Sunday, November 18, 2012

Transfer Kindle books to another Kindle or other devices

Transfer Kindle books to another Kindle or other devices

As an ebook fan, I have bought a great many books for reading from Amazon. I have gained more than 50 books from it over these years. Also I prefer electronic books than paper ones for the great convenience they bring to read any time as I like. They are portable no matter where you go.
Assume your friends or family members also own a Kindle, Kindle Fire or other Kindle devices, would you like to transfer your books to their e-readers and share the splendid contents with them?
There are some conventional methods collected which can transfer Kindle books to other e-readers so as to be possible to enjoy ebooks together with friends and families.

How can I transfer books from kindle to another kindle?

If your books are not bought from amazon, you can sync your kindle books from kindle to another one easily.
Step 1.
Connect your previous Kindle to computer via USB, and you will find a new hard drive in “My Computer”. Open the drive, use windows search function to find your files, next copy them into your computer.
Step 2.
Connect your new Kindle with computer via USB, you will find another hard drive in “My Computer”. Now you can copy your kindle books from your computer into the drive with just copy and paste, then these book will be saved in new kindle automatically.

If your books were purchased from Amazon store, you can also re-register your Amazon Account on new Kindle, it will display all the books you purchased automatically.
If you want to transfer books to another Kindle with different Amazon Account, click here to learn how to transfer.

How can I transfer books from Kindle to iPad or iPhone?

Amazon provides a wonderful application for user to download and read kindle books on iPad or iPhone(Called Kindle for iPad). After you downloaded the Kindle for iPad app, you can use it to re-download your kindle books from Amazon store into iPad device. And it supports wireless syncing tech to redisplay the last page of your books. You can find this application in Apple Store.
Step 1.
If you haven’t installed it, click here to download Kindle for iPad.
Step 2.
Open the program, enter your Amazon account info on the registration page, and then click “Register” button to register the Kindle device.
Step 3.
After the kindle for iPad screen is loaded, click the “Archived Items” Tab at the bottom range of page. Then all of your kindle books will display in the new list.
Step 4.
Now, you can select your books which you want to transfer from Amazon Store.
Step 5.
Click the book title to start transferring, after the books have been downloaded; click the book title to start reading.

Transfer kindle books to Sony Reader, Nook, Kobo and other devices

If your books are drm free, you can easily transfer them from Amazon kindle to Sony Rader, Nook, Kobo or other android systems for reading. You only need to connect your device with computer via USB and transfer them.
But a lot of your books contain DRM system. If you want to read them on different devices, or transfer kindle books to another different account for reading, you need to strip the DRM limitations.
We recommend you a wonderful tool to help you rebuild your kindle books. It will create a new ebook file that you can easily transfer them to other devices and keep the best quality.
(Kindle DRM Removal for Windows) (Kindle DRM Removal for Mac)
If you would like to lean how to use this software, click this link below:
With the new kindle books, you can easily share the new kindle books to your family or friends. Or you are able to backup your books to prevent loss.

Different ebook types

Every ebook reader supports different file format. Like Amazon Kindle supports AZW,MOBI,PDF but does not support Epub. While Nook, Sony reader does not support AZW format. If you want to read your books on different devices without difficulty, you can use Epubsoft Ebook Converter to rebuild the file formats. It can convert DRM protected kindle books to EPUB format.

DRM TUT and Tools

click apply after customizing., shut down and reboot...sometimes that does the trick..
and...if you had the books already in Calibre before adding the plug-in........remove books from Calibre...shut down, reboot and try again.
Here is the step-by-step setup:

1. Open Calibre and click on the Preferences tab.  If it does not show it's because it's on the second line of the menu, click on the arrow at the right end of the menu and it should show it.
2. In Preferences, click on Plugins.
3. On the page that comes up, click on Load plugins from file.
4. Go to where you have the tools plugins and select the K4MobiDeDrm and click on Open.  If you like, you can select all the plugins.  If memory serves, you unzip the Tools and are left with several zipped tools as shown below.  I don't think you have to unzip each plugin separately...I think Calibre can install them from their zip files, but it's been a while since I did this.  Calibre will no doubt let you know if this is not the case.  But try it using the zip files, as shown, first. 
5. When the plugin(s) has been loaded, if necessary, go back to Preferences, select Plugins again and click on the tiny triangle to the right of File type plugins.  This will expose the plugins as shown in picture 6.
6. Highlight the K4PC plugin as shown below and then click on Customize plugin.  This will bring up a small window where you will input your Kindle serial number [located on your Kindle under Settings].
7.  Once you have input your Kindle serial number, you are good to go.  Now, when you want Calibre to deDRM your azw ebooks, Calibre should do it without a problem.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The 10 Grumpiest Authors in Literary History

The new art issue of The Believer features, among many treats, an excellent interview with the late Maurice Sendak by author Emma Brockes, who visited him in his home. His “legendary crossness,” she writes “was really just impatience with artifice… ‘I refuse to lie to children,’ [Sendak] said. ‘I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.’ There was no roughness in his delivery. It was spiked with merriment.” Indeed, the best grumps are the ones who take some joy at their own crotchety-ness, or who at least have a sense of humor about it. Inspired (again, always) by Sendak’s joyful curmudgeonry, and since we’ve already given you the rundown on our grumpiest living writers, we’ve rounded up a list of the all-time grumpiest authors who are no longer with us. Read about them after the jump, and add any we’ve missed in the comments!

