Archive for the ‘news’ Category
Thursday, August 12th, 2010
I had another post composed about reading (& enjoying) YA adult books and the joy of sharing different series with my 13 year old son. Then I opened Twitter and saw that Scholastic had posted the following:
“Tell us on our blog what you think about this poem “The Book” by a young girl named Vangie: “
First, click that link and go read the poem.
My kid is lucky. If you’re reading this, chances are your kid (or niece or nephew or cousin or neighbor) is pretty lucky too. I also happen to know that my kid takes the privilege and luxury of books for granted.
I UNDERSTAND why books are considered a luxury that can be eliminated when times are tight. But it breaks my heart that children suffer from the void created by lack of reading. Books lend color and texture to our world. Stories offer a reprieve from stress and fears. Regular reading gives children a fighting chance in school even if other elements are hindering them. So I love that Scholastic makes an effort to get books into the hands of children like Vangie.
(DISCLAIMER: We are in no way affiliated w/Scholastic or any other publisher. They are not compensating them for this post. We are not compensating them for this post. I simply clicked on a link and am responding.)
I’m curious to know how old this little girl is. I would love to know if she still has access to a library and if it’s a resource she takes advantage of. Owning books might be a luxury but borrowing them is (hopefully) still an option.
So what is YOUR reaction to the poem?
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
As a young girl (early junior high days), one of the books that impacted me the most was “The Diary of Anne Frank”. I lived in my own little bubble and that glimpse into her world…well it rocked mine. (Though I must say, reading it as an adult lends a much different view than as a pre-teen) Now there is some hullabaloo over a new book coming out.
Sharon Dogar, an author of novels aimed at teens, is releasing “Annexed” in October of this year. It is a fictional tale focusing on Peter van Pels, the boy whose family hid with the Franks. The family is up in arms over Dogar’s portray of Anne, Peter and their relationship. The article indicates that their relationship was “sexed up” although it also states that the most controversial part (that Anne & Peter actually consummated their relationship) was removed.
On one hand I sympathize with the family. Frank has become a symbol of the indefatigable human spirit. Her name is practically synonymous with Jewish persecution during World War II. I admire her and her family. But overall, I feel the reaction to this fiction novel is a bit over the top. The fact is, Anne herself discusses sex on more than one occasion in her diary and is very open about how she feels. She experiences the same emotions and confusion of other 13-15 year old girl discovering herself and longing for independence but all while dealing with the fears of discovery and pressure of living in close quarters. If she and Peter DID have sex, I’m quit certain she would have vividly wrote about it. The fact that it’s not mentioned means either (a) it didn’t happen (my completely uneducated guess) or (b) it was excluded from publication. “Annexed” is obviously conjecture and speculation. There are plenty of historical fiction novels that take launch from what we know of real people. An author has the freedom to fill in the gaps of known history with whatever conjecture their imagination can provide.
I’m certainly not trying to downplay the tragedy of the Holocaust. But I just don’t get the impression that Dogar is trying to make light of the Van Pels’ and Franks’ shared history. Peter was a teenage boy locked up with teenage girls. I sincerely doubt his thoughts and feelings were entirely pure. Obviously we don’t know for sure how he experienced the reality he shared with Anne. But I think Dogar is highlighting the fact that there were other stories we didn’t get the privilege of hearing, that there were other amazing spirits snuffed out well before their time.
What do YOU think of this whole fracas? Will you read “Annexed”? I know I certainly will. If nothing else, this push back has just given the book more publicity than she could have ever bought.
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
This past weekend the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. held their annual banquet and announced their picks for 2009. The results were:
Novel: The Windup Girl (Paolo Bacigalupi)
Novella: The Women of Nell Gwynne’s (Kage Baker)
Novelette: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast (Eugie Foster)
Short Story: Spar (Kij Johnson) (Warning: Link is to the story published online at Clarkesworld Magazine & contains strong language)
Ray Bradbury Award: District 9 (Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell)
Andre Norton Award: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Catherynne M. Valente) (Originally published online but will be published by Feiwel & Friends in May 2011)
Although I claim to be a fan of the sci-fi/fantasy genres, I now have to humbly admit that the only title I recognized was District 9. I’m slinking off to acquire the others now and will let you know what I think. How about you? Have you read any of these?
