Used books: What do you do with them?

In this New York Times article, the author writes about the various things people are doing with used books. Sometimes they’re used for decor. Other times they’re used to make art. What do you do with your used books? Keep them? Donate them? Sell them? Make them into something? Wonder what to do with them?


Jeter’s New Position: From Infield to Book Publisher

Jeter’s New Position: From Infield to Book Publisher

Published: November 14, 2013

The New York Times

Derek Jeter, the Yankees’ shortstop and captain, who is nearing the final act of a golden athletic career, is ready to talk about his life after baseball. He wants to be a book publisher.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Derek Jeter suggested that his upcoming book enterprise might lead to other ways of presenting content, like movies or television.


On Thursday, he is expected to announce that he will start his own publishing division, Jeter Publishing, a partnership with Simon & Schuster. Saying he had thought a lot about his future while recovering from injuries last season, he portrayed the move as a way to explore a project that combines his interests in business and content.

“I think this sort of sets the blueprint for postcareer,” said Jeter, fresh off a plane from Tampa, Fla., and wearing a loose black blazer and jeans during an interview at his agent’s Midtown office on Wednesday afternoon. “This is a great way to start.”

The publishing imprint will include nonfiction books for adults, like biographies and titles on business and lifestyle; children’s picture books; middle-grade fiction; and books for young children who are just learning to read. Jeter suggested the book enterprise might lead to other ways of presenting content, like films or television.

Jeter Publishing, whose first books are expected to be released in 2014, might provide a partial answer to fans who have wondered what Jeter’s plans after baseball might entail.

It’s a question that has been occupying him lately as he prepares for what might be his final season. He became the Yankees’ full-time shortstop in 1996, when he was 21, and will turn 40 in June. In the 2013 season, he was hampered by various leg injuries — all of them linked to a broken ankle he suffered in October 2012 — that sent him to the disabled list several times.

Adding to the speculation was the departure of several of Jeter’s closest teammates — Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada — who retired in the last two years. But Jeter, known for his polite but unrevealing interactions with the press, has been circumspect about when he will make his own exit from the sport.

“A lot of ‘end’ talk here, man — do you guys want this to be the end for me?” Jeter said, a little crankily, at a news conference in Baltimore in September. “Have I thought about it? No. I don’t think you think about the end of anything. Our job is to be ready to play; it’s always been that way.”

On Wednesday, Jeter said that his “No. 1 focus” was getting ready for the 2014 season. He recently signed a one-year, $12 million deal that will take him through next season and, he said firmly, his ankle is feeling good. He said he fully expected to be the Yankees’ everyday shortstop next spring.

But in recent months, Jeter said, he has let his mind wander to the next phase of his career. An impetus was the repeated injuries, which forced him to rest. “I’ve had a lot of time to myself to think,” he said. “The whole last year has been sort of a blur. Being away from it for so long gave me the opportunity to think about what the future may hold after baseball.”

Jeter Publishing has been quietly in the works for most of the last year. Excel Sports Management, his agency, talked to several publishers about the possibility of an imprint. Simon & Schuster was approached in March, said Louise Burke, the president of Gallery Books, a division of the company whose editorial team will work with Jeter on titles for adults.

“As he moves on into his career, he wanted to get involved in book publishing in a way that he could not just publish books by him or about him, but to curate books from other walks of life, like food, fashion and music,” Burke said in an interview. “He really looks at this as a long-term project.”

Jeter, who has not indicated any strong interest in someday being a baseball manager or general manager, said that he had consulted with athletes who retired from sports — he declined to name them — about the smart way to transition from one career to another.

“I’ve always had an interest in business, and my interest in business has really expanded over the years,” Jeter said. “And I have an interest in content. So this gives me the opportunity to really combine the two. And it gives me the opportunity to curate and share interesting stories and share content with the public.”

