Archive for January, 2009


We have written several blogs about the popular Kindle from Amazon and how it could potentially replace traditional books (as well as similar devices). We here at Editorial Campana, being a book publishing company and all, try to keep up with the latest literary technology and news. Recently we stumbled across a new program that may have Kindle beat. And it’s not the only one. This new program/device/technology is called eReader. It is part of the iPhone’s application store (it is also available for many other portable devices and computers). So how does it work?

Like Kindle, you go to the eReader website and search for a book that you would like to add to your iPhone. Once you do this, you can download the book (after buying it) and then add it to your “bookshelf.” You can do this all wirelessly or you can add the book to your computer to have a much larger screen. Kindle has a similar feature that allows you to upload a book wirelessly, but here’s the catch- you have to buy Kindle for $359! The iPhone and other cell phones are much cheaper. The application is free unless you buy the pro. Looks like eReader has you beat here Kindle.

picture-11This application for your iPhone comes with a lot of great features. You can go to any page very easily and save your progress in case you need to come back to your book later. The settings section allows you to change the font size and style, change the way the pages turn (to give it amore realistic feeling), and change the screen color (black/white or reverse). And just like with the iPhone you can change from portrait to landscape depending on what you like better.

Sounds like this free application does it all. It has a very easy user interface and if you go to the website, they say they are always working on updates to make the application even better. Probably the best feature is that since this is a wireless device, it works on the 3G network or any Wi-Fi network so that you can always access your bookshelf. The only downside may be getting the books. With the computer you just go to eReader.com and purchase the book that you want. After you have bought it you can use the iPhone to update your bookshelf with your new content. We haven’t figured out how to do this on the iPhone yet (aside from the quick link to the eReader site), so we are not so sure that you can do that. As long as you have access to a computer though, your bookshelf is your mobile library. The application also works with Fictionwise and manybooks.net. There is the ability to import books from other sites, but the featured ones are easy and convienent. 

Another downside that we found was that the books were pricey for digital content as oppose to Kindle editions. For example the new Dean Koontz book, “The Good Guy,” cost about $5 for the Kindle edition whereas the eReader edition cost about regular price (about $8). The eReader does provide a program that allows you to get a discount of 15%. This program is known as the eReader Rewards program. So although the books may cost more, if you are an avid book reader, earning points will be quick and you will se significant discounts shortly thereafter. 

As more people are turning towards digital books, it looks like there are many more options now than just Kindle and the Sony device. We think it’s great that the iPhone has this application because aside from having to shell out more money and carry another device, the features are great and you will always have it with. Did we mention that the iPhone is much smaller than the Kindle?

Here is the tv ad that showed the world that the iPhone was launching into the digital reading device realm:

If you live in Washington and read the Washington Post, you might notice something different with the Sunday edition. It’s Book World (a book review section of the newspaper) is moving and being integrated into the newspaper instead of having its own section. The Post launched Book World in the 1960s, folded it as a separate section in 1973 and was reviewed in the early 1980s.   Instead book reviews will be found in the outlook section of the newspaper on Sundays, and in the style and arts section during the week.  As well, Style will have a daily Book World review and touch upon literature and publishing topics. The section will also house interviews and profiles of authors more prominently than in the past. So ends another chapter in book review history.

The Washington Post has decided to shutter the print version of Book World, its Sunday stand-alone book review section, and shift reviews to space inside two other sections of the paper.

Book World, aside from the book review section in the NY Times was one of the last standing book review only sections found in a newspaper across the country. Why has the newspaper decided to make this change? In a nutshell, advertising decreased making the section no longer practical:

“The advertising in Book World didn’t justify the amount of space that we dedicated each week to books coverage,” [stated] Marcus Brauchli, executive editor of The Post, in a phone interview.

The last “issue” of Book World is scheduled to be between February 15-22. It will continue to be published online as an independent section. When rumors arose that the section would be turning it’s last page, many signed a petition in hopes of bringing back the section. The Book World section, as many suggested, honored books and highlighted their significance simply by having a section to itself. Although the attempts to keep Book World alive failed, many were happy that section would at the very least be available on the internet.

Yet there are some who are saying that like other media that gets support, so should book review sections in newspapers:

Douglas Brinkley, the historian, suggested that the book industry and book reviews deserved some kind of public bailout. “I think that just like public television — I think book review sections almost need to get subsidized to keep the intellectual life in America alive,” Mr. Brinkley said. “So if we can do that for radio, and we could do it for television, why can’t we do it for the book industry, which is terribly suffering right now?”

