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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gooselane Editions Special Promotion Week

imageGooselane is running a special promotion this week. Each day they are offering one book at a discounted price. Today’s pick is Roadsworth featuring 450 reproductions of this Canadian artist’s work. It’s awesome urban art. Love it.

Go buy it right now! Only $15.

Watch for savings the rest of this week on:
YOU comma Idiot
The Famished Lover
Miller Brittain
The Black Watch
Beaverbrook: A Shattered Legacy, and
Ganong: A Sweet History of Chocolate

Gooselane Editions Special Promotion Week

imageGooselane is running a special promotion this week. Each day they are offering one book at a discounted price. Today’s pick is Roadsworth featuring 450 reproductions of this Canadian artist’s work. It’s awesome urban art. Love it.

Go buy it right now! Only $15.

Watch for savings the rest of this week on:
YOU comma Idiot
The Famished Lover
Miller Brittain
The Black Watch
Beaverbrook: A Shattered Legacy, and
Ganong: A Sweet History of Chocolate

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Smell of Money—Canada’s New $100 Bill Smells Like Maple

The smell of money

The smell of money has a whole new meaning with Canada’s new $100 bill. The enhanced security features include the smell of maple.

The frosted maple leaf window has 2 tricks (that I know about).

1. If you place the maple leaf window close to your eye and look at a light. There are hidden numbers you can see inside the circle.

2. If you scratch the maple leaf, you can smell maple.

This CTV report, including a segment with a Sannich police woman who investigates fake money, says it’s false. But as a perfumer, I can tell you it’s true.

Last weekend I was sitting in a pub with some friends and one of them knew about this feature so they got me to do a blind sniff test.

The bill smells like maple, or more precisely like immortelle. Immortelle has a herbaceous, honey scent with a hay or tobacco body. It’s maple syrup pancakes. Sweet, rich and wonderful—a double entrendre for Canada’s new $100 bill. I love the smell of money. Ingenious.

(Now I need to find a $50 and see if there’s any scent.)

UPDATE: According to this Canadian Press article “Are new bank notes maple syrup scented? Bank of Canada sets record straight”, the Bank of Canada denies there is any maple scent.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Penguin Canada Launches Razorbill.ca

Penguin Canada has launched Razorbill.ca which is actually a Ning site. I was curious about Ning in its early days and belonged to a couple of networks there so nothing really came of it. I’m interested to see what Penguin Canada does here.

Razorbill is a hub for conversations about YA fiction, pre-launch news and author chats with folks like Joseph Boyden (love him), Hiromi Goto, Charles de Lint and Carrie Mac.

I joined because of some thematic convergence that the marketers will like to know about. 1) I got my Amazon news blast recommending hot titles in January. The first title was John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I visited the book page because I liked the cover. Read the blurb to understand that it is YA fiction and has something to do with a girl who has cancer. Didn’t strike me as anything I needed to act urgently on so I carried on with my day. 2) I got an email from Robyn at Citizen Optimum introducing me to Razorbill, and including a link to grab a blogger badge, like you see below. John Green’s The Fault in our Stars is mentioned in the email. Hm. 3) I check out Razorbill and because I’m procrastinating about the day job, I sign up for an account. Then I complete the tedious form to eventually find the link to the badges. And here we are.


So anyone checked out Razorbill.ca? What do you think? Worth it?

I’m tired of all the little “community” sites. It’s like having a ton of party invites from different friends and eventually just staying home. Authors—do these sites help you? Marketers—do the analytics suggests these influence purchases directly or indirectly?


Friday, January 20, 2012

An Apple for the Teacher: Apple’s big announcement

by Rego - d4u.hu, on Flickr">iPad <img src=">

Instead of an apple for the teacher, it’s time for an Apple. Or more specifically, an Apple iPad.

On Thursday, Jan 19, 2012, Apple unveiled its plans to remake the educational landscape. There were 3 announcements that interest me as a book person and affect me as a professor.

1. A free app called iBooks Author will let me, or anyone, create a digital interactive textbook. My gears are already turning as apparently from the live blogs, it’s very fast to create an ebook, which means I can cross off that New Year’s resolution from 2011 (I believe in carry over resolutions. I still have to make bread, which was a resolution in 2008.)

2. An update to iTunes U, which lets educators share and communicate curriculum with students using the iPad. There are a number of courses that people can take for free via iTunes U. This means I should check out whether I want to offer an online marketing course via iTunes U as you can apparently design and distribute complete courses, including audio, video, books and other content. I assume there’s a paid version too? Will need to check, unless some kind soul will tell me in the comments.

3. A new textbook store called iBooks 2, which is also a free app that will feature digital ebooks for schools. Major textbook publishers are on board, and I’m excited about the enhanced ebook possibilities for textbooks.

For enhanced ebooks, iBooks really offers the best capabilities. I really hope textbook publishers create some cool stuff here!