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
There are many outlets and venues for you to sell used books. Below you can find the best methods for selling your used books to maximize your financial resources.
Does old mean rare? Does signed mean valuable?
The first step is trying to get some sort of feel for what you have. Is it a collectible book, which has the potential to be worth a lot of money? Or do you have more recently published novels, or leftover texts from college? The types of books you have dictate how you approach selling them.
A lot of us would like to believe that the box of old books left to us by our grandmother are valuable. Unfortunately, most old books are exactly that -old books. Usually they have little to no value.
I can hear some of you saying, “but mine are first editions!” or maybe “my books are signed by the author”. The bad news is, the vast majority of books ever printed are first editions, because most of them were never popular enough to require additional printings. Signed books are also tricky. An autograph, signature or inscription can often add value. However, there are many authors who will sign anything that quits moving for short periods of time. In order for an autograph or signature to have value, it has to be authentic. Can you show provenance? Even if you can, you must then hope that enough people are collecting signed works of that author, to create a demand for the item. Only when you have a scarce or rare item, coupled with buyer demand, will truly exceptional prices be attained.
Does this mean that all old signed books are worthless or not worth investigating? Not at all. There are some great stories of individuals finding rare books worth lots of money. How about the family in southern Britain who found a copy of “The Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin in their guest bathroom, which is expected to sell for around $99,000.00! Of course, I now check all books found near toilets, wherever I go.
Whenever I find something that I can’t identify, I run to the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America(A.B.A.A). This is a great resource site to point you to an expert who can help you identify what you have, and if it may have value as a collectible book. Like most aspects of life, remember that there are reputable, and less reputable individuals. Asking for references is always a good idea as are sending multiple inquiries sent to different people.
So if it is not rare or collectible, is it garbage?
Your used books always have some sort of value! Most likely, it will not be as much as you hope, but it is definitely worth a few minutes to look at them and see what you have.
The three most popular methods of dealing with your used books are below. All three are the worst possible way to deal with used books from a financial view point. Don’t get me wrong, if you have no regard for your finances, please sell your books at a garage sale or to a local bookstore. If you do opt for one of these methods you may see me. I will be the one who comes along and buys your $15 book for 50 cents, and sells it for a profit.
Garage/Yard/Rummage Sales – The average price for a used book at a sale of this type is between 37-77 cents per book. Apparently, your location in the U.S. affects the price. Midwest and Southern states generally have lower prices, while the coasts seem to have slightly higher prices. These figures are based on what people state they have paid, not the asking price. Why these cheap prices? Your market is small, even if you have a really good book. Say you are trying to sell used textbooks. How long do you think you will wait before a student comes along who happens to need that book and is willing to pay top dollar? Yeah – you are going to be out there awhile. If you want to sell used books in a garage sale, you should only sell the bad ones, or take a tax write off after donating them.
Tax Write Offs & Donations – Goodwill, Thrift Stores etc. – It is a generally accepted practice to deduct anywhere between 25 cents to $2.00 per book. Consult your tax preparer for more details specific to your case. Remember to keep your donation receipts in case the tax man comes calling.
Local Book Store – Many local bookstores will gladly purchase your used books and gently used texts. Be aware however, you are going to get paid next to nothing. The whole process works similar to a pawn shop type deal when you go to sell an item. Few who bother to haul their books into a store, want to haul them back home, even after receiving an offer that is insultingly low.
What is the correct method for selling my used books?
The key to successfully selling your used books to maximize your financial success is a combination of selling strategies. Tap into the online market! Sell your best books online for the most money and then dump the books that are worth less into a garage sale or take the tax deduction.
So you’re thinking, that sounds great, but I do not know anything about selling online. The good news is, there are a couple of options. One is so simple that even my grandmother is able to do it, and she falls into the “internet and computer handicapped” demographic.