Despite the state of the economy, should newspapers be subsidized in order to make sure sections are kept in print? As he states, the book industry is suffering dramatically right now, and this change could have even more negative implications. If there is no book review section to inform the public about must-reads and new books, how are they to know about them (especially if they do not have access to the internet)?

Luckily, the NY Times still has it’s own section for book reviews. This change by the Washington Post makes the NY Times Sunday section the largest:

publishing at least 24 and as many as 30 or more pages a week with a staff of 15 and contributions from dozens of freelance reviewers. In addition to being included in the Sunday paper, the Book Review is sold as a separate section to 23,500 subscribers. An additional 4,200 copies of the section are sold in bookstores across the country.

Unless you live in NY, it may be harder to find book reviews in your favorite newspaper (or any newspaper).

caribbeancovermariopicayo1

Will talk to the public and present three copies of his book to the National Library, including a Special Edition courtesy of the First Lady of the US Virgin Islands.

 

New York resident, Caribbean author Mario Picayo will present his children’s book A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) and talk to the audience this Friday at 12:30 PM as part of the events celebrating the re-opening of the National Library. At 10 AM, during the opening ceremonies, Mr. Picayo will present three signed copies of the popular book to the library, including one copy of a Special Edition made exclusively for the United States Virgin Islands. The copy arrives courtesy of the First Lady of the US Virgin Islands, Cecile de Jongh as a gift to the children of Barbados. Mrs. De Jongh is a well-known literacy advocate. Several copies of A Caribbean Journey have also been purchased by the Library and will be available to its patrons and its many branches.

A Caribbean Journey from A to Y has been a commercial and critical success.  Dominican writer Silvio Torres-Saillant (An intellectual history of the Caribbean) wrote, “The images and the words combine to disrupt many of the visual and discursive stereotypes that often recur in representations of the Caribbean. I can think of no better book for children to begin the lifelong adventure of knowing the Caribbean”.  Glen “Kwabena” Davis, Director of the US Virgin IslandsEducation Department’s Culture Division, said “Mario Picayo’s A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is a book sure to motivate kids to read it over and over. The illustrations and the artistic appeal of the book make it really stand out among other children’s books.”          

Published at the end of 2007, The 64 page, hardcover, fully illustrated book has gather steam with each passing month, selling over 10,000 copies in December 2008 and becoming an Americas Award Commended Title. 

The back cover describes it as a “fun and educational journey through the Caribbean Islands, one letter at a time! From Aruba to Trinidad and from avocado to yam, the reader learns the names of many of the islands, plus fascinating facts about them.  A Caribbean astronaut? From which island? An island with over 300 rivers? Seals in our tropical waters?  And wait until you see what happened to the Z”.

Mr. Picayo is making his visit to Barbados onboard the Norwegian Gem as part of a multi-island presentation tour.  “He wants to introduce the book personally, to each Caribbean island where it is sold, or will be sold”, according to McKinley Matteson, Assistant Manager at Campanita Books, publisher of A Caribbean Journey.

On Wednesday Picayo will be visiting his old home, St Thomas, Virgin Islands to receive the Special Edition of the book destined for the National Library from the hands of First Lady de Jongh.  On Thursday he will visit Antigua,and make the book officially available on the island. Mario will also speak at the Island Academy, a private school, and by invitation of the Ministry of Education at a primary public school.  Later in the afternoon he will visit the Antigua Public Library to present copies of his book, and of other titles published by Editorial Campana to Ms. Dorothea Nelson, Chief Librarian.  

Meet the author, and take a first look at the Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) at 12:30 at the National Library Service’s new Independence Square Headquarters.

For further information please call the National Library Services at 246-435-3371 or visit www.Editorialcampana.com to read the full press release.

