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Weekend Links: Buying eReaders in Canada just got harder. Why YA novels make box office hits
March 29, 2015 | 10:04 am

ereaderBuying an eReader in Canada Just Got Harder (GoodeReader) 20% of all Canadians live in rural areas without a major bookstore and an electronics shop. Chapters/Indigo have been closing down locations and with Future Shop axing 65 locations, it will be difficult for Canadians to buy an e-reader on a retail level. *** 'Insurgent' And Why Young Adult Novels Make Box Office Hits (Forbes) The second installment of Veronica Roth’s dystopian trilogy, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, grabbed $52.3 million in its opening weekend at the U.S. box office, just shy of Divergent’s $54.6 million debut last year. *** Amazon is Testing Bulk eBook Bundles in Japan...

Stephen King takes a rod to the rich
March 28, 2015 | 3:23 pm

king-thumb.jpgStephen King is anything but my favorite horror writer - and after all, he can afford to ignore my snark. Literally. And that's precisely the point. But in that regard, he just substantially redeemed himself in my eyes - with a scathing and passionately profane article in The Daily Beast on just what he thinks the taxation policy towards his c.$400 million celebrity net worth ought to be. Just as a reminder, the context was a radio address by Paul R. LePage (R.), Governor of King's home state of Maine, claiming that the celebrated author had moved out of state because...

Toronto Catholic School Board Cuts Every Teacher-Librarian
March 27, 2015 | 12:25 pm

teacher-librarianIt's budget time here, and every municipality in my area is trying to balance the books. One of the more controversial cost-cutting tactics to come to light this week is the Toronto Catholic school board's decision to eliminate teacher-librarians in ALL of its elementary schools. As the Toronto Star write-up explains, teacher-librarians play a significant role in early literacy because, unlike the lesser-paid library technicians, they are both trained librarians and also certified teachers as well. Part of the problem is that teacher-librarians are allocated in the province's funding on a per-child basis, not a per-school basis. The provincial funding formula accounts...

Clean Reader, the auto-censor of mealy-mouthed dreams
March 27, 2015 | 10:25 am

Clean Reader, the ereader app that "prevents swear words in books from being displayed on your screen," looks almost old news now, since it's already been hit by such a shitstorm of the profanity it professes to screen out that it's likely to find the going very difficult from here on. For one thing, Smashwords has come out publicly against the app, which comes only second to a boycott by Kindle in terms of stopping an ebook-linked product in its tracks. Smashwords' Mark Coker said: Books are works of art, and the art is manifested by the author's word choice. You...

Morning Links: eBooks for libraries. Is Internet Addiction a real thing?
March 27, 2015 | 9:00 am

ebooks for librariesHow to Reach Millennial Readers (Digital Book World) For book publishers, millennials can be a tricky bunch. *** Why We Need Inclusive Lit, Not Just Diverse Lit (Book Riot) A few weeks ago, I attended a small but well-attended author panel featuring Jenny Han, Isabel Quintero, and Jason Reynolds at the Tucson Festival of Books. *** eBooks for Libraries (Joe Konrath) I want to help authors get their ebooks into libraries. *** Is Internet Addiction a Real Thing? (Lifehacker) Is it possible for someone to actually be addicted to the Internet? *** Kindle Daily Deal: 600 Hours of Edward and Edward Adrift (and others)...

Lovecraftian beer to rise from the deep with Innsmouth Olde Ale
March 26, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Rhode Island’s Narragansett Beer, which has already paid tribute to the Ocean State's favorite squamous stepchild, H.P. Lovecraft, with its delirious Lovecraft Honey Ale, is now planning to roll out (the barrel with) another Lovecraftian potation: Innsmouth Olde Ale. Latest in its Lovecraft Series, the new brew is due to debut on April 13th. Lovecraft's celebrated "The Shadow over Innsmouth" is a natural for the kind of creative riff that Narragansett seems to be specializing in these days - although the original decaying and depraved seaport of Innsmouth was supposedly located in Massachusetts, not Rhode Island. For one thing, Neil Gaiman's...

Gen Con, other businesses displeased with new Indiana religious freedom law
March 26, 2015 | 2:36 pm

protestAs I’ve said before, Gen Con’s reputation as the largest gaming convention in North America eclipses its status as one of the largest writing conventions in North America, offering guidance on all aspects of writing and publishing. On Monday, March 23, Gen Con’s CEO sent a letter (PDF) to Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence, warning that a controversial religious freedom bill he was about to sign into law would affect Gen Con’s decision whether to stay in Indianapolis past the expiration of its contract in 2020. This morning, Governor Pence signed that bill. I covered the particulars in a post...

Contest inn-vites you to write your way… inn
March 26, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Here's one of the most delightful literary contests you could ever want to participate in - and all for a mere 200 words. Janice Sage, current owner and innkeeper of the charming Center Lovell Inn in southwestern Maine, is holding an essay competition to select the new owner and designated innkeeper of the premises. Full detailed contest rules are available here. Janice Sage is, if anything, upholding a tradition with her contest. "Have you ever dreamed of owning a Country Inn and restaurant in New England?" she asks. "Well, here is your chance! Located in southwestern Maine overlooking the White Mountains is The...

ALA awards Lemony Snicket Prize to Ferguson public librarian
March 26, 2015 | 12:25 pm

The American Library Association has announced the award of the the second annual Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity to Scott Bonner, director of the Ferguson Public Library in Missouri. The award, co-founded by Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket books, and "co-administered by ALA’s Governance Office and the Office for Intellectual Freedom, annually recognizes and honors a librarian who has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact." Bonner was honored for his work in keeping the Ferguson Public Library open in August 2014 during the riots and other unrest which followed the shooting of unarmed teenager Mike...

Toronto Public Library Scraps Used Book Buying Program
March 26, 2015 | 10:25 am

toronto public libraryI reported in January about a Toronto Public Library program which was attracting some controversy---they were trying to buy used best-seller books off of patrons in an effort to affordably meet the demand for these popular titles. The Toronto Star is among several media outlets reporting that this program is now being scrapped---but not from the controversy alone, apparently. Rather, it is in part because patrons did not have enough books to sell them. From the article: Bowles said the program’s inefficiency, and not the ire of writers, was the deciding factor in shuttering the pilot project. Members of the public sold...

Morning Links: 2014 Reading habits survey. Can data journalism be taught?
March 26, 2015 | 9:00 am

journalismGlobal eBook Opportunities Rising (Digital Book World) A recent Pew study hints at growing opportunities for ebook publishers and retailers to reach more English-language readers around the world. *** The Great 2014 Reading Habits Survey: The Results (Book Riot) This post presents the reading and spending habits of the Riot readers who responded to the survey. *** Can Data Journalism be Taught? (The Digital Shift) Can you really teach data journalism? It’s a dumb question that I’m soon going to find the answer for: This semester I started teaching at the Berkeley J-School... *** The Canadian Newspaper Industry is Consolidating (GoodeReader) The Canadian Competition Bureau has given the green light...

Should Copyright Live Forever?
March 25, 2015 | 2:25 pm

cpoyrightWe've probably all seen that little graph which was making the rounds last year, which showed that longer copyright terms---thought to protect authors and make them more money---can actually make authors LESS money by keeping legitimate works out of the marketplace. Techdirt has a fascinating case study up this week which illustrates how this happens. The short version is that a company called Night Dive has made a business out of sourcing obsolete computer games, cleaning them up for modern devices and then releasing them for sale in today's marketplace. This is not a shady operation, though---they do their legwork to...