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Why Subscription Services will be the way of the future
July 28, 2014 | 4:43 pm

subscription service next issue logoTwo articles came my way this morning on the subject of subscription services---one on Next Issue, an all-you-can-read magazine service, and the other on Scholastic's decision to close their eBook 'store' and replace it with a subscription-based web service. Neither of these articles terribly surprised me. I think more and more specialty book services will be going this way in the future, and here is why---this is the model today's children will be learning, and when they are grown, it will seem completely natural to them. The idea of 'owning' a digital file will seem pointless and ridiculous to them. Let...

The roots of English stupidity
July 28, 2014 | 2:25 pm

dunce.jpgThe roots of English anti-intellectualism and willful ignorance are long, deep, and twisted. The consequences you can see all over, in terms of literacy levels, reading habits, social order, and even prison numbers, and many other metrics that TeleRead tracks, but the causes are buried in the English past. Just every so often, however, it helps to lay them bare to explain just what the hell is going on in England, and what kind of hope, if any, there is for the country. The odd thing is that most Protestant countries outside the Anglo-Saxon sphere are renowned for their high standards...

TARDIS mini-libraries prove libraries are bigger on the inside
July 28, 2014 | 12:39 pm

Doctor Who fans everywhere will be able to tell you that the TARDIS, the Doctor's iconic time and space travel machine, is bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside - which is a fine metaphor for a library, whose content can encompass a universe and range far across time and space. And it seems that many U.S. exponents of the Little Free Library movement have made the connection and created TARDIS Little Free Libraries. The TARDIS Little Free Libraries seem to be popping up in as many different guises as the Doctor's various regenerations. The Pinterest board on...

Kirklees considers “nuclear option” as UK libraries holocaust continues
July 28, 2014 | 10:24 am

The West Yorkshire town of Kirklees is contemplating closure of all but two of its 26 libraries, along with other services like braille books for blind readers, as one option while it seeks to more than halve its library budget. According to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Kirklees Council has to find cuts to bring its £6.3 million ($10.7 million) library budget down to £2.8 million ($4.75 million) by 2017. Kirklees Council leader Clr David Sheard called the all-but-complete-closure plan the "nuclear option," versus a lesser program of cuts which would save some more of the library network and services, but which also...

Morning Roundup: Accidentally going digital. Libraries react to Kindle Unlimited
July 28, 2014 | 9:00 am

kindle-unlimited-rumor620x350Accidentally Going Digital (Book Riot) I suppose this led to a gradual build-up of digital in my life, as books I really, really wanted to read were available, but only digitally. So what choice did I have? Lacking that choice meant more and more digital, and I suppose less and less thinking about it. *** Scholastic to Close Storia Bookstore; Customers Could Lose Access to their eBook Purchases (The Digital Reader) This US publisher announced in April that they will be changing their Storia ebook platform from a retail service to a subscription service, and as part of that transition Scholastic recently announced that...

Book review: Beside the Seaside, edited by Scott Harrison, Snowbooks
July 27, 2014 | 2:23 pm

Well who'd a thought it: An almost local tourism-level themed anthology confined to a short stretch of English coastline that turns out to be a surprisingly good collection of modern British horror and dark fiction. Of course, it helps if the stretch of coastline you have to deal with is the Yorkshire coast immortalized by Bram Stoker as the landfall of Count Dracula, where the ruins of Whitby Abbey and Scarborough Castle still lour down from the clifftops. Or if you have contributors like Johnny Mains, himself editor of the superb Best British Horror 2014. (His "The Girl on the Suicide...

Creative Commons cookbooks for low-income aspiring chefs
July 27, 2014 | 12:25 pm

cc-logoI found a great little write-up at Lifehacker about Leanne Brown---a student in food studies who, as part of her course project, has released two gorgeous cookbooks on cheap, healthy home cooking. The best part? Both books are available for free on her website under a Creative Commons license, so that those who truly need this information can have it, and learn. The first book is called 'From Scratch' and is a vegetarian cookbook for people just beginning to cook at home. The second is called 'Good and Cheap' and is a vegetable-heavy guide to healthy eating on the $4-a-day 'food...

Weekend Roundup: Inner workings of Author Earnings. Publishers at Comic Con
July 27, 2014 | 10:20 am

author earningsUncovering the Inner Workings of the Author Earnings Report (GoodeReader) Hugh Howey, bestselling author and much of the driving force behind the Author Earnings report, spoke with Good e-Reader about some of the accusations that have been hurled at the reports and their creators. *** Holding Onto the Triple Play: How Costs, Caps and Contracts will Keep ISPs Flush (GigaOM) Any ISPs will see an erosion of their pay TV subscribers as broadband provide more entertainment options. ISPs know this, and here’s how they plan to stay in business while...

Google uses transfer pricing to avoid paying European taxes
July 27, 2014 | 9:25 am

One of the most commonly-heard complaints about Amazon, at least in Europe, is that it sells e-books from a division based in Luxembourg so that it can charge a much lower VAT (Value-Added Tax, the European equivalent of sales tax) rate on its e-books than UK law allows. The unspoken implication is that everyone else must surely pay all the taxes they owe like good little corporate boys and girls. But Ars Technica reports that Google uses a practice called “transfer pricing” to assign most of its European revenues to an offshore subsidiary in Bermuda and avoid paying taxes...

Apple bought, shuttered book recommender Booklamp in April
July 26, 2014 | 9:01 pm

MacRumors reports that Apple bought and shut down book-recommendation service Booklamp back in April. Booklamp was intended to be a sort of “Pandora for Books”—it used a similar system of categorizing books based on specific elements—but as I determined when I checked into it last November, it fell pretty far short of actually being useful, for two major reasons: it didn’t have a very big selection due to its opt-in nature, and it couldn’t account for humor. Apple hasn’t been saying much about why it bought the service, but that’s not unexpected. I imagine that, as is usually the...

Audience migration to digital pulls The Legend of Korra off Nick TV channel
July 26, 2014 | 7:32 pm

korraThe digital transition: it’s not just for books. With the advent of tablets and smartphones with fast cellular connections (or wifi), there’s been a critical shift in the way media are consumed. I’ve talked about that before: In the early days of the Internet, companies invested in computer-on-TV devices, assuming that when convergence came, everything would converge through the TV set. They invariably flopped. But now that we have small screens we can always carry with us, with processors good enough and Internet fast enough to stream video in real time, more and more people...

Why don’t you write with that old book?
July 26, 2014 | 2:29 pm

Here's a novel (no pun intended) use for that old unwanted book or printout - why not turn its paper into a writing instrument? That takes the whole concept of recycling one step further - and sure enough, this innovation is at concept stage only. But it appears very slick, as well as interesting. From IPPINKA, the Niagara Falls, NY-based company that "wants you to consume less," the P2P intends to "turn paper into pencils." According to the designers, "the machine takes used memos and other recyclable pieces of paper and transforms them into usable pencils ... Simply feed the waste paper...