Jeter Publishing will be working with Wicked Cow Entertainment, a firm that manages strategy for sports and entertainment brands and will be looking for “brand extensions” for book content.

“You never know where this may go,” Jeter said. “You look at all the opportunities that come with content in general, I mean, there might be a compelling story that someone has that turns into a film or a TV show.”

Endorsement deals have always come easily to Jeter, who has appeared in ads for Movado watches, Visa, Ford and Gatorade, among others. Casey Close, Jeter’s longtime agent, said in an email that Jeter has been “very selective about his relationships” throughout his career. When he does get involved in something, Close said, Jeter brings “a special level of respectability.”

“Extending that to the publishing world, notable people with interesting stories will be able to know, and trust, that their stories will be treated in an honorable manner,” Close said.

Jon Anderson, the president of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, said that Jeter’s parents, Dorothy and Charles, are planning to meet with the editorial staff at Simon & Schuster to provide “background on young Derek Jeter.” Jeter’s charitable organization, the Turn 2 Foundation, will be involved with the children’s books stamped with the Jeter name.

One of the first books planned, Anderson said, will be a “Derek Jeter guide to baseball” for younger readers that can be updated and reissued each year.

Jeter said he intends to be deeply involved in the details of every book. He has final approval over which titles are signed. He wants to weigh in on decisions like what a book’s title is and what the cover art looks like. “If I put my name on something, I’m going to be involved,” he said. “I’m not just going to put my name on it and not pay attention

American writers are self-censoring, PEN survey finds

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013 09:48 AM PST

American writers are self-censoring, PEN survey finds

73 percent of respondents are more worried about government surveillance now than they ever have been

By Prachi Gupta, Salon

PEN America, a nonprofit that works to advance freedom of expression and speech in literature, has released a disturbing survey that finds American writers are not just increasingly worried about government surveillance as a result of the NSA — but also engaging in self-censorship. Out of the 528 PEN members who responded to the survey, “Fully 85% are worried about government surveillance of Americans, and 73% of writers have never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today.” Writers are also “”self-censoring their work and their online activity due to their fears that commenting on, researching, or writing about certain issues will cause them harm,” the survey finds, on topics such as “military affairs, the Middle East North Africa region, mass incarceration, drug policies, pornography, the Occupy movement, the study of certain languages, and criticism of the U.S. government”:

• 28% have curtailed or avoided social media activities, and another 12% have seriously considered doing so;
•24% have deliberately avoided certain topics in phone or email conversations, and another 9% have seriously considered it;
•16% have avoided writing or speaking about a particular topic, and another 11% have seriously considered it;
•16% have refrained from conducting Internet searches or visiting websites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious, and another 12% have seriously considered it;
• 13% have taken extra steps to disguise or cover their digital footprints, and another 11% have seriously considered it;
•3% have declined opportunities to meet (in person, or electronically) people who might be deemed security threats by the government, and another 4% have seriously considered it.

The survey includes anonymous anecdotes about ways in which concerns over government surveillance has affected journalism:

Many PEN writers remarked that they simply take for granted that the government is watching everything. As one writer commented, “I assume everything I do electronically is subject to monitoring.” This assumption is striking: in a short span of time, the United States has shifted from a society in which the right to privacy in personal communications was considered inviolate to a society in which many writers assume they have already lost the right to privacy and now expect to be spied upon almost constantly.

One cartoonist wrote that the NSA activities under Obama are more disturbing than the Nixon era spying: “[D]uring the Nixon years, I took it for granted that the administration had an eye on me, and if it didn’t, I wasn’t doing my job. For a political cartoonist, active early on against Vietnam, one expected tax audits and phone taps. Irritating, but not intimidating. In fact, just the opposite: I was inspired. I view the current situation as far more serious, and the culpability and defensiveness of the president and his people deeply and cynically disturbing.”


