Dog-Eared and Dispatched: September 20, 2015
In this week’s rundown, we continue the imperative discussion of race in book publishing with Mira Jacob’s keynote address at Publishers Weekly 2015 Star Watch. The Pew Research Center presents new findings about library use in America while our footnotes round out the news with an interactive and digital AP Stylebook, a $50 Amazon tablet, and a new Pottermore fan site. Ready? Set? Read!
Publishers Weekly recognized influencers in the industry with the 2015 Star Watch. Portland State University’s own Abbey Gaterud was listed as an honoree. While the nomination and recognition of outstanding catalysts in the publishing industry is a necessary and noble effort, the awards themselves are almost overshadowed by the symbolic and literal silencing of minority voices. Mira Jacob, the keynote speaker of the ceremony described her experience as a writer of color a Buzzfeed essay that is garnering deserved attention. Jacob begins the essay with the harsh reality of the failing sound system that forced her to stand on a chair and shout her prepared address. She remembers how “half the room turned away and started talking….which felt, well, awful. More awful were the disappointed faces of the minorities in the crowd.” What follows is Jacob’s powerfully personal and moving speech about the importance of inclusion and representation in book publishing.
According to the most recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, there has been a decrease in the number of Americans visiting libraries. Only 46% of respondents 16 years and older had visited a physical library or bookmobile in the last year, while contrastly, mobile on tablets and smartphones is up to 50% from 39% in 2012. In addition to these results, the survey suggests that the people visiting libraries are increasingly interested in the modern amenities such as access to computers and internet connection or Wi-Fi. In response to the release of this survey, Sari Feldman, President of the American Library Association stated:
Public libraries are transforming beyond their traditional roles and providing more opportunities for community engagement and new services that connect closely with patrons’ needs….Today’s study shows that public libraries are far from being just ‘nice to have,’ but serve as a lifeline for their users, as the survey shows more than 65 percent of those surveyed felt that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community.
- The 2015 shortlist for Man Booker may be the most diverse yet.
- Before regaining control the hacked Facebook page, the ALA posted humorous responses to the smutty spam being distributed to their 115,723 followers. Who knows, maybe the ALA has learned a lesson about the value of clickbait.
- The AP Stylebook is now available for the first time as an interactive ebook.
- In her letter posted as the 2015 Indie First spokesperson, Cheryl Strayed spoke to the power of hand-selling: “it reminds us that humans are involved, humans with a passion for language and stories and pictures.”
- BookRiot editor Kelly Jensen is countering the South Carolina censorship of Some Girls Are.
- The team at Nielsen Books held a Children’s Book Summit unpacking the recent “children’s book boom” to help publishers to better reach consumers.
- M.T. Anderson, Anthony Doerr, Stephen J. Dubner,Laura Esquivel, Jonathan Franzen, Laura Hillenbrand, Sue Monk Kidd, Lois Lowry, Tom Perrotta, Mary Roach, and Colson Whitehead have joined the ranks of Neil Gaiman, Amy Tan, and Malcolm Gladwell as writers for Chipotle Mexican Grill’s “Cultivating Thought” packaging line for cups and bags.
- Amazon released a mass market $50 tablet as a “gateway drug” to Amazon Prime membership.
- The interactive fan site, Pottermore is being redesigned to reflect the age and interested of the majority of users.
- P.J. Boox Bookstore, a standalone brick-and-mortar store for self-published authors, is opening in Ft. Myers, Florida this October.