Traditional book production in the U.S. declined 3.2% in 2008, but the on-demand category showed dramatic growth at "462% above levels seen as recently as 2006," according to Bowker, which compiled the statistics from its Books in Print database. Bowker projected that U.S. title output decreased to 275,232 new titles and editions in 2008 from 284,370 in 2007, based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers.
Phenomenal growth in the on-demand books sector was reflected in Bowker's projections that 285,394 on-demand books were produced last year, a 132% increase over 2007's 123,276 titles and 462% above 2006 levels.
Bowker reported that the top five categories for U.S. book production in 2008 were fiction (47,541 new titles), juvenile (29,438), sociology/economics (24,423), religion (16,847) and science (13,555).
An archive of Cormac McCarthy's work papers was opened for research purposes May 18 at the Southwestern Writers Collection of Texas State University-San Marcos. The Guardian reported that the "Pulitzer prize-winning author's notes, handwritten drafts and correspondence for each of his 10 novels are included in the archive . . . Also featured in the 98-box archive, which spans McCarthy's literary career from 1964 to 2007, is his 1994 play The Stonemason, about an African-American family in Louisville, Ky., and four screenplays, including No Country for Old Men--which McCarthy started as a screenplay in 1984 and adapted into a novel 20 years later.
"Along with his unfinished novel, which has a working title of The Passenger--access to which is restricted until it is published--the Cormac McCarthy Papers also include an unproduced screenplay, Whales and Men. The Southwestern Writers Collection also has right of first refusal to purchase all future materials relating to work by McCarthy, who it said was in the process of writing three new novels."
One four new tenants in the downtown Theatre District of Petaluma, Calif., will be the children's bookstore A Likely Story, which "will open in the Theatre Square building in August," according to the Argus-Courier. The bookstore has signed a seven-year lease.
Bethanne Patrick, host of the Book Studio, asked that word be spread throughout the land that "the #BEAtweetup [Shelf Awareness, May 18, 2009] Slanket prizes are my 'sponsorship'--I want to be sure to grab credit for these beauties."
Judith Thurman sent a dispatch from the Auckland, New Zealand, Writers and Readers Festival to New Yorker magazine's Book Bench blog describing her participation in a "powhiri," a Maori greeting ceremony. When Thurman asked her guide Muriwai Ihakara--a Maori storyteller and oral historian--about the proceedings, he said, "You were welcomed to Aotea Roa as master carvers from foreign lands who do for your people in books what we do for ours in wood."
Uruguayan author Mario Benedetti has died. He was 88. In its obituary, the New York Times praised Benedetti as "one of Latin America’s most respected, popular and prolific writers, who excelled as a novelist, poet, playwright and essayist while immersing himself in the region’s political struggles."
Once upon a time everyone believed that fairy tales were handed down through an oral tradition, but the Guardian observed that Ruth B. Bottigheimer, a professor at Stony Brook University, disputes this idea.
"It has been said so often that the folk invented and disseminated fairy tales that this assumption has become an unquestioned proposition," Bottigheimer wrote in her new book, Fairy Tales: A New History. "It may therefore surprise readers that folk invention and transmission of fairy tales has no basis in verifiable fact. Literary analysis undermines it, literary history rejects it, social history repudiates it, and publishing history (whether of manuscripts or of books) contradicts it."
Admit it; there are words you just hate. The Albany Times Union asked "why, exactly, do we have an aversion to some words, while others make our tongues (and minds) happy?"
"These reactions hinge on a combination of phonological and semantic factors," said Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus. "The word moist may trigger negative reactions, but not rhyming words like hoist or joist."
Subscribers to the Visual Thesaurus can pick their favorite and least favorite words. Most often selected as favorites are love, serendipity, grace and peace. Topping the least favorite list are hate, no, like and impossible.
Barb Burg, most recently senior v-p and executive director of publicity and public relations for the Bantam Dell Publishing Group at Random House, has founded barb burg, ink, a publicity, public relations, media and brand management company. Burg, who said that she has "created, directed and executed more than 1,000 book publicity campaigns" in her 24-year career, intends to work "one-on-one with authors and clients to personally develop and execute their customized publicity, media and publishing plan."
Last year she worked on more than 50 book campaigns, including campaigns for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by MaryAnn Schaeffer and Annie Barrows and The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. She was also spokesperson for Bantam Dell.
Burg can be reached at email@example.com, 914-591-3390, 144 Trails End, Irvington, N.Y. 10533, and barbburg.com.