Prachi Gupta Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter

Self-published author character hits the small screen

Angela Lansbury: “‘Murder, She Wrote” reboot is a “mistake”


The 88-year-old actress does not support NBC’s upcoming remake starring Octavia Spencer

Angela Lansbury: (Credit: Rick Rycroft)

Three-time Academy Award-nominated actress Angela Lansbury does not approve of NBC’s reboot of “Murder, She Wrote,” the television mystery series she starred in on CBS between 1984 and 1996.

Lansbury credits the role of the amateur detective as career-making. “I suddenly became a worldwide-known character as Jessica Fletcher and really built an enormous audience, which I have to this day,” the 88-year-old told the AP days before she is to accept an honorary Academy Award. “That was the thing that really made me a star in the minds of everybody.” Lansbury was nominated for 10 Golden Globe Awards and 12 Emmy Awards for her role as Fletcher.

She continued, calling the remake “a mistake”:

“I think it’s a mistake to call it `Murder, She Wrote,’” Lansbury said, “because `Murder, She Wrote’ will always be about a Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person …

“So I’m sorry that they have to use the title `Murder, She Wrote,’ even though they have access to it and it’s their right.”
Lansbury said she admires Spencer’s work.“I saw her in `The Help’ and thought she was absolutely wonderful, a lovely actress,” Lansbury said. “So I wish her well, but I wish it wasn’t in `Murder, She Wrote.’”

Unlike Lansbury, who played a retired English teacher-turned-detective, Spencer will star as “a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth who self-publishes her first mystery novel,” according to Deadline.

Prachi Gupta Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at More Prachi Gupta.

Sherman Alexie: By the Book

Sherman Alexie: By the Book

Published: November 7, 2013,

Sunday Book Review, New York Times

The author of “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” would love to go on a date with Dorothy Parker and “get verbally eviscerated.”

Illustration by Jillian Tamaki

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

Lawrence Wright’s “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.” It’s an examination of one cult religion but can also be read as a primer on the basic cultlike nature of all religions.

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).

I am a very promiscuous reader. Anytime, anywhere. But my favorite place to read is in a hot bath, late at night, with a big glass of ice water.

Who are your favorite novelists?

My favorite novelists and short-story writers are Louise Erdrich, Michael Connelly, Lorrie Moore, James Welch, Toni Morrison, Dennis Lehane, Kelly Link, David Markson, Mo Hayder, Ralph Ellison, Leslie Marmon Silko, Aimee Bender, Jim Carroll and Colin Harrison.

And your favorite poets?

James Wright, Erica Dawson, Emily Dickinson, C. K. Williams, Ai, Adrian C. Louis, Catherine Pierce, James Welch and A. E. Stallings.

Any new books by Native American authors you would recommend? And your all-time favorite literary works by Native Americans? 

Stephen Graham Jones, a Blackfeet Indian, has written tons of sci-fi, horror, crime and experimental fiction. He’s not new but should certainly be read by many more people. My favorite work of Native American literature is “Ceremony,” by Leslie Marmon Silko.

Who is your favorite overlooked or underappreciated writer?

One of my favorite writers, Colin Harrison, writes amazing crime novels that aren’t feted as they should be. The last one I read, “The Havana Room,” begins with a peanut-allergy-related death that will rip your heart and guts and lungs out through your belly button.

What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you steer clear of?

I tend to read books that feature crime, criminals and justice. I stay clear of any book with “Native American spirituality” in the description.

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

The collected Harold Bloom!

What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?

“The Basketball Diaries,” by Jim Carroll. My dad gave it to me for my 15th birthday. He thought it was only about basketball. But it’s a book about heroin addiction, Catholic guilt, teenage sex, soul sickness and basketball. This book, above all others, is the reason I write.

What book has had the greatest impact on you? 

“Fire Water World: Poems,” by Adrian C. Louis. It’s the best example of free-verse Reservation Noir ever. And remains one of my guideposts.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be? 

I imagine that he’s already read it, but I would require “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” by Dee Brown.

