A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Friday, May 30, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

I’ll be training with Crane.

Seth Godin: How to Read a Business Book

For future reference, Seth Godin on How to Read a Business Book.

Fridays are fun.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What’s on Page 123? The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson

Over at MyNameIsKate.ca I read about a book meme to write about the book you’re reading now and to quote page 123.

imageThe End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson is the book I’m reading right now. It’s one of my favourite books this year. I know I should have read this as a hardcover so that I could enjoy the full visual appeal of the book. Although as a paperback, it’s pretty damn good. The cover is like a chocolate brown Moleskine with a belly band (which is a paper banner that wraps around the belly of the book). In this case it’s part of the cover image. Really the design details are wonderful, which is no surprise because CS Richardson is a well-regarded book designer.

The quality doesn’t stop at the design, the writing is worthy of such a great package.

The End of the Alphabet is one of my favourites because it has that level of quirkiness that borders on magical realism but is certainly realism. In this case Ambrose Zephyr is diagnosed with an incurable and untreatable disease. He has 30 days, give or take a day, to put his affairs in order. He makes a list A-Z of places and things he’d like to do before he kicks off.

On page 123, his wife Zipper Ashkenazi is waiting for her husband to have his shirts fitted at the tailoring shop of Mr. Umtata.

A fresh shirt was unwrapped. Ambrose strained out a smile as he dressed.
A miracle, Umtata. As always.
As you say sir.
A bit loose across the shoulders though.
Indeed sire. Shall we check the fit?
With that Mr Umtata took Ambrose Zephyr in his arms. Allow me the lead sir, he whispered.
The men dipped. Deeply, expertly.
Zipper Ashkenazi laughed out loud. For the first time in days.

The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson (Random House Canada)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Online Marketing Tools for Book Publishers

Cross-posted on Boxcar Marketing ...

This Sunday was the 2008 AGM for the Association of Canadian Publishers. I moderated the first professional development session of the day, which was a panel discussion on online marketing.

The panelists were:

There were several interesting sites mentioned in the session that I’ll post here for audience members interested in following-up on those discussions. I plan to post some notes about our session too.

Annick Press Livebrary Blog: A great resources for publishers, educators, librarians and anyone interested in what’s happening online in children’s publishing.

Emarketing101.ca: A fantastic source of information on search marketing, pay-per-click campaigns, search engine optimization and anything related to search—the most cost effective online marketing spend.

SeenReading.com: Julie Wilson, also of House of Anansi, keeps a blog that is a perfect example of how to play with books and the web. Simple. Engaging. One of my favourite web sites.

MyNameIsKate.ca: Marketing and Technology Consultant Kate Trgovac’s personal blog, which is a hotbed of links and brilliant posts on marketing and technology.

W8NC is a Canadian marketing and communications company specializing in emerging technology.President is Wayne MacPhail.

OneDegree.ca: The best and most interesting source of marketing news, case studies and interviews related to marketing in Canada.

Boxcar Marketing’s Underwire Newsletter: Full-Support for Non-Techies: Monique Trottier’s monthly newsletter on online marketing, technology, social media tools and tips for web design and email marketing. Free advice. What more could you want?

HorsePigCow.com: A marketing blog for those who see the online world as a place for creativity, community, conversation and collaboration. This girl has it together. Another of my daily blog reads.

Follow the AnnickPress Twitter feed. See how it’s done.

Monique’s presentation to the Centre for Chief Marketing Executives: A list of Social Media Marketing Tools. See the list and examples of the tools being used by businesses.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Microsoft Cancels Online Book Search

Microsoft closes online library ...

Microsoft announced Friday that it is taking down its online library of books. They are no longer going to try competing with Google Book Search.

“Live Search Books and Live Search Academics projects are being cancelled and the websites will be taken down next week, Microsoft senior vice-president of search Satya Nadella said in an online posting.”

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Seen Reading Gets Vocal

Julie Wilson adds audio to Seen Reading, and it makes this blog perfect.

Good move Julie. The audio is a huge value and your voice is perfect, perfect. I love it.

Border Guards the New Copyright Police?

According to the Vancouver Sun today (Vito Pilieci), the federal government is secretly negotiating an agreement to revamp international copyright laws, laws that could allow border guards to check private gadgets for material that infringes copyright.

I’d like to know how a border guard is going to determine if I’ve ripped a movie or not. If that’s all my music or not. Did I buy that ebook?

The article also says that the deal could “impose strict regulations on Internet service providers, forcing those companies to hand over customer information without a court order.”

What kind of police state is this? Aren’t their drugs and other things they should be paying attention to?

The agreement is called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and federal trade agreements do not require parliamentary approval.

The deal would create a international regulator that could turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police. The security officials would be charged with checking laptops, iPods and even cellular phones for content that “infringes” on copyright laws, such as ripped CDs and movies.

The guards would also be responsible for determining what is infringing content and what is not.

The agreement proposes any content that may have been copied from a DVD or digital video recorder would be open for scrutiny by officials—even if the content was copied legally.