Selling Yourself Online – There are two ways to sell your books online.
- Sell your books yourself at various online sites like eBay, Amazon, ABE Books and many others. This method requires you to be more patient as well as computer/internet knowledgeable.
- Sell your books to an online specialty site like CKY Books. There are many online sites like this to choose from. This method is much faster and simpler, but you will make slightly less money.
Selling online using method #1- Online Marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, ABE Books)
You must be prepared to handle many things in order to get paid and actually turn a profit.
- Price your books properly for sale.
- Write accurate descriptions of your books detailing the physical condition.
- Be patient/lucky enough for your book to be selected for purchase while constantly watching the price drop.
- Clean & package your book for shipment.
- Deal with customer emails, questions and complaints.
- Deal with customer returns and items that go missing during shipment.
- Maintain high customer satisfaction ratings which are a requisite for online success.
- Be willing to pay the fees involved.
- Site listing fees, closing fees, commission fees (Will roughly cost between 15%-22% of the sale price of the item)
- Cost to ship item ($2.38 1st pound +.39each additional pound)
- Cost to collect your money (It costs money to move money 1-2% – Hello PayPal)
- Then you have to factor in your time and labor costs, cost of goods, taxes.
Let us assume you sell a book on one of the sites we are talking about and the selling price is $6.58. You will face a Fee Formula similar to this:
(Sale Price – Commission – Closing fee) or $6.58 -$.99 -$1.35 = $4.24
Do not forget to take out cost of goods, packaging and labor costs. Then of course you have taxes.
The biggest drawback that nobody talks about, is the cost when a problem occurs with a sale. All online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are setup so the end buyer is protected. This is great for the buyer, but is horrible for a seller. If you sell something and a buyer complains, the site will hold your money until you prove your case. Unfortunately, it is your job to prove you did nothing wrong. The buyer holds all the cards and the site holds your money. There are many horror stories of reputable sellers being cheated out of their money and their product. Of course, the rules are in place because past sellers would take advantage of buyers. Another case of a few bad apples spoiling things for everyone.
Selling online using method #2 – Online specialty site like CKY Books
Your time and responsibilities are greatly reduced when you deal with a service like this one, but there are still some things that you have to do.
- Your books have to meet certain condition guidelines. (As they do on the sites like amazon.com and eBay)
- You are responsible for securely packing and shipping your books, and making sure they arrive at their warehouse. (Fairly easy to do when you choose to purchase shipping insurance)
- Again, like most things, there are reputable online sites and less reputable sites. When in doubt it is always a good idea to check out a company’s complaint history with the Better Business Bureau. Steer clear of any site with a large complaint or unresolved complaint history.
The same book we just sold on our previous example would get you a CKY Books payment of between $2.00 and $2.55. Offers can vary from day to day, but you can always expect to get a lesser amount than you would get if you were to sell it yourself. I have seen prices of $1 per book, to well over $100 for some books on sites like this.
You will have to decide which selling methods suit you best. Personally I like to sell my books all at once, and get the most money for my good books and then take a tax write off on the ones that they won’t buy. It saves so much time, and my time is valuable to me.
The Pros are many and the Cons are few.
You enter your books into the website. If they are buying the title, you are given an offer. You may either accept or decline the offers, and the books are added or subtracted from your order. When you are done, you box up your books, print a FREE shipping label, and send off your books. Usually within 15 days, you receive an email that your books have been received and are being processed. In most cases, payment is issued within 24-48 hours via PayPal or Check (your choice). The only real expense you have with a service like this is your minimal cost to insure your shipment -$1.80 buys you $100 of insurance.
You might have a shipping problem and your box is damaged, destroyed or lost. If you do not purchase shipping insurance you are pretty much…up that proverbial creek without a means of propulsion. If you do have shipping insurance, and disaster strikes, you have to file the claim, which can take some time before you get paid. Shipping issues and the condition of your books are the only issues you really have to worry about with services like this.
Hopefully you will find this information worthwhile and it well help you decide which option is the best way for you to sell your used books.