Maurice Sendak
The gloriously grumpy Sendak made our list of the grumpiest living writers back in April, but since then, he has alas achieved his “yummy death” and left us to our own devices. The entire Believer interview shows off his honest, particular worldview, but just for a taste, here’s what he said about Terry Gross after her NPR interview with him: “The only thing she said wrong was that her favorite interviews had been me and that stupid fucking writer. Salman Rushdie, that flaccid fuckhead. He reviewed me on a full page in the New York Times, my book Dear Mili. He hated it. He is detestable. I called up the Ayatollah, nobody knows that. What else shall we talk about?” So very many things.

Gore Vidal
“Speaking as his current book editor of record,” Gerald Howard commented on our original post, “I’m sorry not to see Gore Vidal and his magnificent and murderously witty spleen in this round-up.” Well, he was right: a gross oversight. We now include him here, another great writer recently lost, and another deliciously acerbic wit bubbling over with opinions on everything. For an excellent example of Vidal’s grumpiness in action, just watch this video.

Norman Mailer
Speaking of Gore Vidal, here’s what fellow grump Norman Mailer had to say to him on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971: ”I’ve had to smell your works from time to time and that has made me an expert in intellectual pollution.” That’s separate from the time Mailer punched him at a party. Yipes. Pugnacious as all get-out and smarter than everyone else to boot, you really know you’re at the top of the grumpy old man list when magazines are putting together your All-Time Enemies List and you can only barely count the entrants on both hands.

Gertrude Stein
“If you can’t say anything nice about anyone else, come sit next to me,” Stein famously quipped. This we would very much like to do. More important as a tastemaker and artistic gatekeeper than as a writer in her own right, she labelled herself a genius, dominated every room, and stared down Ernest Hemingway in more ways than one.

Thomas Bernhard
Berhard is a famous ranter, constantly raising his voice against his country, the culture, life, the universe and everything. Upon being presented with an Austrian national award in 1968, Berhard shrugged, “Everything is ridiculous, when one thinks of Death,” causing some minor public outrage. In his memoir, he wrote, ”I did not want to be anything, and naturally I did not want to turn myself into a mere profession: all I ever wanted was to be myself.” That, at least, he was in spades.

Dorothy Parker
These days, Parker is known primarily for her acerbic wit and willingness to use it against anyone and everyone. “And it is that word ‘hummy,’ my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader fwowed up,” ran her “Constant Reader” review of A.A. Milne’s classic. But she was as likely to turn her ever-raised eyebrow at herself. When asked by the Paris Review if she drew on her past for material she scoffed, “All those writers who write about their childhood! Gentle God, if I wrote about mine you wouldn’t sit in the same room with me.” When pressed on the “source of most of [her] work,” she shrugged, “Need of money, dear.” We can picture the frustrated interviewer now.

Vladimir Nabokov
Like Sendak, Nabokov is a grump in the most charming of ways. He was quick to disparage the works of contemporary writers he didn’t care for (“Many accepted authors simply do not exist for me. Their names are engraved on empty graves, their books are dummies, they are complete nonentities insofar as my taste in reading is concerned.”), but less free with his praise of authors he enjoyed (“There are several such writers, but I shall not name them. Anonymous pleasure hurts nobody.”). Perhaps our favorite grumpy quote of his comes from the same Paris Review interview as the previous two, when the interviewer asked if an editor ever had valuable advice to offer him: ”By ‘editor’ I suppose you mean proofreader. Among these I have known limpid creatures of limitless tact and tenderness who would discuss with me a semicolon as if it were a point of honor — which, indeed, a point of art often is. But I have also come across a few pompous avuncular brutes who would attempt to ‘make suggestions’ which I countered with a thunderous ‘stet!’”

Patricia Highsmith
The prolific author of some of the best psychological thrillers ever was, perhaps not surprisingly, a rather misanthropic sort. “My imagination functions much better when I don’t have to speak to people,” she famously remarked, and from what we’ve read, it seems as though other people functioned better when they didn’t have to speak to her. She also kept pet snails, which strikes us somehow as a wonderfully grumpy pursuit.

Charles Bukowski
Like any professional grump, Bukowski called everything as he saw it — no filter attached. He was an expert at both celebrating his culture and disparaging it, poking holes in his fellow men but then reassuring them in was basically okay. In a letter to Steven Richmond he once wrote, ”LSD, yeah, the big parade – everybody’s doin’ it now. Take LSD, then you are a poet, an intellectual. What a sick mob. I am building a machine gun in my closet now to take out as many of them as I can before they get me.”

