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Trader Joe’s vs. Pirate Joe’s
August 28, 2013 | 3:48 pm

Pirate Joe'sTechdirt is one of many who have been covering the curious tale of Pirate Joe—aka Michael Hallatt, a Vancouver entrepreneur who has set up a store in which he sells, at a markup, products he purchases at the Trader Joe's chain on the American side of the border. Hallatt claims he is doing nothing wrong—he buys his "merchandise" at full retail price and is permitted to sell them if he wishes to under the first-sale doctrine. Trader Joe's begs to differ and has filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement. Mike Masnick makes some useful points in his discussion of the case. Firstly, he...

London Bookstore Sets ‘Cli-Fi’ Table For Climate Books
August 26, 2013 | 11:55 am

Cli-FiDuring the sweltering British summer of 2013, Foyles bookstore in London did something that was a long time coming: It set up a dedicated ''cli-fi'' table with a simple yet eye-catching sign promoting fiction and non-fiction books with climate themes. Among the books seen on the table in the photograph to the right above are Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" and James Lovelock's "The Revenge of Gaia" as well as Stephen Emmott's current bestseller "10 Billion" sitting alongside such dystopic scenarios as J.G. Ballard's "The Drowned World," John Christopher's "The Death of Grass," Joe Dunthorne's "Wild Abandon" and Liz Jensen's "The Rapture." Most...

The State of Scottish Publishing: Feedback from the Edinburgh Festival
August 25, 2013 | 2:00 pm

Scottish PublishingAt the inaugural Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Awards in this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP, praised "Scotland's fantastic publishing industry." But is it so fantastic? With almost every dinner table or barroom conversation in Edinburgh bringing up the question of independence sooner or later, issues of cultural autonomy have never been more pertinent. And writers and literature have always been critical to Scotland's modern sense of identity and nationhood, from Walter Scott's creation of the cult of Caledonia to Edwin Morgan's transformative donation to the Scottish National Party. Does...

First Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Awards honor best of 2013
August 25, 2013 | 11:23 am

Announced close to the end of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the first ever Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Awards have recognized "the company who has the most exciting, progressive and developmental story to tell over the previous year of their activity," with an Award to Saraband, a former book packager that has transformed itself into an independent publisher, and a Commendation to Floris Books, a house with a strong focus on children's literature, and a very individual and innovative approach to commissioning and encouraging authors and illustrators. The Saltire Society exists "to improve the quality of life in...

Is The Main Street Trading Company Scotland’s best bookshop?
August 24, 2013 | 3:02 pm

bookshopDeep in the heart of Walter Scott country, between his own-built architectural fantasy at Abbotsford House, his favorite vantage point at Scott’s View, and his last resting place at Dryburgh Abbey, I chanced across The Main Street Trading Company—voted Independent Bookseller of the Year 2012 in The Bookseller’s 2012 Industry Awards; it was also winner of the Best Bookshop category in The Daily Telegraph's Best Small Shops Awards 2012. With accolades like that, and even against some very stiff competition, The Main Street Trading Company deserves its tag as Scotland’s best bookshop. Nestling in the lee of Eildon Hill, where King Arthur and...

Minnie Driver joins campaign against Lincolnshire libraries closure
August 24, 2013 | 2:24 pm

Minnie Driver lends a hand in Lincolnshire library closuresPublic opposition to a plan by the county council of Lincolnshire in eastern England to close or outsource to volunteers 32 of the county’s 47 libraries has been building, in the shape of a petition campaign that has so far garnered over 20,000 signatures, as well as support from singer and actress Minnie Driver. Protest moves include street demonstrations outside County Hall in Lincoln, and statements by local MPs, with the Lincolnshire Echo reporting that Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill himself signed the anti-closure petition. The plan is in its consultation period before implementation, and is part of an...

In Taipei or Beijing, a book launch is often a “sa ching” affair
August 23, 2013 | 10:52 am

With more and more Western publishers (and writers) looking forward to doing business in China and Taiwan, a special Chinese-language term, "sa ching," might be useful for folks in New York and London to know. Of course, in the West, we speak of a "wrap party'' for movies when they wrap up principal shooting. When writers finish a novel or a book series, there are also book parties, sometimes to celebrate the completion of a major work or the ''launch'' of a new book. A "sa ching" is a kind of launch party or publisher's party for a book in Beijing or...

Edinburgh’s mystery bird sculptor: Is this where she works?
August 22, 2013 | 12:58 pm

The work—and identity—of Edinburgh's mystery bird sculptor has been a recurrent theme throughout the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Speculation continues to revolve about who she might be and what inspired her to produce her captivating series of works. Now here's one possible solution to her enigma—all of it pure speculation, but based on some good evidence. Walking back to my digs in Edinburgh, I stopped off at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to see their fascinating "Witches and Wicked Bodies" exhibition. In their permanent collection is this work by André Breton, entitled Poème Objet (Poem-Object): Now, remember that the very first sculpture created...

Edinburgh guides you round its bookshops — if you’re on iOS
August 21, 2013 | 10:45 am

EdinburghTo help mark its status as the first UNESCO City of Literature during the International Book Festival, Edinburgh has put up an interactive Flash map of 53 of the city's bookshops and released a free Edinburgh Bookshops Trail iPhone App—but on iPhone only. The app "shows you all Edinburgh bookshops on a map, with shop descriptions, stock information, addresses, contact details, website links, the works. It even gives you the quickest way to get there! You can also filter by genre, and we have added a quick overview of literary events for the coming 7 days." Unfortunately, Android users will have to...

Poetry gets serious support in Scotland as Edwin Morgan Poetry Award launched
August 21, 2013 | 9:48 am

Scotland is a nation that takes poetry seriously—its national day, after all, honors Robert Burns. How seriously? Take the new Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, launched this weekend at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and worth £20,000 ($31,300). The new award, as the official release makes clear, "is the result of a bequest by the late Scottish Makar, Edwin Morgan (1920-2010), and a Trust has been established in his name to administer the award and further promote poetry in Scotland." The first modern Scots Makar (Scotland's Poet Laureate), Morgan inherited substantial investments from his parents, which grew still further in the hands of his retained advisors. One...

Why Indigo’s Boutique Model is Succeeding
August 19, 2013 | 4:21 pm

IndigoI wrote earlier about a mysterious walled-off section that just went up at my local Indigo, announcing the impending arrival of something called "Indigo Tech." This morning, there was news in my RSS feed from my friends at Good e-Reader, confirming that Indigo has signed a deal with Apple to carry tablets, Apple TV boxes and other products. Their write-up also had this intriguing quote: "Indigo said during a recent investors call that it will revamp many of its large format stores to fall in line with the growing popularity of the store-within-a-store concept at many other retailers. The new physical format store will...

Keats Library in London: Community takes over a piece of history
August 19, 2013 | 3:18 pm

Keats LibraryKeats Community Library in Hampstead is a beautiful period building in the grounds of Keats House, the house and museum associated with the poet John Keats. A library since the early 1900s as the Heath Library, it was closed in early 2012 as part of Camden Council's budget cuts and taken over by an independent charitable group of local residents as Keats Community Library. It survives on donations, and is staffed by volunteers. "We are not a trust but a company limited by guarantee and a charity registered with the English Charity Commission," explained Steven Bobasch, chair of the (unpaid volunteer) Board of Directors. "We qualify...