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Category Archive: Books

Mark Coker, Smashwords, Outer Banks Publishing Group, OBX Publishing

Need your help to end the US book embargo

I recently received a very interesting email from Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, who brought to light the US book embargo against Cuba. Cubans earn the equivalent of only about $20 USD per month, whether they’re a doctor or a janitor. They don’t have a lot of money to invest in publishing.Smashwords Logo

Imagine if we could make our free ebook publishing and distribution services available to their writers? Imagine if Cuban readers could gain greater access to the nearly 400,000 low cost ebooks at Smashwords and other ebook retailers including over 60,000 free ebooks at Smashwords?

The petition will help abolish the embargo and free up our rich literary history to the Cuban people. Outer Banks Publishing Group supports Mark and  this worthy cause and I am hoping you will, too. Please help and sign the petition.

Here is Mark’s email, published in its entirety:

“I’m writing to ask for your help.
Please go to https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book-embargo-against-cuba and consider signing my petition to end the US book embargo against Cuba.

Background on this Petition

Last month, I joined a publishing industry delegation to Cuba to meet with Cuban writers, publishers and government representatives from their ministry of culture and book institute.
The goal of the meetings was to build bridges of understanding and explore opportunities for greater cultural and economic collaboration between the Cuban publishing community and the American publishing community.

I was struck by what I learned.

First, the good news.

Cuban writers and publishers are excited about the warming political relations between Cuba and the United States.
Cuba has an adult literacy rate of nearly 100%, about 20 points higher than the US.
Cuba boasts a rich literary culture.
I visited the Havana Book Fair, which was attended by hundreds of thousands of Cubans. I’d estimate 90% of attendees were millennials. These young readers are smart, educated and optimistic. They want greater access to books. They’re the future of Cuba.

Here’s the bad news

The US embargo against Cuba has been enormously harmful to the Cuban people, and it’s been especially harmful to their book market. Cuban publishers have difficulty acquiring even the basic raw materials of bookmaking like paper and ink.
Because so much of the infrastructure of global book publishing passes through the United States, the embargo makes it difficult for Cuban authors and publishers to reach a broader audience.

Cuban readers don’t have easy access to books published by American authors and publishers.

Cubans earn the equivalent of only about $20 USD per month, whether they’re a doctor or a janitor. They don’t have a lot of money to invest in publishing.

Imagine if we could make our free ebook publishing and distribution services available to their writers? Imagine if Cuban readers could gain greater access to the nearly 400,000 low cost ebooks at Smashwords, including over 60,000 free ebooks? I want to help them today but I can’t because of the embargo.

 

I founded Smashwords to break down barriers like this. To give every writer the freedom to publish, and every reader the freedom to read what they choose.
According to a Pew poll in 2015, fully 72% of the American public wants the embargo lifted.
The US stands virtually alone in this embargo which has now persisted over 50 years.
I realize the politics around this are heated. I realize many Americans — especially Cuban-Americans who emigrated in the ’60s — have strong feelings about the current political regime in Cuba. I respect these feelings. I want to take the politics out of this and focus on the Cuban people.
Would it be so bad to let the books flow freely in both directions? Might books help heal the wounds on both sides?
President Obama has taken steps over the last year to normalize relations with Cuba and set the stage for the end of the embargo.
But change can’t come soon enough. Given the current political dysfunction in the US, it’s unlikely the US congress will vote to end the embargo even though 59% of Republicans want it ended, according to that same Pew poll above.
The embargo is composed of a spaghetti mess of presidential edicts, Treasury department statutes and Congressional actions.
Despite the political gridlock, President Obama has some latitude to make modifications around the edges. He’s already relaxed travel restrictions and allowed American telecommunications companies to invest in Cuba so they can make Internet access more ubiquitous in Cuba.
President Obama says he wants to do more to expose Cubans to American culture and more global information. Books are the solution!
As we say in the petition, books promote greater cross-cultural understanding, economic development and free expression.
On the eve of President Obama’s March 21-22 trip to Cuba, I’d like to ask your support. Let’s encourage President Obama to lift the embargo against books and educational materials. It would be a good first step.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