Christopher Hitchens
As much or more than anyone else on this list, Hitchens made a living on his grumpiness (and his striking intelligence, of course). In 1993, he wrote, “For a lot of people, their first love is what they’ll always remember. For me it’s always been the first hate, and I think that hatred, though it provides often rather junky energy, is a terrific way of getting you out of bed in the morning and keeping you going. If you don’t let it get out of hand, it can be canalized into writing. In this country where people love to be nonjudgmental when they can be, which translates as, on the whole, lenient, there are an awful lot of bubble reputations floating around that one wouldn’t be doing one’s job if one didn’t itch to prick.” Well, we’re glad someone did it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Total Boox: Pay Only For The Amount Of Pages You Read

Total Boox: Pay Only For The Amount Of Pages You Read

Technology News - Total Boox: Making E-Reading Better For Publishers And Readers Alike
With the introduction of digital reading devices, such as Amazon’s Kindle and other tablets on the market, many have transitioned to e-books. But while e-books have made it easier to purchase books and carry them around, the familiar problem of paying for books you end up abandoning half-way through remains.  Israeli company Total Boox has come up with a clever solution.
Total Boox allows users to only pay for the portion of the book they actually read. The company’s software enables readers to build digital bookshelves of virtually endless titles, while only paying for what they read. The payment is proportional to how much you read: if you read 10 percent of the book, you pay 10 percent of the book’s total price. Each reader deposits a predetermined sum into their account and with each page read, the corresponding fee is deducted.

Tool Boox writes on its website: “Currently the dominant commercial model in the ebook market is ‘Buy  first, Read later’. With few exceptions people are expected to pay for accessing a book, regardless if they read it, complete it, enjoy it, etc. The need to purchase a book before reading it is an unnecessary and burdening remnant from the world of printed books. It distorts the market, hampers discoverability, stalls distribution and reduces reading.”
The company adds: “This ‘Read first, Pay later ‘ approach is sensitive to the user, it generates charges reflecting the actual value received by the consumer.”
But Total Boox is not the first to think about our book-buying habits. On Amazon’s Kindle, readers are able to read long excerpts of any book, which makes it easier to decide whether the book is worth buying or not.
Total Boox is scheduled to launch early 2013 and it is unclear how many publishers have already signed with the company. However, the company states on its website that it has “thousands of titles.”
The company is based in Israel and has representative in the US and the UK. It has recently completed its first financing round. The BETA app is currently only available for Android tablets on Google play.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Patricia Cornwell and the strange case of the missing millions

Patricia Cornwell and the strange case of the missing millions

Her bestselling crime novels made her a fortune – millions of dollars of which appear to have gone missing. Patricia Cornwell reveals all about the mystery that threatened her very livelihood.

