In perhaps the most welcome news of a musician having written a memoir since R. Kelly unleashed Soula Coasta: The Diary of Me upon the world last year, universally beloved Roots drummer, producer, tweeter, house band anchor and all-round muso extraordinaire Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson will publish an autobiography this summer entitled Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove. Presumably seeking to right the wrong of his not being included in Barnes & Noble’s children’s hip-hop biographies section, Questlove has co-authored the book with Ben Greenman, acclaimed author of fiction in his own right and an editor at The New Yorker. The memoir will be released by Hachette imprint Grand Central Publishing on June 18 in America and a week later in the UK and, as you can see by casting an eye above, has the cover art to beat this year.
Kelvin Kong is Foreign Rights Manager at The Rights Factory and gave us a quick interview on what he does, what his expectations of BookMachine will be and also if he has any predictions for the future of Publishing.
A massive tip of the hat to the A.V. Club for the wonderful discovery that the online store of American bookseller Barnes & Noble has an entire section entitled ‘Rap and hiphop musicians – Biography – Children’s nonfiction‘ and, by subsequent implication, that there is a burgeoning subgenre (seventy-four entries!) dedicated to ensuring the youth of today has a foundational knowledge of, say, the Roxanne Wars. No more will parents have to endure the awkward conversation that ensues when their progeny ask ‘Dad, what’s a Queen Latifah?’, able instead to hand over one of the six titles deemed suitable for kids that will answer any questions they might have about how exactly Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children.
The Booksellers Association last week released its annual membership figures, and they made for grim reading for lovers of independent bookshops: for the sixth year running, the total number of indies on the UK high street remained in decline.
Gin palaces, children’s hidey holes, book delivery chutes and outdoor touchscreens were just some of the ideas that sprung from last week’s Foyles Bookshop Workshops.
On Monday and Friday afternoon, representatives from the publishing industry and beyond ascended to the gallery room of Foyles flagship store to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the future.
Come Spring 2014, Foyles will relocate next door to 107-109 Charing Cross Road, the former Central St. Martin’s building, an altogether larger and more ambitious space. Amidst the flapjack, felt tips and blue sky thinking, there was a very real concern of how to make this work – Foyles have been in redundancy talks and the printed book trade is in trouble. To me it almost felt like a great call to arms, an assembly of creative minds to combat the mega-bot juggernaut of online retail – Amazon – and reinvent the high street bookshop.
In the run up to BookMachine Oxford, we’re compiling some interviews with publishing-type folk who will be going to the event.
Richard Sullivan (who is our key speaker) is the MD of Osprey Publishing which is a leading publisher of military history, amongst other things and part of Osprey Group – the destination for enthusiasts. Richard has a particular interest in seeking new partnerships to develop print and digital products for niche audiences across the globe. He was previously Marketing Director of Osprey and is currently reading some gritty crime noir alongside a history of Dreadnought battleships. You can hear him talk at BookMachine Oxford.
If you’re keeping track of trends in young adult publishing then it has been pretty hard to miss the rise of the ‘steamies.’ There was an article in The Independent. And The Telegraph. And The New York Times. The steamy, or ‘new adult’ novel, is similar to a young adult book in length, subject matter and emotional impact, but a steamy contains more detailed sex scenes than a typical YA title.
I do love a good first. The first t-shirt day of the summer; the first beer on a night out; the first time you wear a new hoodie. Last week saw the announcement of the first digital-only literary list in the UK, Blackfriars from Little, Brown. The list promises to curate 9 to 12 titles a year from new or established authors, and is launching in June. Now there’s a first to get out of bed for.
Author and icon of the cool internet nerds movement Neil Gaiman has released a new, part-crowdsourced, online-only short story collection. The thirty-one pages of A Calendar of Tales contain twelve new stories, one for each month of the year, written over the past few weeks after Gaiman tweeted various questions related to the months and took inspiration from the responses garnered.