Apparently anyone with infringing content in their possession, or content that could be acquired illegally, regardless of whether it was acquired legally, will be questioned and open to a fine.

The leaked document also says that “they may also have their device confiscated or destroyed, according to the four-page document.”

Where do we live, again?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Forrester Blog Reader Survey

Slide presentation of a blog reader survey that Forrester did for its blogs. Interesting stuff about who’s reading what and how.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Internet Round-Up

1. Some Mondays are just about the embed code.

2. Brand and message is out of your control.

Your brand is what people say it is. Check out Brand Tags.

3. Young at Heart

Young Me Old Me photo submissions. Recreate a photo of you taken as a child. This is worth checking out.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Book Review: The Man Who Forgot How to Read by Howard Engel

imageThe Man Who Forgot How to Read: A Memoir by Howard Engel is not a literary masterpiece but it is a masterful work. Howard Engel, author of the Benny Cooperman detective novels, woke up one day and discovered that he could not read the newspaper. Not the newspaper, books, street signs, any written text. In the night he suffered a stroke that affected the part of his brain responsible for reading. He could write but could not read.

The Man Who Forgot How to Read is Engel’s story of his struggle to regain reading, from the day of the stroke to the day of the manuscript completion that is this memoir. I say it isn’t a literary masterpiece because compared to something like Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ memoirs, this is plain writing. It’s not literary writing that flows into the memoir. It’s the straightforward story of a man who lost a significant part of his identity over night. An author who cannot read.

I do think it is a masterful work regardless. The incredible journey Engel takes in order to read and write and complete not just this manuscript but a new Benny Cooperman novel is worth recognition. Oliver Sacks, who writes the afterword, thinks it’s remarkable as well.

The Man Who Forgot How to Read by Howard Engel is published by Harper Collins Canada. Check out their website for more details on the book.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Book Review: The Good Lie by Don Bailey

I just finished reading The Good Lie by Don Bailey, novelist and coordinator of the Professional Writing Cooperative Education Program at the University of Victoria. Don is a great self-promoter and initially contacted me in October last year before my trip to Malta. We have some mutual friends, including novelist and editor Wayne Tefs.

Because of Don’s position in the literary community, I felt the urge to give this novel a rather academic reading. But I fought that urge and instead enjoyed it as a novel rather than as a literary exercise. What I like about the book most is that the ending is not the ending I expected.

The novel starts plainly enough. Paul is on a kayak trip, the last in a series of lessons. He and another guest become separated from the group during the foggy return trip. There is a boat that topples them into the water, some panic, and other drama, all of which results in the other guest going into a coma and Paul being investigated as part of a lawsuit.

The quote at the beginning of the book, by Ben Stillwell, Paul’s lawyer, sums up the main thread of the novel: “In this profession you see everything. The thieves, the cokeheads, the pimps and prostitutes—of course they lie. Everybody expects them to lie. But sometimes, the good lie, too.”

This is exactly what Paul does. He lies about Jenny, the other guest, panicking and nearly drowning him. He lies about knocking her off him with his paddle, which likely resulted in her coma. He lies to his wife about the sense of fear and threat he feels about the pending lawsuit. It’s a book of lies.

Normally Paul isn’t the type of character I have any sympathy for. He is a coward. I can’t say he is a redeemable coward but my sympathies for him do increase at the book goes on, and as I mentioned at the beginning, the end of this book is not what I expected.

The Good Lie by Don Bailey is quite an enjoyable read—part literary, part soul searching, part crime drama. Thank you Don for introducing me to The Good Lie.

For those interested readers of fiction, I noticed on Don Bailey’s website, TheGoodLie.com that there is a book club section that offers 27 different questions and conversation points. I definitely think The Good Life is book-club worthy and Don’s dedication to providing a worthwhile website for readers is commendable.

The Good Lie by Don Bailey (published by Turnstone Press).

Johnny Bunko Video Sells Books

In my never-ending quest to find a good use for book trailers, I’ve discovered Johnny Bunko.

Johnny Bunko trailer from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

Does this work?

Here’s what happened for me.

I like books and am always on the lookout for new books.

I subscribe to a bunch of email newsletters, in particular business newsletters and technology newsletters.

GrokDotCom is one of the newsletters and last week they wrote about the Johnny Bunko video.

I clicked on the link and watched the video, which is pretty cool.

Here’s what hooked me. I read and loved What Colour Is My Parachute? I religiously avoided Who Moved My Cheese? because it was the career book of business books for a time. The video nicely positions Johnny Bunko as THE career book of its time—the book for the new generation of employees entering the workforce.

Now I’m curious and want to read the book.

So mission accomplished. Effective video.

(Plus, I’m interested enough to write about the book and video here.)

What do you think of the video? Do you have another example of marketing unpacked?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I’m Learning to Make Natural Perfume

Ayala Moriel Parfums

Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfum, who I met at Portobello West a couple of months ago is teaching a class on how to make natural perfumes. I had my first class on Saturday and it was awesome.

I smelled Rose Absolute, Basil Oil, Labdumum and all sorts of interesting things that one day I’ll make into perfumes. Yippee.