  1. Please sign the petition at https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book- embargo-against-cuba
  2. Compose friendly Tweets directed at the White House (@WhiteHouse) and President Obama(@BarackObama), urging the Obama administration to end the book embargo. In your Tweets, include the link to the petition. For example, earlier I tweeted this:

    End the Cuba book embargo https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book- embargo-against-cuba @WhiteHouse @BarackObama

    Books help cross-cultural understanding and economic development. You can retweet it at https://twitter.com/markcoker or feel free to copy and paste it into your own tweet, or compose an original tweet.

  3. Visit the many news stories and blog posts that have been written about our campaign and use their social media buttons to share on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Or join the discussions in their comment threads.

Here are some of the links:
Wall Street Journal

NPR

Huffington Post (I wrote this)

Publishers Weekly

Smashwords Blog

The timing today is critical. Next Thursday, March 17, 2016,  the Obama administration will announce modifications to the embargo that will likely loosen some restrictions on the embargo. Let’s encourage him to add books to his list!
Thank you for your consideration and support. At the bottom of this email I’ve pasted in the full text of the petition.

Best wishes,
Mark
Mark Coker
Founder
Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com
https://twitter.com/markcoker
http://blog.smashwords.com

 

THE PETITION

Sign it now at https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book- embargo-against-cuba

END THE BOOK EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA

On the eve of his historic visit to Cuba March 21-22, we call on President Obama to utilize executive powers to immediately lift the economic embargo against Cuba as it pertains to books and educational materials.
As a basic human right, readers everywhere deserve greater access to books and literature.
Books promote cross-cultural understanding, economic development, free expression and positive social change.
The book embargo runs counter to American ideals of free expression.
Cuba’s adult literacy rate – at nearly 100% – is among the highest in the world.
Cuba boasts a rich literary heritage.
End the embargo to make the works of American and Cuban writers more accessible to readers in each country.
72% of Americans support an end to the trade embargo against Cuba (Pew, 2015).”
_________________________

Mark also orchestrated another petition which will appear next week on the cover of Publishers Weekly. Unlike the petition above which is for the general public, the other petition was signed by nearly 50 CEOs of publishing companies and writers associations (RWA, Authors Guild and more). You can read about both petitions in the news stories above.

The Publisher
Poet Owain Glyn

Poet Owain Glyn is in love with words

Owain at home

Owain Glyn at home

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Owain Glyn was recently interviewed by author May Freighter on her blog and revealed some of his secrets to falling in love. Here are few choice insights from the poet of love.

May: A lot of writers seem to be better at a particular genre or a style which they hone over the years. This leads me to our next question: why did you choose poetry?

Owain: I guess I was drawn to writing through my love of language, and poetry allows me to use language in a variety of ways that prose does not. I love the lyricism of poetry.

May: I think every writer out there should try a bit of poetry now and again. There is a lot we can learn from it. It summarises and portrays so much in short sentences. Usage of powerful words can always be noted in good examples.Writing lets our souls explore the worlds beyond our imagination, so what is your routine of getting there?

Owain: I am lucky, I can find inspiration everywhere. I am an avid people watcher and I have a very broad set of interests. A walk into town, a walk in the country, ten minutes listening to the news, will always give me food for thought.

Windswept - Poems of Love

May: I tend to try and block out the world while moving. My mind likes to use that time to create things instead of focusing on the people around me. But, when I am stationary and have nothing to do then I become a creepy people watcher. I do hope I don’t freak too many people out by staring. Have to master those ninja skills sometime.

Click here to read the whole interview.

Read a sample of Owain Glyn’s Windswept

Order a paperback copy from our bookstore for $9.99

Owain Glyn’s Windswept – Poems of Love, containing 107 love and heart-felt poems, were inspired by the author’s surroundings – the wild coast of Cornwall, UK, a land of legend from King Arthur, and Merlin, to mermaids, pirates, and smugglers. The poems have been read more than 2 million times by more than 12,000 fans of Owain Glyn on the popular writer’s community, Wattpad.

