Arts and Humanities Local News

Novelist Creates Own Drinking Game at Readings

Louisville author Patrick Wensink has discovered one simple strategy to help people pay attention during book tour readings. He’s made a drinking game out of his.

“I’ve always felt like the worst part of a book reading is the book reading,” says Wensink. “I’m as guilty as anybody. I’ve sort of zoned out in the past and haven’t paid attention to every word.”

Wensink hands out a list of six words before he reads an excerpt from his new novel. Every time he reads one of the key words, everyone (author included) takes a sip.

“I did a reading last month in Portland and I finished two and a half beers in, what, ten minutes? Fifteen minutes, maybe, depending on how fast I read? I suffer for my art, I guess,” he says.

It might be a gimmick, but at least it’s thematically sound. Wensink’s new book, “Broken Piano for President,” is a dark comedy about a loser who tends to black out after a couple of beers.

Arts and Humanities Local News

‘Hush’ Author Woodson Headlines Spalding Festival of Writing

Acclaimed children’s book author Jacqueline Woodson will speak this week at Spalding University. Woodson is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and young adults, which have been honored by the Newbery, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King awards.

As the Diane M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence, Woodson headlines Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, which began Saturday and runs through this weekend. Woodson’s book “Hush” is the university’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing book in common for the spring semester. She will read from and discuss “Hush” and her other works during her talk Thursday in Spalding’s auditorium.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Author Re-imagines Poe Story as Steampunk Thriller

In Louisville author Bethany Griffin’s young adult novel “Masque of the Red Death,” a plague has ravished Araby Worth’s city. Her brother is dead, and she seeks escape from her grief in the seductive diversions of the Debauchery Club.

“She’s pretty suicidal because her twin brother died of the plague, and she’s trying to forget everything, and she meets people who are trying to change the world and finds a reason to live,” says Griffin.

Griffin’s steampunk thriller is a re-imagining of the classic Edgar Allan Poe story. Thanks to bookseller nominations, “Masque of the Red Death” has secured a coveted place on the teen reader edition of the spring IndieNext list, which bookstores use to make recommendations to patrons.

Arts and Humanities Local News

‘Hillbilly Noir’: New Books Explore Kentucky’s Drug Trade

There is the Kentucky we often see in literature: a reverence for the pastoral landscape and for folksy wisdom, for majestic horses and for the quiet secrets buried deep in the bluegrass and in the mountains. But new books by Kirby Gann and James Higdon dig deep inside the state’s drug trade to turn that traditional portrayal on its head.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Google e-Books Decision Affects Local Bookseller

Internet giant Google’s announcement that it will stop allowing bookstores to sell e-books on the company’s platform will have local implications. Right now, Louisville bookseller Carmichael’s sells Google e-books on its website, but that will end early next year.

Carmichael’s Bookstore co-owner Carol Besse says Google’s decision is unfortunate for small booksellers, and the service has allowed Carmichael’s to get into the e-Books business on a level playing field.

“We were selling most e-books at the same price as Amazon. So for the first time ever we were able to compete on price,” she says.

Here and Now Uncategorized

GOP Still Divided After Super Tuesday; Amazon Takes On Publishing World; Are Republicans Afraid Of Rush Limbaugh?: Today on Here and Now

1:06pm: Mitt Romney emerged with the most delegates after yesterday’s Super Tuesday races in 10 states. Eric Cantor, House majority leader, says Romney has a clear path of Tampa, where Republicans will gather for their nominating convention this summer. Rick Santorum‘s supporters tried to elbow Newt Gingrich out of the race in a bid to unite conservatives behind Santorum. Gingrich says he’s pressing on, as is Ron Paul. We’ll talk about what’s next for the GOP candidates.

1:12pm: Amazon is moving into the book publishing industry. The online behemoth has hired former Time Warner Publishing CEO Larry Kirshbaum to head its new venture, and Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Brad Stone says the publishing industry is running scared. “I think they’re terrified,” Stone says. “Amazon is their biggest customer… and they’ve been at Amazon’s mercy for quite some time.” Stone’s cover story on Amazon recounts the bad blood between Amazon and the big six publishers that goes back to the launch of the Kindle. He says this is part of a trend in the business world where companies are creating entire ecosystems to sell their products, spurred by Apple’s dominance of tablets and phones.

