Friday, June 24, 2011

Neil Gaiman, Pottermore and Tea and Books, the Perfect Combination

First up, from Shelf Awareness Pro, a great interview with the marvelous Neil Gaiman on his forthcoming television series of American Gods:

In an interview with MTV,
Neil Gaiman discussed the newly released 10th anniversary edition of
American Gods, as well as an adaptation he is working on for HBO. Gaiman
is attached as executive producer and will co-write the series pilot
with cinematographer Robert Richardson. The project is being developed
by Tom Hanks's Playtone production studio.

"The overall plan right now is that the first season would essentially
be the first book, with a few interesting divergences," Gaiman said.
"You don't want people who've read the book to be able to go, 'I know
everything that's going to be happening here.' [They will] know a lot
more than anybody who's starting from here, but we will do things that
will surprise [them] too."

MTV also asked Gaiman about his plans for an American Gods sequel. "I've
been [planning] to do a second American Gods book since the first
American Gods book," he replied. "What I basically have right now is a
boxful of stuff. Things go into it. I always knew there was going to be
more story. The first book was very much about the grifters and the
lowlifes, and you don't really get to see much of the new gods and you
don't really get a sense of those gods who are doing incredibly well in
America. In the second book, I definitely want to go into both of those

JK Rowling's new website, Pottermore, was unveiled yesterday as being a site for e-books and for new tidbits about Harry Potter and his world. The reaction from booksellers was mixed, because they feel betrayed by Rowling selling e-books on her site and taking that money away from the stores that supported her work through the years. Others admire her marketing savvy for doing things in a way that will only bring more money into her already sky-high hoard:

Pottermore lives! And will sell e-books! With the launch of yesterday, J.K. Rowling
"shocked and thrilled her fans in equal measure" with details about her
latest venture, which will feature "a wealth of new and previously
unpublished material about the world of Harry Potter," the Guardian
reported. Although there is not another Potter novel on the horizon,
"the fresh Potter material--to be unveiled later this year--already
stretches to 18,000 words about the novels' characters, places and
objects, with more to come."

"The Hogwarts' Express money train is riding back into town," noted the
Guardian's Sam Jordison,
who gave high marks to the author for her marketing savvy: "Once again,
J.K. Rowling and her marketing team have left the rest of the publishing
world standing while she blazes a trail into the record books. I'll eat
my hardback copy of The Deathly Hallows if the Harry Potters aren't the
fastest-selling e-books in history by the end of this year--and I can
only tip my hat in admiration....

"The most impressive thing of all, though, is the way Rowling has
managed to present the whole thing as an act of altruism. 'I wanted to
give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly
over the years, and to bring the stories to a new generation,' she says.
This isn't necessarily hogwash: at this stage in her fantastically
lucrative career, money presumably isn't the driving force for Rowling
and there's every chance that she does love the fans who have made her
so successful."

The Telegraph
noted that while may not be perfect, it "represents a
significant landmark for digital publishing. J.K. Rowling has not just
hauled out her manuscript and plonked it onto a website with a bit of
frilly window-dressing from a digital agency. Instead, she has labored
for a year in close collaboration with creative developers TH_NK to
curate an experience that really takes advantages of the unique
properties of the web."

The collaborative website will open initially to a million users who
register first on July 31--Harry's birthday. The full launch is
scheduled for October. Pottermore will also sell e-book and digital
audiobook versions of the Harry Potter titles directly to users
beginning in October. The digital editions, compatible with all devices,
will only be sold from the website, "thus disintermediating other
booksellers such as Amazon," the Guardian wrote.

This is exactly what I would like to do here in Maple Valley, in opening a Butterfly Books Bookstore with a tea shop inside:

In an article appropriately headlined "Tea for Two," Bookselling This
Week spoke with a pair of
booksellers who have found their niche serving tea rather than the
ubiquitous coffee/books combo.

Gary and Kathy Robson, co-owners of Red Lodge Books, Red Lodge, Mont., began selling loose tea in tins about a year ago and have since expanded by adding a serving
counter. BTW noted that even though the tea "comes from all over the
world (places of origin are marked on a large world map), Red Lodge has
made an effort to add local elements by offering tea accessories. The
bookstore sells alfalfa and clover honey from a nearby ranch, and
handmade pottery tea ware from a local artisan. The Robsons are also
working on developing some tea blends based on Montana-grown herbs."

Francine Lucidon's the Voracious Reader children's bookstore, Larchmont,
N.Y., also operates A Proper Cup. "It fits with the whole vision of the
bookstore," she said, "which is about slowing down, relaxing, and
spending time with the kids.... Tea is so much fun. It's all about
learning. It ties in with so many interesting things--it's a geography
lesson, a science lesson, and a lesson in heritage. It's fascinating,
and drinking it has more of a slower, more ambient feel."

Lucidon added that the tea shop adds a community feel to the location
and has attracted new patrons: "Sales have skyrocketed. People come in
and browse for longer, go over to the shop for some tea, and then
they're in such a good mood that they'll come back to the bookstore and
shop some more."

And finally, a booklist from Seattle's treasured book maven, Nancy Pearl, whose job I really want to have someday:

And on NPR's Morning Edition, America's favorite librarian Nancy Pearl
presented 10 Terrific Summer Reads
"When I'm ready for my next good read, I look for a book (fiction or
nonfiction) with a strong narrative voice, wonderfully drawn characters
and writing that makes me stop and savor the words the author has
written--all of which are present in these 10 terrific books."

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