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National Book Award Finalists

Posted on : 17-10-2010 | By : Dean | In : Awards, Literature

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Fiction Finalists:

Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America (Alfred A. Knopf)

Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule (McPherson & Co.)

Nicole Krauss, Great House (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Lionel Shriver, So Much for That
(Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Karen Tei Yamashita, I Hotel (Coffee House Press)

Kindle Singles Announced

Posted on : 17-10-2010 | By : Dean | In : ebooks, Publishing, Technology

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Heart of Darkness, Daisy Miller, Turn of the Screw, War of the Worlds, Animal Farm, The Metamorphosis, The Old Man and the Sea, The Awakening. All of these works have at least one thing in common. They were written in that nebulous word count space that publishers rarely risk investing in, at least in fiction: the novella. Henry James called it the “blessed form,” but it’s a form that, despite its wonderful potential, has remained an anomaly in the modern print publishing model–too short for the major houses and too long for the journal market.

However, there’s promise that this form may emerge in new ways. This Tuesday, Amazon made the following announcement:

Today, Amazon is announcing that it will launch “Kindle Singles”–Kindle books that are twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book. Kindle Singles will have their own section in the Kindle Store and be priced much less than a typical book. Today’s announcement is a call to serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers to join Amazon in making such works available to readers around the world.

Most people agree that the book, in its traditional print form, isn’t going anywhere soon. Sales may be flat and in general decline (last year Bloomberg reported a 1.8% overall decline while ebooks tripled), but enough readers seem to prefer print to keep the industry going for some time.

But the amazon announcement shows that there may niche markets where the digital book can thrive alongside the print one. It seems a perfect fit. The cheaper production cost makes publication viable, and the short length fits the reading pattern of most web/digital readers. There may even be opportunities for new publishers that specialize in forms that perform well in the digital market. The success or failure of ventures like “Singles” will sort that out.

On the other end of the keyboard, “Singles” will provide an amazing opportunity for writers, both beginning and established, to explore the form with access to new published models.

Man Booker Winner Announced

Posted on : 15-10-2010 | By : Dean | In : Awards, Literature

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From the Booker Prize site:

Howard Jacobson is tonight (Tuesday 12 October) named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Finkler Question, published by Bloomsbury.

London author and columnist Howard Jacobson has been longlisted twice for the prize, in 2006 for Kalooki Nights and in 2002 for Who’s Sorry Now, but has never before been shortlisted.

The Finkler Question is a novel about love, loss and male friendship, and explores what it means to be Jewish today.

The Booker Prize short list:

  • Peter Carey for “Parrot and Olivier in America” (Faber and Faber)
  • Ms. Donoghue for “Room” (Picador; Pan Macmillan)
  • Damon Galgut for “In a Strange Room” (Atlantic Books; Grove Atlantic)
  • Howard Jacobson for “The Finkler Question” (Bloomsbury)
  • Andrea Levy for “The Long Song” (Headline Review; Headline Publishing Group)
  • Mr. McCarthy for “C” (Jonathan Cape; Random House)
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