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HarperCollins offers authors higher royalties for direct sales
October 2, 2014 | 6:17 pm

harper-collinsOne of the rallying cries of author advocates and Amazon adversaries alike has been that publishers should start selling their books direct to the public instead of letting middle-man Amazon have so much power. Another rallying cry is that publishers should pay authors bigger royalties. Well, Publishers Weekly reports that HarperCollins is combining those two suggestions, in a way—it’s offering authors an additional 10% royalty rate if they use an affiliate link on their web site to sell their book, e-book, or audiobook from HC’s direct sale site. (The PW article isn’t clear on the math; I’m assuming this means...

Why library e-book posters should go on the walls of check cashing stores
September 22, 2014 | 2:26 pm

What if the walls of check cashing stores and other establishments serving poor people did not just carry the usual commercial ballyhoo? Suppose colorful posters also promoted cell phones as a way for the poor to find books to read themselves---or read to their children....

Are Books Really Like Any Other Consumer Good?
September 16, 2014 | 10:25 am

booksIn today's Morning Links, I highlighted a GigaOM writeup on the latest Authors United tomfoolery: a letter to Amazon where they assert, among other things, that while Amazon does have the perfect right to refuse to stock or carry any 'commercial good' they want, they should not exercise this right on books because books are a special snowflake and not just a regular consumer good. Their letter says this: "Amazon has every right to refuse to sell consumer goods in response to a pricing disagreement with a wholesaler. We all appreciate discounted razor blades and cheaper shoes. But books are not...

Facebook reveals the top 100 books that have stayed with users
September 12, 2014 | 10:25 am

10523932_10152689349753415_6678921836677731688_nIf you logged onto Facebook recently, you may have noticed some of your friends talking about 10 books that stayed with them in some way. They then tagged someone in turn – maybe you – to continue the list. Facebook has brought all the data together from these status updates to show what books have “stayed with” Facebook users. Facebook gathered the data from the last two weeks of August. Here are some of demographics for the people’s whose content was aggregated: The demographics of those posting were as follows: 63.7% were in the US, followed by 9.3%in India, and 6.3% in...

How cell phone book clubs could help get young people reading and change their lives
September 10, 2014 | 2:25 pm

BertelKingNote: Although David Rothman posted the article, he says the author is really Bertel King, Jr., SF/fantasy novelist and a journalist. Read about Bertel at the end of his cogent essay. Go here to learn how to start your own cell phone book club. Also check out related essays here and here. In 2008, I graduated from Southampton High School, which did an admirable job of preparing me for college. I say “admirable” because at the time I had no idea just how disadvantaged my county was compared to the wealthy suburban schools of Northern Virginia and Richmond that populate most...

E-Book Review: Rand Unwrapped: Confessions of a Robotech Warrior
August 30, 2014 | 5:55 am

coverIt’s no secret that the animated TV show Robotech had a big formative influence on me when I was growing up. I still use the handle “Robotech_Master” for my Twitter, Facebook, and other personal Internet accounts, and I still love the show. And my main foray into podcasting, Space Station Liberty, is about Robotech. On Space Station Liberty, I’ve interviewed a number of the actors and writers associated with the show, including the late Carl Macek himself. Today at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern, I’m going to be interviewing another: Frank Catalano, voice actor for the characters Rand,...

Marvels of book art at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
August 21, 2014 | 2:25 pm

IMG_20140820_100829 The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh boasts a fine permanent collection as well as two imposing linked premises above the Water of Leith. It also houses a library which "consists of around 50,000 items, including monographs, catalogues raisonnés, exhibition catalogues, periodicals, auction sales catalogues, audio-visual material, and ephemera." Within this is the Archive, "a world-class resource of material relating to Dada and Surrealism, the largest part being the archive and book collections of Roland Penrose and Gabrielle Keiller. The Archive is also particularly rich in papers relating to art and artists in Scotland. The Special Books Collection consists of...

The wonderful world of book igloos
August 8, 2014 | 12:25 pm

book igloo 1Whether as a solution to book stacking problems or as a last tribute to/new use for the great legacy of printed literature, book igloos are one of the most eye-catching and even useful of all monuments to the printed book. Here are some of the more eye-catching and inspiring examples from around the Web. Kala Louise Viñas posted the example above, clearly set up for educational purposes, and even with a window for light while reading inside. "Home" by installation artist Miler Lagos is one of the more iconic and widely shared examples, installed at New York's Magnan Metz Gallery in 2011....

Amazon’s 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime
July 29, 2014 | 11:30 am

children's booksSummertime, and the living is list-filled... Here comes another reading list to pile the to-dos onto your TBR pile! Amazon has just come out with a list of '100 Children's Books to Read in a Lifetime.' Our friends at GalleyCat have the whole list up, and it's an eclectic mix of classics (A Wrinkle in Time, Goodnight Moon) and the modern (Jumanji, Harry Potter). Of the 100 books, I count 38 I personally have read, and 15 which are freely available via Project Gutenberg. Want to do some reading? Here are some link to the freebie ones: - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland &...

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...

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...

Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community
July 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

textgirl2A friend of mine in his 40s is about to start teaching in Houston, Texas, and he recently shared a discovery. Many teenagers in Houston tote cell phones, but don’t know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. This would jibe with a 2012 poll showing similar ignorance among Americans at large. A bigger issue also comes up. Just how much do young people care about books in the first place? Americans 15-19 spend only about four minutes reading for fun on a typical weekend day. Too bad. Students who love books are more likely to excel in school....