 

Campanita Books is happy to announce that A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) Sold over 10,000 copies in December, and was selected as a  2008 Americas Award Commended Title.
 What’s so Special about this ABC? Read the following selected Reviews and Comments:

“This very original alphabet book gives brief descriptions of many aspects of the geography, animal species and history of the Caribbean. Even though a reader might consider an alphabet book as appropriate only for beginner readers, this one has so much information and poetic language, that older, more mature children will benefit from the information conveyed. Colorful and detailed naïve illustrations accompany the text. The best part of the book is finding out what the Z means to the Caribbean”. (gr K-4)
— 2008 Americas Award Commended Title

“A Caribbean Journey from A to Y, written by Mario Picayo and illustrated by Earleen Greiswold, describes insular portions of the Caribbean region in a manner that truly teaches and delights the child reader for whom the book is intended. Told as an account of the letters of the alphabet, the verbal side of the story engagingly caters to the child’s curiosity offering invaluable information about the flora, the fauna, the landscape, and the human populations of the region. Picayo delivers historical details throughout with beautiful simplicity, as in the explanation of “what happened to Z,” which alerts readers to the slavery period and the presence of Africans in the cultures of the region. With equal command of well chosen details, Griswold’s visual side of the story of Caribbean Journey from A to Y depicts the rural, the urban, the past, the present, tradition, and change without resorting to binaries, while giving women their due at the center of life in the Caribbean and suggesting the region’s racial and cultural diversity. The images and the words combine to disrupt many of the visual and discursive stereotypes that often recur in representations of the Caribbean. I can think of no better book for children to begin the life-long adventure of knowing the Caribbean”.
–Silvio Torres-Saillant. Author of An Intellectual History of the Caribbean

“Mr. Picayo, from his personal experiences, has compiled a fascinating collection of historical and natural facts.
All young people in our islands and elsewhere, would gain immense knowledge and enjoyment from the lively narrative and brilliant illustrations. A Caribbean Journey should be on everyone’s reading list.”  
–Prof. Roy L. Schneider, M.D., Former Governor, United States Virgin Islands

“Mario Picayo’s A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is a book sure to motivate kids to read it over and over. The illustrations and the artistic appeal of the book make it really stand out among other children’s books.”
–Glenn “Kwabena” Davis, Director of the V.I. Education Dept’s Culture Division

“From a Caribbean perspective, this book is relevant to children living in the Caribbean and also to those children living outside the region. A Caribbean Journey is a must have in every library, and great learning tool in which a person of any age could pick up and learn a thing or two.”
–Myron Jackson, Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute

“ A simple search in the Internet will tell us that few ABC book about the Caribbean exists. Another, more complex search allows us to see that these kinds of texts usually are limited to the normal experiences of a traditional US or European child. A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z), published by Campanita Books is an alternative to bigger publishers that don’t yet know the market or tastes of Latino and West Indian families nor take them into account in their marketing. This book is a learning experience on many levels, in terms of text and illustrations. The simple name of an island is made into new and valuable information to add to children’s vocabulary when we discover that “St.” means saint and that there is a big island that an astronaut comes from. In the illustrations we see people of all colours and sizes, carrying out different activities that are particular to the Caribbean. These are today’s natives, past natives, tourists and dozens of starting points for lessons on history, science music and vocabulary. But a child isn’t given a book only because of the lessons we can get them to learn. A book is an object that activates the imagination and transports them to other worlds. For a nine year old child, like mine, a book has to provide just the right details to fire his desires and passion. It could be the birds or the iguanas, the flags, the volcanoes the indigenous people or the yachts. A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) has all of these and more. It’s written to entertain and educate and to leave us with more questions to answer. At the end, the Z surprises us with an invitation to make a leap across the Atlantic and continue the journey”.
–- Tanya Torres is a Puerto Rican artist, cultural activist and writer who lives in New York. In 2002 she was selected as one of the 50 Women of the Year by El Diario/La Prensa, New York’s oldest and most read Spanish language newspaper.

picture-9

 

A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) 
ISBN: 978‐0‐9725611‐8‐1 Format: Hardcover Price: $19.95 Number of pages: 64  
Available at your favorite bookseller,
including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

With the increase in technological advancements, it’s hard to imagine that reading would be rising in popularity. Maybe not quite as it was in 1982, but a turn for the better at the very least.

picture-1According to the new finding, the  National Endowment for The Arts both men and women are reading more, young adults reading rose about 21%, and Hispanic’s were found to have the highest reading increase among ethnic groups- over 20%. This comes at a crucial time when many bookstores are fearing the worst with the condition of the economy. There may be hope after all. Although the same study found that roughly 15% are reading online, the fact that reading (in fiction, novels, and short stories) is on the rise may help to increase profits for publishers, authors, and even bookstores.