CKY Books is offering a special first time customer promotional, between now and May 31, 2010. Whether you sell a single book or a bunch of books you can earn an extra 10% on your payment amount just by writing the name of this article, “The truth about selling used books” on your packing slip. This promotional offer is valid for first time customers only. To get started selling books online and take advantage of this special offer you can head over to CKY Books and learn more.
Friday, April 23rd, 2010
“Pinion” by Jay Clark (sequel to “Escapement”) was released March 30. I picked up both novels at the same time and read them back to back. If you have not read Escapement, I suggest you do the same. Although Pinion has a completely different feel, a lot would be lost without the first half of the story.
“Pinion” picks up immediately where “Escapement” left off. Clark continues his system of dedicating a few paragraphs/pages to each character’s situation and viewpoint. It’s an effective method for maintaining the many threads of the storyline. There’s a lot of details & action to keep up with but I never felt bogged down. There was no time to get bored with a plot line before switching to simultaneous events. This was particularly enjoyable when he switched between two characters in the same place. It was fun to see how differently they experienced and reacted to the exact same elements.
The novel was chock full of battles, intrigue and magic but to label it as simply an adventure story would be a disservice. Clark also tenderly weaves love through the pages. And make no mistake, the love stories are just that – purely love. There is no romance, flowers or frills. It is pure emotion and dedication grown from shared circumstances and respect that bond these characters. And just for good measure, Clark tosses in spiritual implications as well, not so subtly touching on the characteristic s and purpose of a soul as well as human’s ability to play at being gods.
This was a multilevel book that had me contemplating it several days after I closed the cover. Taken at surface value, it’s a great escapade. Dig deeper and it will stick with you much longer.
Monday, March 22nd, 2010
Here’s the weekly comparison of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times Top 5 bestsellers in Fiction Hardback. House Rules remains in the #1 spot for both lists. On WSJ The Help dropped to #3 while newcomer The Silent Sea took the #2 spot. The Silent Sea also made an appearance on NYT at #3. Also new to the lists are Diary of a Wimpy Kid on WSJ and Starwars: Backlash on NYT (debuted at #12 on WSJ)
|Wall Street Journal Top 5
||New York Times Top 5
|House Rules Jodi Picoult
||House Rules Jodi Picoult
|The Silent Sea Clive Cussler
||The Help Kathryn Stockett
|The Help Kathryn Stockett
||The Silent Sea Clive Cussler
|Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney
||Backlack Aaron Allston
|The Last Olympian Rick Riordan
||Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Seth Grahame-Smith**
Fiction (hardback) new releases:
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War (Karl Marlantes)
The Man from Saigon: A Novel (Marti Leimbach)
The Sable Queen (Redwall) (Brian Jacques)
Caught (Harlan Coben)
Keys to the Demon Prison (Fablehaven, Book 5) (Brandon Mull)
Fading Echoes (Warrios: Omen of the Stars #2) (Erin Hunter)
Bite Me: A Love Story (Christopher Moore)
A Darker God (Paperback) (Barbara Cleverly)
Epitaph Road (David Patneaude)
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Steve Hockensmith/Jane Austen)
Known to Evil (Leonid McGill Series #2) (Walter Mosley)
212 (Alafair Burke)
Fragile Beasts (Tawni O’Dell)
Losing Charlotte ( Heather Clay)
The Sheen on the Silk (Anne Perry)
Eddie Signwriter (Adam Schwartzman)
The Creation of Eve (Lynn Cullen)
Brightly Woven (Alexandra Bracken)
The Bone Thief (Jefferson Bass)
The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs Series #7)(Jacqueline Winspear)
Good to a Fault (Marina Endicott) (US Debut)
Shattered (Karen Robards)
March 28, 2010
Black Hills(Dan Simmons)
Songs of Dead Dreamer (Thomas Ligotti) (reissue)
A Pleasure To Burn (Ray Bradbury) (collection of 16 stories)
Monday, March 8th, 2010
Here’s the weekly comparison of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times Top 5 bestsellers in Fiction Hardback. WSJ has three new titles in the top five this week and NYT has four!
|Wall Street Journal Top 5
||New York Times Top 5
|Fantasy in Death J.D. Robb
||Fantasy in Death J.D. Robb
|The Help Kathryn Stockett
||The Help Kathryn Stockett
|Big Girl Danielle Steele
||Black Magic Sanction Kim Harrison*
|Split Image Roger B Parker
||Split Image Roger B Parker
|The Last Olympian Rick Riordan
||Big Girl Danielle Steele
*Black Magic Sanction (Kim Harrison) is #7 on the WSJ.
