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 ...

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’s 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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Figure Skating Blog Rocks

I haven’t written about tap dancing for a while so let me tell you about figure skating.

My friend Julie, who I visited in Malta last year, is back in town and actively promoting her figure skating blog, called Boot and Blade.

It’s an interesting look into the figure skating world from the perspective of someone who spent an awful lot of time on the rink skating and coaching. I have a passing interest in figure skating but Julie definitely knows how to hook me. I think I even watched part of the World’s with her last year just so I could get the inside scoop on who should or shouldn’t win and what moves were tough vs. crowd pleasers.

Check out 8 of the Worst Figure-Skating Falls.

Here’s the first.

Boot and Blade: Figure-Skating Blog by Julie Szabo

Monday, April 07, 2008

Canadian Housing and Renewal Association

CHRA Annual Congress
Did you meet me at CHRA Annual Congress: Breaking New Ground, April 2-5?

I was recently asked to share my social media expertise as a speaker at the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association’s Breaking New Ground Conference in Vancouver. The conference focus was Canada’s social housing sector, with the purpose of questioning traditional approaches to housing issues and offering fresh perspectives. In my case we were looking at traditional media approaches and fresh perspectives on media, in particular how CHRA could use online media to get support for affordable housing issues.

Canadian Housing and Renewal Association was established in 1968 and is a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening the social housing sector.

My workshop was “Everything you wanted to know about blogging, Facebook, and independent daily online magazines but were afraid to ask…”

You can see the full write up on Boxcar Marketing.

And if you are interested in community planning or housing issues, check out Rachael Ashe’s recap of some of the examples we found of communities using online tools to do community planning: Community Planning Examples.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

BC Book Prizes Finalists Announced

07 Lieutenant Governor's BC Book PrizesCongratulations to the BC publishers and authors who are shortlisted for the 2008 BC Book Prizes.

The full finalist list is available at 12:01 on the brand new BC Book Prizes website.

The BC Book Prizes website is what I’ve been working on for the last couple of months so I’m really pleased to see it live and corresponding to the announcement of the finalists.

And way to go David Chariandy of Soucouyant, Meg Tilly of Porcupine. and Douglas & McIntyre for Fred Herzog: Vancouver Photographs. These were 3 BC books that really stood out for me this year.

Go check out the new BC Book Prizes website. And if you like the new site, give them some link love. The BC Book Prizes are going to be blogging from the road this year.

Each year several authors tour the province, bringing BC books to communities across the province.

Are they coming to a town near you? Check the tour schedule.

And if you’re out of province, follow along with the tour blog.

Fun times! And, there’s some Flickr action happening too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Beautiful Children: Free eBook from Charles Bock

Charles Bock and the fine folks at Random House are giving away a free PDF of Charles Bock’s novel Beautiful Children. It’s available until midnight this Friday (February 29).

I think it is a cool idea.

Galley Cat is reporting the following:

Bock’s reasoning for approving this giveaway is simple: “I want people to read the book. If that means giving it away for free on-line, great.” UPDATE: Not that he’s letting this “free” stuff go to his head; as an anonymous tipster pointed out, in tiny, faint lettering at the bottom of the website, there’s a little note that says “© Copyright 2008. Charles Bock. This is our intellectual property, so kindly don’t fucking steal it.”

Download the free eBook until Feb 29.

(Source: Dan Wagstaff, thanks Dan!)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Widgets by Susannah Gardner

Blogging expert Susannah Gardner got into the back-end of a couple of different blog systems and showed us how to add these widgets to sidebars and content.

(And David’s blog will be just fine—she’ll fix that little code error. I’m just kidding. Adding widgets is easy.)

Couple of widgets I learned about:
* http://www.polldaddy.com (cool surveys for your site)
* http://www.thisnext.com (cool this is what you want to buy next)

Duck Stories and Northern Voice

I was telling some duck stories earlier.

Duck Photo Shoot

Matt Mullenweg: Keynote Speaker Northern Voice

Blogging & Social Media: Where do we go from here?
Presenter: Matt Mullenweg

I’m going to listen.


* Most important thing about WordPress is the Presentation, ability to change the design (someone changes presentation every second)
* Facebook, most important thing is the Inbox, ability to send spam-free messages; 2nd is the photos (50% of the page views are to photo pages)

Form Dictates Writing: the tools affect the content people post.

Tools to Check:


4 million WordPress pages per [minute? day? month?] vs 2.1 Wikipedia pages.

photomatt.net is now ma.tt

Achilles Hell of Web 2.0 is spam.

Facebook’s “request” application crap is spam. This is their first big mistake.

Respect people’s time. Single guiding principle for any software development (for anything really: advertising)

Suggestion from recent research says advertising is clicked on by lower income, less education, spend a lot of time online.Let’s verify that.

Advertising needs to evolve. (Hello AdHack)

Megabrands are going to die or be the success model for blogs? Why do you put your brand name in front of everything? Why does each brand have so many sub-brands?

Yahoo’s Flickr, Yahoo News, etc.

Danah Boyd has a great post on this.

YouTube’s related video is their prized thing.

Wikipedia has in-line links as their key thing.

Open Source:
0. the freedom to run the program for any purpose
1-3 great “freedoms” of open source (study, redistribute, improve).

Firefox, Wikipedia (open source, open sourced)

Listen to the podcast of Matt Mullenweg’s Keynote Address.

Robert Ouimet of At Large Media recorded Matt Mullenweg’s keynote address. I thought it was a great speech. He clearly thought about the audience and delivered a top notch address. I think Matt is a very smart cookie, and he totally whipped Boris and I at Wii Tennis. Next time you’re in Van Matt—I want a rematch!

Thank You Northern Voice Sponsors

Headline Sponsors 

Mt Lehman


Royal Roads    



Scribble Wiki


New Media Consortium   

Social Signal

Peer 1




Sun Microsystems    

Hop Studios

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