Camille Leproust publishes book that redacts itself

8 Sep

Well, hello, readers! Long time, no speak, but I have an exciting story to share.

The London Art Book Fair is coming up soon, September 26th through 28th, and an artist, Camille Leproust, has created a book that slowly blackens as it is exposed to heat, giving the reader about four hours to read the book before it fades completely to black. The book will contain the words of poet Alissa Valles alongside T.S. Eliot’s The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock (a personal favorite from adolescence). This cover is created by a separate artist, Vince Koloski, who made it to look like the drawer chest of Prufrock himself, filled with tattered, well-worn clothing.

This redaction achieved by thermal paper and heat may sound a little familiar, as Davis Schneiderman of Jaded Ibis did the same with his book Ink. and I wrote about it last year.

Bringing together artists and authors often makes for interesting projects, to deconstruct and reconstruct the book in a way that is unexpected. The London Art Book Fair is an amazing place to explore these concepts, and to see artists who are working at the cutting edge of the book medium, to see how authors and books can explore and reach more dark corners of our lives.

More info on the London Art Book Fair below:

http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/book-fair/the-london-art-book-fair

And as a reminder, my new book Desert Nights is available in all your favorite formats. Details at stackhousebooks.com. Read the review at Kirkus as well.

3D Printing Brings Picture Books to All

4 Jul

One of the important issues people in publishing often discuss is access: access to published materials despite the technology gap, wealth disparity, occasionally something called being “print-disabled,” and being actually disabled. This modern world of ours is increasingly ruled by touch-enabled, smooth, flat screens, but we don’t always think about the fact that these mediums are excluding the blind or sight-impaired. Traditional books are intrinsically exclusive in the same way, but braille has allowed words to transcend that sight-specific medium.

But what of picture books?

BeFunky_IMG_0084.jpg

3D printing is poised to be a huge part of redesigning these books into tactile experiences for the blind and sight-impaired. Right now, 3D printing lends itself to children’s books, allowing kids to follow the pictures along with their fingers as the story is read to them aloud. Sometimes formed as shapes and pictures those with sight can easily recognize, and sometimes assembled as a string of geometric shapes kids can assemble in their minds, these tactile stories are a lovely way to be more inclusive, in an increasing exclusive and siloed publishing industry.

I can’t predict how intricate or in-depth this 3D story-printing can get, but I figure there’s someone out there trying hard to make this technology work for graphic novels. Perhaps dual panels, one set up much like a script, with the braille text attributed to certain characters, the other panel with the tactile representation of pictures. Or something like that. I’m going to keep my ear to the ground about developments on this front, and please feel free to float some knowledge my way if you’ve got an insider scoop.

You can peek back at another of my posts about 3D printing in publishing, and read more about its role in kids’ picture books and the current research being done below:

1. http://mashable.com/2014/07/03/3d-printed-book/

2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2679393/Now-FEEL-Cat-Hat-Researchers-use-3D-printing-help-blind-children-enjoy-classic-bedtime-stories.html

3. The Tactile Books Project: http://www.tactilepicturebooks.org/

4. The very science-y nitty gritty of creating tactile picture books: http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/gadget/newsid=36363.php

5. Research at CU-Boulder: http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2014/06/23/picture-books-visually-impaired-kids-go-3d-thanks-cu-boulder-research-team

 

Desert Nights is HERE!!!

4 Jul

Hey friends! My brand new suspense book Desert Nights is here! It’s got sex, drugs, punk rock and psychos. I literally don’t know what else you’d want in a book.

You can get the book in paperback from at the Createspace store, or on the big online retailer websites, and in all sortsa e-versions on Smashwords. Please pick it up, and if you like it, tell a friend!

More information on my website www.stackhousebooks.com. Just check the books section.

Happy reading!

ckstackhouse_desert

Book Fairs & Festivals for Authors Summer/Fall 2014

29 Jun

Review of Desert Nights

1 Jun

Hey friends!

Kirkus Indie just posted a good review of my upcoming book Desert Nights! How exciting! You can all read the book review here:

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/courtney-stackhouse/desert-nights

And you can access my author website at stackhousebooks.com, or by clicking below:

Be1Funky_DesertNightsTag.jpg

 

The book will be available super soon. I’ll post here when it’s available.

Happy reading!