I’m excited about the announcement. What do you think?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review: Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan


Winner of the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan begins in Paris 1940 with Sid and Hieronymus restless after a late night of recording and in search of milk in a Paris cafe. Sid is an American bass player and Hiero is a brilliant trumpet player. So brilliant that Louis Armstrong has recognized his talent and asked him to cut a record with a band he’s formed. Hiero is 20 years old, German and black. He’s arrested in the cafe that day and not heard from again.

Sid was dealing with some irritable bowels when “the Boots” came in and he watches in fear from the stairwell as Hiero is arrested. It’s his guilt we wrestle with and try to understand throughout the novel. Did he want the kid arrested? Was he really frozen in fear and should have our sympathies?

Fifty years later, Sidney Griffiths and drummer Chip Jones come to Europe for the showing of a documentary about their legendary time in Paris with Hiero, “the kid.” But Chip’s planned another itinerary, which involves visiting Hiero. He’s discovered the kid is alive, blind and living in Poland.

The novel flips back and forth from the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin and the legends of Jazz in pre-war Paris to Sid and Chip’s geriatric return. Each episode draws the reader deeper into the relationships of the band members and the local colour of Berlin and Paris in the early haze of their WWII days.

The depictions of the band playing with Louis Armstrong and recording their own record are dynamite. It’s jazz from a musician’s point of view and it’s poetic.

It was the sound of the gods, all that brass. It was the old Armstrong and the new, that mature distilled essence of a master and the boy he used to be, the boy who could make his glissandi snap like marbles, the high Cs piercing. Hiero thrown out note after shimmering note, like sunshine sliding all over the surface of a lake, and Armstrong was that water, all depth and thought, not one wasted note. Hiero, he just reaching out, seeking the shore; Armstrong stood there calling across to him. Their horns sound so naked, so blunt, you felt almost guilty listening to it, like you eavesdropping. After some minutes Chip stopped singing, left just the two golden ropes of sound to intertwine.

See more of my thoughts as part of the Vancouver Sun Book Club.

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Published by Thomas Allen
Canadian author

Half-Blood Blues on Amazon.ca


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Type Books Animated Stop-Motion Video

I spent a couple of evenings reorganizing our bookshelves at home to be colour coordinated and organized by genre. Apparently so did crazedadman (read that one more time craze dad man). Not only did he organize his own shelves, he then thought to get his wife and a ton of volunteers involved in making this stop-motion video of animated books.


Mark has directed me to another awesome site of photos of incredible bookshelves: http://bookshelfporn.com/tagged/unique

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Book Review: The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen


The Bird Sisters made me incredibly sad. The book is great. My 1-line review would be “delicate and sturdy.”

The basic plot line follows two sisters, Milly and Twiss, and one summer when everything falls apart. Their father, who’s a golf pro, has an accident and loses his form. Their mother’s scorn becomes unbearable. And then their cousin from Deadwater arrives to spend the summer while her parents get divorced, which is the ultimate fly in the ointment.

The Bird Sisters is set in the 40s in Spring Green, Wisconsin. All the pettiness of a small town runs throughout the book, as well as all the treasures. There is a delicateness to each of the characters, almost like they are about to break, yet also a sturdiness to Milly and Twiss. I’m not sure which broke my heart but there is a scene in this book where “nice” is no longer nice.

A wonderful debut. And notably, the first book that I’ve read because of the internet. There are a ton of books that I hear about online but I’ve typically had them on my radar from word of mouth, publisher catalogues, or personal recommendations. The Bird Sisters, funny enough—or perhaps intentionally—came to me via twitter. I watched this title build momentum and really wanted to read it. I even remember checking if Ardea Books had it and having no idea what the book was about, only that it was a novel. I’m glad the twitter about The Bird Sisters was legit.

Visit thebirdsisters.com to read an excerpt

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Book Review: Three-Day Road by Joseph Boyden


This is another book that I waited on too long to read. Joseph Boyden deserves all the praise this book received.

Three Day Road is about two Cree boys who join the Canadian efforts in World War I. Their bush skills and hunting are easily transposed to the trenches and sniper shooting and both become renowned for their kills.

The novel shifts between present day — Xavier’s Aunt’s visions and efforts to save her nephew from the morphine that is silently killing him while also keeping him alive — and Xavier’s flashbacks of his war days with his boyhood friend Elijah.

Elijah is the talker, the charmer and ultimately the one who is a little too good at killing.

What struck me most was the idea that there are men who are very good at war and when (if) they return to civilian life are unsettling and unsettled. Those who are good at war have difficulty that maybe those who are just lucky don’t have.

One of the characters “Fats” is perhaps lucky whereas Xavier is good. My inference is that Fats’ dumbluck will haunt him differently than the visions of killing that Xavier must contend with in his post-war days.

But the story isn’t about Fats, it’s about Xavier. And that story is very, very good.