1:40pm: The defection of more than 30 advertisers from Rush Limbaugh‘s talk radio program isn’t stopping the conservative firebrand, who’s been under a hail of criticism for comments he made about Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke after she testified in favor of President Obama’s birth control policy. All of this has touched off the latest debate over how much power Limbaugh has in the GOP. We’ll talk about it. Is he, as President Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel once famously said, “Rush Limbaugh is the voice and intellectual force of the Republican Party,” or not? A piece in Politico today asks “Who’s Afraid of Rush?” and concludes that fewer Republicans are, because of the Fluke flap.

Local News

Louisville Public Library Expands E-Book Selection

The Louisville Free Public Library has increased its e-book selection since launching the program in December, but the electronic literature industry continues to struggle with an identity crisis.

Library director Craig Buthod said Random House recently tripled the price of its e-books and Harper Collins limits libraries to checking out a title 26 times before they must re-purchase the text.

Local News

Remaining Two Louisville Borders Stores Expected to Close as Company Liquidates

After 40-years in business, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based bookseller Borders plans to liquidate.

The company once operated four bookstores in Louisville, but the branches on 4th Street and South Hurstbourne were closed weeks after the company filed for Chapter 11 in February. The stores at Shelbyville Road Plaza and on Bardstown Road were to remain open through the Chapter 11 process, but will now likely close along with about 400 other branches that survived the first round of closures.

The 4th Street closure left downtown Louisville without a retail anchor for 4th Street Live, and the space has not yet been filled by another occupant. The lease for the building is handled by the Baltimore-based Cordish Cos.

The process is expected to move quickly, and liquidation sales at individual stores could begin later this week if a bankruptcy judge approves Borders’ request for liquidation. Many analysts expect the judge to approve the request.

As Reuters reports, Books-a-Million may purchase some Borders branches. The Courier-Journal reports that a liquidation would lead to the closure of the Waldenbooks stores at Oxmoor Center, Jefferson Mall and Green Tree Mall.

Local News Uncategorized

Carmichael’s Partners with American Booksellers Association to Sell Google E-books.

Carmichael’s Bookstore, one of the leading independent booksellers in Louisville, has recently begun selling e-books through their website through a partnership with Google and the American Booksellers Association. More than 250 booksellers nationwide are using the system, which allows independent bookstores to make money from e-books, a market previously reserved for giants like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The e-books can be downloaded through Carmichael’s website, and the store has also linked to books online through QR codes—a type of square barcode that can be scanned with a smartphone—which have been posted on their shelves next to bestsellers or staff picks.

“We have agreements with almost all of the major publishers now. The vast majority of titles are available through our website, and they are the same price as anyone else. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, anyone like that,” says Carmichael’s manager Kelly Estep.

Google e-books can be viewed on an number of devices, including Android phones and tablets, Apple’s iOS devices, Nook and Sony e-readers, and personal computers.  They are saved in the cloud, and not limited to a single device. When downloaded from an independent bookseller’s website, both Google and the bookseller get a cut, with the publisher keeping the majority of the money.

“[What Carmichael’s receives is] usually less, the e-books are typically priced a lot less, but again that’s something that varies by publisher, that’s up to the publisher really as to what percentage they split with us, and Google is also a part of that,” says Estep.

Carmichael’s is currently the only bookstore in Louisville using the system, but Poor Richard’s Bookstore in Frankfort Ky has also adopted the system.

Local News

Shelbyville Road Borders to Stay Open

On Friday morning, WFPL, among others, reported that Borders was closing a third store in Louisville–the Shelbyville Road store in St. Matthews. The chain is in Chapter 11 and had previously planned to close two stores in Louisville, as well as many others across the country.

But now, Business First reports that the Shelbyville Road store is now no longer slated to close:

Shortly before 4 p.m., Business First received a phone call from corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich., that the store will remain open, after all.

“The landlord came back and made rent concessions, so we took it off the list,” said the spokeswoman, Rosalind Thompson.

She was unable to provide further details.

Nothing has changed with the two stores previously set to close–on Hustrborne and in 4th Street Live. There is one other Borders in Louisville, in the Gardiner Lane Shopping Center.