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Bookish thoughts 23 July: cloud-based publishing; Amazon and SEO; book e-tailing & more!

book news Bookish thoughts 23 July: cloud based publishing; Amazon and SEO; book e tailing & more!

RIASS stuff:

Interview: Shirley Marr on being the 'David Bowie of YA'

Book Review: Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith'Rating: star Bookish thoughts 23 July: cloud based publishing; Amazon and SEO; book e tailing & more!star Bookish thoughts 23 July: cloud based publishing; Amazon and SEO; book e tailing & more!star Bookish thoughts 23 July: cloud based publishing; Amazon and SEO; book e tailing & more!star Bookish thoughts 23 July: cloud based publishing; Amazon and SEO; book e tailing & more!blankstar Bookish thoughts 23 July: cloud based publishing; Amazon and SEO; book e tailing & more!

Giveaway: The Glamour by Christopher Priest'(open to Aussie readers only)

Other bookish stuff:

Last year I watched the film'We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Ive been meaning to get to the book ever since. As it happens, one of my good friends lent me the book just this Saturdayin the wake of the terrible events in Colorado. Obviously I feel quite reticent about reading and reviewing such a book given whats happened, and Ive been thinking about my responsibilities as a reader/reviewer over the past few days, and how my reading narrative can be affected by personal and world events. Given the situation, I dont want to be insensitive by waxing lyrical on this topic just now, but thought it might be food for thought. My thoughts, of course, are with all of those affected.

On Amazon using Google as its search engine:'A few months ago I put together a quick post on how authors are gaming the Amazon site by using various SEO tactics. Since then there have been cases of people employing various other naughty tactics to bump up their books in the search resultsnot the least being a sneaky author styling herself as one Nora A Roberts in order to play on the name recognition of best-selling author Nsra Roberts. However, I had a realisation the other day when I was undertaking that most horrendous of things: attempting to browse the Kindle books section of Amazon, a purgatorial place oozing with hundreds of thousands of self-published books that forest themselves around the thing you actually want to find. Amazon search is terrible, I complained to my husband. Why dont they incorporate a Google search engine?

And then, I realised, that they do. Amazon doesnt expect you to search or browse its site. Theres a reason that Amazon is so perfectly SEO-optimised. Its because its key search tool'is Googleusers are expected to come to Amazon'after searching for what they want on Google.

An interview with Ransom Riggs, author of'Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children:'Quotable quote: After several years of forcing myself to write in the hyper-regimented and constrained form that is the screenplay, it felt really freeing to cast off those shackles and write in novel form.

These new Nabokov covers are astonishingly beautiful.'Its wonderful to see so much effort put into book designI cant be the only one tiring of lazy lookalike iStockPhoto covers.

The future for writers and publishers linked to bookselling''The future of bookselling in Australia is closely tied to the future for the countrys publishers and writers. Without a healthy and diverse network of retailers, authors wont find a market for their books. If bookshops were to fail it would create a cultural crisis, says Mark Rubbo of Readings.

My quick take:'In my previous Book Thoughts post I commented on how a similar change in the bookselling landscape is affecting the publics access to booksfor example, Scholastic Book Fairs are becoming a primary book buying source for some in the US due to the closure of local bookshops. I do note the concerns raised by retailers about there being a dominant retailer on the book selling horizon, not to mention the subsidies provided to international retailers working in the electronic space, but at the same time, my ailing hip pocket does welcome the competition and the ability to source difficult-t0-find books with relative ease and at considerable discounts.

Rubbos emphasis on the need for Australian retailers to be proactive in their approach to book selling is probably his most important point, and I think its this very approach that has seen a number of independent bookshops prevail on the bookish horizon whilst their chain counterparts have gone under. I think that booksellers working in the physical space need to be far more than a simple repository for books: the reason that so many of our independents are going strong is that theyve created a sense of community and identity around their shops. Their titles are curated, their staff knowledgeable, and they offer a host of events and special features that make their shop more than just a shop. However, the gradual shift to ebooks, a movement that'per this interview is estimated to hit critical point at Christmas this year, puts even these shops in jeopardy. When theres no longer a need to enter a store for a physical product, it becomes even tougher to entice a customer into a bookshop, particularly with marketing peripherals such as interviews and so forth also moving online. I think that in order to compete with the deep discounting of Amazon and Book Depository, independents need to increasingly shift their shops more towards a cultural centrepoint for the community, and to embrace as much of the digital world as they can, thus providing an enhanced reading/shopping experience in the ereader space.

With the New Cloud/Hosted Services, Are Publishers Changing?

My slightly cloudy take: the article looks to a few anecdotal cases where various big six publishers have been slowly adapting their production/distribution approaches to a cloud-focused paradigm. I think, personally, that this is inevitable. Publishing is, after all, all about the dissemination of intellectual content, and it only makes sense to shift from unwieldy and outmoded paper-based paradigms to global cloud-based ones. Moving the production process to the cloud is a valuable solution for companies whose teams not only increasingly have global assignations, but that are globally distributed as well. The cloud represents a way to streamline and simplify production processes, as well as a way to reduce the information losses that accompany staff turnover. Of course, problems will necessarily arise with things like company mergers and acquisitions, where old legacy systems have to be integrated into new system-wide approaches; and no doubt issues will also arise with smaller satellite offices that may have very different technological and reporting needs from their larger parent counterparts. There is always the risk of jumping on to the technology bandwagon merely for technologys sake, tooserious discussions will need to be had between IT services divisions and those actually working on the ground in editorial, production, and distribution.

