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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt? And Monique?

James, Chris Clarke and I are in the Vancouver section of the new Where the Hell Is Matt? video. More photos to come ...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book Reviews The Lazy Way

Wow, way too much travel and too little time to review the stack beside the bed. Here’s a quick look at what I’ve been cruising through reading wise.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Track Your Amazon Ranking Via Twitter

The Amazon ranking for your title gives you an idea of how popular your book is in the past hour. A rank of 1 = the best, hottest selling book. The challenge with tracking your rank is that it changes over the day and doesn’t really tell you overall how you’re doing, just how you’re doing that hour.

Admittedly you can make assumptions about how well your book is doing by looking at different ranges, 1-1000 being damn good.

You can track your Amazon ranking by RSS or Twitter:
Booklert from MCQN.

Recycle Your Crocs

imageSoles United is taking used Crocs (those holey shoes) and recycling them into new shoes, then donating them to people in need around the world. To date, Soles United has donated over a million shoes to people in need in places like Armenia, Cambodia, Chad, Darfur, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Philippines, Romania, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. Quite the list.

Check out the Soles United website for a video on how it works and how to donate.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thank Your Donor: Canadian Blood Services Online Campaign

You may have seen it in the Globe and Mail or heard about it on the tv or radio, this week (June 9-14) was National Blood Donor week.

Canadian Blood Services, the national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the blood supply in Canada (except for Quebec), is running a campaign called “Because”. It’s purpose is to encourage people to donate blood, but also valuable platelets and plasma.

I like that the campaign ties the process of giving blood to the process of receiving it. Part of the campaign portrays blood recipients thanking the donors who have improved or even saved their lives.

Thankyourdonor.ca is a place where recipients can share their stories, photographs and videos about how receiving blood or blood products made a difference in their life.

From Canadian Blood Services:

Since blood donation is an anonymous gift, recipients normally have little opportunity to thank the people who may have saved their lives. “It is such a moving experience when recipients visit blood donor clinics to share their stories and thank donors for their generosity,” says Steve Harding, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at Canadian Blood Services. “With this social media initiative, we are trying replicate that experience on a wider scale so that more donors can witness first-hand the power of their donation.”

Personal stories can have a powerful impact on people’s motivations to donate. It can come across as a cheesy, overt play on emotions, or it can be a true heartfelt story from donors and recipients.

I like this video. It’s informational and personal.

Do you have a story to tell?

ThankYourDonor.com or YouTube.com/thankyourdonor or post comments here.

Have you given blood before? Do you regularly donate?

Have you ever received blood? I don’t know if I know anyone who’s received blood. Have you received blood?


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Quillpill: A Twitter for Cellphone Novelists

Quillpill is a micro-blogging site, which is currently in private beta. The service lets users write and read content on mobile devices. Yes, it’s another version of Twitter, but Techcrunch had an interesting article about how Quillpill takes a totally different approach by wanting to know what stories you would like to tell. The site is primarily aimed at aspiring authors and readers of fiction.

See the full TechCrunch article ...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Book News Round-Up

Quick post of links I want to share and remember for later…

Borders is finally free of Amazon and has launched its own ecommerce site.

US Bookstores are looking for ways to pull people into the store: tvs, music and other digital bits. The US publishing industry is worth $37-billion according to this LA Times article. Good info about online marketing activities of publishers and who’s doing what.

E-books still unnerving publishers. “Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, spent much of a packed session on Friday evangelizing about the Kindle, which he said already accounts for 6 percent of his company‚Äôs unit sales of books that are available in both paper and electronic formats.”

Carolyn K. Reidy, the chief executive of Simon & Schuster, said “electronic book sales last year totaled about $1 million, a sliver of its annual sales of roughly $1 billion.”

And here’s something ironic. Despite the fears of e-books, “Electronic readers have nevertheless gained many fans in the publishing industry. Random House and Penguin, among others, have equipped their entire sales force with electronic-book readers, allowing them to avoid having to lug around as many preview editions of books. Editors at many of the larger publishing houses also use the devices to read manuscripts submitted by agents and authors.”

The National Book Critics Circle’s Campaign to Save Book Reviews is meant to thwart the disappearance of book review sections in newspapers and magazines.

More stats and facts about the declining coverage for books in the Columbia Journal Review. Interesting reader comments follow.

Wall St Journal on how the scarcity of ad revenue endangers newspaper book review sections.

New York Times on “Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?”

Fascinating look at Pan MacMillan’s publishing manifesto. Also interesting reader comments.






Friday, June 06, 2008

Quillr Multimedia Book

I was speaking to Nicola Furlong the other day about her new mystery novel which is newly published as a Quillr. A Quillr is a multimedia version of a book that uses actors to portray certain scenes, audio effects, text and images.

Then I saw mention of it in the Globe & Mail yesterday. Nice coincidence!

Nicola and I were talking about other works that experiment with multimedia, in particular two of my favourites:

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

This book is a study in what what world would look like without humans. The book is one of James’ favorites. It stimulates a lot of thoughts and questions about the world. The website is a multimedia experience that extends your ability to explore the ideas in the book. There are podcasts, interactive google maps (which are pretty cool—and my favourite part of the site), flash-based book trailer, an interactive slideshow, and audio clips.

Hot Springs by Steve Zio

Zio calls his work an iNovel. The physical book references the website and you can move back and forth between the two to listen to the music referenced in the book or other elements.

Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, produced by DNA Media
This is the closest I’ve seen to what Nicola is doing and unfortunately DNA has gone bankrupt and you can no longer access the site. There was a website, DVD and book. The website moved you through the novel in a fascinating way, it was all done in Flash I believe and it was a really integrated story experience. You were able to “choose your own adventure” which was part of reading and understanding the work. I loved the music in it and am very sad that it’s lost.

Now about Nicola ...

Here Ends the Beginning by Nicola Furlong
Nicola’s latest novel, a supernatural thriller entitled Here Ends the Beginning, is available online in a multi-media storytelling format that she calls a Quillr.

Nicola says:

Much more than a conventional e-book, a Quillr is an innovative and interactive fusion of book, movie and soundtrack. The text of Here Ends the Beginning is punctuated throughout with video clips and photographs of actors recreating the characters and scenes. Music and sound effects further enhance this novel experience ...

Here Ends the Beginning is a dramatic, compelling story about the devastating consequences of manipulating science and desecrating the laws of God and nature.

The first five sensory-enhanced chapters are offered for free online at http://www.hereendsthebeginning.com, with the full 43-chapter entertainment package available for $12.95 Canadian.

What do you think of the site? Feedback for Nicola?

Post your comments here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Get London Reading

Get London Reading

Osocio is a great site dedicated to social advertising and non-profit campaigns. On Friday, they had a cool piece on a London streetart campaign aimed at encouraging Londoners to make more time for reading.

The campaign Osocio is referring to is a Booktrust website called GetLondonReading.co.uk.

The campaign uses streetart and a interactive map to showcase books set in different neighbourhoods in London.

The campaign started at street level on Tuesday 25 March and ran throughout April. The book campaign also featured more than 20 library-based author events.


See photos on Flickr of the stencil art…