a taste of what she has to say about reading e-books vs. reading tree-books:
I finish reading a book on my iPad — one by Ed McBain, for instance — and I shelve it in the cloud. It vanishes from my “device” and from my consciousness too. It’s very odd.When I read a physical book, I remember the text and the book — its shape, jacket, heft and typography. When I read an e-book, I remember the text alone. The bookness of the book simply disappears, or rather it never really existed. Amazon reminds me that I’ve already bought the e-book I’m about to order. In bookstores, I find myself discovering, as if for the first time, books I’ve already read on my iPad.All of this makes me think differently about the books in my physical library. They used to be simply there, arranged on the shelves, a gathering of books I’d already read. But now, when I look up from my e-reading, I realize that the physical books are serving a new purpose — as constant reminders of what I’ve read. They say, “We’re still here,” or “Remember us?” These are the very things that e-books cannot say, hidden under layers of software, tucked away in the cloud, utterly absent when the iPad goes dark.
Exactly…and here’s the whole article. Please check it out.
A piece over on the Washington Post “Wonkblog” today touches on a trend that I’ve been noticing among my friends – both in the real world and on the internet. It seems that everyone I know who wants an e-book reader already has one or two of them. If not, they have already downloaded the e-book reader apps for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Bluefire, OverDrive…you get the idea…to their smart phones, iPads, Macs and PCs and will not be buying a standalone reader at all.
But the fact that that leveling off is already happening with e-books suggests that the ratio of printed books sold to electronic books is going to stabilize at a higher level than it had seemed likely a year or two ago in the era of extraordinary e-book growth.
Read the whole Washington Post article here (I find it ironic that Amazon’s founder just bought this newspaper).
I admit that I like this trend. It means that print books are very likely to continue to dominate the publishing industry both in sales and prestige. As an avid reader and book collector, I like that.
|William Elliott Hazelgrove|