Weblog Bookwatch keeps tabs on 50 of the most popular books in the blogosphere. All Consuming does something similar, but with more day-by-day information. Popular authors among webloggers right now: Neal Stephenson, Al Franken, Michael Moore, Orwell.
(For the record, I've read 11 of Weblog Bookwatch's current top 50, and 10 of All Consuming's top 50 from today.)
Arundel Books has been limiting the amount of customer data they've been storing, in order to safeguard their customers against possible subpoenas based on section 215 of the Patriot Act. This has a direct impact on the store's business practices, and limits choices for serving customers online. Interesting, not only for the political/freedom-to-read issues, but for the way it directly impacts folks in the industry.
"We were thrilled that we had a bookseller in Nepal join recently," says Marci Crossan, spokesperson for the firm.
Marci Crossan says that Abebooks staff see trends in book collecting. "We've seen Dr. Seuss books skyrocket in value. If you happen to have a first edition of Cat In The Hat, it's worth about $18,000. And cookbook collecting has taken off. Laura Bush is an avid collector. A first printing of The Joy Of Cooking from 1931 sold for $4,690."...Old Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries are also hot, perhaps because they appeal to Boomer nostalgia. Franklin Dixon's first Hardy Boys mystery, The Tower Treasure (1927), sold for $3,770.
I've been hitting lots of local author readings in the past month or so.
I saw Monica Ali read from her new novel Brick Lane in San Francisco a few weeks back. It's an excellent first book, with some very strong characters.
I also saw Jhumpa Lahiri in Berkeley, reading from her first novel, The Namesake; I liked the book, but I'm finding it difficult to distance myself from the text, given how strongly I identify with the characters and plot points.
Neal Stephenson was in town recently, reading from Quicksilver in Berkeley. The event was terribly crowded -- fans had apparently started showing up three hours in advance -- so I ended up not being able to see him read. I'm slowly working my way through the 900+ pages of geeky historical fiction.
Also on the almost-but-not-quite front, I was meaning to catch a Jonathan Lethem reading in Berkeley last weekend, but ended up not making it. He's promoting a new book called The Fortress of Solitude. I loved his novel Motherless Brooklyn. He also edited The Vintage Book of Amnesia, which I gave Wendy for her birthday.
Weblogger and science fiction writer Cory Doctorow is reading in Berkeley tonight. I enjoyed his first novel, Down and out in the Magic Kingdom, which deals with some of the interesting ideas of the day -- flash mobs, reputatation economies, etc.
"Online booksellers have given used books new life, and now BookFinder.com, a used-book Web-search service, has issued a fascinating report documenting the some of the most popular resuscitations. Among the most sought-after out-of-print books: 'Phantom' by Susan Kay, a reimagining of the Phantom of the Opera tale; 'Standing Room Only' by Elizabeth Fowler, the author's account of surviving the 1945 sinking of the ship she was traveling on by a German U-Boat; 'The World Crisis' by Winston Churchill; 'Sex' by Madonna; and 'The Red Box' by Rex Stout, an early Nero Wolfe novel."