Does it matter what an author looks like?

I do a lot of thinking about ebooks and digital media, but Readerville pointed the way to a post by author Jennifer Weiner about something I have never really thought about: does it matter what an author looks like? Their example given is a good one:

the idea that she would likely have reacted differently to the author’s tale of marital woe had she known she was a gorgeous blonde who’d have no trouble finding a new mate.

I have to admit to often deciphering an author’s name as I reach for a book in the bookstore. Especially in the Current Events topic areas. You really do get different points of view from people living in different places, but I never applied to the sympathy and believability side of things.

I’m going to have to go through LibraryThing’s author database and look up all of my authors to see who lives up the image in my mind and who surprises me.

Most Influential Southern Novel

Academics from a few southern universities have compiled a short-list of “the greatest in Southern Literature” and will discuss/announce the “winner” this Wednesday night on South Carolina Education TV. There is also an “online poll” tab to click on so you can vote for your favorite.

The list of 20 titles that they compiled is:

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Little, Brown’s new Logo

Little, Brown and Company have a new logo. They are ditching the 70-year-old etching of some Boston-based revolutionary war era memorial called the Bullfinch Monument, for an updated type-only design. Here’s a link to the short New York Observer article, which is worth the read because they take a couple of paragraphs to talk with the font designer who behind the new “L” and “B” letterforms.

If you dig vintage colophons and publisher marks, visit this site (via Penguin blog). Most seem to be scanned from pulp serial paperbacks and it’s pretty fun to look through. I do hope they’ll keep updating it.

Mobile Books Climbing the Ladder

The folks over at the O’Reilly RADAR blog crunched some numbers and churned out some graphs. With the iPhone Apps store about to sell its one billionth app download,  the “books” category is by far and wide the largest mover and shaker. It saw 279% growth over the past week and while sporting only 11% of the Apps Store’s total offerings. Granted it’s not as popular as the Games and Entertainment categories and the growth probably has a lot to do with the Kindle App, but with all of the geo-synching-motion-controlling-gesture-detecting-music-blasting features that the iPhone can do… look what all those iPhone owners are wanting to explore on their gadgets… books.

Happy World Book Day, Part Deux

This holiday has been around since 1923. But for some reason, it’s never really caught on here in the states. Not sure why. These days it’s organized by UNESCO and seems like a good idea. This older Wolrd Book Day originates in Spain and is different than England’s World Book Day (which they celebrate on March 5th) which was founded in 1998. So, anyway…

Happy World book Day (for the second time in 2009)!

Alabama Book Festival 2009

The weather could not have been any better down in Montgomery for the Alabama Book Festival this year. There was even a small 2 minute light rain, just to make sure no one overheated. There was plenty to do, as usual and some of the old favorites were there. APTV sponsored the children’s area, so there were lots of costumed characters, stickers and free books making making the rounds. I mean FREE books! It’s worth the trip right there.

My only regret is not getting to make my way to the New South Books open house. I hope they do it again for next year’s festival. There are a few (I was a photo slacker this year) more pics (including Rick Bragg and Frank Stitt) after the jump.

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The New Pat Conroy

It’s always fun when you stumble across a post that whet’s your appetite for what’s coming down the pike. Such was the case when I read this post on Book Case, about a sneek peek at Pat Conroy’s latest novel. Though it won’t be out until end-of-summer early-fall South of Broad sounds like another great southern stoked read. I do hope it’s more Lords of Discipline and less Prince of Tides.

2009 Alabama Book Festival

The Alabama Book Festival is today down in Old Alabama Town, Montgonmery, AL. We’re loading the kiddos up and headed down there. Looks to be a good weather day.

Robyn Litchfield just had something post to the Montgomery Advertiser site though, and it sounds like it’ll at least be as good as last year’s!

Here is a list of authors and venue schedule for today.

Why Publishing will Always Be People Powered

In this day of self-publishing services partnering with, ebook vendors and vending machines that print books, it is not hard to envision a day when machines would control it all. But then you run across a site like’s new service and realize that day is a long long way off.

They have a new Title Scorer where wannabe best-selling authors can thow their titles up and “to the scientific test and find out whether it has what it takes for bestseller success.”

I thought it a cool idea. Then I typed in “Of Mice and Men”, which in it’s infinite wisdom cranked out the following result:

Oh well. Humans (1) Machines (0)

So tonight, I raise my glass to all you editors, AQ folks and authors who actually think about these things while discerning what will resonate with your readers.

The trouble with April Fools Day

I am not enjoying today and have given up listening to NPR and reading blog/tweets until April 2nd. It’s just too much!!!! Ahhhh!!!! NPR got me this morning with the whole 2 minute piece on STEAM. And I haven’t been happy since. 

And now over on the most excellent harperstudio blog, they have announced a new ebook pricing/marketing plan. Which seems really forward thinking as it engages the Twitter crowd, but then you can read the comments and every other person is “This has to be April Fools”. So what’s the point? If it’s legit, then they missed the boat cause their plans are being second guessed and if it’s a joke then it’s just wasted time. But, I guess it did spawn a blog post here…

So I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow, to see what’s really real in the real world.