Readersforum's Blog

June 7, 2013

John Green On Self Publishing: Publishers And Bookstores Are Necessary, To Say Otherwise Is ‘An Insidious Lie’ (VIDEO)

John GreenJohn Green is a cult author with more than 1.5 million Twitter followers, a hugely popular Tumblr page, and more than a million YouTube subscribers for the channel he shares with his brother. He headlined Carnegie Hall this year, and we featured his latest book The Fault In Our Stars for a month in our Book Club, which has been on the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List for more than a year. He talks directly to a huge online following that loves him – so shouldn’t he start self publishing his work?

Many people say that he doesn’t need the middle men of booksellers and publishers in order to make money, that his popularity is evidence that he could strike out alone to increase his profit margin. But as Green says, isn’t only about the money, it’s also about the quality of the editing and the support he gets from the existing publishing, bookstore and library structure.

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March 25, 2013

Diagram Prize Winner 2013: ‘Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop’ Wins Year’s Weirdest Book Title


A supernaturally tinged barnyard manual has won Britain’s quirkiest literary award, the Diagram Prize for year’s oddest book title.

“Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop” by Reginald Bakeley was awarded the prize Friday by trade magazine The Bookseller.

The book took 38 percent of the votes in a public ballot, beating finalists including “How Tea Cosies Changed the World,” “Was Hitler Ill?” and “God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis.”

“Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop” is subtitled “and other practical advice in our campaign against the fairy kingdom.” It is described by its Massachusetts-based publisher, Conari Press, as “the essential primer for banishing the dark fairy creatures that are lurking in the dark corners and crevices of your life.”

Diagram Prize overseer Horace Bent said it was no coincidence “in these austere times that a book aimed to assist members of the public frugally farming their own produce proved the most popular title.”

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January 8, 2013

Goodreads Infographic: What Was The Most Reviewed Book Of 2012?

r-MOST-REVIEWED-BOOK-large570Today, Goodreads came out with an awesome infographic that reviews their past year. It reveals some pretty interesting information.

Their most reviewed book on the popular website in the last year was Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (if you haven’t read it yet, we suggest that you do). Given the size of the site’s audience – 13 million registered users submitting over 20 million reviews – that most likely makes it the most reviewed book online this year.

Their most added quote? It was from John Green’s fantastic 2012 YA novel The Fault in Our Stars: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”

Check out this infographic to discover even more:

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December 10, 2012

Mo Yan, Nobel Literature Prize Winner, Says Censorship Is Necessary


This year’s Nobel Prize in literature winner, Mo Yan, who has been criticized for his membership in China’s Communist Party and reluctance to speak out against the country’s government, defended censorship Thursday as something as necessary as airport security checks.

He also suggested he won’t join an appeal calling for the release of the jailed 2010 Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, a fellow writer and compatriot.

Mo has been criticized by human rights activists for not being a more outspoken defender of freedom of speech and for supporting the Communist Party-backed writers’ association, of which he is vice president.

His comments Thursday, made during a news conference in Stockholm, appear unlikely to soften his critics’ views toward him.

Awarding him the literature prize has also brought criticism from previous winners. Herta Mueller, the 2009 literature laureate, called the jury’s choice of Mo a “catastrophe” in an interview with the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter last month. She also accused Mo of protecting the Asian country’s censorship laws.

China’s rulers forbid opposition parties and maintain strict control over all media.

Mo said he doesn’t feel that censorship should stand in the way of truth but that any defamation, or rumors, “should be censored.”

“But I also hope that censorship, per se, should have the highest principle,” he said in comments translated by an interpreter from Chinese into English.


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October 30, 2011

Occupy the Book: Is It Author Spring?

By Brenda Peterson

In the 1970s, when I was an editorial assistant at The New Yorker magazine — and getting many rejections — I used to fanaticize about being my own publisher. “Give yourself ten years to finish a book,” one of the revered New Yorker editors advised me. “Think of it as an author’s apprenticeship.”

After five years, I left the magazine to publish my first novel, River of Light with Knopf. To support my writing, I took a lowly job as a typesetter, so I could complete my working knowledge of books — from creation to production. My second novel, Becoming the Enemy, was even set at a fictional publishing house. I worked for decades as an editor and taught writing.

After publishing 16 books with traditional houses — from Norton to HarperCollins to Penguin — I believed I was finally ready to become my own publisher. But there was still a stigma against the “vanity press” of self-publishing, no distribution, and little consumer demand.

I would have to wait until the 21st century when digital technology, direct distribution channels like Amazon, iBooks, and Nook, plus the popularity of inexpensive e-readers have finally made it possible for authors to become publishers. My first task was to bring my backlist into print as e-books. The journey into self-publishing is like discovering a new territory with evolving rules and a swiftly tilting culture. This is one of the most exciting and innovative times to be an author. Everything is in flux.

An esteemed editor said recently at a national conference of Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), “It’s the Wild West out there for e-books. And publishers should not be afraid to embrace them.”

With the proliferation of e-books and self-publishing will the book business become more sustainable and egalitarian? Will we finally see an end to the bloated advances for celebrity memoirs — those non-books for non-readers written by non-writers? Will we see the re-education of the bottom-liners who turned this once genteel profession of publishing into corporate Raiders of the Lost Authors?

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September 10, 2011

The Ache Of Book Abandonment

By Gerry Hadden

When I was just out of college, I worked for three years in book publishing, in New York City. Because the starting wage was usually enough to cover your rent and groceries, but never enough, for happy-hour beers, many of us assistants ran a supplemental racket for extra dough.

We would secretly hoard copies of the new books that were constantly arriving at the office. These were books that were not yet in stores. I kept my stash hidden in an old black duffle bag under my desk. When we had a decent enough pile amassed, we’d pick an evening and lug our loot down to the Strand, that iconic secondhand book bazaar in The Village.

We’d empty our sacks on to the buy-back counter and watch expectantly as some bookish, harried employee would rifle through the pages with disdain and lowball us on most everything we presented. Every once in a while you’d get a nice surprise — ten bucks for a first edition by this writer or that, 15 for the four-color coffee table book… more

August 28, 2011

Ten Recent Books of Poetry You Should Read Right Now

This is the first of a series of articles focusing on the very best works of contemporary poetry in the United States.

By Seth Abramson

Of late there’s been a strong sense in the national poetry community, and not entirely without warrant, that those with the largest megaphones for their opinions — including certain writers for The Huffington Post — have more commonly used their pulpit to bully contemporary poetry and poets than to effectively promote either one. There have been, from this media outlet as well as others, wild claims regarding the demise of poetry in America, each more haughty, vitriolic, and (dare we say) desperate than the last. Don’t believe it; the poetry scene in America is the largest, most diverse, and most vibrant it has ever been, and it’s time for poetry-lovers associated with online media to strike a solid blow against the seedy, nigh-incoherent malcontentism of certain contemporary poetry critics. The robust state of poetry in America is evidenced, in part, by this non-exhaustive, unranked list of superlative books from the past 15 years, all of which are must-reads for those looking to push back against the gloom-and-doom of poetry’s ambient naysayers:

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March 3, 2011

Literary prodigies

 In the Scorsese documentary on her, Fran Liebowitz claimed there weren’t any, but we beg to differ. There’s always Anne Frank, but there’s much, much more: a nine-year-old poet, and a massive French genius who gave up creating at 21. Last year, ‘The New Yorker’ ran a ’20 Under 40′ article, on 20 accomplished authors under 40. Throughout history, there have been many much younger than that.

The following authors, poets, and playwrights were all publishing before 21.

                                                                                                                                     …read more

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