The Fine Books & Collections October 2009 issue has an article on Jane Austen to announce the upcoming exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum which will run from November 6, 2009 – March 14, 2010.
*Fine Books & Collections has released its first online issue, with articles by Nicholas Basbanes and others, several of the columns from the print issue, and lots of links. In the “Letters to the Editor”, this is the editor’s response to the lament of the demise of the printed version:
After six years of publishing Fine Books, we had 4,000 subscribers and comparable numbers in newsstand sales. Research suggests there are roughly 300,000 book collectors in the U.S., yet we weren’t reaching them in print. When we made the commitment, starting last December, to put more editorial content online, traffic on our web site jumped from 8,000 page views to 24,000 pages views—in a single month. Our short-term goal is 100,000 pages, and we think we’ll be there in the second quarter of 2009. The reality is that more people are using Fine Books online than ever did in print.
The content will be just as good. We may lose some people, but if new subscribers to our e-letter are any indication, collectors are excited about our efforts.—Ed.
[I like the format and the content, but I will forever miss the hand-held journal that I could take anywhere, read anytime...I am stuck at this computer way too long each day as it is.]
[Spring Wildflower ABC, from an article on book artists Donna and Peter Thomas of Santa Cruz, California in the January online FB&C]
*A nice article in the Boston Globe by Janet Mendelsohn on the bookstores, both new and used, in Montpelier, Vermont, the smallest capital in the country, and a budding book town.
*A reminder that Otter Creek Books in Middlebury Vermont will be hosting Beth Kanell, author of the young adult book The Darkness under the Water on Saturday, January 10th at 10 a.m. This story weaves together Abenaki Indian heritage, nature, Eugenics, and Vermont History. The setting is 1930 Vermont. Following a reading, Ms. Kanell will discuss how to do research in a used bookstore for crafting historical fiction. Kanell will be available to sign books. For further information on Beth Kanell visit http://www.bethkanell.com/. Kanell owns Kingdom Books, a used bookstore in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Both Kingdom Books and Otter Creek Used Books are members of the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association (VABA). Refreshments will be served – from Middlebury Bagel & Deli.
* An article about a new website about rural New England booksellers at PR.com; see the site at Guide to Rural New England Booksellsers, an online effort to encourage people to visit their local bookshops rather than shopping for books online…
*Another bookstore closing, this one in New York City, the Librairie de France in Rockefeller Center, largely due to an increase in rent from $360,000. to one million $$ per year. See this article at Yahoo News.
*The New York Times on Google’s Hopes to open a Trove of Little-seen Books.
*Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers in London is offering a collection of 200 antique newspapers for £4,800…see this article at The Independent for more information.
Just some random thoughts on books as gifts:
*This article in the Grand Junction [CO] Free Press by Marjorie R. Asturias gives great reasons to buy a book this holiday season for everyone on your shopping list
*The new J.K. Rowling book The Tales of Beedle the Bard is flying off the shelves, faster than any book in UK history, as per Guardian.uk . It is a collection of fairy tales set in the Potter world (and just 109 pages!)
*Nicholas Basbanes at Fine Books & Collections offers “Nick’s Picks”, his thoughts on books on books
*The Fine Books & Collections store offers several gift options for the book lover / book collector in your life; just a subscription to the magazine would be the best of gifts! (and no wrapping!) [note that the journal is going to be online only effective January 2009]
*David Baddiel writes on “why you should only collect books by writers you love” at The Times online.
*The Guardian online has published various excerpts from books shortlisted this year for the “bad sex scene award”. These are books you may, or may not, want on your shopping list…but at least they are worth a chuckle or two! Rachel Johnson won the award for her book Shire Hell; while John Updike was praised for his lifetime achievement!
*This of interest to all librarians and book-lovers and those horrified by censorship from the Bibliophile Bullpen: Thomas Bowdler Rides Boldly into the 21st Century : can it be true that people actually have torn out pages of the book “Girl Interrupted” and returned them to the students appropriated cleansed?? Click here for the original article in the New Rochelle (NY) News.