Smashwords Makes a Deal With Overdrive

26 May

Hi Indie innovation fans! Long time, no speak.

Exciting news for Indie authors! Self-publishing/small publishing house giant Smashwords has made a deal with Overdrive, the company that supplies a majority of libraries with e-book lending capabilities. This is amazing news for self-published authors, as the possibility for getting one’s work into the eyes and ears of a larger audience is much more feasible with a partnership like this.

Smashwords has been trying to create bridges between indie authors and libraries for quite a long time, and has previous agreements with Baker & Taylor Axis 360 and 3M Cloud Library, as well as with some regional library systems. Overdrive, however, is the biggest national aggregator of e-books for American libraries, and Smashwords is also curating various collections to make it easier for libraries to categorize and distribute e-books. Libraries will be given the option to purchase the complete catalog of top 100, 500 or 1,000 best-selling Smashwords authors, or can be given a curated list by genre, revealing results like the top 1,000 best-selling Smashwords mystery and thriller titles, or best-selling romance titles.

A couple cool things about this deal: The pricing and licensing terms for Smashwords titles are actually cheaper for libraries than those supplied by the Big-Five publishing houses, and some Smashwords authors have opted to offer their entire Smashwords catalogs at even deeper discounts to libraries. The new deal also offers Overdrive users the option of buying a book if it is “checked out,” via Overdrive’s “buy it now” feature. This feature is particularly interesting to me, as I have never, ever gotten an e-book immediately when I was interested in it.  I always had to wait for it to become available. But, impatient as I am, if I had the option to just buy the book I was looking for I would be quite inclined to do so.

There are lots of articles about the deal, but below are a curated stash of articles on it. Read up, and read on!

1. https://gigaom.com/2014/05/20/self-published-ebook-site-smashwords-expands-to-more-libraries-in-deal-with-overdrive/

2. http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2014/05/ebooks/smashwords-overdrive-ink-distribution-agreement/

3. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/retailing/article/62367-smashwords-overdrive-ink-global-e-book-distribution-deal.html#path/pw/by-topic/digital/retailing/article/62367-smashwords-overdrive-ink-global-e-book-distribution-deal.html

4. http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/overdrive-and-smashwords-ink-deal-to-distribute-indie-author-ebooks-to-libraries/

5. http://blog.smashwords.com/2014/05/smashwords-and-overdrive-to-bring.html

New Dystopian Novel To Have 3-D Art Cover

17 Dec

Next month author Chang-rae Lee has a new dystopian novel coming out, and it is set to be released with a limited-edition 3-D printed art cover!  Called On Such a Full Sea, its 3-D slip-cover will be printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer. Only 200 will be made, and each will cost $150. It’s not particularly practical, but it is rad!

3D cover

Picture from Riverhead Books

Lee’s release is on Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin, and reminds me of Jaded Ibis’ project “Legend“, in which globes were created out of 3-D printed sections of The Book of Earths. I hope Lee’s release is a sign more publishers and writers will fully embrace book projects as works of art, and stretch into cross-media forms of expression.

More info below:

Chang-Rae Lee’s Book to Have Limited Edition MakerBot 3D Printed Cover: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/makerbot-lets-you-make-book-covers-using-3d-printing_b80794

Order a Limited Edition Copy: http://widgets.penguin.com/Pages/affiliateLanding/index.aspx?isbn=9781594633256

Vellum Makes Life Easier for Authors

17 Dec

I get excited about almost anything that will make author’s lives easier.  A new program called Vellum helps self-publishing authors and small, indie publishers create iBook, EPUB and MOBI files without having to learn a complex program or computer language. Hooray!  Vellum offers lots of options to beautify an e-book, and you can see your changes immediately, right in the e-book display, including formatting and inlaid art. It runs only on Mac OS X at this point, but it seems like a great step in the pub-for-all direction.

Vellum

You can download Vellum from creator 18og’s website, and generate books at incremental prices.

See below for more info:

Vellum Simplifies Ebook Conversion so Authors can Focus on Their Craft: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/vellum-simplifies-ebook-conversion-so-authors-can-focus-on-their-craft/

Vellum on creator 18og’s website: http://180g.co/vellum/

 

Harlequin Teams Up with Wattpad, Signs Contest Winner

13 Dec

The trend of offering contest winners book contracts continues. Harlequin held a So You Think You Can Write contest earlier this year and offered the winner a two-book contract. Interestingly, for this contest Harlequin partnered with Wattpad and entrants uploaded chapters to that site as they wrote them, getting immediate feedback from Wattpad’s readers (numbering around 20 million). Originally, Harlequin was going to choose the top four authors for contracts, but they were so impressed with the writing, possibly because of the vetting process provided by throwing every chapter through the Wattpad wringer, that they opted to take on the top six for various free editorial services.

