Friday, July 29, 2011

Book News Returns: Borders Closing for Good, Apple Hurts E-Book Sales, and Joshilyn Jackson Gets (Rightfully) Hyped

So much happened in the book world during the three weeks I was gone to Africa, I could never catch up -- or catch you up. I'll just attempt to hit the highlights, the biggest and best stories.

First of all, the biggest news was the closing of Borders bookstores. Although Borders had been in trouble for a lengthy period of time (and very publicly so), they also were in the process of being bought. The bookseller announced on July 19 that it would be closing all of its stores as a result of the deal falling through. Many book lovers, including book bloggers, have lamented Borders fall. For one book blog I follow, Write Meg!, the closing of Borders was personal. Read what she had to say about losing her area's only bookstore.

For Sale on!
In further depressing book world news, the L.A. Times laid off all of its freelance book reviewers and columnists last week. I am especially sad about this, as the newspaper is one of my favorite sources for book news. They report that their book coverage will not be affected or diminished, but that in-house staff will fill in for reviews previously written by freelancers.

I'm really glad I ended up buying a Samsung Galaxy tab, which I use as both a mobile internet device and an e-reader. Why, you might ask? Well, I was previously using my iPod as an e-reader (albeit a small one), and Apple -- Steve Jobs specifically -- just made the iPod a whole lot less user friendly for readers. Apple is demanding third-party e-book sellers like Barnes & Noble, Google Books, and Amazon pay them 30% of their e-book sales for them to continue to allow customers to purchase e-books through apps on their iPods and iPads. The booksellers refused, rendering their apps on Apple products useless for purchasing new titles.

While I suppose Apple -- like any company -- can do whatever it wants with its products, I have to say this decision is disappointing to say the least. Not surprising, just disappointing. I love the openness of my Galaxy, on which I can purchase e-books from whichever bookseller I choose. And I do choose all of them. I've purchased e-books from every e-book seller out there, and like them all for different reasons. I know Apple users love Apple products; I myself have been a lifelong Apple groupie. But this decision makes me question that devotion a bit.

Charlaine Harris with Tru Blood
True Blood started its fourth season just before I left the country for almost a month. I read Charlaine Harris's latest Sookie book, Dead Reckoning, while I was overseas to help assuage my depression over missing episodes 3-5. I have, of course, been catching up on those missed episodes (oh, how I love my DVR). But in the meantime, bad news in Sookieverse. Harris has stated that she will stop writing the series after book thirteen. As Dead Reckoning was only book eleven, Sookie lovers still have two more books to look forward to from Harris. And maybe -- just maybe -- she'll change her mind between now and then.

Just one list for book news today: NPR's summer book series included a short list of cooking memoirs this week. I've read Lunch in Paris (and loved it), and Blood, Bones, & Butter is still on my to-read list. I suppose I'll have to add the other three, as well. I mean -- what's a girl to do?

Also, BookPage's book blog Book Case hyped Joshilyn Jackon's new novel A Grown Up Kind of Pretty this week. I, for one, cannot wait to read Jackson's latest book. She is one of my absolute favorite authors, and I live for her witty, hilarious rants and ramblings on her blog Faster Than Kudzu. Can't wait to read it, and so glad she's getting excellent publicity this early.

This weekend, I am planning on writing some of those Africa/ traveling blog posts I've been promising. That and getting some things ready for school. Since I was traveling four weeks out of my summer, I feel like I haven't really had any down-time. I had my first in-service day yesterday, and I've got to get busy working on my classroom. Lots of excellent ideas, and very little time to carry them out.

I am still planning on reading (some). Right now I'm reading Take It Like a Mom by Stephanie Stiles, which is hilarious. I also had a stack of books for review delivered while I was gone, so I'll be catching up in the next week or two.

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