BTW News Briefs

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Author Jamie Ford Asks Readers to Support Bricks-and-Mortar Bookstores

Jamie Ford, author of the bestselling Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, is offering his exclusive short story “Middle, Lost, and Found” to anyone who preorders his upcoming title Songs of Willow Frost (Ballantine) from a brick-and-mortar bookstore, either in person or online.

Ford is asking for a picture of a receipt or order confirmation along with contact information, and he will also send a signed bookplate if a mailing address is included.

“Books are a physical record of the human condition. And people who maintain these records deserve our support. Though I’m somewhat biased because I met my lovely wife at the public library and later dropped to one knee and proposed in a bookstore. (You can’t do that on a Kindle),” said Ford.

In 2009, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Ballantine) appeared on the February Indie Next List and was the #1 pick on the Fall 2009/Winter 2010 Indie Next for Reading Groups. Songs of Willow Frost, also an Indie Next List pick, will be published in September.

National Book Awards Longlist to Be Announced September 12

The first-ever National Book Awards longlist will be announced on September 12, 2013. NBA judges will select the longlist of 10 titles in each of the four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. The list will be narrowed to five finalists in each category, to be announced October 16, and the winners will be announced at the 64th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 20.

The National Book Foundation recently elected three new board members: Annette Gordon-Reed, winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize; Anthony Marx, president and CEO of the New York Public Library; and Deborah Needleman, editor-in-chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Each new board member will serve a three-year term, which can be renewed twice.

Facebook Algorithm Change Increases Engagement

Facebook has made changes to its News Feed algorithm that will boost posts that a user would be interested in — but may have missed — to a higher place in the News Feed. As a user likes more brands and becomes friends with more people, stories are more easily buried and missed. The new algorithm takes into account the amount of likes and comments an organic post gets from followers and will make it reappear higher up in a user’s News Feed. The post must still speak to followers’ interests to generate engagement.

According to Facebook, the new system resulted in a five percent increase in engagement with posts people saw from friends and an eight percent increase in engagement with stories coming from Facebook Pages. An average of 57 percent of stories in a person’s News Feed are read, but boosting unread stories to the top increased those read to 70 percent.

BISG Releases Study on Teacher Preferences for Course Materials

The Book Industry Study Group, in conjunction with Bowker Market Research, has released its newest study, Faculty Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education, which looks at the changing role of textbooks as traditional print course materials. This insight into instructor preferences for course materials works alongside BISG’s recently released report Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education.

Data from the spring 2013 faculty survey was collected to explore the importance of online teaching versus traditional classroom education, trends in online learning approaches, educational material prices, and the range of choices and preferences instructors have for course materials.