If this has been a tireless trend enforced by publishing companies to make its mostly female target audience go buy the books upon picking them off the shelves, then it sure is a better trend than the one that food companies have come up with that involves scattering bits of food or pouring colored, sticky water all over the books’ pages to use as bookmarks...
A Kids Book About, a direct-to-consumer publishing brand, produces books designed to help spark conversation between 5-9 year old kids and their parents about the tough topics of life. They currently have 12 titles available, tackling everything from anxiety to racism. The books are designed with colorful covers and text, but notably they don’t have any pictures. A Kids Book About signals an emerging trend in kids’ book publishing that strives to meet young readers on their level without pandering or talking down to them.
image via a kids book about
We also saw an absence of books that spoke directly to kids; books that talked up to them and not down to them. Books that assumed that they were in fact ready, and it was the grownups in their life who just didn’t know what to say or how to bring it up. These kinds of books simply didn’t exist before now, and even when did, they were impossible to find. We created this company and these books to change all of that.
A Kids Book About opted for a minimalist design philosophy for a few reasons. Of course, they wanted their books to stand out from the rest of the pack, and the relatively simple design of their books definitely sets them apart from a market saturated with fully illustrated stories. Jelani Memory says their design choices are also informed by the idea that kids deserve to be spoken to in a direct way that they can handle.
And third, we wanted to give them freedom to fill in the blanks, use their imagination, and apply the books to their lives. The moment you stick a brown haired blue eyed kid with a group of dragons in a book, you aren’t letting the kid imagine how the story applies to their life.
A spread from A Kids Book About Creativity, via A Kids book About
The subjects A Kids Book About covers balance challenging topics like race, feminism, and body image with more approachable concepts like gratitude and belonging.
Memory went on to say that A Kids Book About has been highly selective with the authors they hire to write their books:
We not only wanted to find people with incredible personal stories, but also domain expertise. The criteria for publishing under our brand is basically writing about the thing that TED would ask you to give a talk on. As such, our authors are truly emblematic of their subject because their expertise is rooted in lived experience – and they could give college lectures about it in their sleep. But we also went a step further by making sure that our authors were a diverse group from all kinds of backgrounds and walks of life.
We’ve got to applaud A Kids Book About for bringing such a fresh take on children’s books to life. The kind of books they’re publishing are truly unique, and we can’t wait to see what other great topics they grapple with in new books!
Featured image via A Kids Book About
Is an audiobook a book? What about the captioning of an audiobook, for hearing impaired or for a quick reference? An ongoing legal battle between Audible and several major book publishers reckons with the definition of what a book even is.
Image via Publishers Weekly
How Audible’s new Captions technology works is it scrolls a few words of AI-generated captioning to accompany an audiobook’s narration. Audible responded last week with a motion of their own, calling for the publishers’ suit to be dismissed. The legalese of the motion is a tad complex, but here’s the gist of the latest development.
Audible claims its technology constitutes fair use. The motion to dismiss explains this claim as follows:
After listeners purchase an audiobook—and Plaintiffs and their clients are compensated—Audible Captions can help listeners understand it by looking up unfamiliar words, accessing reference materials, or simply verifying and focusing on what they are hearing. This will facilitate access for listeners who have difficulty engaging with audiobooks (or literature in general).
Thus, Audible’s lawyers argue, Audible Captions is in line with the purpose of copyright law: “to expand public learning while protecting the incentives of authors to create for the public good.”
In our previous coverage of this ongoing story, we wrote that publishers were angry with Audible because they didn’t give the audiobook platform permission to publish text versions of their titles because e-books require a separate licensing agreement. Audible’s lawyers also argue that claims they have not breached their licensing contract because the user of Audible Captions never has full access to the complete text of the title they’re listening to:
Audible Captions is not a book of any kind, much less a replacement for paper books, e-books, or cross-format products.
The Captions in action / Image Via Publishing Perspectives
Though the encrypted text is cached on the reader’s device, Audible’s lawyers highlighted the fact that the reader never has direct access to it, so the captions cannot be used except in tandem with the audio recording. Since they’ve paid to license the audio version of the publisher’s titles, and since the text generated by Audible’s technology is not a book in any sense, Audible argues there should not be an issue.
Audible’s lawyers make a convincing argument, and it’s definitely interesting to see how crucial the concept of what a books is to this debate.
Featured Image via The Daily Beast
If you’re a fan of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short stories, I’ve got good news for you. Thirteen highly celebrated YA authors have reimagined classic Poe stories in His Hideous Heart, a new collection edited by Dahlia Adler. Though Poe lived nearly two centuries ago, these reimaginings translate his tales into the modern age. And His Hideous Heart just came out today!
Image via Amazon.com
Here’s the lineup you can expect when you crack open a copy:
Dahlia Adler (reimagining “Ligeia”), Kendare Blake (“Metzengerstein”), Rin Chupeco (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”), Lamar Giles (“The Oval Portrait”), Tessa Gratton (“Annabel Lee”), Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Cask of Amontillado”), Stephanie Kuehn (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), Emily Lloyd-Jones (“The Purloined Letter”), Amanda Lovelace (“The Raven”), Hillary Monahan (“The Masque of the Red Death”), Marieke Nijkamp (“Hop-Frog”), Caleb Roehrig (“The Pit and the Pendulum”), and Fran Wilde (“The Fall of the House of Usher”).
His Hideous Heart has already been getting some great reviews from all around the literary world. Publisher’s Weekly writes:
A refreshing assortment of diverse voices and contemporary themes ensures there’s something for everyone in this delightful compilation.
Heartbreaking, thrilling, gruesome, and gorgeous: these stories will delight longtimePoe fans just as much as readers who haven’t read the classics.
As spooky season approaches, it’s definitely a must-have for any Poe fan. And any YA fan should definitely it have on their radar.
Image via Wikimedia
Featured image via Encyclopedia Britannica and Amazon
These three forces that have contributed to shaping the rectangular formatting for our books that we know and use today, print or electronic.