In this current world of abundance, where anyone can self-publish a book, traditional publishers are often waiting for authors to prove their worth (often via self-publishing or by winning short-story or long-form contests) before signing them to contracts. Authors can bring their established fanbase with them when they continue to write with an established publisher, and the publisher is taking on decidedly less risk when producing these authors’ works.

SYTYCW authors will be published through Harlequin’s adult digital romance series, and the winner, Tanya Wright’s, first book will be published in early 2014. This is a recurring contest, and will begin again in September of 2014.

Get the word from various sources below:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/book-deals/article/60334-harlequin-and-wattpad-contest-winners-score-book-deals.html

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/harlequin-offers-wattpad-writing-contest-winner-book-deal/

www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com or www.sytycw.com

Google Books Case Dismissed

29 Nov

Alright, I know I’m a little late in posting about this, as Judge Chin dismissed the case brought by the Author’s Guild against Google Books on November 14th, but I’ve been busy, folks! Exams! Holidays! Etc.!

However, here’s the scoop on Google Books:

The case has been ongoing for eight years (!), since 2005, brought by the Author’s Guild against Google for scanning entire works. Author’s Guild saw this as an infringement on copyright, and not fair use. The judge, Denny Chin, saw it differently.

On the four factors used to determine copyright infringement, Chin found Google in slight violation of only one tenant. In terms of purpose and character of use, Chin called Google’s project “transformative,” and said it opens new fields of research. Instead of superseding or supplanting the copyrighted work, it adds value to the original. Regarding the nature of the copyrighted work, 93% of scanned works are non-fiction, which Chin believes is fine, though fiction may need further copyright litigation. Regarding the amount and substantiality of the portions used (from copyrighted works) Google was in violation, as they were, indeed, scanning the entire work. However, in the effect of use upon the potential market or value for a work, Google was absolved since they do not sell the scans, gain no ad revenue from the web pages, and doesn’t commercialize the copyrighted works. Chin stated the project advances arts and sciences, enhances searchability of these often lost texts, provides preservation services and provides access for “print-disabled” parties.

This dismissal very clearly laid out new precedent in terms of fair use for copyrighted material, especially for old, nearly forgotten works of nonfiction. In the information age there are innumerable ways to use and transform works that add value to the original (for instance, making something that was a bound reference work into a searchable database, or the like). With a dismissal in this case, artists, computer scientists and web designers can continue to break apart and reform works into something new and original, and if accused of copyright infringement, can point to this case as precedent for the legality of their work.

This dismissal can be seen as a slippery slope for writers/authors/publishers, but I believe this lawsuit was leveled so long ago, in the wake of the music industry freakout over Napster, that the Author’s Guild couldn’t anticipate how utterly awesome it would be to be able to search for copyrighted works by bits of text (and the idea that the searcher can then go borrow or buy the book they need). Since the Guild is comprised of authors, not computer scientists, I don’t think the ultimate goal of the Google Books project was clear to them. This program could help to digitally preserve old books and orphan works, revitalize backlist items and shed new light on works that would have languished in obscurity. Authors rejoice!

Some would say the Guild dropped the ball with this lawsuit, as they should have had their eyes trained on Amazon in 2005, a company that now has an unhealthy strangle-hold on book marketshare.

Sources and more info:

Albanese, A. (2013, November 14). Google Wins: Court Issues a Ringing Endorsement of Google Books. PublishersWeekly.com: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/content-and-e-books/article/60006-google-wins-court-issues-a-ringing-endorsement-of-google-books.html

Copyright Clearance Center online (2013, November 15). Beyond the Book Podcast: Judge Rules in Google Books Scan Case: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/content-and-e-books/article/60016-podcast-judge-rules-in-google-books-scan-case.html

Digital Book World online (2013, November 14). American Library Association Applauds Judge’s Google Book Scanning Decision: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/american-library-association-applauds-judges-google-book-scanning-decision/