King is not so successful as to be above the fray, and he is sceptical about some of his more direct rivals in the mega-selling horror and fantasy categories. Contrary to popular opinion, he says, this is not a golden age of horror. What about the Twilight franchise? “I agree with Abra’s teacher friend [in Doctor Sleep] who calls Twilight and books like it tweenager porn. They’re really not about vampires and werewolves. They’re about how the love of a girl can turn a bad boy good.”
Sweet Valley High with teeth?
“Yeah. Pretend I said that.”
Does he read them out of professional interest?
“I read Twilight and didn’t feel any urge to go on with her. I read The Hunger Games and didn’t feel an urge to go on. It’s not unlike The Running Man, which is about a game where people are actually killed and people are watching: a satire on reality TV. I read Fifty Shades Of Grey and felt no urge to go on. They call it mommy porn, but it’s not really mommy porn. It is highly charged, sexually driven fiction for women who are, say, between 18 and 25. But a golden age of horror? I wouldn’t say it is. I can’t think of any books right now that would be comparable to The Exorcist.”
In its latest collaboration, the children’s fiction publisher Chicken House has joined forces with leading audio book publisher AudioGO. Chicken House/AudioGO Productions will bring the Chicken House list into worldwide audio formats for retail, download and spoken word distribution. Each Chicken House/AudioGO Production will include an exclusive bonus track, specially written by the author, such as interviews with the characters, hidden chapters, and secret incidents …
Chicken House MD, Barry Cunningham and AudioGO Publishing Director, Jan Paterson have expressed their excitement about the joint venture:
‘I’m pleased and proud of this new creative partnership with the innovative team at AudioGO. Chicken House has always added the editorial elements that keep readers involved in their books and these new exclusive audio extras, alongside great stories and brilliant readers, will add to the dramatic listening experience. Our authors are excited by reaching out to the listener through character and plot and, together with print, eBook and other media, completing a 360-degree story experience.’
Barry Cunningham, Publisher & MD, Chicken House
‘We have been working with Barry Cunningham and the team at Chicken House for many years, and have published the audio versions of some of the terrific Chicken House titles in the past, such as The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable and the best-selling Tunnels series by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. I am really pleased that AudioGO is able to strengthen and develop our relationship with Chicken House, and especially excited by the creativity around the additional ‘audio only’ elements of the programmes.’
Jan Paterson, Publishing Director, AudioGO
Chicken House, founded in 2000 by publisher Barry Cunningham, is an independent part of the Scholastic Group. It publishes under its own imprint in the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and The Netherlands. Its authors include Lucy Christopher, Cornelia Funke and Melvin Burgess.
AudioGO, the home of BBC Audiobooks, is a prolific publisher of complete and unabridged audiobooks and large print books.
Octopus Books – a leading publisher of illustrated titles with imprints that include Hamlyn, Gaia Books, Mitchell Beazley and Miller’s (of the specialist antique price guides) – has announced that it is to develop a new children’s publishing division within the group:
Octopus publishing house is to form a new children’s and custom publishing division.
The new division will launch in October and include the Bounty and Ticktock imprints. It will bring together children’s and promotional publishing, putting “extra focus” on the lists in order to grow their sales, Octopus chief executive Alison Goff said.
A TV cartoon based on Andy Griffiths’ The Day My Bum Went Psycho (Pan) will premiere in Australia tomorrow.
The 80-episode series called The Day My Butt Went Psycho will screen its first episode at 8am on Saturday 21 September on the GO! channel. The series is co-produced by Australian production company Studio Moshi and Canadian company Nelvana, in association with Scholastic USA.
More about the Booktrust Best Book Awards with Amazon Kindle, announced yesterday. This is from Viv Bird’s blog, hosted by The Bookseller
So why are we launching the Best Book Awards? The short answer is to celebrate the very best children’s books each year. We want to change the culture of reading in this country. An ambitious task? Certainly. Can we do it? Absolutely. It won’t happen overnight, but we’re in this for the long haul.
At the moment, books are facing a battle with the major players of the entertainment industry—games, film and music. Vying for children’s attention alongside these giants of ‘cool’ is no easy task. But our goal is to see children pestering their parents for Malorie Blackman’s latest book alongside their pleas for One Direction tickets.
Booktrust and Amazon Kindle share a common goal—to get children reading, and without their support, this brilliant project would not be possible. Just as publishers and technology companies seek resolutions on the digital debate, we too are responding to exciting changes within the industry, and indeed, to what children want themselves. A recent competition run by Booktrust revealed that children chose to read in both physical and digital formats—the split was almost 50/50.
The great thing about e-reader providers is that they’ve created a further arena for reading to take place, a space that is compatible with the world in which children now live, a world that includes smartphones, computers in schools and gaming devices. So let’s celebrate these options which children now have.
As I said yesterday, ACHUKA will be prominently promoting and publicising the build-up to these exciting new awards.
In a wide-ranging piece, Publishers Weekly reports (based on an informal post-Labor Day survey of summer sales) that independent bookstores in the US are doing well.