"I would be the first to say I have a lot of strange things happen to me. A lot really, truly aren't something I did. How many people get escorted off a plane because [Federal Marshals] think you're armed? I didn't cause that. I just had a cell phone on my belt. Or my dalliance with [FBI agent] Margo Bennett: who would think that could be related to what happened years later when this guy tied up a priest, and got into a shoot-out in a church? Who would ever think? I don't know. It is what it is."
Everything, it seems, happens to Patricia Cornwell. So when my phone rings one evening and Cornwell herself is on the line saying she wants to discuss one of the most trying periods of her life, I am intrigued to say the least. Whatever could it be? Alien abduction? When she mentions she is coming to London to continue her infamous research on Jack the Ripper, I wonder whether she has finally cracked the case. I am summoned to the Savoy for an audience.
Interviews with Cornwell are never mundane, frequently entertaining and often profoundly confessional. She discusses issues many people would hesitate to share with their closest friends. In previous conversations, she has talked frankly (sometimes, she admits, too frankly) about her father abandoning his family on Christmas Day, her mother's subsequent battles with depression, the abuse she suffered as a child in foster care, her own mental-health issues, her sexuality and marriage to Staci Gruber, her public support for President George Bush Sr and her comparably public falling out with his son, George W. Some habits die hard. "Some of the people I have supported [politically] were personal friends," she tells me today. "George W Bush – may god forgive me – because I knew his parents really well. I didn't realise until later that I wasn't going to support him any more."
When I arrive at the Savoy, I am greeted by Cornwell's personal manager, but only after he confirms my appearance with his iPhone. I feel a flutter of nerves. As we move through the lobby, I realise we are being shadowed by a security guard who silently accompanies us in the lift. "Hello," I say, attempting small talk. After a granite-hard stare, he smiles thinly. My nervousness increases.
Cornwell herself is more welcoming. Wearing trademark designer jeans, cowboy boots and a T-shirt featuring the family crest of Kay Scarpetta, the forensic pathologist heroine of 20 of her novels, she shows me into a sitting-room with a view of the Thames. Two others are present: Cornwell's sister-in-law Mary Daniels, and Joan Lukey, her attorney. Those nerves flutter again.
For the next two-and-a-half hours, Cornwell exhibits an array of emotions, from frustration to resolution, outraged disbelief to righteous indignation. "You don't do this to me and my family and friends and have me throw in the towel," she says defiantly. "One thing people don't tend to anticipate about me is that I have an unbelievable capacity to endure misery because I have had so much of it. It doesn't mean I enjoy it or that it doesn't take a toll. But I am no stranger to it. I have not lived some charmed life where if you trip me up I don't know what to do because I have never felt this before. There isn't much I haven't felt."
Cornwell is referring to the lengthy, complex and "staggeringly" expensive lawsuit she began in October 2009, seeking damages estimated at $180m against her business managers, Anchin, Block & Anchin, whom she accuses of fiduciary mismanagement of her money and assets. Anchin were hired in 2004 to manage Cornwell's investments and tax liability. A personal business manager, Evan Snapper, was engaged to oversee everything from buying her helicopters to paying Cornwell's personal cable-TV bills. "I felt I had made the smartest business decision of my life. You are going to use a real firm that handles real people in the entertainment industry."
After almost five years, Cornwell ended the relationship with Anchin, Block & Anchin believing that her net worth, which she estimated to be in the region of $35m, had seemingly remained stagnant despite substantial yearly earnings in the low-eight figures.
Cornwell's initial suspicion was that there had been a significant mismanagement of her investments and expenses: paying over the odds for her part-ownership of a Warren Buffett NetJet, for instance. In reviewing files returned to her in September 2009, Cornwell found a cancelled $5,000 cheque, made to Cash, that Snapper directed be paid to himself from her funds, purportedly as a Bat Mitzvah gift to his daughter Lydia. Cornwell had never met Lydia, nor had she authorised the present. "I can't even put my hands around the fact that hiring Anchin [would turn out to be] the most dangerous thing I could have done in terms of my business, my finances and my reputation."
Cornwell's examination of her records brought other inconsistencies to light. It took months to trace the sale of a Ferrari, valued at $220,000. Although money was wired into her account, Cornwell could find no documentation (a traditional bill of sale) proving that this was the total sum paid by the vendor. "How do I know that what was wired into my account was the exact amount that was paid for that car and that someone didn't take a commission?" Cornwell asks.
Although the total sums can only be estimated, Cornwell and her legal team are attempting to trace between $40m and $60m in lost and unaccounted-for earnings. Cornwell is of the opinion that her manager, Evan Snapper, was primarily responsible for business mismanagement issues. Anchin, who are fighting Cornwell's suit, denied any money was missing, and informed Cornwell that her financial situation was a product of a costly lifestyle.
The story soon took another twist. Anchin did not take Cornwell's lawsuit lightly. In December 2009, they hired James Cole, then an attorney and now the United States' Deputy Attorney General. Late that same year, Anchin self-reported to the Department of Justice and the FBI a number of campaign donations: to Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and also to Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore's short-lived run to be Virginia's senator. These contributions were made on behalf of a variety of parties, including Snapper, who were later reimbursed using Cornwell's funds.
As a consequence of these payments, Cornwell was accused of masterminding an illegal conduit scheme in violation of federal campaign finance law. The disputed donations included an estimated $50,000 for tickets to a fundraising concert by Elton John for Hillary Clinton in New York on 9 April. Cornwell had intended to go, along with Gruber, friends and family, including her brother Jim, his wife Mary and their son. In the end, none of the k original party attended: Cornwell flew to London to accept a Galaxy Book Award the same night. Snapper went in her place, along with several Anchin employees.
