Amazon Releases Top 10 Books of 2014 So Far

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by David Rogers

Best of 2014 So Far

I guess the middle of the year is as good a time as any to start breaking out the best-of lists. Amazon Books Editors’ have just released their choices for the “Top 10 Best Books of the Year So Far.”

Interestingly, the number one spot on the list is a biography. “Updike,” the biography of writer John Updike by Adam Begley, took the top position on the list and it seems the editors over at Amazon knew this choice would be seen as unexpected.

“It’s never easy to narrow down our favorites, but after much debate and discussion, we’ve arrived at a list that will fit every customer’s summer reading agenda—whether you’re headed to the beach, traveling the world or enjoying a staycation,” said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Print and Kindle Books at Amazon.com, according to a press release. “Updike may seem like an unusual choice for our number one pick, but it’s poised to be one of the best biographies of 2014. It’s a candid, enthralling book that readers won’t be able to put down.”

Below is the list in full. You also can head over to the release site linked above to see the editors’ reasoning for each choice.

1. “Updike”
– Adam Begley

2. “The Book of Unknown Americans: A Novel”
– Cristina Henríquez

3. “Redeployment”
– Phil Klay

4. “Euphoria”
– Lily King

5. “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State”
– Glenn Greenwald

6. “In Paradise: A Novel”
– Peter Matthiessen

7. “The Invention of Wings: A Novel”
– Sue Monk Kidd

8. “Red Rising”
– Pierce Brown

9. “Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art”
– Carl Hoffman

10. “Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children”
– Ransom Riggs

 


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Only 17% of Parents Say Reading is a Priority for Kids This Summer

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by David Rogers

Reading is Fundamental Logo

Yikes.

As we get ready to welcome in the official beginning of summer in a couple of days, a new study has some disturbing findings: only 17 percent of parents say reading is a top priority for their children this summer.

The study, from Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s (and conducted by Harris Poll), surveyed more than 1,000 parents with children under age 11. There were a couple of more troubling stats reported by the survey:

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Kickstarter Unveils New Journalism Category

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by David Rogers

Kickstarter Journalism category

We’ve been fairly vocal about our support of Kickstarter projects, particularly since we get to print some of them. It’s pretty awesome to see someone’s book or magazine go from the idea stage to a finished printed product. And the times we get to be part of that process by printing the book is even more awesome!

Until now, most of the printing projects on Kickstarter were in the Publishing category of the site, but a new category – Journalism – will now also be a place to find the best new upcoming print magazines and books.

Here’s what Kickstarter says prompted the creation of the new category:

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Is it in the Public Domain? How to Check the Copyright Status of a Book

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by David Rogers

Almost any book published before 1923 is currently in the public domain. But for books published in 1923 and after, copyright status is determined by a number of factors.

A book’s copyright status can get confusing very quickly, but fortunately the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Center at Berkeley Law has created a handbook to help determine whether a specific work is in the public domain. Posted below is the master flowchart from the handbook, and if you need more information check out the “Is It in the Public Domain?” [PDF] handbook at the Berkeley Law website. In addition to additional flowcharts, the handbook also includes just about anything you’d ever need to know about copyright status.

Click the flowchart for a full-size version of the image!

Flowchart: Public Domain Books, Explained


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What Is That Old Book Smell? It’s Science!

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by David Rogers

The new book smell and old book smell explained

Nearly everybody (we assume) loves the smell of books. Why else would there be candles, colognes, sprays and more made to smell like books (the spray in the linked article comes in two forms: “New Book Smell” and “Classic Musty”)?

But if you’ve ever wondered what exactly the old book smell is, this infographic from Compound Interest has you covered. The simple answer: SCIENCE! The smell of new and old books can be explained by the materials they are made from and the chemical interactions that occur between these materials, as well as between these materials and the environment around them.

If you are interested in even more about the science of smell, see the (great) article that accompanies the infographic over at the afore-linked Compound Interest site.

Find the full infographic below!

