Tag Archives: news

Buy Online, Support Your Local Bookshop

For anyone who wants to support their local bookshop but reads eBooks, or enjoys the convenience of buying online, there is a new scheme called Hive which allows you to order the books online and collect them from your local indie bookshop. The local bookshop is then paid a commission fee. Apparently, they are also paid the fee if you buy eBooks or have the books delivered to your door.

Obviously this is a commission, so it’s still good to visit the bookshop and buy direct when you can but this could alleviate some of the guilt we feel when we’re too rushed to get in for a visit! The only problem for me is that my favourite local bookshop isn’t on there yet, though another is and there’s a lot of representation for the Oxford shops.

Reading and the Riot Act

I think it says a lot about the looters we’ve been seeing mug shots of on the TV that during the riots which have broken out across the country libraries in Manchester and London have been vandalised and damaged, while the only shop at Clapham Junction to avoid looting was the Waterstones. Apparently the looters aren’t big readers.

An incredibly intelligent young woman of my acquaintance posted this quote by Martin Luther King on Facebook earlier:

“When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty & shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up & express their anger & frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard” – Martin Luther King, B’ham, Alabama, Dec 1963

On the surface an apt quote, but with respect, in this instance I disagree. What we have here is not a social protest, though it may have started out as one. I’ve worked in some rough schools in Reading and South Wales, as well as with children from pretty difficult backgrounds in Oxford, so I am aware of the challenges that some children face. Though this might be described as a by-product of these fractured backgrounds, it is not a protest against them.

This is an opportunistic mob run riot, grabbing what they can regardless of who they hurt with no aim to improve their personal circumstances, unless you count material gains such as plasma screen televisions.They are damaging the facilities which they still have left, are destroying people’s homes and livelihoods while exploiting the power of numbers. People have been killed and have had to jump for their lives from burning buildings.

I am disgusted that this is happening in this land where we really are so lucky in the opportunities life presents us when compared to other countries.

J.K. Rowling-In It

Will be tomorrow’s headline in The Sun (rolling in money, geddit?) Not that she wasn’t already, but you may have already heard that J.K.R did not sell the digital rights to her books to Bloomsbury, and I’ve been waiting for some time for her to make a move in this direction.

Following much speculation in the press that Pottermore would be a world-wide treasure hunt for hidden Harry Potter wands (sounds like great fun, if a bit unwieldy) and my own secret hope that this would be a move to a UK theme park, the Pottermore website revealed today that Pottermore would be a free website building an interactive experience around reading the Potter books. Screenshots suggest that there will be opportunities for readers to play games like wizard chess as they read about these in the books.

I’m sure that this will be a great resource for people reading the paper books who want to get more involved in the world of Potter, but it’s certain to bring the books back into world-wide focus if these features are available with the eBooks for download…

Pottermore is currently  jammed with people trying to enter their email address for updates, but you didn’t need to be a professor of divination to know that would happen. Sign up when you can for updates though, as there will be an announcement on Harry’s birthday (July 31st to muggles) to let you know how you can trial the system early.

The Return of Harry Potter?

The Owls Are Gathering (photo by A.J. Hand)

Like myself, J.K. Rowling isn’t dead, but has been busy…

Unlike myself, she hasn’t been busy with house-buying paperwork and other trivialities (as far as I know at least) but has been twiddling her wand fingers to conjure up some more Potter related excitement. I’m sure that you’ll understand my excitement, and forgive my flowery language, when you check out Rowling’s newly registered website where Owls are gathering ready to deliver some big Potter news in 5 days time.

If you can’t wait that long for your next Potter fix, why not relive those heady days as a Potter virgin by reading through this great online journal.

In less exciting news, I’ve been quiet, but I’ve been reading, so expect more from me soon.

Author Attacks! Mayhem at BigAl’s

She may have designed her own cover too...

This may be a bit controversial, but something that really annoys me is the misuse of the term “indie” when it comes to publishing. Indie to me (and the publishing company I work for) denotes an independent publisher. Self publishing is still known as the vanity press. Sorry.

Of course, lots of writers don’t want to say that they self publish, because, let’s face it, most people are of the opinion that if you didn’t get a contract with a publisher (indie included here) your book isn’t going to be that good. I know that there are numerous examples of people who have self published and gone on to have great success, and many will cite a variety of reasons (other than flat-out rejection by publishers) for deciding to self publish. Fair enough.

Wherever you stand on the issue of self publishing, you can’t help but notice that there has been a widespread attempt to rebrand self publishers recently. Because of course there will be some genuinely talented writers who aren’t what publishers are looking for, and why not challenge the stigma? Good for them.

Not everyone is making such an effort to cooperate with the rebranding of the vanity press though. You’ll have been hard pressed to miss the recent case of semi literate self publisher Jacqueline Howett who, when faced with a negative review, had an almighty meltdown on BigAl’s Books and Pals, a review website devoted to reviewing books from the indie press. Reading Jacqueline Howett’s comments on Big Al’s blog, I highly doubt her claims that she is from England, or any other English-speaking country. I don’t know how else to explain the misuse of the English language.

I won’t be reading any of her books, not matter how great she claims they are. The only way to have made these comments any funnier for me would have been for her to extend her poor spelling to the book’s title The Greek Seaman.

Thank you Jacqueline, thank you for your crazy comments which went viral around my office and brightened up an otherwise boring day.