Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Publishing giant Random House jumps into TV show production

Publishing giant Random House jumps into TV show production

Toronto Star

One for the Money

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum book series was already made into a movie, One for the Money, starring Katherine Heigl. Is a TV series next?
Alyshah Hasham
Staff Reporter
Game of Thrones, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Dexter, Bones, Gossip Girl … some of the best (or at least most popular) shows on television sprang straight from books.
And now one of the world’s biggest book publishers wants in on the action.
The U.S. division of Random House is joining hands with FremantleMedia (who gave us American Idol, The Bill and The X Factor) to create Random House Television.
The partnership will develop shows based off the books published by Random House and collaborate with some of the company’s top authors for original content.
The new venture is headed by Jeffrey Levine, who has worked on movies like Blood Diamond and Monster-in-Law and executive produced HBO’s acclaimed TV movie Too Big to Fail.
The television branch joins the publisher’s film arm, which started in 2005 and has produced Reservation Road (2007), One Day (2011) and Lay the Favourite (2012).
Publishing giant Macmillan is also planning to extend its film division into television, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The publishers are planning TV spinoffs for Gossip Girl-like series Prep School Confidential and supernatural military novel SEAL Team 666.
Random House hasn’t mentioned which books are being considered for its new project, but many of its top-selling series’ are already TV shows including Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles, John Grisham’s The Firm and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.
Here are a few of Random House’s top-sellers, which perhaps have a shot at a being made into a TV series.
• Karin Slaughter’s bestselling detective thrillers with ominous one-word names like Triptych, Fractured, Criminal and Faithless.
• Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series recently adapted into film One for the Money starring Katherine Heigl.
• Alexander McCall Smith, best known for the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books, which were made into a series by HBO and BBC, has four others detective series on the go.
• Lauren Kate’s Fallen series of teen paranormal romances.
• Jonathan Kellerman’s many psychologist-detective Alex Delaware thrillers
• Kevin Hearne’s Arizona-based fantasy series about the last living druid, the Iron Druid Chronicles.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Lauren Conrad Deletes Book-Destroying Craft Video After Negative Backlash


Lauren Conrad Deletes Book-Destroying Craft Video  After Negative Backlash
Lauren Conrad's recent episode of her web-only show Crafty Creations had book lovers so angry that Conrad quickly took down the video as the internet backlash gained momentum.
Conrad touted the project a "great way to display vintage books or slightly used books and also create a unique storage space."
What had book fans upset is that Conrad created the box by cutting the spine off of nine books to glue to a white cardboard storage box, destroying the books in the process.
(Conrad appears to have used books from the Lemony Snicket series. We want to know: What does she have against the beloved children's series? Also, one commentator on youtube pointed out that the books aren't in order either).
The do-it-yourself project appeared on Conrad's own site, as well as the fashion and beauty site
Buzzfeed called it the "worst craft idea ever." Other books blogs, including GalleyCat picked up the story, and it started to go viral on the internet on the morning of Aug. 16. Within four hours of Buzzfeed posting a link to the video, Conrad removed it.
On youtube, "dislikes" out numbered "likes" 8-to-1 and the comments were pretty scathing.
One viewer, summing up the general tenor of responses, wrote, "Holy sh-t I feel like I'm watching some sort of terrible snuff film."
See the original Buzzfeed story here (complete with broken youtube link).