This made the donations technically illegal: Cornwell had already given the maximum allowed by law ($4,600) to Clinton's appeal. She accepts that her funds were used in a felony, and is prepared to pay any fine imposed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). This is because the FEC imposes fines not just for intentional improprieties, but for reimbursements that are unknowing and not willful. Cornwell strongly disputes that she had any knowledge the reimbursements were made, that they were illegal, or that she ever intended to commit a felony.
Snapper later admitted that he reimbursed the cost of the tickets ($2,300 apiece) from Cornwell's funds. This was the felonious conduit scheme. What would become significant is that Snapper not only used Cornwell's funds to reimburse members of the original party, including Jim and Mary Daniels, who did not attended the concert, but also the Anchin employees who did go. What he would plead guilty to in 2010 was falsifying entries in Cornwell's account ledgers. The Elton John tickets bought by Anchin were not presented as campaign donations, but journalled under headings such as clothing and meals.
Cornwell believes that the timing of Anchin's self-reporting to the Department of Justice is crucial. It was two years after the Clinton fundraiser, and two-and-a-half years after Gilmore's senate campaign, but literally within weeks of the filing of Cornwell's multi-million-dollar lawsuit.
That timing, and the fact that Anchin's submissions pointed a finger directly at Cornwell, caused a delay to the litigation. "[Anchin and Snapper were saying] that I orchestrated [the campaign donations]. That I directed payments. That's a lie. I did not orchestrate anything. I did not direct any repayments. They are saying that nice little Patricia Cornwell, the Queen of Crime, is really the Queen of Criminals."
The FBI began a criminal investigation into the campaign donations, seeking proof that Cornwell orchestrated the conduit scheme and knew that her conduct was illegal. Cornwell says the first she knew about it was when her brother called in January 2010. Although neither attended the Elton John concert, both had been reimbursed for the tickets. Both he and his wife were questioned by FBI agents without warning on the same morning. Jim had just arrived at his woodworking company. "Jim used to be Deacon in a Baptist church," Cornwell says, describing her brother. "He won't even jaywalk. There is very little political activity."
Mary was pulled out of a nail salon in Brandon, Mississippi, where the family lives. "I was done with my manicure, waiting for my friend to finish," she recalls. "The next thing I knew, I get a phone call. Someone says, 'Is this Mary Daniels? You need to put the phone down and step outside.' I was, like, 'You got to be kidding me. Who is this?'"
The "who" was an FBI agent. "She came into the nail salon, in front of everyone in the place, flashed her badge, and said, 'We need to speak to you – now.' It was unbelievably intimidating. They made me go sit in the back of a car. They sat in the front turned around, and stared at me. I was terrified what to say about anything."
Mary Daniels says the events of that day began a year-long rift in the family that healed only in December 2010. That is when the Department of Justice informed Cornwell, through counsel, that she was no longer a target of their investigation. In January 2011, Snapper pleaded guilty to a criminal charge relating to falsifying 21 campaign donations, although he maintained that he did so as an "ill-advised favour to Patricia Cornwell". A civil investigation by the Federal Election Commission is still to be resolved, as is Cornwell's original lawsuit.
Of all the elements in the case, Cornwell names the implication of illegal activity on her part as the most grievous. In practical terms, a guilty verdict could have had a grave impact on her work, preventing her from accessing high-security institutions such as prisons, FBI offices and police mortuaries. "I always joke that I am trying to get into places that everybody else is tying to get out of."
But this only goes so far in explaining Cornwell's determination to clear her name. Throughout the conversation, she returns time and again to the topic of her reputation. "It means everything to me. My guiding principle in life is the same thing that guides Kay Scarpetta – you don't abuse power. To have willingly and knowingly committed a felony in a matter of campaign contributions would absolutely be an abuse of power and I'd never do such a thing. Why would I take such a chance on something like that?"
It's a good question, one that places Cornwell's credibility and integrity squarely on trial. As the case of the campaign donations turns upon conceptions of intention and responsibility, should we believe that she is a master manipulator, or a naïve celebrity?
Unravelling Patricia Cornwell's character is quite a job. One defining challenge is distinguishing fact from fiction. In a career spanning 21 years, the 56-year-old could measure out her life in vivid media headlines. Many have centred on her phenomenal success as a crime writer: she has sold more than 100 million books in 120 countries, has been translated into at least 36 languages and her heroine, Scarpetta, has inspired a slew of imitators (from Kathy Reichs to CSI). Cornwell herself escaped a broken home and troubled childhood to become a publishing superstar with a private helicopter and celebrity friends. "Suddenly I'm in Los Angeles being introduced to Jodie Foster. I'll never forget my first visit to the Beverly Hills Hotel. I was walking around my room coming out of my skin because I was so nervous. I couldn't believe I was there."
Other headlines were more sensational. A night out with Demi Moore ended with Cornwell crashing a car while over the alcohol limit. In 1997, Cornwell was outed, in part after that "dalliance" with FBI agent Margo Bennett went public: Bennett's husband held Margo hostage, along with a Methodist minister, in a church in Virginia. Margo managed to call the police after incapacitating her husband with pepper spray and firing a warning shot.
In 2007, Cornwell successfully sued a cyberstalker, Leslie R Sachs, who accused her of, among other things, plagiarising his novel The Virginia Ghost Murders, participating in a global anti-Semitic conspiracy and, in a heartfelt poem, of being responsible for the death of his cat.
"I went from being this crime-busting trendsetter to being this source of scandal. Where I grew up [in the small mountain community of Montreat, North Carolina], scandal is not a good thing. Let's be honest, especially back in those days, not everybody will give you a standing ovation if they find out you are gay. There's no telling how much it affects the savage reviews I get on Amazon. Are they really about my books or about me?" k
