February 3, 2010

Great New Books (& some editorializing)

Theodore Gray has a great website for his new book about The Elements as well as the wonderful video above. I keep hearing differing opinions about these kind of book trailer and their effectiveness at, you know, actually selling books but there's no doubt that when this clever they will invariably get passed around on the intertubes and be seem by more people than might have been the case with traditional marketing.

Of course I heard about this video from the estimable Jacquie Henry at her blog Wanderings, but she gave the credit to that large behemoth online bookseller of large South American river proportions. It's funny because that bookseller had nothing to do with it other than allowing it to be posted on their site. But I thank her for the heads up on a fun video.

Before reading Ms. Henry's post, I had come across two references to what looks to be another amazing popular science book. It's called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The first reference was in Seed Magazine's always great Books to Read Now column (which I can read now, but the books take me more time). Then there was a brilliant and thoughtful appreciation of not only the book but what the writer put into it and the changing face of book marketing by one of my favorite science writers and bloggers, Carl Zimmer.

Funny thing was, Carl parenthetically mentioned that Amazon was on his "blacklist at the moment" because of what he calls their "book-disappearing act." He's talking about this whole dustup the bookseller (why do I keep referring to them as that? They hardly sell just books. They're practically they're own online mall.) had with Macmillan which was horrible to behold as a former bookseller myself a a friend to many authors. John Scalzi has an excellent rant on this if you want to know the outrage felt by many authors burned by this ham-handed corporate maneuvering. Here's more from the BBC. Google it. It was big news if you care about publishing at all.

So yes, praise to some excellent authors and their books. Interesting thoughts now to ponder about the changes our digital culture brings to the publishing industry. But Amazon? Meh.