Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Monday Late Night Links of Love

More bad economic news:

  • Starbucks to stop brewing decaf after noon to save $400 million. Amazing that so much decaf coffee goes to waste. Decaf will now be available only upon request after 12:00 pm.
  • School sales are dropping due to worsening economic situation in urban areas and sharp decrease in federal funding. Let’s hope that getting more money to schools for crazy things like books will be a top priority for Congress and the White House.
  • Small press comic books are feeling the pinch as Diamond Comic Distributors who distributes English-language comic books will only distribute the title if the minimum advance order from comic books is $2500. The previous minimum was $1500. At least one publisher, A Wave Blue World, will be offering the individual comic books online for free and then sell a collected edition. Let’s hope that the free seeds bear rich fruit for small print publishers.

Good news:

  • Neil Gaiman was awarded the Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book. The Newbery recognizes the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature and is considered to be one of the most prestigious literary awards in the business. The Newbery has been under fire for not recognizing books accessible to the intended audience: children.
  • There is a new graphic novel out that retraces the election. It looks to be of a decidedly liberal bent. I wish it had come out at Christmas time. It would have been an awesome Christmas gift.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jessica G.
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 19:36:26

    Seriously? $400 million? And they are just cutting it now?

    I stopped buying Starbucks. Right down the street there is a local drive-thru coffee joint for coffee that tastes better (but still nice and strong) for about the same price. I’d rather toss that cash to a local business. Kind of mad at myself for not doing that earlier, but better late than never.

  2. Anthea Lawson
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 19:48:41

    Decaf is overrated! :D

    I found the Newberry Medal Award article very interesting. This quote in particular resonated, since it’s the same attitude thrown at the ‘popular’ genres. “…literacy expert, wonders why adults seem to identify literature with books that are sad and difficult…” Yeah what IS it with the ‘literature’ genre anyway. I was a little chilled by the assertion that the Newberry Medal has done more to turn kids off reading than any other award. And yet, considering it… there may be some truth there. How disheartening.

  3. Gina Black
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 20:18:42

    Newbery. One ‘r’.

  4. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 20:28:40

    I would have thought people drank more decaf after noon, but saving $400m is always a good thing. I wonder how much decaf they’re drinking in DC.

  5. (Jān)
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 21:16:33

    You’d think people would drink decaf at night. No matter. I’ve never been to Starbucks, though I do like some of their Tazo tea blends, decaf of course. ;P

    That move by Diamond has really shaken up the comic book / manga world. It’s going to cut a lot of small publishers and independent comics out from distribution. People don’t realize that a lot of art comics, including a number that that have received accolades, may only sell 300 copies or so. (that $2500 isn’t sales at retail value btw, and represents some $6000 in actual sales, which would be 600 graphic novels).

    I’ve heard that one publisher is talking about setting up a central website for small publishers to offer their wares, so that store owners would have one central place to go. I hope that happens.

  6. Miki
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 21:23:36

    @Shannon Stacey: I was thinking the same thing!

    The school sales decline is disheartening…and yet, sometimes I wonder at what they are spending money on. I collect those little “box tops for schools” from whatever products I buy that have them. I gave them to a friend of mine who has a school-age child – and she told me they used them to take the kids to a ballet.

    Now I’ve got no problem with the arts in general, but if the choice is between buying the books (which can be used for at least a few years) and taking the kids to a single ballet show? I think the schools have to be smarter than that!

    I live in a good-sized city. I can’t believe they can’t arrange a “private showing” of ballet students from one of the local colleges.

  7. Alison
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 22:38:42

    I work in an elementary school library, and the lack of funding is just so sad. A few years ago we had grants galore, but I haven’t had money to spend in at least 2 years. If schools can’t spend money, it’s not just the kids that suffer, but sales people and publishers as well. I’m going to have to buy a copy of The Graveyard Book and donate it myself.

    Miki, if a school already has books it doesn’t seem as urgent to spend money on more books. Eventually they will get the idea.

  8. Lorraine
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 22:58:15

    My kids just brought home a request from their middle school asking for donations of either books or money to purchase them. I live in California where the State is getting ready to send out IOUs next week, so of course the schools have no extra money to buy supplies. I feel bad for the teachers who want to provide the best learning materials for our kids, but can’t do it due to budget constraints. It sucks all around!

    I can’t wait til this year is over.

  9. Julia
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 00:03:07

    Yeah, the no decaf after 12pm makes no sense to me. Who in the world drinks decaf in the morning? They should just stop brewing it altogether and save $800 million!

  10. Lissa
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 10:30:31

    My son’s school opted not to buy new Algebra and Trig textbooks this year – their reasoning? The textbooks are $80-$120 each; purchasing the internet rights was a one-time expense of approximately $300. Each student had to purchase their own data key to download the book and they can access the textbook material from a website both at school and at home. Sounds good – only the school purchased cheap datakeys to sell to the students and the website is not always available. So alot of the students are struggling to even have access to the text, let alone learn it.

    States need to wake up and realize that our students and our teachers are the future of our country and that is where the money needs to be spent. We need good teachers, we need good textbooks, we need supplies in the classroom. We don’t need more committee’s and more congressmen, 2 year-long presidential elections or a dozen inagural balls. There is not a person in power in this Nation who got there without textbooks and teachers. We need to spend our money in our schools first and dole out the remainder when our schools are adequately funded, not the other way around.

  11. Eugene
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 10:51:04

    In Japan, the typical school textbook is an inexpensive paperback. Not a hardcover boat anchor.

  12. MB
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 13:34:48

    I work with college students and textbooks. I am very familiar with the “textbook racket”.

    I have to say that, as far as saving money, keeping the old math textbooks is a great place to start! Many of our students would be quite happy to purchase old, used and cheap textbooks from students of previous semesters than to have to go out and buy the very expensive brand-new texts at full price. Math doesn’t change that much from year to year. Why this churning of replacement texts to a captive market??? Is it just to make more money by the textbook companies? You decide. (I know what most of the students think about it.)

  13. C.M. Daniels
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 14:23:55


    As a college professor, it makes me sick when a new addition to the book I’ve been using comes out, and the only thing that’s changed is the placement of charts and pictures. That means I have to assign an 80-120 book three times over! I remember what it was like to cough up textbook money, and it’s only gotten worse over time.

  14. LindaR
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 16:28:37

    My son went to a school with no textbooks through 8th grade. The students made their own books, complete with illustrations, each year.

    They did have textbooks for math and science, but everything else they created themselves. It was a wonderful way to learn.

  15. XandraG
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 10:36:20

    My PTO raised funds for my son’s elementary school to purchase those leveled reading books for the kids. We raised over four thousand dollars and got fewer than a thousand books for it. These are not literary doorstops, either–they’re for first and second graders and average 8-12 pages. It was kind of disheartening for those of us who didn’t have prior experience being reamed by textbook publishers. Thank the internets for sites like Starfall with reading activities.

    Fund the schools. Don’t steal futures from kids.

  16. Susan/DC
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 11:52:16

    I would have thought people drank more decaf after noon, but saving $400m is always a good thing. I wonder how much decaf they're drinking in DC.

    As if I needed another indication that I’m not a standard consumer, I agree with Shannon that I’d have bet that people drank regular coffee in the morning and decaf after noon. That’s what I do, but clearly I’m not most people.

    As for DC, people are drinking a lot of very strong coffee right now, and not much of it is decaf.

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