Killing our Monsters: On Stephen Kings Magic: A riposte to My Problem with Stephen King: A Snobs Notes'Quotable quote: No one except King challenges us so relentlessly, to be brave. To kill our monsters. That's because he's a believer ' to him, it's not schlock. And because he believes his own horseshit, we swallow it too. When we read his fiction, we think:'I want to go kiss my spouse, hold my kids, thank God they're healthy. I want to fix the things that are broken.

My monstrous take:'Back in the day I worked a normal day job with stuff like proper pay and a proper boss. This proper boss once turned on King, calling his work, and all horror at that, inherently conservative, with moral transgressors always getting their dues. (As the movie'Scream noted, you should never have sex in a horror movie unless you want to die) My take on horror is that its often the opposite: its all about the ferocity of the human spirit, and our efforts to survive against all odds. Sure, the morally ambiguous may get hacked apart (something rather in contrast to the genre of crime, where its the innocents who are more likely to die), but this is often the preface to the larger battle, where the horror responsible for killing those individuals is fought against until the point of defeat.

Why Smart Women Read Romance Novels'Quotable quote:'Rather than ignoring the existence of love in our lives, these romances celebrate how the best love helps us to grow. Modern romance novels (for the most part) insist that the love between two people be to both of their benefit. In my own relationships, I dont want to gain my power at the expense of my partner. Working together ought to enhance our power.

My quick thoughts: Exactly. The vast majority of the romances Ive read have involved a proactive, assertive heroine (even where this is utterly inappropriate to the setting of the novel), who, rather than seeking to be conquered (cf your average fairytale), wants to enter a relationship on her own terms. The typical trope of bringing a bad boy into line is less about the appeal of a dominant Type A male and more about the desire to begin a union where both parties are equal. Like Maisey Yates, Id argue that the reason that romance is so often derided is because its largely a genre by women for women, and theres a potential for power here that concerns those who quake in the fear of women asserting themselves.

On the need for some lexical additions to the world of bookselling: Quotable quote:'When a section bulges to bursting in one part of the alphabet- say P through T- but is loose and floppy in another- say H through L- what's that called?

History and fiction no more than sibling rivalry? On both sides there have been complaints about border incursions: the encroachments made by history and purported autobiography into fictive realmsand by the [claims of] fictionalisers of history that they can provide a truer, more objective and more trustworthy account of the past than can historians.

My quick thoughts: I touched on this issue recently in a discussion with my husband, who is the type appalled by any sort of creative approach to history or non-fiction. Hes having extraordinary difficulty with a non-fiction book that hes offered to review because, he argues, its mere editorialising, with a terrible lack of references to back it up. He constantly argues with me that nothing written in a novel can possibly be true, whereas I argue that at the heart of any work of fiction is the truththe imaginary elements must be built on top of something that is accurate and true in order for them to work. Still, one issue that I do find with historical works of all types is the challenge of separating us from them, something which is noted in the above article. It is so very difficult to come to an ancient text or context without imposing our modern sensibilities upon ithow often, for example, have you read of a heroine in an historical text who bears all of the trappings of a modern-day feminist but for the fact that shes been wrested into a corset? And yet, would we really want to read of the past without some sort of modern voice of reason to comfort us that things, in the future, will become better?

Oh Mr Darcy! Pride and Prejudice among classic novels to receive erotic makeover In Wuthering Heights, heroine Catherine Earnshaw enjoys bondage sessions with Heathcliff while sleuth Sherlock Holmes has a sexual relationship with his sidekick Dr Watson in the new e-book.

My R-rated take: Lets just say that my response to this involved a phrase that in the context of these books might be seen as erotic, but in reality was much more to do with personal vexation. It began with F, and ended with Off.

Kate Forsyth on self-doubt and the writing process:Quotable quote:''I also know that not everyone will like what I do, and that there are many people who do love my work, and so I write for them, and for my own pleasure, and try not to brood too much over those who have different tastes. And I have written enough books now that I know the self-doubt and the anxiety are part of the creative process, and drive me to keep trying to do better, and keep me from becoming too cocksure about my writing, which is a form of creative death.

Amazon Yesterday Shipping (oh, the LOLs)


  1. Coincidentally a friend lent me We Need to Talk About Kevin last week because she loved it so much. I wanted to read it and get it back to her asap but then yeah, I feel the same as you.

    • Stephanie /

      My friend loved it as well, and Im still haunted by the filmeven though I watched it last year now. It just feels so insensitive and voyeuristic somehow to read and review it right on the heels of Aurora.

  2. re: classics makeover

    NNNNOOOO I think Im going to be sick!

    I actually enjoyed P&P&Zombies I dont mind this funny stuff (well, one really, Ive not read any others) but this is taking it too far.

    • Stephanie /

      I know, the thought of it just makes me want to cry. I hate to think what theyll come up with next. Pride and Prejudice meets The Hunger Games? Where Darcy and Lizzie fight off possible suitors across a vast field using slingshots loaded with apples?

  3. I love those book covers, so fresh and original.
    And W.T.F. turning old favorites into erotic fan fiction. ::headdesk::
    That video made me giggle. :)

    • Stephanie /

      Theyre just so beautiful! Id buy them just as prints!

      Honestly, the reports Im seeing from Publishers Marketplace and so on are just making me want to cry right now. Why, why, why must people always jump on a bandwagon?!

      I loved the video, too. It was sort of a mix of Futurama and Primer!