Thursday, April 9, 2009

Book Trailers & Selling Stories

So it's no secret that YouTube, Vimeo, and other video sharing sites have become a prime resource for writers, publishers, and advertisers to plug their upcoming books. And what better way to capture the short-attention of today's Twitterin', Facebookin' public than a good ol' trailer??

The book trailer is unique, since these videos are showing an interpretation of the book, allowing filmmakers and advertisers to get creative with how they are presenting the story. The trailer for Sloane Crosley's I Was Told There'd Be Cake is a superb example:

To get the word out on your book, you just can't throw an author in front of a camera and have them explain their work anymore. Publishers are turning to video production companies to dazzle potential readers, and with blogging, Twitter, and the like, "word-of-mouth marketing" now moves faster than ever.

The trailer for James Patterson's young adult adventure series Maximum Ride is just a bit more glossy. It's got it all-- helicopter shots, explosions, CGI... Bruckheimer would be proud. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if he had something to do with this:

Meanwhile, HarperCollins has started a contest for fans to make their own book trailer for Elmore Leonard's latest book, Road Dogs. Sure it's lazy marketing, but any way to get people excited about your book is good, right?

And somehow there isn't a trailer for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?? C'mon, people!!

I DID!!!

Just go ahead and bump me to the top of the 'Luckiest Guys Alive' list! On April 1st, my lovely bride and I got hitched in a small ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, no fooling! Some time later, we found ourselves firmly ensconced in the back room of Tosca with a grip of our nearest and dearest, popping corks into the wee-hours of the morning. What a time. What a city. What a doll!!!

Ah, Tosca. Safe to say it's one of SF's classic spots. And if you've never been, or need a good reason to revisit, keep reading...

Tosca marks the spot once again on Tuesday April 28th from 7-8:30pm when Green Apple goes on the road to celebrate the debut release Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned from Wells Tower, and trust us folks, you won’t want to miss a word from this amazing talent. Tower’s work has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review and McSweeney’s. He’s won a couple of Pushcart Prizes. His fiction is tight, tough and laugh-out-loud funny. There will certainly be more awards in his future. He’s really damn good!

Walk, bike or take public transportation (or even drive) to San Francisco’s favorite watering hole, Tosca CafĂ©, for a night of stiff drinks and tall tales with Wells Tower. This is a free event, but more than that, it’s a unique chance to hang out with the freshest voice to hit the literary scene in a long while. So be there or be square, daddy-o!

Tower takes Tosca on Tuesday April 28th 7:00-8:30pm

242 Columbus Avenue at Broadway SF CA 94133

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cool books we'll never sell

Our used book buyers mostly see the same thing day in and day out: once-popular fiction, the Shipping News, old travel guides, the Road Less Traveled, and so on. We buy hundreds of books each day with confidence that they'll sell, but on some books we take a chance and hope for the best. Sure, we get excited sometimes, like when a great batch of quality cookbooks arrives, or when someone brings us all of Haruki Murakami's books in good condition. Still, used book buying is usually more rote than seat-of-your-pants kind of work.

But there's an interesting type of used book we see on occasion: cool books we'll never sell.

I got one today: After Dinner Science by Kenneth Swezey (circa 1950). The book has no dust-jacket, no blurbs; it' s not being reviewed on the radio or being pushed by Oprah; it's a "science" book, but the casual browser will never pluck this worn spine off the shelves. You can see what they're missing.

(If you can't read the copy, click to enlarge; the photo above is from the experiment entitled "Boil Your Coffee with Ice," and the photo at right is entitled "Sympathetic Milk Bottles.")

LinkLinkThese books come in sometimes, and we have nowhere to put them: we don't see enough of them to merit a section, but they would get lost in the stacks. Mostly they kick around the counter until enough staffers have had a chortle, then they go out to the bins or the free box.

A few month's ago, there was a great book from the 1960s on professional rat catchers. And Le Petomane comes in from time to time. And there was the final Might magazine we stumbled on a while back. Want the Might magazine or After Dinner Science? First one to email me (pete at greenapplebooks DOT com) can have either or both; free if you can pick them up, $5 to ship. Really, we just want to match books to people who will love them.

Oh, and there's another Green Apple "Missed Connection" on Craigslist that works too well with today's Science theme to ignore. Is it physics or chemistry?

Monday, April 6, 2009

April is...National Poetry Month!

We know how busy you are, & how hard it is to shop for National Poetry Month, so we have suggestions...

American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry

The American hybrid is a wonderful collection of contemporary American poetry. With poems by Stacy Doris, Paul Hoover, Forrest Gander, Robert Hass, Rosmarie Waldrop, & many, many others, we see the Hybrid, the merging of the traditional & experimental styles. This is a very readable & enjoyable collection of poems.

My Vocabulary Did This To Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer

Finally we have a complete collection of Jack Spicer's work. The Berkeley Renaissance poet's published & unpublished work has been collected by Kevin Killian & Peter Gizzi. This is a beautiful & long awaited book.

World's EndPablo Neruda

A great looking, bilingual edition translated by William O'Daly.

Ashbery: Collected Poems 1956-1987

George Albon says: Amazing but true, this first volume of John Asbery's collected poetry goes from Some Trees to April Galleons a colossal collection, in other words, the heart of his achievment. Also included are a hundred pages of uncollected poems– a new volume in itself.

George Oppen: New Collected Poems

Oppen is one of my all-time favorite poets & the beauty about buying another book of his collected poems is that this book comes with a CD of Oppen reading, it really is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Literary links #2

1. The annual Tournament of Books has concluded with Toni Morrison's A Mercy surviving the round of 16. The winner of the tournament has gone on to win the Pulizter Prize the last two years, so if you're looking to handicap your literary award bets....

2. The Millions has come up with the brilliant idea of putting together an interactive map of independent bookstores across the world. In the spirit of this collaborative effort, they are hosting a Walking Tour of New York's Independent Bookstores. Sounds like a fine idea for a warm spring afternoon in San Francisco. Any takers?

3. Check out the photo albums of mouth-watering "books" from the annual Edible Book Festival.

4. April is National Poetry Month. Nick will be posting more about our modest celebration of the finest art, but in the meantime, have fun with Raymond Queneau's unfathomably brilliant 100,000,000,000,000 sonnets. (Follow the links on the bottom of that page for English translations.)

5. A "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks (via Three Percent)? "Brilliant"! Somehow it reminds me of Chinglish, of which a 2nd volume has just been released.

6. Finally, baseball season is upon us. I have nothing to look forward to since my favorite lovable losers won it all last year (and, really, I wouldn't be a true Phillies fan if I didn't expect the worse), but how about this list of the Best Baseball Books of 2009 from the SF Chronicle?