List Price: $10.99

5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
140 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679028
ISBN-10: 0990679020
BISAC: Poetry / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Order a paperback copy from our bookstore for $9.99
The Publisher
coloring-books-adults-johanna-basford-4

Believe it or not

Adult Coloring Books dominated sales in 2015 and will continue…

Video provided by Fox

Nine of the 20 books on Amazon’s current bestseller list contain few words and belong to a genre that didn’t exist two years ago. Welcome to the biggest publishing craze of the year: coloring books for adults, writes Susannah Cahalan in the New York Post.

More than 2,000 have hit stands since 2013 and the genre’s two biggest bestsellers, “Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest,” have sold a combined 13.5 million copies in 50 countries, she wrote.

“Adult coloring books are key factors in three of the top four adult nonfiction categories,” according to Kristen McLean, director of new business development for Nielsen Book.

“They make up 14 out of the top 20 for games/hobby/activity, including the top three slots. They are 40 out of the top 50 in art/design. There are even three in the top 20 in self-help,” she was quoted an article in the ABA Winter Institute’s look at 2016 bookselling trends from Publishers Weekly.

So what is the attraction to coloring books? People consider it therapeutic, stress-relieving and calming. Adrienne Raphel in her piece in The New Yorker called the trend, the “Peter Pan Market” as adults turn to coloring to relive the joys of their childhood.

Starre Vartan wrote in Mother Nature Network (MNN) that MNN’s own Robin Shreeves is a fan, “I enjoy them because when I’m doing them, I don’t think about anything but colors. They take me away from life’s problems without a lot of effort. So do many other creative endeavors, but with the coloring book, I can do it for 10 minutes instead of the time it would take me to do some other things. I don’t do it often, but I pick it up from time to time and get lost for a bit,” Shreeves wrote.

“Coloring fulfills a creative urge and is also soothing and calming,” wrote Jan Hornbeck Chapman, an Ohio-based youth librarian in her 60s, according to Vartan.

Vartan also quoted Sophie Hessekiel, a college student at Vassar in Poughkeepsie, New York, echoes Chapman, even though she’s at a completely different stage of life. “Coloring lets you think about nothing for a little while, and the feel of a marker on paper is very soothing,” she wrote.

 

Related articles

The Publisher

This says its all…

87879f80746f01331f4a005056a9545d

The Publisher

What Readers are Saying about Windswept

Reviews originally published on Amazon.com

Windswept Front Cover

Get Windswept into Love


Believe in love again

I’ve been reading Owain Glyn’s work for over two years on the read-free website Wattpad and he is amazing. This collection of his romantic sonnets will make your heart sing and revive your belief in love in all its phases. There is no artifice in this poetry. There is elegance without effort, lyrical perfection without egotism, and soul-bearing without self-pity. It is truly accessible to those who say they don’t like poetry. They will change their minds! I hope some of his other collections will soon be in print. –  Jan on October 28, 2015


I will always treasure this book

Who ever said that poetry is not for the ordinary man or woman? This beautiful collection would both lift and melt the heart of anyone fortunate enough to open it. From the first poem on I was hooked. I found it entrancing, enthralling and filled with simple yet profound emotions. I will always treasure this book. Wonderful. – Colm Herron on October 14, 2015

Sit back and enjoy 

Not normally a poetry reader I fell in love with Owain Glyn’s poems when I came across this book on wattpad. His poetry really strikes a chord. This beautiful collection is timeless and well worth your time and your pennies. – Angie on Oct. 15, 2015

____________________

Poet Owain Glyn

Poet Owain Glyn

Windswept – Poems of Love
List Price – $10.99

Get your copy for $9.99 at our bookstore.

5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
140 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group

ISBN-13: 978-0990679028
ISBN-10: 0990679020
BISAC: Poetry / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
The Publisher

The Poetry of Love…by Owain Glyn

Bring a little love into your life today

Windswept Front Cover

Love comes alive in Windswept

Now available – the paperback and eBook versions of Windswept.