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Book Printing Review – Steve Conley

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…books arrived and they look FANTASTIC!

The first batch of books arrived and they looks FANTASTIC! I am floored by the quality of the work AND how well-packed everything was too. 

I’m just thrilled! Thank you SOOOOO much! 🙂

– Steve Conley

 

Bloop by Steve Conley

 

From APF: It was great to work with Steve on his large format children’s book “Steve Conley’s Bloop: Part One.”


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‘Reading Rainbow’ is Back with a New Kickstarter Project. But Should it Be?

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by David Rogers

Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Emmy Awards Screenshot

A screenshot from the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Campaign

In case you haven’t heard yet, the internet’s nostalgia-inducing topic du jour is “Reading Rainbow.” Former host Levar Burton has posted a Kickstarter project to fund a desktop computer app version of the long running children’s show that went off the air in 2009. The project reached it’s $1 million goal in a matter of hours, and as of this writing has raised well over $2.5 million with 33 days left before the final deadline.

The classic PBS television show first aired in 1983 and was cancelled in 2006, though it continued airing episodes until 2009.

But it didn’t stay away for long. Burton and the team at his company RRKIDZ bought the rights to the Reading Rainbow brand and brought it back as a tablet app in 2012. Like the show, the app encourages kids to read via read-alongs and educational video field trips inspired by the themes of books featured in the app.

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How to Change the Paper Size in your Word Document

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by David Rogers

The default layout in Microsoft Word is probably familiar to most of us by now: 8.5″ x 11″ inches in the U.S. and A4 in most other places around the globe. The margins around the pages preset at a seemingly familiar 1 inch on each side.

However, our book customers know well that as good as those dimensions are for legal documents, letters and more, they are not always ideal for book printing projects. Here at Advanced Print & Finishing we do print some books that are 8.5″ x 11″, but we also have many other common print sizes (5.5″ x 8.5″ and 6″ x 9″, to name just two). And if the book you’re writing is any size other than the standard default Word size, you’ll want to adjust your pages to represent that size.

Not only will this give you a better representation of what your book will look like as you are working on it, it will also give you an accurate page count to use for your book printing quote.

In addition to changing your paper size, you’ll likely also need to adjust the margins. We’ve written an article with instructions on how (and why) to do just that.

Changing the paper size of your Word Document

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How to Convert .doc to PDF for Book Printing

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by David Rogers

doc-to-pdf

There was a time not so long ago that the prospect of creating a PDF file from a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) struck fear into the hearts of Windows users around the globe. The program – the most widely used word processor – just didn’t include this useful function.

We saw it too often. Many book printing customers we work with write in Word, but we need a PDF file to start the prepress process if you’re not working with Adobe InDesign or Photoshop files (more on why this is in just a bit).

Fortunately the process is easier today, as Windows versions of Word now have PDF functionality built in (Mac versions have had the option for quite some time).

Here’s how to convert your .doc files to PDFs to make them print ready, no matter which version of Word you have. We’ve divided the instructions up by the different operating systems and different versions of Word.

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Kickstart Your Kickstarter Book Project

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As I write this, there are 17,481 projects on Kickstarter that fall under the “Publishing” label. Of that impressive amount, many are – at least in part – raising money to cover book printing costs.

We’re pretty big fans of Kickstarter here at Advanced Print & Finishing, and have served as the book printer for quite a few projects from the crowdfunding site. Working with these authors, we’ve learned how important keeping book printing quality up and prices down is to running a successful campaign.

But we also know finding the right print method and the right printer can be a little tricky, particularly if you’re new to the printing game. We’ve put together a series of articles on the best ways to successfully fund your self-published book on Kickstarter.

Check out the articles below, and let us know if there are any other questions you have about self-publishing with Kickstarter – we’re glad to help.

Self-Publish With Kickstarter: How it Works

What Type of Printing Should You Use for a Kickstarter Book Project?

How to Choose a Book Printer for Your Kickstarter Book


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