Did you grow up with a lot of books? What are your memories of being read to as a child?

My father read all the time. Our house was filled with cheap paperbacks. But I don’t recall anybody ever reading to me. Instead, I’d grab a book and read alongside my dad.

Do you have a favorite childhood literary character or hero? 

Daredevil, the Man Without Fear. A blind and very mortal superhero. I pretended he was part Indian.

What writers inspire you?

I’m a fanboy vacuum. I inhale everything and find influence in most of it, from Shakespeare to “Serenity,” from Jane Austen to “Austin City Limits,” from “Native Son” to “Breaking Bad.”

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

I always have this reflexive animosity toward the new hot writers like Karen Russell or Chad Harbach, so I buy their books, read the first page and then set them aside for months. Eventually, I go back, read the books and discover, of course, that the books are great. It’s my literary pathology.

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to know? 

I would love to go on a first date with Dorothy Parker and get verbally eviscerated.

If you could meet any character from literature, who would it be? 

Bill Denbrough from Stephen King’s “It.” A brave man who was braver as a boy. And a stutterer like me.

What’s next on your reading list?

“Fooling Houdini,” by Alex Stone. I’m a dork about magic.

Amazon picks Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’ as book of the year

Amazon picks Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’ as book of the year

Cover of The Goldfinch




By Patricia Reaney Reuters

2:19 p.m. CST, November 7, 2013

Author Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” a novel about a 14-year-old boy surviving in Manhattan after the death of his mother, topped Inc’s list of 100 best books of 2013.

The list, released on Thursday, is compiled by editors at the online retailer. The top choices include fiction and non-fiction works, a collection of short stories, a young adult novel and an account of being held captive in Somalia.

“The Goldfinch” is Tartt’s first book since “The Little Friend” in 2002, which followed her 1992 debut novel “The Secret History.”

“Our top choice, ‘The Goldfinch,’ is an emotionally trenchant masterpiece and was hands down our team’s favorite book of the year,” said Sara Nelson, editorial director of books and Kindle at Amazon.

“And the Mountains Echoed,” by Afghan-American novelist Khaled Hosseini, author of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” came in second.

Amazon said the saga about a father in Kabul who gives his daughter to a wealthy man proved that lightning can strike not twice but three times.

“As a sweeping epic, family tale, it was best in show,” Nelson said in an interview.


“Thank You for Your Service,” a non-fiction book about soldiers returning home from war by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel, came in third.

“Finkel gets inside the families of these guys that have come back after horrible, horrible experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Nelson. “It is about their experience and how they readjust to life at home, but a lot of it is seen through the eyes of the people around them, the wives and children.”

Kate Atkinson’s “Life After Life” and Tom Kizzia’s “Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier” completed the top five.

The annual list is chosen from monthly favorites and any other noteworthy works. Amazon also compiled lists of 20 favorite books in more than two dozen categories such as mystery/thriller, biography/history, literature/fiction, non-fiction, humor/entertainment, young readers/teens, cookbook and lifestyle.

Other books in the top 10 include George Saunders’ “Tenth of December.” The No. 7 pick is a collection of short stories and is a fiction finalist for the 2013 National Book Awards, due to be announced on November 20.

In the category of best books chosen by other celebrities and writers, author George R.R. Martin selected Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep,” and “The Sound of Things Falling” by Juan Gabriel Vasquez was among Hosseini’s favorites.

“Eleanor & Park,” a young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell, came in 10th, while an account of 460 days spent as a captive in Somalia, “A House in the Sky: a Memoir” by Amanda Lindhout, was No. 9.

“It was a great year (for books),” said Nelson.

The cookbook “Manresa: An Edible Reflection” was Amazon’s favorite in the lifestyle category, and “Remodelista” was the best home improvement and design book.

Among children’s books, “The Day the Crayons Quit” was named the favorite picture book, and “Counting by 7s” was the best for 9-12 year olds.

