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New literary awards came out of nowhere
February 27, 2015 | 2:25 pm

awardsImagine an American poet and memoirist who never went college but befriended some of the great literary heroes of his generation and then died at the age of 90 with no children as heirs of a huge estate that was worth millions. That would be Donald Windham, who died in 2010 -- some 20 years after the death of his lifelong partner Sandy Campbell -- and asked his lawyers to set up one of the richest literary awards program in the world. Ensorcelled yet? He chose Yale University to run the annual program and he left enough money behind to fund the...

Spectral Press to resurrect Dark Terrors
February 27, 2015 | 12:25 pm

Independent British horror and dark fiction imprint Spectral Press is working on Darkest Terrors: A Best of Dark Terrors compilation of the (rather dark) cream of the Dark Terrors series of UK horror anthologies published by Gollancz from 1996 to 2004 under the editorship of Stephen Jones, now better known as the editor of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror series. He is rejoined by David A. Sutton for Darkest Terrors, and Spectral has just shared the list of authors for the new volume here. The Dark Terrors series, subtitled The Gollancz Book of Horror, was always known for the absolutely...

Android is: The Dominator
February 27, 2015 | 10:25 am

httpwww.teleread.org20100406cleaning-up-epubs-to-work-with-ibook-aggregatorsandroid-attack.jpgForget Fifty Shades of Grey - how about Fifty Flavors of Lloyd? Yes, if you want to see a dominant force cracking its whip over the supine global smartphone market, Android in IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker is the one you want to catch. According to the IDC numbers, "Android and iOS inched closer to total domination of the worldwide smartphone market in both the fourth quarter (4Q14) and the calendar year 2014 (CY14)." And in particular, while iOS saw its market share fall slightly from 15.1 percent in 2013 to 14.8 percent  in 2014, Android grew its market...

Morning Links: B&N to split off college bookstores. Konrath joins Kindle Worlds
February 27, 2015 | 9:00 am

Kindle WorldsBarnes & Noble Spins College Bookstores Into Separate Company (GoodeReader) Barnes and Noble has announced their intention of spinning off their college bookstore division into its own autonomous unit called Barnes and Noble for Education. *** Assessing the Health of Independent Bookstores (NYT) In a 1936 essay, George Orwell recognized one of the main difficulties of owning an independent bookshop: turning a profit. *** JA Konrath Joins Kindle Worlds, Lets Contributors Keep More Control (Ink, Bits & Pixels) And best of all, the contributing authors get to keep the rights to the characters they create. *** Should We Care About Douglas Coupland? (Torontoist) The Canadian artist-novelist came up with...

National Tell A Fairy Tale Day: The most charming unofficial national holiday?
February 26, 2015 | 2:25 pm

On February 26th, the U.S. celebrates National Tell A Fairy Tale Day, which could displace International Talk Like A Pirate Day as my favorite unofficial holiday. Although its origins appear shrouded in almost complete mystery, National Tell A Fairy Tale Day is widely attested, as the occasion to "snuggle up in your corner chair or sofa with the children sitting near you or maybe all gather around a campfire as it is a day to celebrate by telling your favorite fairy tale or making up one of your own." And fairy tales are anything but outdated. As Marina Warner remarks in her...

Old Horror versus New Horror?
February 26, 2015 | 12:25 pm

Following the announcement by the Horror Writers Association of the final ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards covered earlier, I'm inclined to remark on the marked under-representation of an entire sub-genre of horror/weird/dark fiction from the shortlist, as well as certain conspicuous authors and editors. And I'm definitely not the only one who has remarked on this. And yes, I'm speaking on behalf of a certain constituency in the genre community, but it's a constituency that appears to have next-to-zero representation in at least this year's Stokers. No one can accuse the Stokers of courting cheap popularity, mind, because I don't...

I am so embargoed! And Berry underimpressed
February 26, 2015 | 10:25 am

Far being it from me, as a journalistic semi-professional, to violate the convention on embargoes, whereby critical breaking news is embargoed until a certain time or date to give journos a chance to prepare their story. So when a press release "Under Embargo Until 00.01, 25.02.15," inboxed me late at night on the 24th, I was embargoed from telling the world how totally indifferent I was to that news. How ludicrously bathetic it seemed to employ such heavy-handed tactics for such trivia. And how symptomatic I found this of the overweening pretensions and control fixation of the book biz. This remarkable,...

Morning Links: Handling the Pinterest problem. Holes in security on cheap kid’s tablets
February 26, 2015 | 9:00 am

PinterestHere's How One Marketing Firm is Handling the Pinterest Problem (GigaOM) Making the most of the site’s reach takes more than just a promoted pin — brands need a marketing strategy that taps into all of Pinterest’s qualities. *** The Security on Cheap Kid's Tablets Has More Holes Than Swiss Cheese (Ink, Bits & Pixels) Bluebox shocked no one last November when they revealed that cheap Android tablets came with bonus security problems, and this security firm is back again this week with a report which shows that cheap kid's tablets are just as ridden with security issues. *** Reading Authors Not Like Me (John Scalzi) I’ve...

Book Review: Sand of Bone by Blair MacGregor
February 25, 2015 | 12:25 pm

sand of boneI purchased this book as part of the recent Indie Fantasy Story Bundle (now complete). Having been disappointed with the first two books I tried from the bundle, I was starting to think I'd wasted my money with this one. Then I started [easyazon-link asin="B00MRCCG9M" locale="us"]Sand of Bone[/easyazon-link] and knew that this book alone was worth the price of admission. I mean, just start with that cover. And feel free to judge this one by the cover. The inside is just as impressive. For those who still believe that indie books are rife with typos and bad writing, let me assure you...

Accessory Review: Case Studio customizable iPad case
February 25, 2015 | 10:25 am

case studio customizable ipad caseI've never been a big one for customizable swag, but when the folks at Case Studio offered me a coupon code to create my own iPad case, I admit I was intrigued. There's so many options that no two cases would ever look alike. From uploading a custom photo to selecting one of many designs and adding a short message or monogram, the options are endless. I spent close to half an hour on my case. While I was tempted by uploading a gorgeous piece of Dean Winchester fan art (completely safe for work, in case you were wondering), I finally decided...

Morning Links: Apple must pay troll $532M. Amazon to publish Kindle Scout books
February 25, 2015 | 9:00 am

kindle scoutAccounting for Authors, Publishing’s Forgotten Customers (Digital Book World) One issue I hear talked about a lot lately among publishers is the need to figure out who their customers are. *** Apple Must Pay Patent Troll $532M, Texas Jury Rules (GigaOM) Apple must pay a shell company $532.9 million because iTunes infringes upon three patents related to online patents, a jury in East Texas ruled on Tuesday. *** 7 TV Series That Take Place in Bookstores (Book Riot) Now it’s time for 7 TV series that take place in bookstores. *** Amazon to Publish eBooks Chosen by Kindle Scout, its Reader-Powered Publishing Platform (Ink, Bits & Pixels) It's been...

Grim and gritty Power Rangers fan film brings fanfic back into legal spotlight
February 25, 2015 | 7:27 am

power-rangers-video-124799A new legal battle over fanfic might be shaping up. In the last couple of days, music video director Joseph Kahn and producer Adi Shankar released a 15-minute short film reimagining Power Rangers as a grim and gritty dark future drama a la Pacific Rim. The film stars name actors, including James Van Der Beek, Katee Sackhoff, and Die Another Day’s Will Yun Lee. And it almost immediately ran into legal trouble. A “NSFW” version (violence, language, nudity) was up on Vimeo for a few hours before getting taken down by a DMCA infringement notice from Saban. A safe-for-work...