“Four years ago the endowment released the report “Reading at Risk,” which showed that fewer than half of Americans over 18 read novels, short stories, plays or poetry.”

As you can see from the chart on the right, since 1982, reading took a heavy hit up until 2002. This finding may have also helped support why reading scores were decreasing within the same group. So what caused the jump to 50.2%?

The answer might surprise you. 

“Reading is an important indicator of positive individual and social behavior patterns. Previous NEA research has shown that literary readers volunteer, attend arts and sports events, do outdoor activities, and exercise at higher rates than non-readers.”

Reading seems to be an outlet for positive activities. Maybe some good has come out of the state the economy is in and the fact that “bad” news seems to be abundant. People need a way to feel good about themselves. By reading, people feel smart, journey to far off places, and get a sense of accomplishment when turning that last page. This is what people need right now, when everything else seems to be chaotic.

Yet we must keep in mind that even though reading is on the rise, it is still not at all where it used to be. We need to find a way to get back to the day when people read and over read. Despite technology- in fact technology should be helping with devices such as the kindle, reading needs to become more of a norm. 

Even if this finding is due to the fact that books such as “Twilight,” “The Lord of the Rings, and other popular titles have hit the hearts of young readers, maybe authors are finally getting to their public. A book needs to be fun and interesting if it is going to be read for pleasure.  

Editorial Campana and Campanita books publish a variety of books, in English and Spanish. We are doing our part to make sure that reading continues to rise. If you are an avid reader or just love to read, please check out our books- they are sure to keep you entertained are a great read.

 

We just received this email from a very loyal fan (THANK YOU):

“Hi everyone,

A friend of mine just gave my little nieces a really good book and I want to recommend it to everybody as the perfect Holiday gift.  And, if you are from the Caribbean, or live in the Caribbean and have children, this book is a MUST.   I wish it had been around when I was growing up in St Thomas, Virgin Islands.

The name is A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (read and discover what happened to the Z).   It’s the best Caribbean children’sbook I hav e ever read.  It’s beautiful to look at with great drawings and the text is smart and funny, and teaches facts about the islands, but in a fun way.  The name of about every island is in it, the flags, a map, and it makes you feel good to be a Caribbean person. 

I am so pleased that this book is out, I bought five copies for some friends, and I am getting more for Christmas. You don’t even have to be a child to enjoy it. 

I can’t praise this book enough. Finally somebody wrote a children’s book for Caribbean children that will make them happy, will teach them and will make them proud of their heritage (read what the author did to the Z to understand what I mean), and it is a book of quality not some little flimsy paperback.  Hardcover, 64 pages in full color and it’s 19.95 (cheaper on Amazon.com). A bargain for such a nice book.

You will agree with me when you see it.  I bought it at  Amazon.com  [can also be bought through Editorial Campana] but I wish every island bookstore had it.  We got to spread the word because this book should be known and should be in our libraries and schools.”

 A Caribbean Journey from A to Y 
(Read and discover what happened to the Z)
By Mario Picayo 

Find more great titles available from Editorial Campana

As we continue to see the effects of the economy, 2009 is staying consistent with the lack of spending. What once was in the New York publishing world, has come to a halt and is seeing a new makeover (and not for the better). Publishers once lived in a world where champagne was plenty, limousines were the norm, and places hard to pronounce was the native tongue. Yet with the recession, layoffs and a decrease in publishing is setting the stage for cutbacks in the way publishers celebrate.

The numbers explain why parties once plentiful are now small in number:

“Book sales have deteriorated since the beginning of October, falling about 7 percent compared with the same period the previous year, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of sales. That slide is driving much of the immediate cutbacks, but the publishing industry is also being convulsed by longer-term trends, including a shift toward digital reading and competition from an array of entertainment options like video games and online social networking.”

With these numbers and with more people turning towards newer (and less-expensive) means of reading, the publishing world is trying to keep up. However, with the economy the way that it is, the best way to keep up is simply to cut back. Many have considered publishers and the likes to have expensive taste- eating that is. Fancy restaurants are now less visited and what is becoming normal are telephone meetings or meeting over pizza and beer.

Aside from fancy parties and places, other aspects in the publishing world are being reviewed. Cash advances for authors (which for a while were increasing) are now being reconsidered. David Rosenthal, publisher of Simon & Schuster, states that:

“You used to buy some books and you paid X because you figured it would sell 100,000 copies. Now you have to do the math saying this book may sell only 50,000 copies.”

