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Scottish literature after the referendum
September 21, 2014 | 2:29 pm

The referendum on Scottish independence gave Scottish literature, and Scottish culture, greater prominence as a separate force in the English-speaking world than at any time in recent decades. Arguably, that's no less than the post-war generations of writers that have numbered Iain Banks, Alasdair Gray, Edwin Morgan, and Irvine Welsh deserves. But the dissipation of all the hope and optimism of the Yes campaign on September 18th, and the recriminations afterwards against the British establishment, are darkening the mood and cbecking a lot of that impetus. Alasdair Gray himself described the result in Scotland's The Herald as "a great pity"...

Weekend Roundup: Review Kobo Aura H2O. Amazon allows family sharing of purchases
September 21, 2014 | 11:24 am

kobo aura h2oRead Slowly to Benefit Your Brain and Cut Stress (WSJ) The point of the club isn't to talk about literature, but to get away from pinging electronic devices and read, uninterrupted. *** Genre-Crossing Authors: An Interview with One Who Does it Well (Book Riot) This year, I’ve seen a number of authors delve into new genres for the first time. *** Review: Kobo Aura H20 (The Digital Reader) The Aura H2O is Kobo’s second ereader to use the 6.8″ E-ink screen. Like its predecessor this ereader asks for a premium price, and like the Aura HD this device offers a value which more than makes...

Looking back at Michael Bromwich’s report on Apple antitrust compliance
September 20, 2014 | 5:19 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve had much to say about the Apple antitrust suit. I’ve been a bit busy to write much for TeleRead in general, what with my new day job and things. Nate on The Digital Reader has some good coverage of the main points of interest: Apple Agrees to Pay $450 Million in eBook Antitrust Lawsuit Judge Okays Apple’s $450 Million eBook Antitrust Settlement Amazon Sends Out Email Concerning Apple’s Antitrust Settlement There’s also a new, related case in which three defunct e-book stores...

Inside the Swedish Writers’ Union
September 20, 2014 | 10:22 am

While at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, I met with the vice chair of the Swedish Writers' Union (Sveriges Författarförbund), Sweden's formal and officially sanctioned support institution for writers, in the context of discussions on official support for writers. The Swedish Writers' Union is "the central professional organisation for writers and literary translators in Sweden," as their materials state. "We safeguard the economic and moral interests of our members by defending freedom of expression and of the press, and keeping up to date with copyright stipulations and the laws regulating copyright." This is the feedback they gave me on how their body operates. "To become a...

PACER to restore ten years of deleted records; is still obnoxiously expensive
September 20, 2014 | 9:37 am

pacerLogoI thought I’d mentioned this at the time it happened, but I apparently didn’t. Last month, the court records database PACER deleted ten years’ worth of electronic federal court documents in the course of a hardware update. This sparked an immediate backlash from lawmakers. Now Ars Technica reports that the US government Administrative Office of the Courts will return most of those files to the database by the end of October. It’s nice that they’re doing the right thing, but the shortcomings of the PACER system are aggravating. The system charges ten cents per downloaded page, including for lists...

Why NOT self-publish exclusively through Amazon?
September 19, 2014 | 7:50 pm

I first saw a post by Hugh Howey discussing the potential cost versus befits of going exclusive with Amazon a few days ago. I was thinking of saying something about it, but it kind of takes on added significance with the news about Barnes & Noble removing the “Download” button from its e-book library. Howey’s post is worth reading, but lends itself to easy summarizing. Essentially, Amazon provides a number of added benefits and incentives to writers who publish exclusively via Amazon either temporarily or continually: free giveaway days, or inclusion in e-book subscription services such as the...

Interview with Peter Watts
September 19, 2014 | 4:08 pm

Style: "Neutral"I asked Peter Watts, author of the brilliant and genre-redefining science fiction novels Blindsight and Echopraxia, a few questions about his own working methods and the genre (or genres) he works in. Here are his responses. TeleRead: Do you see any ingrown shortcomings in the genre/subgenre you work in, and do you try to correct those? Peter Watts: I don't think I'm competent to answer this question; I'm not sufficiently familiar with the genre to make valid generalizations about its shortcomings. One of the few things that really bugs me about my life at this point is that I don't get much...

Morning Roundup: New Zealand rules bloggers are journalists. More DRM-free comics!
September 19, 2014 | 9:00 am

ComiXologyMore Publishers Join Comixology's DRM-Free Program (PW) Digital comics marketplace Comixology, which launched a DRM-free program in July, announced that a second wave of 14 publishers will now allow their customers to download and store DRM-free copies of comics they have purchased. *** Barnes & Noble Suspends Ability to Download Nook eBooks (GoodeReader) The Barnes and Noble customer care division has sent out a tweet, letting people know that this is their new policy and not a bug. “The ability to sideload NOOK purchased content has been discontinued. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.” *** HarperCollins to Help Indie Bookstores With Express Shipping...

Barnes & Noble removes ability to download its e-books outside of the Nook ecosystem
September 18, 2014 | 9:54 pm

I’m hesitant to believe this story Nate’s reporting, even after clicking the links and reading the sources for myself. How could anyone in the modern e-book market be this dumb? But the writing seems to be on the wall. Barnes & Noble has removed the “Download” button from its e-book library,  [Update: Nate’s posted another piece indicating B&N cited “security” as the reason for the change.] It’s no longer possible to download a book directly from the B&N web site to your hard drive by saving it from your B&N e-book library through your browser. And that...

My thoughts on the new Amazon Kindle lineup
September 18, 2014 | 2:21 pm

amazon kindleIn today's Morning Links, there was a full report on the new Amazon Kindle lineup. Some of it interested me and some of it didn't. Here were some key points I took out of Amazon's news, and some commentary on why it either hit the mark for me or fell flat. 1) Updated iOS apps. I was not clear on whether the app required iOS 8 or was merely a refresh in anticipation of it, but I am looking forward to having cut and paste options at last. I often paste favourite quotes into Evernote for future reference, and this will...

Apple Watch shows Cupertino has lost the plot
September 18, 2014 | 12:25 pm

AppleFor anyone following the checkered history of digital wearables and smartwatches, the advent of the Apple Watch drips with bathos. It's like watching a flabby, ageing Mr. Incredible-style former superhero lumber up for the big confrontation, only to discover it's all over. Apple's days of identifying and defining entire new consumer product categories are long in the past. The window was wide open for years, well signposted, speculated on - and Apple missed it. Financial markets and analysts alike were less than overwhelmed by the Apple Watch and the companion iPhone 6. The Register tracked Apple's stock price initially hiking to $102.92...

Five things my mother had which I don’t
September 18, 2014 | 10:25 am

KnowledgeI'm back to school now, and as usual I spent some of my summer vacation time 'spring cleaning.' I always feel like since I am not working and the Beloved is, I need to have something to show for my day, so I clean like a fiend. And I have been busily working some family heirlooms into our home since the passing of my grandfather. It struck me, as I made my finishing touches for back-to-school, how much things have changed since my mother's time. There are products, services and routines my parents considered par for the course which people my...