Posts from August 2011
Posted by Carole Stuart on August 09, 2011
The Book Business—
The challenge is how to keep up with the changes. The giants in publishing are covering every base, and e-books are growing in popularity. For the record, our books are available on electronic platforms, and our monthly reports show that sales of e-books are increasing. That’s good news.
Amazon is a major force in the business. You no longer have to go to a bookstore to buy a book. Go to the Amazon website, put in the title of the book you are interested in or the name of the author, and you’ll find it. What you can’t do is browse the way you can in a bookstore and discover a book that you hadn’t been aware of.
They are ordering very cautiously. But books that you can hold in your hand remain a vital part of our business. What sells a book is still the same old word-of-mouth. If you hear about it, read about it, a friend tells you about a good book, you are more likely to buy it. Whatever the format, as long as people are buying books, we’ll be supplying them.
Bruce Mowday (“JAILING THE JOHNSTON GANG”) has partnered with Jim Donahue on “Why The Hall Not? and the Amazing Ride to Cooperstown.” This just-published book about baseball’s Richie Ashburn, who played for the Philadelphia Phillies, has already gone back to press for a second printing. Books are shipping now to fill back orders. Co-authors, Bruce and Jim are everywhere in Pennsylvania promoting this “feel good” book about Ashburn, a baseball hero and genuinely nice guy who finally got into the Baseball Hall of Fame, partly due to the efforts of his greatest fan, Jim.
Any day now “DENNIS HOPPER: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel” by Peter Winkler will be in bookstores and available as an e-book. Last month it was featured on the Turner Classic Movie channel as their monthly Book Corner pick. Hopper lived an incredible life, was married five times - was friends with Elvis Presley, John Wayne, Natalie Wood and Peter Fonda. Publishers Weekly says “…Winkler presents Hopper’s descent into drugs, alcohol, and violence; (and) the making of Easy Rider, the seminal 1969 counterculture film…”
Recently I wrote about Allan Wilson, who died a few months ago. I was friends with Allan for forty years, but only knew a part of his life. A diehard bachelor, he had lots of relatives and many of them gathered at the apartment of Jim Tannenbaum, whose generosity made Allan’s life comfortable in his last months. There were too many people to name, but everyone had an Allan story. They loved him, and he generously provided books for their particular interests. There were many stories about Allan’s love of the track and other forms of gambling— all of which undoubtedly contributed to making the casinos richer. Jim Tannenbaum told about Allan taking him to the track at Belmont one Saturday. On the way back, he said he had to make a stop. Puzzled, Jim soon learned that the stop was at an OTB where Allan placed a bet on a horse at Santa Anita. It was a love fest, and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Thank you, Jim, for the party, the great food and the delightful touch of having a terrific pianist entertain us, closing with “Luck Be a Lady Tonight” from “Guys and Dolls”—an appropriate song for raising a glass to Allan J. Wilson.
A few years ago we published I’LL DO MY OWN DAMN’ KILLIN’, a bio of Benny Binion by Gary W. Sleeper. Binion, famous for the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas and the patron saint of the World Series of Poker, was a horse trader, a bootlegger, and the “boss gambler” of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. He was a real rough guy who admitted to killing a couple of guys. Now, Benny may have his story turned into a major film. We just optioned it to Nick Cassavetes who has appeared as an actor in a number of films such as “The Substitute” and “Backdoor Dreams” and is also a director, “She’s So Lovely” and “The Notebook.”
Last minute news—
We are rushing into a print a prepublication edition of Leon Charney’s “BACK DOOR CHANNELS: The Price of Peace” to coincide with a mid-September screening of the documentary film of the same name. The book and film reveal the story of the interplay between the official government channels and those who acted largely behind the scenes of the first Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel that began during the Jimmy Carter administration. Variety, in a review of the film, quoted Stuart E. Eizenstat as saying that all of Carter’s advisers warned him that getting involved in such a contentious foreign conflict would be political suicide. One thing to take away from the documentary is “…the tragic realization that not one American politician of (Carter’s) stature has been similarly willing to risk their future to push for peace.”
On the Road—
If you want to live vicariously, follow the bicycle journey of New York Times writer Bruce Weber. As I write this, Bruce is biking from Portland, Oregon, to New York, repeating a journey he made 18 years ago when he was 39. He’s now 57. He is marking his 25th anniversary at the Times with this adventure and blogging about it. You can follow and Tweet him at nytbruceweber. Go Bruce!
I’ll indulge myself a bit to celebrate the arrival on June 20 of my fifth grandchild, Miss Sloane Dara Kern. She joins her brothers, Dylan, Justin and Jackson, and parents Brad and Jen Kern. Ms. Sloane is the first girl in a long run of boys in our family that includes grand nephews and cousins.
Until next time . . .
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