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Lunch with Lee Kingman

Lee Kingman Natti

It had been nearly five years since my last lunch with Lee Kingman Natti, but it felt like just last month. Her home in Gloucester is an oasis reflecting Lee’s lifelong involvement with artists and writers, as well as her own art. We sat looking out at the granite quarry that holds their water supply […]

The e-Future

Treasure Island in multiple forms

The topic is daunting. Imagine someone coming up to Gutenberg while he was working out the kinks on his first press and asking, “So, John, where’s this printing thing going?” I’ve spent the last few years prowling in the digital space and am more or less up to speed on what’s happening now, but the […]

What Hath Harry Wrought?


Just to get a sense of historical perspective, when I last spoke at this festival, there was no euro, no iPods, no Wikipedia, no Facebook; Pluto was still a planet; and I was still drinking. More to the point — today’s point — is that Harry Potter had yet to appear on our side of […]

Get your mind out of the gutter


While working on my interview with Molly Leach about her jacket and interior design for the 50th anniversary edition of A Wrinkle in Time, I was reminded of all the terms that have alternate meanings outside the world of print design and production. Here’s a vocabulary quiz, but see how many you can answer without […]

Interview with Molly Leach

A Wrinkle in Time

About a month ago I began an email conversation with Molly Leach about her new cover and interior book design for Macmillan’s 50th anniversary edition of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time. Have you seen it? The dust jacket is an updated homage to Ellen Raskin’s original, redrawing the circles and the small silhouettes of […]

Editorial: Remixing Reading

Horn Book Magazine cover, March/April 2012

Circumstance as well as preference dictated that I read the 2012 Newbery Medal– and Scott O’Dell Award–winning Dead End in Norvelt in four flavors: advance reading copy, finished book, iBook, and as an audio download from I read the ARC and bound book in editing the Horn Book Magazine review; when I needed to […]

The Making of Freight Train…the App


Early in the summer of 2009—many digital generations ago—HarperCollins set out to experiment with several iPhone/iPod Touch apps. We decided to create two apps based on easily searchable and popular topics (example: ABC), and one app based on a classic and best-selling picture book. The staff at Greenwillow Books was charged with figuring out how […]

Celebrating a Wrinkle

A Wrinkle in Time original cover

A couple of weeks ago Roger let me out of the office to attend the big 50th anniversary event for A Wrinkle in Time in NYC. I was going to post about this along with a piece on the new book design, but time’s moving on, so watch for a separate interview with Molly Leach […]

Present Tensions, or It’s All Happening Now


When the 2010 Man Booker shortlist was announced in the UK, the Daily Telegraph ran this headline: “Philip Pullman and Philip Hensher criticise Booker Prize for including present tense novels.” In fact, what Pullman said, as he explained in an article in the Guardian, was that “the use of the present tense in fiction had […]

In which I promise not to tell anyone about your terrific new book


I spent most of yesterday being irritated by the conundrum of review books that come (or don’t) with nondisclosure agreements. Here’s what one looks like: CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT Date: xx/xx/xx Publisher XYZ Re: Title: Book ABC Author: Author LMNOP Publication Date: xx/xx/xx ______________________ ______________________ ______________________ Dear ___________: In order to induce [Publisher XYZ] to deliver a […]