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Dead Again

Sunday Book Review


Published: August 10, 2012   
Two decades ago, the Book Review ran an essay, “The End of Books,” in which the novelist Robert Coover questioned whether print could survive the age of “video transmissions, cellular phones, fax machines, computer networks, and in particular out in the humming digitalized precincts of avant-garde computer hackers, cyberpunks and hyperspace freaks.” Was the book as “dead as God”?
Illustration by Marcos Chin
Coover’s answer was noncommittal, but his metaphor launched a thousand eulogies for the book as we knew it: a gathering of printed pages mass-­produced on spec to be sold to anonymous strangers for financial gain. Back then, hyperlinks were the killer app. Coover’s title punned on the page-turning powers of the codex, which sweeps novel readers inexorably from Page 1 to The End. (He ignored how many codices, like the Yellow Pages, are designed for random access; millenniums before the advent of, the codex allowed the first Christians to cross-reference their Scriptures.)
Now, succession planners have shifted their sights from the lowly hyperlink to the seemingly indomitable e-reader. Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center calculated that the percentage of Americans who own e-reading devices doubled last December. Christmas, for centuries the publishing industry’s busiest season, became a gift to hardware manufacturers. And last year, Amazon announced it was selling more e-books than print books — hardcover and paperback combined.
There’s just one catch: chronology. Well before any of these digital technologies, Théophile Gautier’s novel “Mademoiselle de Maupin” had already declared that “the newspaper is killing the book, as the book killed architecture.” This was in 1835. And Gautier was only one-upping Victor Hugo’s “Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” which, four years earlier, depicted an archdeacon worrying the book would kill the cathedral, and a bookseller complaining that newfangled printing presses were throwing the scribes out of work. (The novel is set a quarter-century after Gutenberg’s first Bible, when a thriving industry of manuscript-on-demand was forced to readjust.)
In hindsight, we can see how rarely one technology supersedes another. Television didn’t kill radio any more than radio ended reading. Yet by 1927 a librarian could observe that “pessimistic defenders of the book . . . are wont to contrast the active process of reading with the lazy and passive contemplation of the screen or listening to wireless, and to prophesy the death of the book.” By 1966, in a Life magazine profile, Marshall McLuhan lumped books with other antiques: “clotheslines, seams in stockings, books and jobs — all are obsolete.”
Every generation rewrites the book’s epitaph; all that changes is the whodunit. Gautier’s culprit was a very real historical phenomenon. Thanks to broader literacy, daily papers began to emerge in 1835, following the invention of the metal press around 1800 and the introduction of steam printing shortly thereafter. Science fiction writers would soon finger other, seemingly more fantastical villains: “fonografic” recordings, “telephonic sermons,” VCR-like “Babble Machines,” microfilm-esque “reading-machine bobbins” and “spools which projected books.” One 19th-century inventor gave the names of “whispering-machine” and “metal automatic book” to something that sounds like a cross between the audiobook and the Walkman. Users “would place the machine in the hat, and have the sounds conveyed to the ear by wires.” Besides curing eyestrain, these “reading machines” would “permit of the pursuit simultaneously of physical and of mental improvement.” Instead of hunching over desks, intellectuals would be free to jog and with both hands free, their wives could read while washing the dishes: “the problem of the higher education of woman would be triumphantly solved.”
The future, in all such cases, was recognizable by its bookshelf-bare walls. When the time traveler in H. G. Wells’s 1899 “When the Sleeper Wakes” alights in the 22nd century, he searches for hardcovers only to find rows of “peculiar double cylinders.” Insert one into a square apparatus, and presto: the rolls project “a little picture, very vividly colored, and in this picture were figures that moved. Not only did they move, but they were conversing in clear small voices. It was exactly like reality viewed through an inverted opera glass and heard through a long tube.” Where Wells invoked the optical devices used to magnify live theater, Aldous Huxley was inspired by the talkies three decades later to dream up “feelies” — “super-singing, synthetic-talking,” full-color stereoscopic extravaganzas “with synchronized scent-organ accompaniment.” Would these new technologies transmit text in more user-friendly forms or crowd out writing and reading altogether? On the eve of World War I, one collection of “Library Jokes and Jottings” favored the first hypothesis, imagining a day in the life of a late-20th-century household as follows:
“There was a knock at the front door, and the young people slid up the moving stairway, anticipating the parcel of books delivered each morning by the public library aeroplane service. They returned disconsolate; it was only the sterilized milk. ‘You youngsters don’t know what hardships are,’ said the elderly uncle; ‘when I was a lad, back in 1913, I used to get up at 9 o’clock in the morning and walk the length of the street to get a book from a Carnegie Library.’ ”
A century and a half earlier, the French visionary Louis-Sébastien Mercier had predicted that in the year 2440, the sprawling bookstacks of the Royal Library would be condensed into a single volume. Like a chemist distilling botanical essences, Mercier explained, editors of the future would “extract the substance of thousands of volumes, which they have included in a small duodecimo” — scaled somewhere between an iPod and an iPad.
History proved Mercier right: the future lay not in expanding information, but in compacting it. By 1961, the Polish fantasist Stanislaw Lem pictured bookshelves squeezed onto what we would now call an e-reader. (“All my purchases fitted into one pocket, though there must have been almost 300 titles.”) And four years later, Frank Herbert’s doorstop-size “Dune” conjured a “Bible made for space travelers. Not a filmbook, but actually printed on filament paper.” Like thumb drives and Palm Pilots, the book is measured against a human body: thanks to a “magnifier and electrostatic charge system,” the volume takes up less space than the joint of a finger.
A darker strain of futurology emphasized political decline over technological progress. “Fahrenheit 451” represents book burning as an end in itself, not just the means to suppressing sedition. And “1984” opens with the purchase of a “thick, quarto-sized blank book with a red back and a marbled cover” — “a compromising possession.” A year before Orwell’s dystopia, the pulp magazine “Planet Stories” ran Bradbury’s second most famous book-burning fable, “Pillar of Fire.” Washed up in the 24th century, its time traveler heads straight for the library. Even in a society that torches horror fiction, circulation desks still exist, and their attendants still say, “May I help you?”
“ ‘I’d like to “have” Edgar Allan Poe.’ His verb was carefully chosen. He didn’t say ‘read.’ He was too afraid that books were passé, that printing itself was a lost art. Maybe all ‘books’ today were in the form of fully delineated three-­dimensional motion pictures.”
However the terms change, in these visions, the place where books are read, acquired or received remains constant. Even that most cinematic of novels, “A Clockwork Orange,” begins and ends in the Public Biblio. Writers foresaw space travel, time travel, virtual reality and, endlessly, the book’s demise; what they never seem to have imagined was that the libraries housing those dying volumes might themselves disappear. After a year in which 2,600 public library branches cut back their hours, some readers will need to walk a lot farther than the length of a street. I’m still waiting for the public library aeroplane.
Leah Price is a professor of English at Harvard and the author of “How to Do Things With Books in Victorian Britain.”