It's another pertinent question to ask of someone whose life and work are in constant and fluid interrelation. "From a young age, when the world was too difficult for me to live in, I could create one of my own. I have always been going back and forth through the looking glass. I had an imaginary friend, and I would send myself on imaginary missions. I lived very much in a fantasy world."
Part of the Cornwell enigma is the shadowy presence of Kay Scarpetta, her fictional alter ego. What they share, apart from a love of fine wine and sharp sense of humour, is a courageous need to uncover the truth, no matter the odds. But there are differences, as Cornwell makes clear, talking about Snapper. "It's a problem because people think I am Scarpetta. First of all, she would have figured this guy out in one second. It may come as a shock to my fans, because Kay Scarpetta is supremely competent about running her affairs, but I am a dolt when it comes to business. I am not interested in it. I never have been. I have always got other people to do that while I am running around morgues, chasing Jack the Ripper. I don't understand investments – I wouldn't touch them with a 10ft pole. I am scared to death of losing money."
Cornwell is a complex and often contradictory personality. At its heart is a tantalising blend of determination and stubbornness, egotism and generosity, bravado and insecurity that defines many self-made, and self-reliant, success stories – something she herself concedes. "I have always felt I was on my own. I have a tremendous survival instinct. It is belied a little bit by the fact that I have this humongous artistic temperament: I am very sensitive. Those two things are kind of at war with one another. But those two characters stick together and I manage."
Her ambition drove Cornwell to keep writing after publishers rejected her first three novels. This self-confidence rubs shoulders with what appears to be a naïve candour. More than once attorney Joan Lukey corrects her outspoken client: for example, on the subject of that drunken car crash. Cornwell: "Why on earth would I commit a felony? I hadn't had a speeding ticket in over 30 years. I am fastidious, to the point of almost obsessive, about trying to play by rules and being careful." Lukey: "20 years." Cornwell: "Well. That wasn't a speeding ticket. That was a DUI [Driving Under the Influence]." [Lukey laughs, in slight disbelief]. Cornwell: "I am open about that. That's the only thing I have gotten in trouble with. Everybody knows about that. My DUI in 1993. It's not a speeding ticket." Lukey: "It's worse than a speeding ticket, Patricia." Cornwell: "I have admitted to it. That doesn't make me a felon now."
There are times when Cornwell adopts a grandiloquent, Scarpettian tone, as if the story-teller in her has got carried away narrating her quest for justice. For instance, when I ask whether she ever considers giving up: "If I did that, what about all those people out there who don't have the means to fight someone who has grievously wronged them, and they have to live with that for ever?"
At the same time, you can't help warming to someone who clearly lives at such an intense pitch, who fights so tenaciously for what she believes in, and who is so willing to lay her cards on the table. How many other writers would admit they have encouraged friends to review books on Amazon? "I never said give me a five-star review, but I would recruit friends and family and say, 'If you know anybody, get them to post a fair review.'" Few other writers describe fame with such guileless humour. "If you are walking through the grocery store and a stranger wants to see what's in your cart, I don't particularly enjoy that. God only knows what was in it. Preparation H. 'Hi!'"
And few other writers blow their own trumpet with such winning and wide-eyed wonder. "I love my career. It's like I woke up and won the lottery. I am amazed by this every day. Yes, it's extremely hard work. This isn't something you can cause to happen. It's like a lightning strike."
If this unguardedness occasionally leaves Cornwell vulnerable, then it also underlines vulnerability as a defining theme of her life and work. From her debut on, she has transformed her deepest fears into compelling crime fiction: Postmortem, the first book in the Scarpetta series, was inspired by a serial killer terrorising women in Cornwell's neighbourhood in Richmond, Virginia.
Traces of her recent ordeals can be found in her most recent fiction. The climactic homicide trial in new novel, The Bone Bed, takes place in the same courtroom that was due to host Cornwell last month, before the trial's postponement. "My way of dealing with fear is to walk right into it," she says. Last year's Red Mist opened with Kay Scarpetta visiting a women's prison in Tennessee. "The emotional part was I was checking it out for myself. 'Here are the people who would cut your hair' – no, I'm not going to let them colour it. 'Here is the classroom where they teach English.' 'Here is the library.' I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't imagine [my wife] Staci being put through something like this."
Talking to the inmates re-opened wounds from Cornwell's childhood – in particular, the trauma of the foster-mother who took her in whenever her own mother suffered a breakdown. "I felt that same gut-wrenching terror and grief that I felt when I would see my mother lose it. Next thing, I would go back to that awful house and that lady who would torment me for four months at a time. Psychologically, there is probably not much worse that you could have done to me," Cornwell concludes. "The only thing they could do worse would be to physically hurt Staci or me. We have really stepped up security."
After September's postponement, Cornwell's trial is due to start in January. Relief mingles with trepidation. "[The case is] not going to be without exposure. These people know everything about my life. They know what I spend. They know what I do. They know where I have lived. The good thing is, I have lived a very open life. I don't have dirty secrets."
I ask why people should sympathise with a multimillionaire seeking multi-million-dollar damages at a time when many can't pay basic bills. Cornwell admits she can't predict how the public will react. "There may be people who are appalled. There may also be people [for whom] it becomes a point of criticism about me. You are never going to please everybody. But I need to get the truth out there."
Whatever the verdict, another dramatic chapter is being written in the Patricia Cornwell story. Two things seem certain: there will be fresh fodder for Kay Scarpetta; and Cornwell herself will persevere. She recalls talking to Gruber, as they arrived to be deposed by Anchin's lawyers. "I said, 'We are not pulling up to a clinic for chemotherapy. Put it in perspective. There are things so much worse than this. This isn't losing someone you love, or finding you are bankrupt. I am still so much luckier than most people. I am able to shoulder this. And I will.'"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How Paperbacks Transformed the Way Americans Read

