Jul 23

A listener asks us about the Kobo; we discuss the J.K. Rowling pseudonym controversy; and we recommend William Shakespeare’s Star Wars and A Marker to Measure Drift.

A Question About the Kobo

Tina H. sent in a question about my recent mention of the Kobo. I’ve only used the Kobo app on my iPad, and have enjoyed the experience. It was very easy for me to order an e-book from my local independent book store. (Kobo is the only e-reader/e-book that you can purchase through independent book stores – though not all carry it.) Ann recently got a Kobo Aura HD, one of the newer, e-ink devices that features a reading light around the screen, rather than being backlit. She loves it for many reasons which she discusses on the podcast.

Does the Name on the Jacket Matter? (11:55)JKR Cuckoo

The literary world was all abuzz when it was leaked that bestselling author J. K. Rowling wrote a book called The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. People claimed that this was the perfect example of the difficulty for unknown authors to get any attention. Some folks were convinced it was a publicity stunt. Regardless of the reasons it happened or the larger problems it may be indicative of, this situation raises some interesting questions: how much does the name of the author matter? can we ever come to a book without any preconceived notions? and would doing so change the read?

(note: that cover to the right, is one that I created, purely for fun!)


And Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (23:19)

WS SW     marker

The literary nerd  and sci-fi geek in me was thrilled by William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher. Yup, it’s the entire first Star Wars movie, re-told in iambic pentameter, complete with in-jokes, an R2-D2 who soliloquies as asides to the audience, and wonderful illustrations throughout.

Ann was spellbound by A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik (on sale in the US July 30). It’s the story of Jacqueline, living in a cave on an island in the Aegean Sea. Over the course of a dinner, she relates her story to a woman she barely knows. This is a book filled with beautiful writing, but not one can say too much about ahead of time.

  • Rosie

    In Canada, the big box bookstore chain Chapters (and its affiliated stores Indigo and Coles) use and sell KOBO devices.

  • Susie

    I went to Divinity School with the author of the Stars Wars book!

  • matthewdicks

    Love this idea, Michael! It’s one of those ideas that I wish I had thought about first! Definitely going to do something with it in the classroom this year.

    That said, the originals should also be read. The language is incredible. The stories are amazing. The tragedies in particular. The comedies are good, but damn, you can only use the mistaken identity card so often.

    But still, read the originals. But Star Wars and Shakespeare put together? Tough to think of a better combination.

  • A

    Hi Michael,

    My question is actually regarding episode 238; sorry I’m so late with my comment. You mentioned a competitive rep mailing. To confirm, do you mean that competing publishers (not just other imprints within your publishing company) used to send you ARCs? Was the idea that you would discuss their books among your friends/in your personal life? [As someone who works in educational publishing, I’m always curious to hear what actually happens in trade.]

    On a related note, I’ve seen Lee Boudreaux speak in person before, and she’s absolutely amazing!

    • Not Michael, but I can answer. Yes, competing publishers will sometimes send important books to reps at other publishing companies. The idea is that we will talk about them with our booksellers as well as our other publishing and real-life friends. And it does happen!! This industry is unlike any other, in that our “competitors” create great products that we often love, and like any booklover, we talk about those books that grab us.

      • A

        Thank you, Ann.

  • Sarah Spitz

    Great blog!

    I’m wondering: Do book lovers necessarily have to be book collectors?

    I tried to get rid of my books and failed miserably


    What do you think?

    Love from Germany,


    • Hope you don’t mind, I’d love to address this on a future show. Can you wait for the answer? Thanks for the great idea!

  • Tina

    A belated thank you for discussing the Kobo. I have never owned an e-reader. I do a lot of driving, so I have begun to rely on audio more and more. I was curious about my options and you really helped me.

  • Pingback: Mysig podcast: Books on the Nightstand | bearbooks()

  • Oby

    You”ll be surprised how much it matters. I had to try four pen names Queen Diana, I.N. Winston, I.N Smith, and my middle name Nneoma, Before settling for my other name Oby. I also had to change the name four times. From The rich and the famous to moon rocket wedding to famous or rich to happy rich and famous.

    Pick Happy Rich and Famous by Oby Igwegbe on Amazon on the
    15th and 16th of August FREE!

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