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Outdoor Libraries Set Up After Branch Closings

Here is another in the series - Libraries Aren't Just Buildings Anymore.

April 14, 2012 8:43 AM
CBS Detroit Digital
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DETROIT (AP) - Students from a Detroit school and the University of Michigan are setting up six outdoor libraries in the city following recent library branch closings.
Five of the outdoor libraries, which are housed in waterproof bookcases, opened Wednesday for lending and the sixth will open in June, Detroit Free Press reported. They operate on the honor system. People don’t need a library card to use them and there are no late fees.
The Detroit students, who were on spring break this week, are fourth graders at Marcus Garvey Academy. The plan is from 48-year-old Melanie Manos, a lecturer at the University of Michigan who came up with the idea for the outdoor libraries as a project for her art and design students.
“It broke my heart to hear about the library closings, which are such a vital part of every community,” Manos said. “Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved visiting the library. I always regarded it as a sacred space and I think it would be a shame to deny any children the opportunity to read.”
Manos said the outdoor libraries are an attempt to draw attention to the library branch closings and give back to the community.
“Even in the age of the Internet there is still a place for libraries,” she said.
The fourth graders, under guidance from the college students, painted colorful banners and helped build waterproof bookcases to house collections of donated books for children and adults. The outdoor libraries are being set up at or nearby Detroit Public Library branches that have closed.
Book donations also are being accepted at the sites.
Revenue problems in the Detroit Public Library system have forced the closure of some branches. Library administrators had have closings were needed to cut costs.
On Thursday morning, Rashard Baker, 13, a student at Henderson Elementary in Detroit, went to the library’s Richard branch with hopes of checking out a book but learned that the branch was among those closed. He looked over the selection at the outdoor library, and picked out “The Book of Dragons.”
“It sounds like it might be pretty interesting,” he said. “I’ll give it a try.”