Update Announcements

by Craig Stark

#89, 5 March 2007

From the truth is stranger than fiction department:

Picture, if you will, a tiny, impoverished republic (formerly part of the Soviet Union) on the steppes of Southwestern Asia - Kalmykia. Poor agricultural management under Soviet rule has led to inevitable desertification: Once arable land is gradually degrading into desert sand. Add one dictator, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a former chess prodigy whose campaign platform for president included a promise of cell phones for all shepherds, not to mention an assertion that he had been previously abducted by aliens. Intrigued? There's more. Ilyumzhinov is the duly elected president of FIDE (The World Chess Federation). In 1998, with a mind to make chess the national religion of Kalmykia, he completed the construction of a multi-million-dollar complex near the capital city of Elista to host competition - Chess City (or City Chess). Finally, add to this mix two travelers - an itinerant writer and an eccentric African-American chessmaster - and what do you have? A book, of course!

Catherine Petruccione interviews the author of The Chess Artist, J.C. Hallman, in today's issue.

In keeping with this theme, 50/50 subscribers received issue #22 on February 28 - entirely devoted to chess books that deliver profits. New subscriptions will start with this issue. Subscribe here.

Issue #36 of the Gold Edition was also delivered on February 28 - Part II of "Bookselling on the Cutting Edge," an analysis of "hot" books and how to identify and buy them before they get hot. If you can't imagine how Britney Spears figures into this, you'd have to subscribe to find out.

Finally, Pamela Palmer's monthly Top 10 on eBay appears today. Some familiar faces again, but you might not be seeing them for long. Pam explains: "In February, eBay announced testing that may lead to books from UK sellers losing their automatic placement in eBay's US search. UK sellers are advised to list directly on the US site to ensure exposure. Will they - or will this tilt dominance of the Fiction Top 10 away from the UK?"

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Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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