Today in books and publishing: Book Expo America is on; Sony introduces an augmented reality book for Playstation by J.K. Rowling; Amazon buys Avalon Books; and more.
It's Book Expo America (BEA) Week in New York City, which means book industry people and fans are flocking to the Javits Center to meet, greet, sign things, have things signed, and accrue as many galleys as possible. Beware getting in the way of anyone with a bag of books, those things can hurt if they hit you. We'll be there later today and will report back. In the meantime, GalleyCat has a mini guide to the event. [BEA]
Sony has announced Wonderbook, a new augmented reality platform for Playstation "designed to turn hard-copy books into a digital, interactive experience." Book of Spells, written (at least partly) by J.K. Rowling—it's a new Harry Potter book!—will be the first to come out in this format, which means it's sure to get some attention. "As players flip through the book, they can learn various magic spells and then actually perform those spells [figuratively, not literally, we imagine] with the power of the Playstation Eye and the PS3," explains Mark Raby. So far Rowling's is the only book that's been announced for Wonderbook. Expect the question: Is it a book or is it a game? Either way, it looks pretty cool, and, obviously, is expected to launch in time for the holidays. [TGDaily]
Amazon.com has acquired 62-year-old romance/mystery publisher Avalon Books, which has more than 3,000 back-list titles that will be published under Amazon imprints. This follows Amazon's purchase last December of "hundreds of titles from Marshall Cavendish Children's Books." Ellen Bouregy Mickelsen, Avalon Books publisher (her father founded the company) said in a statement, "I chose Amazon Publishing because they care deeply about the writers, readers, and categories that have long mattered to our family business and they are uniquely positioned to assure that our titles make the leap forward into the digital future.” Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed. [New York Times]
Dolly Parton has a new book. It'll be released by G.P. Putnam's Sons in November 2012, so you know what you'll be buying all of your favorite Dolly fans for the holidays. Called Dream More, it's "a book of 'inspirational wisdom'" based on a commencement speech Parton made to graduates at the University of Memphis in 2009. If that doesn't float your boat, you can read Parton's earlier memoir, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, or just play 9 to 5 on repeat for a few hours. [L.A. Times]
Fifty Shades of Grey continues to teach us lessons. Sometimes, they are about publishing. Relevant to that: A Sport and a Pastime, the classic erotic novel by James Salter, first released in 1967, is being rereleased as an e-book. [Forbes]