For a number of booksellers summer 2013 has been one of the best. “We’re having an awesome year. We’re projecting we will be up pretty significantly,” said John Cavalier, co-owner of Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, La.
Eleven-year-old 4 Kids Books & Toys in Zionsville, Ind., a suburb of Indianapolis, is cautiously optimistic that it will beat its figures from last year, especially given that it was up 17% this summer and so far has been having its best year yet, according to owner Cynthia Compton.
“It’s been a strong summer,” said Ellen Scott, children’s department manager at The Bookworm in Omaha, Neb. June through August sales were up 8%, according to co-owner Phillip Black, who added that 2013 is on track to exceed 2012 by a “comfortable margin.” The store partnered with a local theater company for dramatic readings of stories on Saturday mornings and invited kids to attend Friday evening story-times in their pajamas. It also separated out its YA section for younger readers, ages 12–14, which are shelved in the children’s section; its older YA titles are next to adult fiction.
For some booksellers, while children’s is definitely a bright spot, YA, because of its appeal to both adults and teens, shines even more brightly. “YA sales are great to excellent. We’ve done a lot of author panels and group readings that continue to complement and increases sales,” said Lauren Harr, sidelines buyer and bookseller at Malaprop’s Books in Asheville, N.C. Two of the books that stood out this summer are Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave (Putnam) and Sarah Dessen’s The Moon and More.
Feature on an independent children’s bookstore in Monroe, Connecticut – Linda’s Story Time, run by Linda Devlin
[Have you read the first in our own indie bookshop bookshop features yet?]
A voracious reader, Devlin said her independent book store has survived the tough economic times, while chains like Border’s and Waldenbooks closed. She credits her success to her passion and understanding of her readers.
“I know my books, I know my readers, and when I order books, I order them with my readers in mind, not just the general population,” she said, and in spite of the ever-popular e-reader, her sales have risen in the past few years.
“People use words like `convenience’ when they talk about eBooks, but it doesn’t replace the experience of shopping for books in a book store. It’s enriching, it’s tactile, it’s colorful,” she said.
The 800-square-foot store is 95 percent books for young people, with the remaining 5 percent being adult classics and best new arrivals.
Big news from Booktrust – an announcement of new Children’s Books Awards in partenrship with Kindle. ACHUKA will be very keen to promote and publicise this new award.
The Best Book Awards seek to unearth the very best children’s books the UK has to offer, and honour authors and illustrators who continue Britain’s proud heritage of storytelling.
The awards are aimed at children aged aged pre-school to 14 and will have ten awards across five categories including; picture books, fiction, non-fiction, humour and digital. There will also be a lifetime achievement award for an influential children’s writer or illustrator.
Parents, schools, and libraries can register to get involved in the awards from today. The shortlist will be announced in March, from which point children will be invited to read the books, take part in activities, and vote for their favourites online. Due to time constraints on busy teachers and parents, the initiative will be straight forward and accessible.
The winners will be announced at The Best Books Bash, a star-studded awards ceremony in central London during Children’s Book Week 2014. Three hundred children from around the country will have the chance to win tickets to attend the party.
The ABC of It – an exhibit at the New York Public Library (now through Sunday, March 23, 2014) – is an examination of why children’s books are important: what and how they teach children, and what they reveal about the societies that produced them. Through a dynamic array of objects and activities, the exhibition celebrates the extraordinary richness, artistry, and diversity of children’s literature across cultures and time.
Lizzy Ratner writes about it in The Nation:
As a walk through the The ABC of It makes clear, the exuberant, centuries-old history of children’s literature is also one of subversion, rebellion, experimentation and inclusion. It’s the story of public libraries creating reading rooms and free programs for children and, in the process, blasting open the gates of literature to young people from all backgrounds. And it’s the story of women like Pura Belpré, the New York Public Library’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who began writing her own Spanish-language picture books in the 1930s to fill the void in culturally resonant literature available to her students. It is even the story of books like The Poky Little Puppy, which was one of the first titles churned out by the mass market children’s imprint Little Golden Books in the 1940s; though the guardians of high culture clucked, the book, which cost just twenty-five cents, was one of the first to be both affordable and available to kids across the country.
A survey of 1,000 children by Oxford University Press found around two-thirds of six year olds said they enjoy reading with an adult. Yet, that figure plummets to 44 per cent among children who are just a year older. Half of eight and nine year olds were rarely or never read to at home.
Additional research from The National Literacy Trust found pupils are 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age if they enjoy books for pleasure.
James Clements, a former headteacher at an outstanding primary school who worked with OUP on the study, said: ‘All the research proves that reading for pleasure is inextricably linked to attainment and benefits all aspects of children’s lives.
‘Parents need to understand the huge impact reading with their children can make and how vital it is that reading for pleasure doesn’t stop at the school gate but is continued at home.
‘Just ten minutes of reading with their child every day is one of the best ways they can support their education.
‘Reading together six days a week means an extra hour of support for a child. It’s definitely cheaper than an hour with a tutor and it could make a much bigger difference.’