Owain Glyn’s Windswept – Poems of Love containing 107 inspiring and heart-felt poems, has been read over 2 million times on the popular Wattpad online community of authors, writers and poets.

Owain is a Welsh exile, currently living on the wild coast of Cornwall, UK, a land of legend, from King Arthur, and Merlin, to mermaids, pirates, and smugglers.

Inspired by his surroundings and his love of words he writes on a wide range of subjects, from romance, to humour, politics, dark spiritual matters, and children’s poetry. He writes in a style which he hopes is accessible to all.

Poet Owain Glyn

Poet Owain Glyn

Bring some love into your life – order your copy here for $10.99.

And if you want to know more about Owain, see the interview by Phoenix Rainex on her site.

And be sure to read JT Twissle’s excellent article on how Owain creates his poetry, The Passionate and Whimsical Poet of Penzance on her site.

 

_______________________

Windswept – Poems of Love
List Price: $10.99
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White Bleed on Cream paper
140 pages
Publication Date – September 30, 2015
Outer Banks Publishing Group

The Publisher

Women want to read everything

21 Books From The Last 5 Years That Every Woman Should Read

The Huffington Post | By Nina Bahadur

The one struggle of being a woman who reads is that you want to read everything.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed by bestseller lists, because there just isn’t enough time in the day to read every hot new book. Between near-constant recommendations of amazing memoirs, new sequels and a terrifyingly long list of bookmarked Internet longreads, it can be stressful to choose what you should pick up next. Knowing which classics you’re missing from your reading repertoire is easy — it’s a little harder to remember what you’ve missed from three years ago.

We’ve done a little bit of the hard work for you (or maybe just increased your book stress… sorry) by pulling together a list of incredible titles from the past few years that you should add to the pile on your bedside table. These books by women are just a few of the incredible titles published recently — an exhaustive list would be hundreds of books longer. Those listed here are some of the most-discussed, thought-provoking and life-changing books from a diverse group of women writers. They make you rethink what being a feminist means, offer life advice to women of all ages, and reinforce your long-held belief that Tina and Amy should be your best friends and life coaches forever. The novels are some of the finest writing from woman authors. From lighthearted memoirs to harrowing thrillers, there’s a genre here for everyone.

Here are 21 books published in the past 5 years that all women should read>

21 books

The Publisher

No Matter What…

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

#pride

Read with Pride.

 , @OBXpublishing

The Publisher

Another Reason Not to Fear Short Attention Spans: The Slow Reading Movement

image by Jayel Aheram, StressedTechnician

 from Ink, bits & Pixels

Earlier today I posted an argument against authors writing for shorter attention spans. I argued that attention spans weren’t actually getting shorter; instead, readers will stick with a book which interests them no matter the interruption. I still think that is a good argument, but it’s not the only one I could make.  An article… Read More »

Source: Here’s Another Reason Not to Fear Short Attention Spans: The Slow Reading Movement | Ink, Bits, & Pixels

The Publisher

10 books Millennials should read this year

millennials and books
Photo by Carly Scott

Books are great escapes

Publisher’s Note: Kara Cronin a contributor to Elite Daily and Gen Y’er put this list together of 10 books Millennials should read this year. Call it your 2015 book reading bucket list.

By Kara Cronin

As a single, adventurous 20-something, I have found books to be the greatest companion and reading to be the best escape from my current reality: Job searching, Netflix and constantly attempting to navigate the balance of being a fun, carefree postgrad and a serious young professional.

I have found comfort in plopping myself down at a coffeeshop, opening a good book and escaping to an alternate universe where I can forget about my troubles and spend time acquainting myself with fictional characters.

When I find a book in which the words on the pages come to life, I know I’ve found a keeper.

Something about experiencing the characters’ ups and downs alongside them makes me feel connected, like I’m getting to go on their adventures with them.

In attempt to help my fellow Millennials add a little spice to their lives while expanding their minds, I put together a reading list of my 10 favorite reads from the past year.

These books will make you laugh, cry, smile and question. Click here to see Kara’s list>

The Publisher