The Future of International Book Sales

Wondering about the future of book publishing? Read Kristen’s post on The Future of International Book Sales.

Kristen Twardowski


For writers and readers, the future of the book industry depends on who is selling books. Technavio recently published its report on the Global Consumer Book Publishing Market, 2016-2020, which sheds some light on the future of the industry. (Unfortunately, the full report is behind a paywall, but I’m happy to share some highlights here.)

To few people’s surprise, digital book publishing and ebook adoptions will likely be a driving force in the international market for the next several years. Despite these trends, Technavio anticipates that the book publishing market will only have grown by a rate of around 1% by 2020.

Let it not be said that people write to become rich.

Though that percentage sounds dismal, it does indicate that there is still potential for growth in the industry. Authors and publishers just have to know where to sell their books.

The US market presents a more positive…

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Reading Old Books: Technology and Ancient Manuscripts

Read about a new technology that could reveal long lost secrets… from Kristen Twardowski, rapidly becoming one of my favourite bloggers.

Kristen Twardowski

It seems that using technology to see inside a closed book is having a popular moment in the scientific community. In addition to the recent advances in using radiation to see through a book cover, scientists are using scans to ‘unwrap’ ancient scrolls.

Using a micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scan, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem were able to virtually unwrap the En-Gedi scroll, a document that contains text from the Book of Leviticus and is the oldest book relating to Jewish and Christian scriptures ever found. Though researchers have known about the scrolls since its rediscovery in 1970, they never believed that they would be able to read its contents. The scroll itself is exceedingly fragile and was nearly destroyed by a fire in 600 AD. Scholars feared that if they touched it, the scroll would simply dissolve into chunks of ash.


The micro-CT scan, however, allowed researches…

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Free Online Resources: The Louisiana Digital Library

Kristen Twardowski publishes the most amazing things. Check this out and follow her blog.


Today I want to share another great set of free online resources and primary sources. Through its partnerships with 22 libraries, museums, and archives, The Louisiana Digital Library (LDL) p…

Source: Free Online Resources: The Louisiana Digital Library

“And in the Darkness Bind Them”:

This is a lengthy and fascinating article about the beginnings of the fantasy genre and its melding with sci-fi. In the beginning was the word and the word was Tolkien. Written by K.E. Roberts: Editor-in-Chief of We Are the Mutants and a freelance writer.

via “And in the Darkness Bind Them”: The First ‘Lord of the Rings’ Paperbacks and the Making of Fantasy | We Are the Mutants

Strike Three


Most people know that Robert Galbraith is actually JK Rowling. Her latest series chronicles the misadventures of a burly, down-and-out private detective (once SIB in the British military) named Cormoran Strike and his bold red-haired sidekick, Robin Ellacott.

I read the first two Strike books: The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, and decided to try Career of Evil as it was recommended by a librarian who said it was “good, yet rather disturbing”. (And it jumped off the shelf behind me in the library with a huge thwack!. You cannot ignore things like that.)

Disturbing it is, with its glimpse into the world of wannabe amputees and a serial killer who gets turned on by slashing bits off his female victims for titillating keepsakes. Strike, himself, is an amputee, having lost his leg in a bombing in Afghanistan. He’s a sympathetic character: a veteran who tromps through London, with an aching stump and a prosthesis, trying to solve murders while keeping his brassy sidekick safe–because, of course, they are secretly in love and can’t admit it– and his business afloat. By the end of the book, he is virtually jobless and penniless (and he could use a shower). Both Strike and Robin spend hours and hours hanging around a sick grimy landscape of poverty, addicts, and prostitutes, a place where he can blend, but she cannot. Perhaps we all need a shower.

I made the mistake of borrowing a large print hardcover thinking it would be easier on the eyes; it was, but what a nightmare to read in bed. At 752 pages, it was close to the weight of my laptop and tough on the wrists. I almost gave up part-way through. I had difficulty following the stories of the three men Strike was convinced could be responsible for the heinous hacking because they all hated him for ruining their lives. Complicated by backstory, and my late night reading habits, I’d forget who did what to who. In fact, after the big reveal, I had to leaf backwards to the pages that connected Strike to the killer in order to make sense of it.

Have you read the Strike novels? What was your experience?



Tom Burke plays Cormoran Strike (










The Ocean at the End of the Lane


It’s been years since I was SO enthralled by a book. I was choked up at the end of the final chapter and had to stop…couldn’t read the epilogue. Didn’t want to. Didn’t want the boy to grow up—though I knew it was inevitable: he was, after all, an adult reliving his past—didn’t want to know what became of the wise and comforting Hempstock women, didn’t want to emerge from my ocean.

I don’t know exactly why this book had such a profound effect on me.

It had something to do with the fertile Sussex countryside, with the Hempstock farm—with Lettie, and Ginnie, and Old Mrs. Hempstock—with their pioneer spirit and simple sumptuous food: with their porridge and drippling honeycombs and pots of sticky berry jam; with warm unpasteurized milk straight from the cow (I’m sure I tasted that as a kid), with shepherd’s pie layered in gravy and mashed potatoes, and soup collecting in a hanging cauldron over an open fire. I wanted to join them at the scarred old kitchen table and whisper by candlelight and sleep curled up in the four-poster bed under the full moon— was both hungry and sleepy simultaneously.

It had something to do with magic realism (which I adore) and a delicate understanding of the soul and parallel worlds that know no space and time, with a reality that “was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger” (143).

Yes, it had something to do with incredible writing, perfect pacing and simple, yet powerful, descriptions that sing through the mind of the boy like an incantation. The girls and boys come out to play…

A boy that could be any seven year old boy and no seven year old boy. An unnamed boy…every boy and any boy and no boy: the “pudding-and-pie-boy”, the boy from the top of the lane, the boy running for his life in bare feet across the meadow in a lightening storm wearing red pyjamas and a soaking housecoat. He’s a boy much like I imagine Neil Gaiman to have been: a boy that reads by a glimmer in the dead of night, that dreams of Narnia and Batman, that loves the rain on his face as he sleeps, that feels and thinks and believes in a world adults have misplaced; a boy with no real friends until…a boy that fights demons and will give up his life to save the world.

And, it had something to do with a fluffy black kitten on a pillow that made me cry.

I promise I’ve not given anything away.

You must read it to know it.

Should I read the epilogue? Can I? Now? Ever?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman, William Morrow: NY, 2013