Dog-Eared and Dispatched: June 28, 2015
Another book-centered conference kicked off this week in San Francisco, this time with a focus on libraries and diversity, while e-reading subscription services blend together to bring the best of accessible ebooks and social e-reading together. (How can you read without letting your friends know how far you’ve read, or how you feel about that sweet metaphor on page 61?) A children’s book startup backed by Google Ventures and an original Harry Potter stage production round out this week’s book news. Ready? Set? Read!
The American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference started in San Francisco on June 25th and will continue until June 30th. Speakers and special guests of the conference include keynote speaker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence award ceremony; Haifaa al-Mansour, award-winning Saudi Arabian film director and screenwriter; political activist and scholar Gloria Steinem; actor Nick Offerman, best known for his role as Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation; Edwidge Danticat, the youngest National Book Award nominee on record; and many other respected members of the literary community. This year’s conference is focused on preserving libraries, the romance genre, the continued popularity of comics in the adult population, and the importance of metadata standards. [Publishers Weekly, American Library Association]
One of the most popular ebook subscription services, Scribd, has acquired Librify, a similar service founded in 2013 and launched in 2014. Where Scribd has focused solely on ebook subscription, Librify billed itself as “Goodreads plus a book-of-the-month retail platform.” Ingram Content Group Ventures was among Librify’s funders; the social media–focused e-reading service also has a deal with Target, but there’s no word on whether or not that deal will carry over with the acquisition. Scribd has declined to identify how much Librify was acquired for, but have cited the similar service’s emphasis on a social reading experience as a driving factor behind the deal. On their website, Librify assures their subscribers that their social e-reading experience will transition to Scribd. [Digital Book World, Shelf Awareness, Publishers Lunch, Venture Beat, Librify]
- The New York Public Library put together a flash display to celebrate marriage equality, entitled “The Collections: Celebrating Marriage Equality.”
- Surprising no one, fan fiction continues to be acknowledged as a valuable resource for publishers.
- A partnership between Mercy Hospital and Dog Ears Bookstore in Buffalo, NY has resulted in numerous books—as many as 50 new titles—being available in the hospital’s waiting rooms.
- Harry Potter is getting an all-new adaptation for the stage, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which will premiere at London’s West End in summer 2016 and is based off a story written by J.K. Rowling herself.
- Google Ventures is investing in a children’s book startup called Lost My Name, which allows parents to create a personalized children’s book using an algorithm that includes characters based on the titular child’s name.
- Listening Library and Penguin Books for Young Readers announced Read Proud Listen Proud, a joint campaign to highlight recommended LGBTQ books for young adults.
- In the fourth quarter ended May 2nd, Barnes & Noble has reported a 10.4% loss in consolidated revenue; however, the loss slightly beat out Wall Street analysts’ guesstimates, and the bookseller’s net gain for the year is $36.6 million, compared to a net loss of $47.3 million in the previous year.