Some say there is a silver lining here though: since there are fewer books being sold, maybe less books should be published to help make up for lost profits. This is especially true when it comes to booksellers. “They need to have some sense of what is going on in the country and what the readers are really looking for,” stated Vivien Jennings, owner of Rainy Day Books, an independent. bookstore in Fairway, Kan. Booksellers won’t want to be overstocked with merchandise that is not going to sell. If more books are published and sent to a store, then the store is left with the item. To do what with them?

The store is left with no choice but to return the books to the publishers, which in turn, decreases profit even more. Reducing the price on  books (even more) that are returned might seem like a good idea to help boost sales, but many publishers argue that in a time where the economy is the way that it is, this may not have the outcome we would hope for. Returned merchandise, for the most part, is already slashed or offered at a great discount. All this brings back memories of the great depression, in which practices were created in order to promote bookstores to take in more copies of books.

Just like the phrase, “History always repeats itself”, many see this trend as simply that. Michael Korda, former editor in chief of Simon & Schuster, saw this in the 70’s and even cutback on his habits. In the end, “everybody went back to doing what they were doing before.” Will that statement hold true for 2009?

Using Google’s book search, you can search for a book, read details, and in many cases, read several pages of the book. This is a remarkable tool for those looking for hard to find titles and for just about any book lover. Until recently this book search was limited to books that are still published. However, what about books that are no longer published? These books may still be under copyright yet are no longer in print, making it difficult for the public to get their hands on them. Until now.

“Ever since Google began scanning printed books four years ago, scholars and others with specialized interests have been able to tap a trove of information that had been locked away on the dusty shelves of libraries and in antiquarian bookstores.”

This applies to currently in-print books. A settlement that took place in October, may breathe life back into many books that are no longer in-print. The settlement would allow for a greater collection of books to be searchable and read using Google’s book search- including many that are still under copyright. As well, this settlement would allow authors and publishers (as well as google) to make profit from digital versions of books:

“Revenue will be generated through advertising sales on pages where previews of scanned books appear, through subscriptions by libraries and others to a database of all the scanned books in Google’s collection, and through sales to consumers of digital access to copyrighted books. Google will take 37 percent of this revenue, leaving 63 percent for publishers and authors.”

How does all this connect to books that are no longer in print but are still under copyright? This settlement could allow out-of-print books to be born anew in digital format and at the same time allow authors to make money from titles that have been out-of-print for years. Currently, Google has scanned roughly 7 million books into digital format. Books that have been long out of reach (but not forgotten) may soon be available simply by doing a Google book search. Losing the traditional book format, these books will be available online for readers. This method may even help increase revenue due to the fact that the publishing cost will be eliminated. 

This all sounds great. Readers will be able to get their hands (or eyes) on out-of-print books: ” Google users will have an unprecedented ability to search (for free) and access (for a fee) books that formerly lived only in university libraries.” Authors and publishers will make a profit, and Google will continue to provide a wonderful service. Even the settlement itself seemed to allow a peaceful disagreement: 

“When the agreement was announced in October, all sides hailed it as a landmark settlement that permitted Google to proceed with its scanning project while protecting the rights and financial interests of authors and publishers. Both sides agreed to disagree on whether the book scanning itself violated authors’ and publishers’ copyrights.”

Some, librarians in particular, did express fears that as this service grows, Goggle may end up increasing subscription fees. Although there are other services available, none provide the assortment of books allowed by Google. Ever since Microsoft closed it’s doors on a similar book program, Google currently monopolizes the digital book search world.

Revenues generated from Google book search, may be small but are still noticeable.

“So far, publishers that have permitted Google to offer searchable digital versions of their new in-print books have seen a small payoff. Macmillan, the company that owns publishing houses including Farrar, Straus & Giroux and St. Martin’s Press and represents authors including Jonathan Franzen and Janet Evanovich, offers 11,000 titles for search on Google. In 2007, Macmillan estimated that Google helped sell about 16,400 copies.”

It might take a while before an author with an out-of-print book notices any sort of profit. Yet there is still another service that this settlement will allow. Maybe it’s not so much the monetary aspect that will make this service so remarkable, but the cultural impact it will have. As this new service continues and expands, hopefully many titles, especially out-of-print Spanish titles will become accessible to those seeking to open a book that no longer exists.