by Andrew Shaffer / Illustration by Thomas Allen

Half a century before e-books turned publishing upside down, a different format threatened to destroy the industry.
Here’s a little perspective: In 1939, gas cost 10 cents a gallon at the pump. A movie ticket set you back 20 cents. John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the year’s bestselling hardcover book, was $2.75. For a nation suffering 20 percent unemployment, books were an impossible expense.
But in just one day, Robert de Graff changed that. On June 19, 1939, the tall, dynamic entrepreneur took out a bold, full-page ad in The New York Times: OUT TODAY—THE NEW POCKET BOOKS THAT MAY TRANSFORM NEW YORK’S READING HABITS.
The ad was timed to coincide with the debut of his newest endeavor, an imprint called Pocket Books. Starting with a test run of 10 titles, which included classics as well as modern hits, de Graff planned to unleash tote-able paperbacks on the American market. But it wasn’t just the softcover format that was revolutionary: De Graff was pricing his Pocket Books at a mere 25 cents.
Despite its audacity, de Graff’s ad wasn’t brazen enough for his taste. A former publishing exec who’d cut his teeth running imprints for Doubleday, de Graff wanted the ad to read THE NEW POCKET BOOKS THAT WILL TRANSFORM NEW YORK’S READING HABITS. His business partners at Simon & Schuster were less confident and forced the edit. Even though some European publishers were making waves with paperbacks—Penguin in England and Albatross in Germany—New York publishers didn’t think the cheap, flimsy books would translate to the American market.
They were wrong. It took just a week for Pocket Books to sell out its initial 100,000 copy run. Despite industry skepticism, paperbacks were about to transform America’s relationship with reading forever.

The New Books on the Block

If paperbacks were going to succeed in America, they would need a new model. De Graff, for his part, was well acquainted with the economics of books. He knew that printing costs were high because volumes were low—an average hardcover print run of 10,000 might cost 40 cents per copy. With only 500 bookstores in the U.S., most located in major cities, low demand was baked into the equation.
In the U.K., things were different. There, four years prior, Penguin Books founder Allen Lane had started publishing popular titles with paper bindings and distributed them in train stations and department stores. In his first year of operation, Lane sold more than three million “mass-market” paperbacks.
Quantity was key. De Graff knew that if he could print 100,000 paperbound books, production costs would plummet to 10 cents per copy. But it would be impossible for Pocket Books to turn a profit if it couldn’t reach hundreds of thousands of readers. And that would never happen as long as de Graff relied solely on bookstores for distribution. So de Graff devised a plan to get his books into places where books weren’t traditionally sold. His twist? Using magazine distributors to place Pocket Books in newsstands, subway stations, drugstores, and other outlets to reach the underserved suburban and rural populace. But if Pocket Books were going to sell, they couldn’t just stick to the highbrow. De Graff avoided the stately, color-coded covers of European paperbacks, which lacked graphics other than the publishers’ logos, and splashed colorful, eye-catching drawings on his books.
Even with the success of Pocket Books’ test run, hardcover publishers scoffed at the idea of paperbacks for the masses. Still, they were more than willing to sell Pocket Books the reprint rights to their hardcover titles, if only to humor de Graff. “We feel we ought to give it a chance—to show that it won’t work here,” an anonymous publisher told Time shortly after Pocket Books’ launch. For every paperback sold, the hardcover publisher would receive a penny royalty per copy—which it split fifty-fifty with the author. Pocket Books would also make about a penny in profit for each copy sold.
Since de Graff offered refunds for unsold copies, carrying the books was a no-brainer. In 1939, de Graff told Publishers Weekly that he’d been deluged with requests from “out-of-town dealers.” And from the get-go Americans devoured every 25-cent paperback de Graff could feed them. By the time Pocket Books sold its 100 millionth copy in September 1944, its books could be found in more than 70,000 outlets across the U.S. They might not have had the glamour and sophistication of hardcovers, but paperbacks were making serious money. It wasn’t long before other publishers decided to jump into the game.

Cover Stories

In the late 1930s, Penguin’s Allen Lane met Ian Ballantine, a young American graduate student at the London School of Economics whose thesis examined the paperback business. Impressed by his research, Lane hired Ballantine to launch a U.S. branch of Penguin in 1939, the same year Pocket Books got its start.
At first, Penguin wasn’t much of a threat to de Graff, since Ballantine, with the help of his 19-year-old bride, Betty, mainly imported the parent company’s books from the U.K. The covers featured little besides the title, the author’s name, and the Penguin logo, giving them a generic, minimalist look that failed to excite the American market. But as World War II escalated, Lane’s control over U.S. operations became tenuous. Imports from the U.K. were scarce, and the Ballantines took the opportunity to print their own selections under the Penguin banner, adding illustrated covers to compete with Pocket Books.
After the war, Lane was horrified to see his prestigious Penguin logo stamped on such tawdry covers. In 1945, he forced the Ballantines out. Lane expected his new hires, German publisher Kurt Enoch and American Victor Weybright, to fall in line with his refined sensibilities, but they too failed him. Graphic (and sometimes lurid) illustrations were necessary for the American market, Weybright argued. “The general intention of our covers is to attract Americans, who, more elementary than the Britishers, are schooled from infancy to disdain even the best product unless it is smoothly packaged and merchandised,” Weybright wrote to Lane.