Fiction new releases on Tuesday, March 09, 2010:
- The Surrendered (Chang-Rae Lee)
- The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag: A Flavia de Luce Mystery (Alan Bradley)
- The Silent Sea (The Oregon Files) (Clive Cussler)
- Hourglass (Evernight Novels) (Claudia Gray)
- The Dead-Tossed Waves (Forest of Hands & Teeth Book 2) (Carrie Ryan)
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
On March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel entered the world. One hundred and six years later his imaginative work still impacts our children. Here are some facts I found interesting while reading about his life:
- His dad & grandfather were brewmasters in Springfield, MA until Prohibition.
- He was editor-in-chief of Dartmouth’s humor paper (Jack-O-Lantern) until he got caught throwing a drinking party, which just happened to be against the law (Prohibition) & school policies.
- His middle name was also his mother’s maiden name. The first record of him using it as a pseudonym was on contributions to Jack-O-Lantern after he was, ahem, relieved of his duties as editor-in-chief.
- The first book that he wrote and illustrated, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 (or 28) times. Sadly, I don’t think I’ve ever read this one.
- He also wrote a few books under the pen name Theo. LeSieg and one under the name Rosetta Stone. He did illustrate these.
The very first book I read to my (now 12 year old) son was The Foot Book. For the first half of his life, he had quite a library of Dr. Seuss books. His favorites were Hop on Pop and There’s a Wocket in my Pocket until he discovered the fun of making me read Fox in Socks. He would bring that book to me EVERY SINGLE NIGHT while laughing manically. I related to Mr. Knox (“Please sir I don’t like this trick sir, my tongue isn’t quick or slick sir!”).
So tell me, what is YOUR favorite Dr. Seuss book?
Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
- Dr. Seuss (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish)
Monday, March 1st, 2010
Here’s the weekly comparison of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times Top 5 bestsellers in Fiction Hardback.
Wall Street Journal Top 5
New York Times Top 5
|Worst Case Patterson/Ledwidge
||The Help Kathryn Stockett
|The Help Kathryn Stockett
||Worst Case Patterson/Ledwidge
|The Last Olympian Rick Riordan
||The Lost Symbol Dan Brown
|The Lost Symbol Dan Brown
||Poor Little Bitch Girl Jackie Collins*
|Winter Garden Kristin Hannah
||Winter Garden Kristin Hannah
*Poor Little Bitch Girl (Jackie Collins) is #7 on the WSJ, down from #6 last week.
New Releases of Note on 03/02/2010:
House Rules (Jodi Picoult)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Seth Grahame-Smith)
Club Dead: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Charlaine Harris)
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
We take for granted that many “must reads” are translations – Tolstoy and Homer, even the “Beowulf” we read today is translated from the original Old English. However we are guilty of not reading modern translated books. At least I am. It’s not a deliberate omission on my part. I’ve just never considered the many options. However, after reading about the various works vying for the University of Rochester’s Best Translated Book Award, I think it’s time to expand my horizons! Consider these descriptions:
“The Pulitzer is all well and good, but does it have a Russian surrealist writing about a commie Eiffel Tower that runs away and commits suicide? Or how about an asshole B actor on a Brazilian soap opera who gets his kicks by giving graphic interviews to innocent female journalists? Does it perhaps have a metafictional novel told in the form of an interview about said novel? Or even a comic, quasi-philosophical romp about an Argentine high-rise apartment building that’s under construction and infested with ghosts?”
I admit, I’m intrigued. Have you read any translated books? Would you consider putting any of these on your To Be Read list?