*An article in The Rutland [VT] Herald on the Local First movement ~ remember this when you are making up your book shopping lists
*An article by Margaret Drabble on Doris Lessing: “Ahead of her Time” atGuardian.uk
Penguin Classics has re-released John Steinbeck’s retelling of Mallory’sLe Morte d’Arthur, The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights. “John Steinbeck enjoyed Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur at the age of 9 and was inspired by the magic of it. Now, with Steinbeck’s modernization packaged as a beautiful new Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, and with a vibrant new foreword by renowned fantasy author Christopher Paolini, a new generation of future writers can discover this timeless work.” [Penguinclassics.com]
*Scrapbooks: An American History by Jessica Helfand is being touted as the best coffee table book of the year: “A gorgeous visual history of American scrapbooks and their evolution over two hundred years. 242 pages, 425 photographs printed in full color. Combining pictures, words, and a wealth of personal ephemera, scrapbook makers preserve on the pages of their books a moment, a day, or a lifetime. Highly subjective, rich in emotional meaning, the scrapbook is a unique and often quirky form of expression in which a person gathers and arranges meaningful materials to create a personal narrative. This richly illustrated book is the first to focus close attention on the history of American scrapbooks—their origins, their makers, their diverse forms, the reasons for their popularity, and their place in American cultural life.” [from the website] Click here for information on the book and here for the author’s blog The Daily Scrapbook. This book is an ephemera feast!
Fine Books & Collections has announced the various changes to its current six-issues / year format: they plan to publish a monthly e-newsletter, a blog by Nicholas Basbanes, and an annual hard-copy, all available to subscribers: Here is what it says on their website:
Fine Books & Collections Launches E-letter, Blog2008-12-01 Durham, NC. Fine Books & Collections magazine announced today that it plans expand its online offering of information for collectors, while at the same time reduce its print schedule for the magazine to annually.
Beginning in January, the magazine plans to launch Fine Books “Notes”—a monthly e-letter sent to collectors free of charge. The e-letter will feature the writing of Nicholas Basbanes, Ian McKay, and Derek Hayes, all of whom had been regular contributors to the magazine.
The magazine also announced that it plans to launch the Gently Mad blog, a weekly blog journal written by Mr. Basbanes. The blog will appear on both the Fine Books & Collections web site (www.finebooksmagazine.com) and Mr. Basbanes’ own web site (www.gentlymad.com). Under agreement with Mr. Basbanes, Fine Books & Collections is taking over management of the author’s web site.
Many of the regular columnists from Fine Books & Collections magazine will now appear directly on the magazine’s web site. However, Fine Books & Collections will publish an annual compendium in November 2009, sent to all current subscribers and available for sale and digital download to others. The compendium will include content published throughout the year digitally, as well as new content and a directory.
Traffic on the publication’s web site topped subscribers to the magazine by a factor of three-fold. According to the magazine’s associate publisher, Kimberly Draper, traffic growth on the web site has been significant.
“We believe the addition of a blog by Nicholas Basbanes and adding fresh new content to the site on a regular basis will drive a considerable amount of new traffic to the site,” said Draper. “We very much want this to be a destination for book collectors, to be able to engage other collectors, find out what’s going on, and to create a more robust community.”
Fine Books & Collections magazine, which began life in 2003 as OP magazine, says it will continue to offer back issues to the print magazine for some time to come. “Our online store (store.finebooksmagazine.com) has proven to be very popular with collectors,” said Draper. “The thirty-six issues of the magazine published over the last six years—and now joined by an annual compendium—still contain a wealth of information for collectors. We think they will have a very long shelf life.”
See this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about a marathon reading of Milton’s Paradise Lost at St. Olaf College in Minnesota - a celebration of the author’s upcoming 400th birthday (December 9, 1608); there are other such plans at several colleges. Not sure I could sit through such a day!
Legacy Libraries Project at Library Thing: ”I See Dead People’s Books,” the cataloguing of famous people’s libraries. See the lists of those “completed” and those in process, and learn how to start your own project on your favorite author (I see none yet for Jane Austen but she is listed in the Proposed Libraries.)
And is it true? and so very sad to hear that Fine Books & Collections will be going solely digital beginning January 2009. And so it, too, goes the way of Biblio. See this link at Lux Mentis, Lux Orbis, with whom I heartily agree… I, too, ”want” the hard copy of these journals on my shelf. Why can we not sustain such a journal as this I wonder??