Pocket Watch

With Pocket Books and Penguin paving the way, the paperback gold rush had begun. Other paperback houses soon followed, including Popular Library, Dell, Fawcett Publications, and Avon Pocket Size Books. In 1948, Lane washed his hands of Penguin U.S., selling the operation to Weybright and Enoch, who renamed it New American Library of World Literature (NAL). Hardcover publishers watched nervously as these new players chipped away at their market share. For the most part, their only stake in the new paperback houses lay in the reprint royalties they split with authors. “If other publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them,” George Orwell once said of paperbacks, which he considered a “splendid” value.
Months after his removal from Penguin, Ian Ballantine pitched hardcover reprinter Grosset & Dunlap the idea of starting a new paperback business. Grosset & Dunlap was a joint venture of the day’s biggest hardcover players: Random House, Harper’s, Charles Scribner’s Sons, Book-of-the-Month Club, and Little, Brown. Each of these companies was looking for a way to dip its toes into the exploding market, and Ballantine had come to them at the right time.
De Graff himself unwittingly helped seal the deal by advising the publishers that the paperback industry wasn’t worth exploring. Random House president Bennett Cerf said, “When Bob came as a ‘friend’ to give us a talk about why we shouldn’t go into the business, we figured it must be a damned good idea.” Grosset & Dunlap, along with distributor Curtis, became shareholders in Ballantine’s new paperback house, Bantam Books.
Bantam’s impact was immediate—its initial printings were usually 200,000 copies or more. Crazier still, almost every title sold out. Each month, Bantam published four new books from the large backlist available via Grosset & Dunlap, and it had no shortage of quality titles, including The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath (now just 25 cents). How would other publishers keep up?

A Novel Idea

Toward the end of the 1940s, with so many new entrants in the booming paperback business, magazine and comic book publisher Fawcett Publications gave the industry a new idea to mock: paperback originals. Up to that point, paperback publishers had limited themselves to reprinting hardcover titles or publishing quick, timely original nonfiction such as the wartime bestseller What’s That Plane, a guide to identifying American and Japanese aircraft.
Fawcett was saddled with a distribution agreement that prevented it from publishing and distributing its own reprints of hardcover titles. Seeking to exploit a loophole, editor in chief Ralph Daigh announced that Fawcett would begin publishing original fiction in paperback form beginning in February 1950.
“Successful authors are not interested in original publishing at 25 cents,” Freeman Lewis, executive vice-president of Pocket Books said. Hardcover publisher Doubleday’s LeBaron R. Barker claimed that the concept could “undermine the whole structure of publishing.” Hardcover publishers, of course, had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They were still receiving 50 percent of the royalties by selling reprint rights.
Fawcett silenced the skeptics by selling more than nine million copies within six months. Authors did the math, and writers of genre fiction—thrillers, Westerns, and romance especially—jumped at the opportunity to write paperback originals. Still, “serious” literary writers insisted on staying in the hardcover market for the prestige, and critics in turn declined to review paperback originals. Clearly, the stigma was still there.

Trading Up

Literary authors and critics weren’t the only ones turning up their noses at paperbacks. Bookstore owners, for the most part, refused to stock them, and students at most schools and universities still used hardcover texts.
Enter the “trade paperback.” Publishers had been unsuccessfully experimenting with larger-sized paperbacks since the 1940s, but it wasn’t until Doubleday’s Jason Epstein introduced Anchor Books trade paperbacks in 1953 that the idea caught fire. The idea arose from Epstein’s own college experience. “The writers we had discovered in college were either out of print or available only in expensive hardcover editions,” he wrote in Book Business. Instead of reprinting last year’s hardcover bestsellers and classics, Epstein envisioned a line of “upscale paperbacks” handpicked for their literary merit from publishers’ deep backlists.
Anchor’s trade paperbacks were larger and more durable than mass-market paperbacks and were an instant hit with high schools and colleges. Their attractive covers, illustrated by fine artists such as Edward Gorey, immediately distinguished them from the grittier pulp paperbacks, and they appealed to a more “intellectual” market. As a result, they found a nice middle ground in price. Epstein’s paperbacks had small print runs of about 20,000 and sold for 65 cents to $1.25 when mass-market paperbacks were still going for 25 to 50 cents. Trade paperbacks also opened doors to bookstores. Within 10 years, 85 percent of bookstores carried the handsome volumes.
In 1960, revenues from paperbacks of all shapes and sizes finally surpassed those from hardcover sales. The same year, Pocket Books became the first publisher to be publicly traded on a stock exchange, essentially marking paperbacks’ ascent to the mainstream. Hardcovers never died out in the United States, though paperbacks continued to outsell them as recently as 2010, thanks in no small part to the continuing price difference—for example, George R.R. Martin’s bestselling novel A Game of Thrones retails for $32 in hardcover and just $8.99 in mass-market paperback.
Today, it’s de rigueur for major publishers to print both hardcover and paperback books. And of course, there’s a new “pocket book” transforming reading habits, the e-book. Now that Amazon—and the other online booksellers who followed—have untethered e-books from computers by offering inexpensive e-readers, the e-book revolution has done de Graff’s brilliant distribution scheme one better: These days, anyone with a smartphone has an entire bookstore in his or her pocket.

Friday, July 20, 2012