The full list can be found at

(Editing by Mary Milliken and Mohammad Zargham)

What books sell best: Self-help, kid lit and erotica

The Christian Science Monitor –

What books sell best? Self-help, kid lit, and erotica

As USA Today celebrates the 20th anniversary of its bestseller list, the organization says romance novels, children’s books, and inspirational books defined the last two decades of reading.

      A commuter uses an e-reader on a subway train in Cambridge, Mass.

    (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

By Husna Haq
posted November 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm EDT

Self-help, kid lit, and erotica: That, in a nutshell, sums up the last 20 years of bestselling books, according to a new analysis by USA Today.

The news organization is commemorating its 20-year anniversary of the USA Today bestseller list – which began in 1993 – by considering the major trends that have changed the publishing world in the last two decades.

The bottom line: the last two decades have been a period of dynamic change.

Broadly, three major eras have defined the retail book biz over the last 20 years: brick-and-mortar bookstores (1993-1998), online booksellers such as Amazon (1999-2008), and the rise of e-books (2009-present).

The rise of the latter two eras have had a significant impact on the publishing world, resulting in the shuttering of bookstores and entire bookstore chains, and ultimately changing the way we read.

The types of books Americans are reading has also undergone a significant shift in the last 20 years, according to USA Today’s analysis of its bestselling books. Broken down by era, popular genres have included:

• Self-help, inspiration, and advice books, which were popular between 1993-1998. Nine of the 25 most popular books from that era were self-help, according to the news organization. Among the bestsellers were John Gray’s “Men are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” Richard Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” and Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

• Kid lit, which defined the publishing world from 1999-2008, and continues to exert significant influence in the book world today. Eleven of the 25 most popular books since 2009 are series aimed at kids or teens, according to the paper’s analysis. Among the children and teen books that have redefined the book biz are J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” series, and Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” series.

• Erotica and romance, which have moved into the mainstream as e-books have enabled readers to consume the books in public more privately. Consider this: between 1994 and 2008, romance accounted for 5 percent to 9 percent of bestsellers. In 2012, it accounted for a whopping 25 percent of bestsellers tracked by USA Today. That’s thanks in large part to the book that has revolutionized romance and launched erotica into the mainstream: EL James’s “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

More takeaways from USA Today: Rowling has helped redefine reading when the hit “Harry Potter” series “triggered Dickens-like excitement about reading and demolished the conventional wisdom about children’s books.”

What’s more, since 2009 fiction has risen to all-time highs as readers look for an escape, perhaps from a grimmer world of recession, overseas conflicts, and government ineptitude.

Formerly pooh-poohed, translations have also become hot business in books. Doubters have only to remember the success of Swedish reporter Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and other books in the Milennium trilogy.

Two other factors that have had a major impact on books sales in the last 20 years, one growing, one waning: Hollywood and Oprah. As USA Today wrote, “Nothing sells a book like a movie adaption.” That goes for the likes of Rowling, Collins, Dan Brown, John Grisham, and Nicholas Sparks, all of whom have enjoyed a boost in sales when their novels were adapted for the big screen.

As for Oprah, her influence reigned supreme during her book club’s heyday between 1996 and 2001, when each of her 72 book club picks, including Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom,” made multiple bestseller lists.

(Surprisingly, however, the “Oprah Effect” was limited to just a few weeks of big sales, the paper reports. “Not one of Oprah’s picks was the top seller for the year,” USA Today writes. “None appear in the top 25 books of each era.”)

Whether readers are getting self-help from a brick-and-mortar store, “Harry Potter” from Amazon, or “Fifty Shades” on an e-reader, one thing hasn’t changed: bestsellers have always been a cultural touchstone.

“A mega bestseller works itself into the social fabric of our lives,” Paul Bogaards, publicity director of Knopf and Doubleday, told USA Today. “It becomes part of the American culture. Everyone knows Harry Potter even if they’ve never read any of the books.”

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.